If you’re a serious foodie and Europe is on your mind, you might not be thinking of Prague as your first choice. Let’s face it, Paris never disappoints (in my experience that is), London will bowl you over if you know where to go, Rome has so many small and upscale family-run gems with to-die for pasta and sauce concoctions that you may want to move there by the end of your trip, and Berlin, Vienna and Zurich could keep you going for weeks, especially if beer and desserts is on your love list as well. My most recent trip to Prague wasn’t my first; in fact, my first trip was pre-wall it was so long ago. While none of Eastern Europe was a “go to” region for food back then (if anything, you might find yourself hungry depending on when you went), I recall a special cafe experience in Prague and my recollection of both Prague and Budapest was much more positive than their more eastern neighbor Bucharest, which I had a hard time leaving because of countless train hiccups.
I returned six or so years ago and while Prague was even doing segway tours then, today I can see a difference, a migration if you like from “we’re open to the world,” to “we have tiers and layers to offer different audiences,” luxury being among them and….it’s growing. This beautiful Eastern Europe city along the picturesque Charles River is owning a lot of the things that Paris has for decades, like luxury shopping, 5 star hotels, and fine dining. There’s no doubt that Prague is on the international tourist circuit in spades, a far far cry from twenty years ago. Its culinary scene is also exploding and I don’t mean just authentic Czech cuisine at off-the-beaten path places. This year, Prague got awarded its third star and foodies are starting to pay attention. With three Michelin star restaurants to choose from and six Bib Gourmand restaurants, there’s no shortage of delicious places to explore and while their wine may not be winning top awards yet, some of their whites will definitely surprise you and best of all, the price is right. The guide below reflects a list of restaurants and cafes that I personally experienced during my most recent visit in September, strong recommendations from locals whose opinions I respect and for a select few, ones I identified on the ground as great ambiance or location spots, but didn’t have time to dine at. Here we go….
Valoria Castle & Garden Restaurant
Truth be told, it’s hard to beat the view at Valoria and one of the primary reasons I selected this restaurant for my very first night in Prague. See my separate write-up on this pow-wow restaurant on a hill half way down Nerudova that is sure to impress for a romantic evening out or even with a group of friends. That’s above and beyond their outa this world dishes, from fish to wild boar.
I started with a Goat Cheese salad with leeks, walnuts and walnut oil, followed by a scrumptious Beef carpaccio made with sun dried tomatoes, capers, arugula and paramesan cheese. A Czech chardonnay was paired with this, which was oak barreled for six months (I asked). It was a Pinot vinarstvi Gala although I also tasted the Chardonnay vinarstvi Baloun which just didn’t have enough body for me. European Chardonnays in general tend to have less body (and certainly less oak and butter) than their northern California counterparts. I clearly need to spend more time in Europe to get that palette of mine re-accustomed to crisper dryer whites, something I was growing into when I lived here in my twenties. The goat cheese was divine and oh so fresh as was the lettuce — after my first week of eating ‘right,’ I started to remember what non-genetically modified food actually tastes like and oh god, do I miss it.
On the Czech cuisine list, albeit a small selection, they had beef with root veggies, cream, cranberries, bacon and onions and Veal Cheeks made with dill,cream and whipped egg whites. While it was a very warm evening and I was sitting outside, I had to go for the Wild Boar since they offered it and I always think of Eastern Europe when I think of boar. It did not disappoint. They prepared it with peppers, aubergine, courgettes, and added a chocolate demi glace. Desserts included chocolate with orange, cocoa, almonds and vanilla, Peanuts with chocolate, caramel and Sabayone, a vanilla creme brulee with fruit, sorbets, a cheeseboard selection and chocolate fondant with raspberry sorbet. Be sure to check out my review on Valoria.
Address: Nerudova 40, 118 00 Prague
Restaurant Bellavista carries on the tradition of the formerly known restaurant Oživlé Dřevo (Enlivened Wood) which once used to be a famous venue for dignitaries. The place has a boat load of history — the original interior was designed by the renowned artist Alois Chocholáč, creator of numerous sculptures and snag wood formations which were showcased at many exhibitions in different countries including the World Expo 58 in Brussels.
Photo credits: Bellavista
The menu items range from casual dishes you can easily pair with beer or decadent and rich, such as steak and lamb that deserve a nice bold red wine depending on your mood.
One of the things that makes this place so special in addition to the food is the outdoor dining during warmer months — it has incredible views of the city in an outdoor terrace setting. There’s a ton of WOW to be found at this must-visit fine dining eatery!!
I went there for lunch, not dinner, eager to breathe in more incredible views of Prague in the early days of my time in this magical city. On the menu included a Mozzarella, tomato and basil salad, a Prosciutto and arugula salad with extra virgin olive oil, both of which I tried (below), a Pasta Bolognese, and a few Czech specialties including Schnitzel, a cheese board spread and a sausage plate which my Italian neighbors ordered (below).
I kept it healthy and light and went for the Mozzarella with arugula, cherry tomatoes and basil pesto and the delicious Beef filet Carpaccio with arugula, capers, and parmesan shavings. Loved it and it was the perfect choice on that sunny afternoon. I got the perfect table and so, had the perfect views, so much so that it was hard to leave.
