WHERE TO EAT, DRINK, & FOOD SHOP IN PRAGUE
Until recent years Prague wasn't known globally for its culinary prowess, but rather for the sizable beer consumption of its population (the Czech Republic consumes more beer per capita than any other nation in the world). Emerging from communism, during which restaurants could only serve a specific list of dishes, cuisine in Prague and the Czech Republic as a whole was a bit stifled, lacking inspiration and creativity. Fast forward a few years, and the Prague foodie scene is finally developing, with innovative restaurants drawing from Czech traditions in new, innovative ways popping up all over town. Similarly a craft coffee scene and a general push towards gastronomy (think specialty shops) is growing exponentially throughout the city. Here is my rather extensive list of where to eat, drink, and shop in Prague.
**During my first few days in Prague I did a foodie tour with Taste of Prague Food Tours, which provided a great intro to Czech cuisine plus tips and recommendations on where to eat throughout the city. If you have the time, I highly recommend taking a tour with them - worth every penny!**
WHERE TO EAT
Eska - Perhaps the first of its kind in Prague, Eska takes traditional Czech classics and modernizes them with some vegetables (yes, in Prague!), fermentation, and new techniques thrown in. Everything is housed in a two-level industrial styled space with an open kitchen. They also have a cafe and small grocery section. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Lokal (multiple locations) - A new take on the classic "local" Czech pub. They serve Pilsner from the tank and have a selection of Czech finger foods including pickled cheese (!!!) and ham with horseradish cream.
Sansho - Asian-y flavors abound in this popular foodie spot. Dinners are 6-course, family-style affairs, while lunch can be ordered a-la-carte. The restaurant is casual and cozy with both indoor and outdoor seating.
Bistro Milada - Colorful tiled floors, rustic walls, and an unpretentious vibe make up this undiscovered, neighborhood bistro, opened by the Executive Chef of La Degustation and his wife. The menu is small and simple, but everything is seasonal and flavorful. One of my favorite, affordable meals in Prague (a 3-course lunch was about $20).
Maso a Kobliha - Maso a Kobliha, Meat and Donut, is run by the same team behind Sansho, but serves a wholly different menu focusing on meat heavy pub classics. Don't miss a freshly baked, warm donut (filled with vanilla bean cream when I visited) for dessert.
La Degustation - Molecular gastronomy meets Czech cuisine, complete with a Michelin star. I recommend the six course tasting unless you are super hungry.
Sisters - Characteristic of Central European cuisines, chlebicek, open-faced sandwiches, steal the show at Sisters, a small breakfast/lunch spot right across the hall from the Nase Maso butcher shop (see below). Sandwiches feature seasonal Farmer's Market produce and can be supplemented by the daily soup.
Etnosvet - Beautifully presented and flavorful vegetarian food in the Vinohrady neighborhood of Prague. The decor is 90s posh meets the Pacific Northwest (a bit strange), but the menu is extensive and tasty, even by my meat-loving standards.
Plevel - Plevel quickly became my favorite casual vegetarian lunch spot in Prague. Service is friendly and everyday a two course lunch menu of soup of the day or salad, plus one of two main dish choices is available for a steal of deal - $5.50. The menu changes daily with fresh, seasonal options.
Dish - Arguably the best burgers in Prague, Dish is a favorite among tourists and locals alike, so be sure to make a reservation.
Proti Proudu (Against the Stream) - White-washed walls, high ceilings, soft wood accents, and interesting light fixtures make this one of the best looking corner bistros in the up-and-coming Karlin district. They have an extensive selection of homemade lemonades as well as a menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The coffee was not the best, but everything else we sampled was thumbs up.
Pho Vietnam Tuan Lan - For all the basic Vietnamese favorites, Pho Vietnam hits all the checkboxes. The space is a bit strange in a warm, dark, subterranean room, but the service is quick and the food tasty. Cash only.
Bruxx - For an extensive selection of Belgian beers and a bowl of steaming mussels, Bruxx near the Namesti Miru metro station is for you.
Parlor - Tasty and unique ice cream flavors plus perfectly baked cookies make for some wonderful ice cream sandwiches, especially in the summer heat. Parlor has lofty ceilings draped in a variety of growing plants and is full of an eclectic, but charming mix of furniture. They also have a selection of alcoholic beverages - the gin & tonic is particularly good.
Momoichi - With a giant inflatable Totoro and other Miyazaki influences throughout, Momoichi is a neighborhood cafe and eatery serving pan-Asian cuisine. Try a matcha latte and the wonton soup while you smile at the decor.
Coffee Room - More of a neighborhood cafe than a food venue, Coffee Room serves great brews and a small selection of baked goods and breakfast items. I am particularly fond of the smashed avocado toast.
Mezi Srnky - A cozy, but thoroughly cute cafe in Vinohrady serving excellent coffee and a selection of breakfast and lunch options. The breakfast boards are ample and delicious and the staff is super friendly. Communal tables add a homey, unpretentious feel to the whole place. Dog friendly!
