Bellevue Restaurant, part of the Zátiší Group, is closing Saturday 25th January and plans to re-open, 50 metres away, on Monday 3rd February. It’s a fresh start for Bellevue, but the end of an era for those of us who first visited over 22 years ago.

Expats arriving in Prague back in the 1990s could hardly believe their good fortune. The place was (and still is) beautiful. The girls were (and still are) beautiful. The beer was (and still is) fantastic. One British Pound would get you 60 Kč (Czech koruna) and that was enough to pay for your evening’s beers.

The range of restaurants offering fine dining was limited. The top guys in town were Sanjiv Suri (Zátiší Group) and Nils Jebens (Kampa Group). We would spend evenings at U Patrona (Zátiší), Kampa Park (Kampa), V Zátiší and Circle Line (Zátiší), Sunday brunch at Bellevue (Zátiší) and then dance the night away at the Corona Bar Latin music club (Zátiší).

Zátiší Group now comprises Bellevue, V Zátiší and the former Corona Bar is now Mlýnec.

Kampa Group now comprises Kampa Park and Hergetova Cihelna.

Sunday brunch at Bellevue was about 600 Kč and included an amazing buffet, plus unlimited wine, beer, water, soft drinks and coffee. It was so popular with our group that I made a standing reservation for a table for six, every Sunday for two years. Friends would call Bellevue and ask to be added to my table – I’d sometimes arrive to find my table had expanded to 16. On my birthday we were 38.

We attended the first degustation menu at Bellevue. It was an amazing evening – the place was apparently full with Czech celebrities, none of whom I recognised!

Another bonus was the Zátiší Club where a 1 point/100 Kč paper voucher was earned for every 1000 Kč spent. I remember visiting the upstairs part of the Circle Line, as a group of eight and presenting a stack of Zátiší vouchers in lieu of payment for the entire bill – the poor manager had to call Bellevue and check that we hadn’t printed the vouchers at Copy General! Regular diners were awarded a coveted Zátiší Club Gold Card – this offered additional benefits such as a car home and bottle of wine. Here’s an old card I found in a drawer.

The Zátiší Club still operates but is completely online – I miss the old cardboard tokens and indeed my Gold Card!

I was hoping that we could visit Bellevue on 25th January for one last nostalgic dinner. Sadly they were fully-booked until 9pm and that was a little late for us I wonder if any of the diners were Bellevue alumni, or if the last night was attended by a group of Chinese tourists?

Bellevue have a new chef starting with them: Nicolas Decherchi, who led the French restaurant Paloma to two Michelin stars. Wishing them every success.

Bellevue (from 3rd February):
Smetana Hotel, Karolíny Světlé 34, Prague 1, Czech Republic