They offer more traditional fare as well such as a Goulosh in a homemade monastery bread, Roasted sausages in black monastery beer with roasted bread, Grilled Budislav sausages with homemade grain mustard and roasted bread, Wiener Schnitzel with spring onions and mashed potatoes and a Flank Steak. For even more Czech choices, they had a Svickova sirloin in creamy veggie sauce and dumplings (homemade at that), a Boar goulash with rosehips and dumplings, a roasted duck with red cabbage and dumplings or a Roasted pork knee in black monastery beer with roasted bread, mustard and horseradish. All of these seemed like better options on a cooler evening or a different time of year in my case — options for when I return I thought. Lighter options like a pesto chicken and a Frutti di Mare with seafood and garlic.
Address: Strahovské nádvoří 132/1, 118 00 Praha-Hradčany – Prague
Inside, it’s not filled with loads of colors, curtains, trimmings or old world charm. It’s simple but elegant with clean lines. Below is a shot taken without any guests on-site.
Their executive chef is Oldřich Sahajdák who has worked in and brought influences from Germany, Italy, Portugal, and New Zealand and the general manager is Tomas Brosche who came from Michelin restaurant Allegro at a Four Seasons. And yeah, as a reminder, don’t forget to read my write-up.
Alcron is also a little more austere that the others and in a big way. In other words, the jean jacket that I discretely threw over my shoulder on most nights wouldn’t have cut it here. Located in the Radisson Blue Hotel, it only seats 22 and it’s all about pure fine dining and has been since it opened in 1932. I understand that everything they do here is old style — remember in old England when women received a different menu without prices? Well Alcron still does it that way — yes really! They clearly don’t know a lot of the men in my life or don’t realize that in California, more women take their guys out to dinner than the other way around. At least, it seems that way with the stories I’ve been privy to over the last five years.
It’s oh so French, so you’ll get the likely choices you’d imagine from such a decadent establishment, such as foie gras with red currant and a peanut butter biscuit (okay, so not so traditional), but they have plenty of lighter options that will make your mouth pop. From Marinated Scottish salmon with avocado cream, grapefruit and wasabi marshmallow, Quail breast and rillettes with apricots and smoked almonds and a Lobster bisque with corn to Seared scallops with roasted king oyster mushrooms and homemade smoked bacon, Potato-Truffle Gnocchi, Sea Bass with parsley porridge and quail egg, and a Pork loin and shank with cabbage and apple-sage sauce.
Zander with Lentil Salad
Above photo credits: Alcron
Address: Štěpánská 623/40, 110 00 Prague | +420 222 820 000
Francouzska Art Nouveau Restaurant
Prague’s newest michelin star, this “free range” restaurant gets praise from locals and tourists alike, so much so that I couldn’t get a reservation during my most recent visit. They offer a tasting menu that is a bit decadent for serious foodies: frog legs, a Jerusalem artichoke with speck, goat cheese and Rowan berries, a Mackerel with apples, peas and pine nuts, Lamb with fig and Chokeberry, Rabbit with beans and mustard, cheese from Krasolesi and more. Delish right? And, their presentation is out of this world!
Their a la carte menu is equally tempting, from Red Mullet, grapefruit, leeks and oysters, to Goose Liver, wine spirits, cherry and pistachio, it will be hard to choose an app. They also have Aged beef with watercress, juniper and Šaler, Halibut, rabbit, black garlic and fennel, Duck marrow, black walnut and kefir, and Sweetbreads with sea urchin, garlic and sunflower.
All photo credits: Field
Old world diners will love their pigeon dish which they serve with dry apple, hedgehog mushroom and Chokeberry, their Lamb choice with broccoli, sheep cheese, and buttermilk and their Veal, which they prepare with beetroot, chanterelle and pine nuts! Desserts include Passion fruit with chocolate, citrus and defrutum, Apricot, yoghurt, sorrel and cocoa beans and Nougat with tonka and curd! There’s a whole lotta WOW going on in their menu.
Note that the inside decor is pretty bare bones and lacks the warmth of Prague’s other two Michelin star restaurants but it’s getting rave reviews and the chef’s presentation of their exquisite dishes are sure enough to delight anyone, even the most serious foodie among you. At least a dozen people recommended it while I was in Prague, including two concierges at 4 and 5 star hotels.
Address: U Milosrdných 12, 110 00 Prague 1-Staré Město
Kampa Park Restaurant
Address: Na Kampě 8b, 118 00 Prague
Peklo Restaurant Prague
Have you ever wanted to eat in a cave? The Czech Republic has a few of these actually, so if you’re an old world lover of fabulous food and wine and deep dark dungeons and caves are also your thing, then put Peklo on your list. Think 12th-century grotto! This dark eatery that is candlelit everywhere regardless of what time of day you go, was located very near to my hotel at the beginning of my Prague stay, so it was relatively easy for me to check out during lunch one day. They offer both lunch and dinner in case you want to opt for outdoor seating on a warm evening (summer or fall) but if you’re traveling to Prague out of season and weather is no consideration, this is a must visit. The restaurant has had famous politicians and celebrities walk through its doors, including King Charles IV, Alois Jirásek, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Imagine dining in an old cave while sipping on a glass of Czech wine and savoring dishes made with local recipes blended with French influences? Sweet, right?
