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“Always excellent.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Monastery Restaurant

Monastery Restaurant
443 Granby St, Norfolk, VA 23510-1913
757-625-8193
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Ranked #49 of 600 restaurants in Norfolk
Price range: $20 - $25
Cuisines: European, Eclectic, International
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Doing business, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Norfolk, Virginia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Always excellent.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2013 credit card Amex Card Member Review

One of my favorites. Eastern European (Hungarian and Czech) dishes are not standard fare so this place is a nice change. Everything is freshly prepared and the staff and owners always make you feel like you are family.

Visited August 2013
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62 reviews from our community

73% Recommend
    29
    17
    9
    4
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Austin, Texas
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Great Goulash!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2013

I stopped by here for dinner while on a business trip, based on previous Trip Advisor reviews.

I'm glad I paid these guys a visit; had no idea the owner would actually be in the kitchen preparing my meal from scratch (or that the guy actually bakes his own bread, too). It felt less like a restaurant and more like I was visiting someone's house. Think: home-cooked food level of quality.

Enjoyed talking to the staff and the owners - I'll definitely stop by again the next time I'm in Norfolk.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia Beach, VA
Top Contributor
112 reviews 112 reviews
96 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
121 helpful votes 121 helpful votes
“Unique in Tidewater Virginia”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

If you like visiting with and getting to know the owners, chefs and waitstaff at a restaurant you visit, Monastery's for you. If you favor a small, cosy, warm and comfortable decor --- albeit maybe a little bit dated --- you'll love Monastery. And if you get excited about wonderful regional dishes, authentically prepared by first-generation Americans who immigrated from that region in search of the American dream, you're gonna fall hard for Anna and Adolf Jerabek, and Monastery restaurant.

We thought for years that Monastery was just another German restaurant, even though it's always advertised itself as offering " ...delicious European cuisine." The truth is that it's probably the only, and certainly most unique, really authentic East European restaurant in Tidewater, owned and operated for over 30 years by Anna and Adolf Jerabek, who immigrated to the US from then-communist Czechoslovakia in the 1960s. Settling first on the West Side of Manhattan, where they opened and ran the first Monastery for over a decade, the Jerabeks arrived in Tidewater in the early 1980s and quickly set about to duplicate their NYC restaurant on Norfolk's then-Granby Mall. And that's where the two of them have been, and what they've been doing, for all those years. Now in their 70's, their culinary skills, energy, passion and absolute dedication to wonderful food, and to making as many of their customers their friends as possible, is undiminished. And, if you'll accept this "becoming part of the family" approach to visiting a restaurant, you'll not find a more enjoyable and satisfying restaurant experience anywhere in Tidewater.

Monastery's kitchen --- presided over almost equally by Adolf and Anna, with maybe a little more of the entree preparations being done by Adolf --- produces a wonderful variety of dishes that might be found in a visit to eastern European cities like Prague, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest --- and not in places like Cologne, Frankfurt or Munich. You'll find lots of veal on the menu, including a very good lightly breaded Wiener Schnitzel, but their best veal dishes are prepared with thinly-sliced unbreaded veal and any number of potato, dumpling, vegetable and light sauce options. (The Schnitzel a la Holstein is a favorite with me.) Anna wears an apron proclaiming her "The Goulash Lady," and Monastery's goulash offerings --- all made with beef, not pork --- are wonderful, and not overly seasoned or made too rich with overdone flour or butter in the sauces. Maybe their signature entree is the Roast Duckling, served with a slightly sweet, creamy Czech sauerkraut that would be unrecognizable to a fan of the German version. And, for Steak Tartare fans, this wonderful dish is usually also available, and is served with onions and capers, in the way of American palates. When it's time for dessert, the kitchen makes amazing fruit dumplings that I guarantee you'll not find anywhere else in Tidewater, as well as some wonderful crepes and apple strudel that will quickly remind you of your last visit to Vienna.

So I can say that the only small disappointment you might have during a visit to Monastery is with the wine list --- but there will always be a few good Riesling selections available, so remember where you are, and just go with it. And, after your first escargot, or your sample of the day's goulash presented in a small plate by Anna, or after your first bite of the freshly baked bread and cheese selection available in lieu of the standard rolls and butter, or after your first hug and greeting from Anna as she steps out of the kitchen on one of her frequent visits to the dining area to greet her customers/friends --- after all that, and maybe somewhere into your first bite of your wonderful entree, you'll ask yourself " ... where the heck have I been for the last thirty years?!!?" Why hasn't it been here, for dinner, every night of the week?

But don't worry about offending Anna and Adolf as a result of your absence during all those years. I guarantee you'll be immediately forgiven, and welcomed into their restaurant family, just the same as if you had been one of their first customers, over thirty years ago.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Southern Shores, North Carolina
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“EXCELLENT & DIFFERENT”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2013

Alice and I enjoyed dinner here with dear friends, Jane and Gary, both foodies, and
I'm still thanking them for the introduction - now I'm paying-it-forward and introducing it to others.

Not only are the food and service great, the owners are a real treat, it is so obvious that food and hospitality are in their blood.

I will go here again when in Norfolk for any reason.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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virginia
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
103 helpful votes 103 helpful votes
“Authentic food- great decor- good service”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

Quality authentic food. Menu descriptions, portions, and pricing are out of whack. I'm not all about larger portions. I do however want to have an idea of what to expect, and in general an entree should be constructed with sides that consider the plate as a whole. I ordered the bratwurst which came with a vegetable, potatoes and Slavic kraut. I requested they hold the potatoes and double the vegetable. I was asked if I wanted Kraut. Sure. The bratwurst was one smallish piece, and the veg was 3 broccoli florets, hardly a single portion, let alone 2, and the kraut covered 3/4 of the plate. Same experience with other dishes . If the price point is the issue, raise it a buck or two, and serve a plate with components that proportionately compliment each other.

Menu translations and better descriptions are needed. Makes it to difficult and time consuming to discuss with the wait staff.

Still, it's a stand out for quality and authenticity, decor, and a very nice, if not overly explanatory, staff, that was disorganized at times. This is based on multiple visits.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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