Gao Den restaurant review : Everybody can eat fancy food

Gao Den is not a fancy restaurant. Neither its location is at the center of Prague, neither its interior has most modern architecture features or design, neither do they serve expensive ingedients. None of that! Yet, there is a certain high quality value to the food they serve. And I want to share this “secret”!

Restaurant Gao Den is not really that obscure, it is a well-established venue, having been owned by the same persons, and pre-dating very fancy “Dian” at Brumlovka city centre, Prague 4.

We visited Dian first and while the food was amazing and we had a good time, I almost felt this does not feel right. Food so deeply rooted in Vietnamese street food should not be served at expensive place, in miniature quantities. Perhaps I needed much less of a quirk, just something above the average, as with Covid pandemic generally the food quality and  quality of personnel went down, whilst the prices went up. Especially with Vietnamese bistros.

But back to Gao Den! It is located at Stodulky, Prague 5. It is quite inconvenient place to visit by Metro/bus and we were downright surprised by the surroundings.

Interior is modern, backlit by black-light UV-A bulbs, with quite respectable bar, spreading on two floors. Capacity is not small, but I definitely recommend a reservation ( you can do that online and it is quickly confirmed by the staff).

Staff was very professional and quick and deserves only the highest rating, which, at this price point is not always the case. Speaking of which, average main course here costs between 190-400 CZK, which is not all that expensive nowadays.

As a starters, we tried Roasted gyozas stuffed with cauliflower puree, sun-dried tomatoes, marinated fennel, mussels, wild garlic and covered in shrimp bisque sauce, and all-time favourite Fried spring rolls with a mixture of pork, shrimp, glass noodles, shiitake mushrooms and vegetables.

The spring roll was as you would expect it taste-wise, but it looked amazing, the dough was thin and crispy and insides were firm and warm. Very mellow taste, definitely a finger licker. The gyozas were few levels higher, definitely more fancy, with unusual taste combinations. The dumplings and bisque were hilarious, but I am not convinced if sweet cauliflower puree and the mussels were best friends on the plate! Anyway, kudos for originality.

After circa 20 minutes we were served our main dish choices. My significant other ordered a classic : Bun Bo Nam Bo. I was glad she did, I wanted to explore novelties, but this staple and easy food can be good indicator of how they cook! Needless to say, it turned out great!

 

The plate itself was beautiful, filled with vegetables, herbs, meat as tender as it can be, and just-the-right amount of noodles. The sauce was umami, briny, but not overly spicy, with a nice garlic aftertaste. This dish is actually a salad – a lot of Prague Vietnamese bistros forgot about that and they serve you one kilo worth of noodles and dry meat on top. Herbs are usually limited to lettuce – which I do not consider a herb. A healthy fistful of cilantro, perilla and thai basil is what you need! 🙂

I ordered green curry with grilled sea bass and jasmine rice. I do not usually eat fish curries. The meat is very tender and I am always afraid it will blend into the sauce and will resemble something not so delicious. This was great though!

The fish was perfectly filleted and roasted on butter, with crispy skin. Laid on a vegetable bed, consisting of green beans, microgreens, brussel sprouts and very tasty, slightly tangy green curry sauce, which was very herbal tasting, zesty and not overly spicy. It tasted refreshing and delicious!

At this point were feeling full already, as the portions are quite large. However, when I saw their dessert I knew I must have tasted it! Fermented black rice with mascarpone, pickled fruit and chocolate crumble sounded interesting.

I liked the egg-shaped bowl and the presentation. This huge portion consisted of bed of fermented rice. So much so, that it already started getting saké quality. The pickled fruit was plums and mascarpone cream was flavoured with coffee and tonka bean. Delicious and hearty.

So what is the take-away? Well, there is a couple of those, I list them below:

  1. Go there by a car, if not have a mixed drink, they have those and they look delicious
  2. You cannot do mistake with traditional dish, but push a little and try something new
  3. Make a reservation beforehand
  4. Both cash and cards are accepted, not sure about meal vouchers

Besides a la carte, they also offer weekly specialities. I recommend this place and will visit again.

My rating : 4.5 stars/5.

Love, Lukas.

Lukáš Hason

Som úplne obyčajný mladý muž, avšak s množstvom nevšedných záľub. Rád varím a ochutnávam, kvasím a spoznávam, rozjímam a pripíjam. Najviac mi chutia ryby a plody mora, z chutí preferujem ostrú (pred feferónkou uprednostním habanero) a zo svetových kuchýň mi imponuje najviac ázijská, hoci aj domáce recepty sa dajú uvariť nápadito a kvalitne. Varím pivo a pokiaľ mi ostane čas, venujem sa hudbe. Pokiaľ je to možné, všade jazdím na motorke :)


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