Its location is in the courtyard of the Strahov Monastery, a space that once served as the Roman Catholic Premonstratensian wine cellars. Apparently, the monks grew grapes and were rewarded by the monarch with a coat of arms; historians will love the fact that a copy of these arms now hangs in the restaurant above the bar.
During warmer months, they have live jazz entertainment under the rock garden and there’s dancing every Friday and Saturday evening. My concierge says it falls in the luxury category, however its prices don’t and the ambiance albeit unique and traditional, is a bit more casual than fine dining. The menu is equally authentic and laid back, and include dishes like Moroccan Grilled Octopus with Red Pepper and Chorizo, Eggplant Parmigiana with Créme Fraîche, Velouté of Jerusalem Artichoke, Roasted Guinea Fowl with Thyme and Lemon Juice, Potato Purée, Sautéed Chanterelles, Cranberry Glaze and a Chocolate Soufflé! Of course, you can get classic red meat dishes and a board of cheese as well, all of which will go well with those Moravian Czech wines.
Photo credit: SurvivingEurope.com
Address: Strahovske Nadvori 1, Prague 1
While this eatery is located right in Old Town Square and does attract a lot of tourists, it’s still a lovely spot as it has a beautiful garden and the interior decor is classically traditional.
They are known for their Czech cuisine, juicy steaks, “Kotleta” specialities, fresh salads, beer, homemade desserts and wine menu (they serve Czech, Italian and French wines) and plenty of interesting cocktails.
Above two photo credits: Kotleta website.
Because I went here with a group, I was able to view and sample a variety of dishes rather than just one. While we had a smaller menu for lunch options, we were able to order off the menu as well. Lunch specialties included an Oyster mushroom soup which several of us had, a slowly braised roast beef plate with pepper sauce and parsley rice, pork cheeks with marjoram and garlic, softened by cream and served with celery puree, a Fried cheese skewer (yes, really), served with boiled potatoes and tartar sauce, a housemade lasagne with chicken, grilled peppers, roasted leeks, zucchini, tomato, parmesan white sauce and a tomato-creamy sauce and an Italian pumpkin risotto with pork tenderloin, red onions, sage, arugula (one of the few menus that didn’t call it rocket), and a grana padano cheese.
Below, the pumpkin Risotto
I nearly went for this one….a great option for vegetarians and it was the solo one in our group who ordered this. This French lentil Beluga salad was served with marinated beets, roasted onions, goat’s cheese, arugula and tossed in a balsamic dressing.
The braised roast beef…
This was me…..I had to order a simple salad after days of decadent Czech and French dishes as delicious as they are. Think marinated beets, goat cheese, roasted pine nuts, tomatoes, chicken, mixed greens and Maple Syrup, though I had some kind of berry balsamic dressing instead.
Ahhh yes, that decadent lasagne — just look at how fresh the sauce is! There was also sauteed duck livers with cognac and wild forest mushrooms (the first time I saw that on a menu here), marinated in shallot and white balsamico, a duck liver pate (LOVE), made with pistachios and cognac, served with onion-currant marmelade and homemade bread, Beef Carpaccio (one of my favorites), served the ever so traditional way with parmesan, arugula, capers and basil oil, and lastly, worth mentioning, is their Housemade roasted belly pork spread with rosemary and garlic (yum, yum, yum), served with a spicy cucumber onion salad and fried bread. Apparently locals love this place and those who work in the area come here often for lunch. Another thing that was incredibly memorable from this busy little eatery was the casual but bustling patio if the weather is great and their housemade lemonade, all of which is made from fresh natural ingredients. It wasn’t JUST lemonade however since you could get your lemonade spruced up with a few different add-ons, such as Raspberry and Fresh Mint, Grapefruit (this was to die for), Cucumber (incredibly fresh), Lemon, Orange and Ginger.
Address: U Radnice 10/2, Staré Město, 110 00 Prague 1-Staré Město
When I first re-discovered this place, I was excited about dining here. In fact, I had a positive experience having drinks here five or six years ago. Boat Hotel Matylda and its neighboring restaurant is in a boat moared right on the water, facing some of the best views of the Charles River. Located in the historical part of Prague, it’s not far from the National Theater. The anchorage is on a newly constructed Vltava promenade, which starts at Vysehrad Rocks and ends at Sitkovske Mills (today’s Manes Gallery). Outside is the way to go during the warmer months, either on the front of the boat or the back (the terrace of the stern) — both have incredible views, especially right before sunset. The below shot was taken while I had dinner there one night during my last few days in Prague.
Inside, it’s glassed in and whether you take a window seat in the boat or on the deck, you can see views of the Sitkovska Tower, the Dancing House, Petrin Tower and even Prague Castle. While they say they focus on Italian cuisine, there’s a ton of more conventional meat dishes and Czech-inspired cuisine as well.
Above two photos, courtesy / from Boat Matylda.
If it’s warm enough, outside is where you want to be however. I was on the back deck and while the view was out of this world, the ambiance perfect and the food scrumptious (and reasonably priced I would add), the service was so bad, I would only return if I had a different server. It seemed as if he had been in the industry for awhile and I got the feeling that because I was a solo female customer and not a romantic two top of a group he could sell expensive bottles of champagne or wine to, I wasn’t ‘worth his time.’ Needless to say, food got cold, wine was late or he forgot altogether. And so, I skipped dessert and coffee and left feeling deflated from the experience despite the remarkable views.
The food is varied however, so whether you do opt for a pasta dish such as their Potato Gnocchi with Aubergine and Ricotta or a simple Minestrone soup, or you are in the mood for seafood, they’ve got you covered. Fish entrees included a Mussels, Shrimp and Squid combo with tomato sauce, Yellowfin tuna with white radish, Grilled halibut with lime and ginger glace, Baked sea bass with lemon and basil and Mussels in a white wine sauce. I’m a big salad lover so was thrilled to see five choices on the menu, from more traditional and heavier options like an Octopus salad with fennel and potatoes to Greek, Caesar, Smoked Salmon and the one I ended up ordering, the salad with goat cheese, beetroot, walnuts and thyme. (below)
Meat entrees included Steak, Beef tenderloin with arugula and parmesan, Pork tenderloin with mushrooms, garlic and cream sauce, chicken with parma ham and sage sauce, braised lamb shank with Chianti sauce and roasted spinach and my pick: duck breast with plum sauce. (pictured below)
Address: Boat hotel & Ristorante Matylda, Masarykovo nabrezi, 110 00 Prague 1
Velka Klasterni Restaurant
Ambiance is definitely lacking here, but if you’re a beer lover, this is your spot. Located near Prague Castle and close to the first hotel I stayed at the start of my trip (the Lindner Prague Castle). They can seat 500 people (and it’s apparently non-smoking) and you can sample beers from Matuška Brewery, which is apparently a big deal.
Photo credit: Velka Klasterni
Outside there’s a bit more ambiance on the veranda and it’s a nice afternoon spot after seeing the castle to grab a beer. They serve so many Czech classics here as well that it’s a good spot to taste more traditional fare, such as Roast duck with apples, onion and potatoes, Roasted chicken with black beer, Prague goulash of young piglet with Czech dumplings, Onion rabbit with roasted pork, red cabbage and potato dumplings, Beef Sirloin with cream sauce, Veal Vienesse schnitzel with potato puree and a ”Znojmo” cucumber basket. There’s also grilled pork knuckle in beer marinade with onion potatoes and sauerkraut (you can see the German influence throughout), a Roasted pig in beer marinade with onion potatoes and sauerkraut, or the Lamb shashlick with pepper salsa and roasted new potatoes.
At the outdoor bar, they had a bowl of some kind of mixed slaw and large Pretzels which you can order with your beer, an authentic Czech thing to do, at least one of them anyway. Oh yeah, and they had sausages as well — I ordered one to go just to get an idea of how fattening they were. In other words, would they taste more fattening than American sausages? Who was I kidding? If you’re even thinking about calories, then don’t bother, but my logic went a bit like this in the end: you can’t go to Prague and not at least try one sausage before you leave. Enuf said!
Address: Strahovské nádvoří 302/11, 118 00 Praha-Hradčany | +420 233 352 730
U Glaubiku Restaurant
While typically I might not throw this one on my foodie list, I ended up having a small bite here one day and frankly had to walk by it every time I made my way up and down the hill when I was staying at the Lindner. And so, I learned just how much fun this place is, especially if you go as a group. Warmer months allow for outdoor dining on the street, which I’d strongly recommend. It is situated at the bottom of a hill on the Prague Castle side of town, not down near the Charles Bridge, which means that it’s less crowded and also more reasonably priced. From here, it took me about 30 minutes to walk to the Charles Bridge if you happen to be staying in that area. Or, you can tram it or uber it easily enough.
Since it’s all about traditional Czech cuisine here, make sure you pair your dishes with a local Czech beer. The rib platter comes with a few different dipping sauces – oh so delish! Also consider Roast duck on braised red cabbage served with two kinds of Bohemian dumplings, their Roast knuckle of pork which they serve with Bohemian potato dumplings and braised white cabbage and bacon (wow, right?), Beef Goulash with Bohemian bread dumplings, Roast pork in a classic beer-based sauce with Bohemian potato and bread dumplings and braised white cabbage with bacon or one of their soups: a South Bohemian cream-of-potato soup with mushrooms, which is apparently a Prague classic, so they say. You can also get some of their homemade Bohemian potato or bread dumplings as a side.
Address: Malostranské nám. 266/5, Malá Strana, 118 00 Praha
Spices Restaurant and Bar
While I didn’t dine here, I came across this special Asian gem right before getting my spa treatment at the Mandarin Hotel in Prague. In fact, it’s part of the Mandarin Hotel — hmmm, I thought…it must be good. I started asking around and sure enough, people rave about it.
Since it was still warm when I was there in mid-September, everyone was lounging outside on the outdoor patio. If I hadn’t showed up “just on time” for my spa appointment, there’s no question that I would have ordered a cold tea and an appetizer, just because! The ambiance was fabulous and I knew the food would be too.
Inside, it’s a lot more elegant and refined, like the rest of the Mandarin. Located in the heart of the picturesque Lesser Town, Spices Restaurant & Bar is a little more inventive with their Asian dishes and also do unusual mouth-watering cocktails. Spices’ stunning Renaissance-style vaulted ceiling and contemporary design provides the perfect backdrop for Excecutive Chef Jiří Štift’s dishes that will apparently have you at hello.
Dishes include incredibly fresh produce, most of it sourced from local Czech farmers. Served family-style in the middle of the table, the menu showcases the wide variety of ingredients and flavors found throughout Asia. Highlights include Thai crab cakes with mango chilli mayonnaise, Sea Bass and Malaysian Jackfruit curry served with basmati rice and Galangal, and Chicken Tikka Masala with basmati rice and pappadam. Oh so delish and beautifully presented to boot!
Above three photo credits: Mandarin Oriental/Prague.
Address: 459/, Nebovidská 459/1, 118 00 Prague 1
U Modre Kachnicky
This place is all about Czech cuisine and has incredible ambiance as well — there’s two locations in Prague so be sure to check out both if you have time. Courses are served in one third the size of regular portions on their pre-fix menu and includes a wild game pâté with bacon, cranberries and baby gherkin, Duck rillettes with marinated beetroot and dried roasted apricots, Roasted duck with walnut stuffing, red and white cabbage, potato dumplings, Roast pheasant breast with dark beer-plum sauce and almond potato croquettes, Filet mignon with vegetable cream sauce, Carlsbad dumplings and cranberries, Apple strudel with punch sauce and walnuts and a Chestnut cake with poppy seed filling and hot red currant sauce.
Inside, it’s rather decadent, more than you’d imagine from the authentic, hip and artistic street view. It is around the corner however from Hotel Mandarin so you’d expect that they’d attract clientele from there or let’s just say, above your average bear traveler.
Photo credit: U Modre
They seem to really specialize in duck and game, two of my favorites. Scrumptious offerings in classic style include duck with walnut stuffing, red cabbage and dumplings, or duck with plum brandy sauce, with apples, raisins and honey, or with bacon Brussels sprouts stew and garlic potato pancakes, or with ginger lime sauce or with dried apricots, red wine and a green pepper sauce. Whoah Nelly — you had me at hello already!
Wild game specialties include grilled fallow-deer saddle with rose hip sauce and dumplings, wild boar roasted with onion, garlic, red cabbage and dumplings, roast pheasant breast with dark beer plum sauce and almond potato croquettes, Orange smoked duck breast with Grand Marnier sauce and honey pancakes (yum!!) and a roasted fallow deer knuckle with chestnut, root veggies, red wine and spring onion mashed potatoes. There’s also a veal roast with truffles and bacon dumplings, roast rabbit with mushroom ragout and rosemary rice, confited goose leg with mushroom cholent and bacon rolled potato dumplings or OMG, an Old Bohemian Baking Pan for two, which includes roast duck, veal roast with truffles, Prague ham, wild boar roast, red and white cabbage, mushrooms and traditional side dishes. If you’re hungry and want old world cooking, you now know where to come.
Photo credit: UModre
Photo credit: foodperestroika.com
Michael V. is the chef here, who is apparently one of the few Czech chefs who has really succeeded abroad. He mastered his cooking skills particularly in Sweden, where he prepared meals for the King of Sweden and the King of Norway, among others. How cool is that? Details below.
Address: Michalská 434/16, 110 00 Praha-Staré Město
V Lalznich Restaurant
I loved this quaint little eclectic find — inside, it’s authentic, old world but casual and fun, with tons of interesting tidbits to look at and during warmer months, there’s a lovely little courtyard in the back.
Outside, it’s even better.
They offer more classic dishes like a Grilled Sausage on a platter with horseradish, mustard and pickles or a Roasted Pork side in honey marinade with the same. Or, you can get a slowly roasted pork knee with pickled veggies, horseradish and mustard, pork with sauerkraut and bread dumplings, roast duck with red cabbage and dumplings and Schnitzel. If you want to keep it light but still want the ambiance, then go for their Zucchini Carpaccio, one of their salads, their Filet of Salmon with cranberry jam and lemon, or a skewer and skip the bacon. Desserts are not for the light hearted and include pancakes with whipped cream, black beer ice cream (wow, right?), traditional honey cake with nuts and whipped cream or a home made Apple strudel made in a puff pastry with apples, cinnamon and raisins soaked in rum.
Photo credit: lovetravel888.
Address: Lazenska 286/6 | Mala Strana, Prague 118 00
Like theme restaurants? Or simply love the era when knights were fighting fort the hearts of beautiful ladies, when one’s word of honor meant something and shaking hands between men was above all contracts. Gotika exudes those times while tasting traditional old Czech cuisine, or fish, steak and pasta specialties. It’s centrally located near Charles Bridge but on Mala Strana, the picturesque island Kampa. It is located in an ancient house build in 1648 (yes, really), and has been operating as a restaurant since 1850. In 1992, the house was put on the UNESCO protected list.
They really pay attention to the details inside…..it’s about as authentic as it gets while being slightly ‘kitsch’ at the same time, but in a way that works given its location.
I only had a drink here but for diners, you’ll want to go for their more traditional fare, such as Bohemian onion soup, mushroom omelettes, Roast sausage with mustard and horseradish, fish skillets, salmon with Rosemary sauce, Goulash soup, potato soup, and stews. There’s also dishes like Poultry livers with red wine and almonds and Tiger prawns with garlic butter. Yum!!
Address: Na Kampe 14, Prague 1 | 420.732.699.661
I discovered this restaurant by accident when trying to find Kampa Park along the river on my second night in Prague. I talked to the staff for a few minutes with map in hand — it turns out that it is right around the corner from Kampa Park. I love old world ambiance and this place definitely has it — let’s just say that it exudes the magic of old times.
Both photo credits: Maliru
No typo here — apparently the restaurant was established in 1543 and, amongst its “barflies”, was Emperor Rudolph II. The restaurant has an incredibly warm ambiance and its walls boast murals by R. Adámek and R Jindřich from 1936-1937.
While I didn’t have a chance to dine here this time around, the menu looks fabulous. Appetizers include a Lobster cocktail with orange and papaya, Caviar Beluga with butter, boiled egg and potato pancakeon, Roasted Foie Gras with Butter Brioche and Raisins, Scallops with Green Lentils and Goat Cheese mousse with beet root, carrot crumble and Quinoa. Mains are even more decadent with homemade ravioli on the menu, which they serve with squash, kale and roasted chick peas (a great option for vegetarians), Potato Gnocchi with Black Truffle, Fish of the Day, Galantine of Rabbit glazed, Guinea Fowl with marinated shallots, potatoes Dauphinois, Roasted Mushrooms and cognac sauce, grilled Duck Breast with Truffle sauce and Herbal Smoked Pork Loin with butter squash and roasted veggies. Scrumptious right?
Address: Maltézské nám. 291/11, 118 00 Prague
I didn’t end up making it here however I had six locals tell me it’s a fabulous place and so, here it is on the list. Several raved about it so much, that I’m disappointed I didn’t have time to test it out. The restaurant has simple fare but reasonably priced and apparently very delicious and “fresh.”
Photo credit: Lokal
If you’re an old world style traveler and diner, this may not be your spot. It’s known to be hip with locals, especially young locals, but it has an industrial decor so is not super warm in ambiance. That said, the menu uses local ingredients cooked to order so if you want fresh, healthy and exquisite taste that will make your mouth pop, then Lokal is a great choice!
Photo credit: Lim Ev
From cauliflower soup with garlic croutons Tagliatelle with morels, Burrata with roasted tomatoes and farm bread, and Swordfish with black sesame seeds, mango chutney and wasabi puree, to Prosciutto di Parma with watermelon, Lasagne with Bologna ragout, cold Gazpacho, and Spaghetti Bolognese, it’s a great spot to visit when you don’t want a “fine dining” experience but still want a fun ambiance that hipsters praise and the food is great.
Vegetarians will love this Prague eatery, which is a long-standing establishment known for turning out fabulous vegetarian dishes in a relaxed space with meditative music. From dahl and soups to pastas and Indian curries, they have your taste buds covered.
They do Vedic cooking here, a culture and set of customs that comes from ancient India. According to the Vedas, a human being is meant to realize his true identity as an eternal servant of God. This Vedic understanding begins with the knowledge that we are not our temporary material bodies but the eternal spiritual souls within our bodies. And, this philosophy goes into their cooking
What distinguishes Vedic cooking from other types of cooking is the cook´s spiritual consciousness and his or her awareness that he or she is preparing an offering for God. The effect of eating prasada is different from that of eating food cooked merely for profit, for the pleasure of the tongue, or even for survival. We think about a lot of things when we cook, but pleasing God isn’t usually one of them. The result? A delicious selection of incredible vegetarian dishes to choose from in a casual and simple atmosphere.
Photo credits: Yelp
Address: Soukenická 2060/27, 110 00 Praha-Nové Město, Prague
Cafes and Bars
This is a popular spot with locals and offers a variety of coffee choices, from espresso and cappuccino to latte, machiatto and Americano. While I didn’t have a chance to get there this time around, at least a half dozen locals recommended it as a great spot for coffee and lounging about/people watching. The ambiance as you can see is incredibly modern and not particularly “warm,” but is known to be a good people watching spot and cafe for Prague hipsters and millennials.
Photo credit: www.restu.cz.
Address: Bubenečská 12, 160 00 Prague
This unique but casual spot looks like a cafe only on the surface although it has all of these additional fine touches that make you wonder what’s under the hood and its history. It is in fact a restaurant, but when I was there (for coffee and a pistachio cake only), it seemed to be more of a cafe hang out. They also serve wine as well as food in the evenings, and apparently offer a wide range of wine from cellars of respected winemakers all over the world. Vintages varying from old world to interesting local varietals that will appeal to every wine lover.
Experienced confectioner Daniel Lang, time time expert prepares a wide range of unusual desserts daily. Think salty white bread rolls or Flammkuchen variations or, chocolate and cherry cakes or fluffy meringue kisses. The desserts in the closed glass case is exquisite, wouldn’t you say? How could you say no to any of this?
Then, when you walk into the other side of the venue, be sure to look up. The ceiling and chandelier had me at hello; its intricate details and beauty will wow you over as you sip your cuppa Joe and embellish any of their desserts.
Address: Lázeňská 7, 110 00 Praha 1 – Malá Strana
Bella Vida Cafe
The atmosphere in this place is worth visiting alone – there’s a bookshelf lining the back wall and plenty of comfy sofas and plush chairs to sit in as you breathe it all in. Very “salon” like, this is the spot to go when you’re in the mood for a coffee or dessert, which I had. Coffees they serve include Costa Rica Don Oscar – 60% and Panama Finca Hartmann – 40%. They are apparently very proud of serving Don Oscar, which is the name of a small processing plant in Costa Rica’s famous coffee region Tarrazu. I had a coffee here and the espresso mix gives off sweet notes of yellow fruit and fresh acidity. Their coffee uses the washed method and is full bodied with strong chocolate tones. I loved their coffee and I loved loved loved the ambiance!
Address: Malostranské Nábř. 563/3, 118 00 Prague
While this might be more of a hot spot for trend setters and the super young (yup, it’s very hipsterish along Újezd), I loved the very casual but funky and artistic ambiance of this bar. It’s definitely more of a “drinks” spot, but if you’re into unique bars with creative flare, this may be worth a visit. I just sampled a local beer here but apparently they also have live music on certain nights so be sure to check out their site for the latest: www.klubujezd.cz/.
Address: Újezd 422/18, 118 00 Prague-Malá Strana
Okay, I’d be remiss if I didn’t put this quirky coffee bar on the list. It’s not my thing to be honest, but for those who live and breathe technology and the latest innovation, you may want to pop your head in for the Bitcoin experience — yup, it means you can only pay with Bitcoins. Based in Paralelni Polis / the Cryptoanarchy Institute (yes really), you get coffee from Berlin via a Syneso machine — there’s paper pulp furniture (like I said, not my thing), but if you want to hang out with super young trend setters, then this is your spot. There’s also a 3D printer on location.
Photo credit: European Coffee Trip
This trending cafe is apparently the first official Bitcoin Café in the Czech Republic and the first ever in the world. Some say it’s a good spot for a business meeting although I’d say moreso a place for hipsters to hang out, that is unless you’re a technology start-up.
Address: Dělnická 475/43, 170 00 Prague 7
Given that I’m a huge wine lover, I had to put Vinograf on the list. While Prague is most known for its beer, the wine scene is growing and I tried plenty of Czech wines during my stay inside and outside of Prague.
Some of the wines on the menu include the Barina Ryzlink Rynsky Riesling which is from the Velkopavlovicko region, the Benes Aurelius from the Slovácko region (a great choice for sweet wine lovers) , the Benes Rulanske Bile from Slovácko (think Pinot Blanc), the semi-dry Benes Ryzlink Rynsky Riseling also from Slovácko, the full-bodied Dobra Vinice Chardonnay Qvevri Chardonnay from the Znojemsko region, the Dobra Vinice Quatre also from Znojemsko and the Domaine Hrabal Ryzlink Vlassky from Mikulovsko which is a light fruity Ryzlink vlašský-Welsch Riesling.
Photo credit: Vinograf
The wines from the Czech Republic are very different than your typical northern California wines although they do oak barrel many of their Chardonnays — they don’t have the climate to produce deep earthy reds although they have many great mid-bodied choices that are worth trying, especially with some of the heavier meat dishes on Czech menus, like Boar and Veal.
Address: Míšeňská 68/8, 118 00 Prague 1
I fell upon this place during one afternoon walk — I spotted it across the street and only later learned that it was on my “must visit” list from a local. Sure, expats come here but so do locals, just not super young ones. For those into elegance and great style, sitting inside and taking in the incredible design is a must. They are known for their breakfasts, schnitzels, soups, pastries and of course coffee.
Photo credit: Leo Lam
For Beer Lovers…
Lastly, beer lovers can head to the two biggest beer gardens in town, all of which have communal tables under leafy trees: Riegrovy Sady Garden is massive and can seat 1,400 and has a “rock festival” ambiance.
Letna Beer Garden on Letenské Sady, 170 00 Praha 7, boasts fabulous views of Prague’s old town. Letná has lots of picnic tables and a small playground, located directly across from Letenský Zámeček, (Letna Chateu). The only beer on tap is Gambrinus 10°, and they have white and red wine, cola, and some spirits.
Photo credit: Prague Beer Garden.
Velka Klasterni Restaurace is at Strahovské nádvoří 302/11, 118 00 in Prague’s Hradčany district and has great outside seating during the warmer months.
This favorite beer spot is far from luxury but it does boast great breakfasts, as well as pretzels, sausages and of course beer. A local said their smoked fish was worth a try as well.
There’s no shortage of street foot in Prague and most of it is very good. Here are a few street food shots I randomly took during my stay, the first of which was on a casual boat, right next to a boat that does nightly music cruises along the Charles. Cheese, bread, honey and a berry sauce — how can you go wrong? On the boat was all locals btw and several were waiting in line to order this. Sausage too of course!
This was a kebab I ordered for a late lunch on the same day I was planning to review La Degustation since it was such a late night reservation. It was absolutely filling, cheap and they gave it to me minus the pita bread due to my carb friendly diet. In other words, it usually comes in a pocket. It didn’t particularly taste organic and it wasn’t anything to write home about, but it filled a hole in between activities and meals.
You can find them everywhere in Prague, although this stand was along the river where mostly locals were hanging out, drinking beer and listening to local musicians. I ordered, added a beer from his neighbor (local of course with its carbs and all), and stayed for awhile, dangling my legs over the bridge waiting for the sunset. I listened to the music and….I even danced. It’s a young scene of course but even if you’re a foodie and a luxury diner, know that if you don’t experience street food and some of down-to-earth ethnic culinary gems that a city has to offer, you’re not really getting the complete picture of a city. In other words, you won’t understand the culture and you won’t have as much fun as you could. Prague has fine dining and it’s a must, but so is tasting the street food.
He was adorable — must have passed him a dozen times over the course of my stay.
Other Random Stuff
There are also markets and butcher shops, canteens and more, however you need far more time than I had to explore them all. I have a “few good” Czech sources, she says with a smile, so I’m tossing these quirky finds on the list through strong recommendations
- CESTR: referred to as a canteen, it’s apparently all about Czech beef and I guess they’re known for their mashed taters as well: Legerova 57/75 Prague 1 | http://cestr.ambi.cz/en/
- SANSHO: I so wanted to go here. Chef legend Paul Day owns the joint and a lot of other chefs hang out here – it’s a real scene, but a local culinary one: Petrska 25, Prague 1 | http://www.sansho.cz
- SISTERS: What a great name, right? Go here for what’s referred to as the “Chlebicek,” which is the classic Czech open-faced sandwich. Two thumbs up say others for their soup and it gets kudos from well known Czech food writer Ms. Michopulu as well. Dlouha 39, Prague 1 | www.chiebicky-praha.cz
- SIMPLY GOOD: On my low carb diet, this place would be dangerous, and yet locals love the oh so traditional sweets that come out of this place, from Kolachees and Streusel Cakes to other patisserie choices with plum jam, poppies and curd cheese. Egads, right? Sokolovska 146/70, Prague 8 | www.simplygood.cz.
- MASO A KOBLIHA: Okay, so clearly if I had one of my American chef buddies with me, he/she would have dragged me here. I’m always amazed at where chef friends take me LATE night, not that this is a late night place. They tout having the best donut in town but this spot is a combo bistro/butcher shop and the beef (take note) is organically grown (YAY — applaud applaud) and you can see it all over the counter. Petsrska 23, Prague 1 | www.masoakobliha.cz
- Piano Nobile @ Chateau Mcely: Be sure to check out my review of Chateau Mcely’s Piano Nobile – there was so much WOW in this meal. Located in a chateau in the Czech countryside roughly an hour or so from Prague, it’s worth making a trip to this romantic 5 stay getaway. See our write-up on the chateau as well.
- Villa Patriot: Located in a luxe hotel, this gourmet restaurant has outdoor seating in the warmer months. You could make this a day trip or go for a few days which is even better. It is located in the luxe spa town of Mariánské Lázně, roughly two hours outside of Prague.
- St. Florian Restaurant: this gem of a find has both outdoor and indoor seating and is known for their smoked pig which is made fresh (in an underground oven). They rise it up on a spit, remove it, carve the meat and serve it. I also love the fact that it’s owned and run by a woman. St. Florian is in the picturesque town of Loket, known for its castle and has been the location for movie shoots, including Genius, a series currently being shot in the town. There’s great beer here also: Svetly Lezak, Tmavy Lezak, Tm. Uzeny Special 13 and Rubinovy Special 15 were on tap when we were there for lunch. See my write-up on Loket which includes St. Florian and food photos.
Note: No, no one paid me to include any of the above establishments on this list or quite frankly, even expected to be on a list. I was a guest of the Czech Tourism Board for some of these experiences, but not all, and as always, all opinions are entirely my own. If I have a bad experience with a venue, hotel, or restaurant, I typically just exclude it from a list or don’t write about them altogether. That said, despite my bad service experience with Matylda Restaurant, I opted to include them on the list because the experience is so unusual and the ambiance is so fabulous, that I hated to ditch them because of one bad experience with a waiter who ignored me for most of the night. I wish I caught his name — he kinda owned the back deck on the boat during warmer months so you could always ask them for a server that doesn’t fit this description. Anyway, I think you get my point.