Wine Food Market - A lively Italian market and eatery offering a variety of Italian dishes, as well as cocktails and wines. The atmosphere feels like a food hall with various stalls, despite it all being part of the same space. A good spot for a group if you don't arrive at peak hours.
WHERE TO DRINK
Bokovka Wine Bar - Tucked away off an interior courtyard, Bokovka wine bar is a local favorite serving a variety of quality wines in a rustic, arched roof space. Opt to purchase a bottle or go for a glass of whatever 10-15 wines they have on offer for the day. There is no menu per se, just an open wall of wines to peruse. The staff is super knowledgeable so let them help you choose if you can't decide. Breads, cheese & charcuterie boards are available for snacking.
Veltlin Wine Bar - Focusing on bio-dynamic, natural wines from Central Europe, Veltlin has a cult following in Prague. The space is modern and pleasant enough to pass a few hours chatting and sipping on premium wines.
Letna Beer Garden - Under leafy, green trees in the warm summer months, the Letna Beer Garden is arguably the best place to spend a few hours chatting over Pilsner as the sun sets over Prague. The views are lovely and there are plenty of picnic tables to go around.
Cash Only - The less touristy sister bar of the popular Hemingway Bar serving equally delicious cocktails in a small, but nice space. As the name suggests, it is cash only and there are no reservations.
Parlor - As mentioned above, the gin & tonics here are delicious!
Lokal - Also mentioned above, Lokal is reinvention of the traditional Czech neighborhood pub. Go here for Pilsner or the dark Kozel lager and check off your drinks on the funny table cards. The average Czech has 9 beers per visit - crazy.
WHERE TO COFFEE
Onesip - Super tiny espresso bar (no really, it seats three) on the edge of Old Town serving some of the best coffee in Prague from their Kees van der Westen espresso machine.
Super Tramp Coffee (no wifi) - A secret oasis, hidden except for nondescript signage on the street, Super Tramp Coffee is a small cafe on an industrial interior courtyard. On nicer days, seating spills out onto the wooden deck and long communal table outside. A selection of baked goods, quality coffee, teas, wines, and interesting ceramics make Super Tramp optimal for leisurely enjoyment. No wifi!
Muj Salek Kavy - One of a few cafes from the Doubleshot roasters, this one located in the hip Karlin district, serving simple food and excellent coffee with a variety of brewing methods in a fun, urban space.
Kavarna Misto - Another Doubleshot roasters cafe, this time in the Bubenec neighborhood characterized my exposed concrete, light wood detailing, and tasty coffee and food items. The wifi is strong, there are a handful of outlets, and the rooms are broken up allowing for some privacy = a fantastic place to work, particularly in the morning.
Vnitroblock - A former factory turned cafe / design shop / community center of sorts, Vnitroblock is an easy place to pass several hours chatting with friends or working with efficient wifi in a bright space.
Kavarna co Hleda Jmeno - Same team as the above with a similar vibe in the Andel area of town, although this one has a bonus outdoor patio/garden area.
Kafe Karlin - A super tiny Karlin district espresso bar by Prague specialty coffee pioneers. Try their filter coffee!
Kafemat - A consistent & friendly, albeit tiny (more of a grab & go) neighborhood cafe in the Bubenec neighborhood. They also have a few baked good options.
Ema Espresso Bar - Often if not always busy, Ema Espresso Bar is known for their premium espresso based drinks and filter coffee. They notoriously have no wifi, so don't expect to be able to open your laptops here. Worth the wait!
Cafe Jen - Cozy indoor plus breezy outdoor (in warmer months) seating with a substantial breakfast menu. Excellent coffee and friendly service from an all female staff. Arrive early, make a reservation, or expect to wait a bit for a table.
Coffee Room - Quality espresso drinks and filter coffee. They also have excellent cold brew. (see above for a few more details)
Tricafe - Located in the Old Town near Charles Bridge, Tricafe has a few rooms with a handful of tables, chairs, and couches complemented by an eclectic mix of artwork and decor. Try a slice of their daily selection of cakes with a fresh lemonade or a steaming latte.
Mezi Srnky - See above!
Brewbar - Only available Saturdays at the riverfront Naplavka Farmer's Market, Brewbar is a filter only coffee outpost with a cult following. Roasts change based on what they find, so expect to be surprised, and likely expect to wait a bit in line.
Eska - Making the list again, Eska's downstairs cafe is a nice place to stop for a quick and delicious morning or afternoon or whenever coffee.
WHERE TO FOOD SHOP
Pekarna Praktika - Bread. Beautiful, freshly baked San Francisco-esque breads - think sourdough mixed with spelt, whole wheat, rye, polenta, and more. Located in the Vinohrady neighborhood (just 4 mins from my apartment in Prague!), Pekarna Praktika makes the best bread in Prague and is worthy of a morning visit. Open only Mon/Weds/Fri, so plan accordingly. They also have good coffee and a few tables to enjoy it at!
Nase Maso - Nase maso, translated to our meat, is a high-end butcher shop selling sustainable and ethically raised meats. Pop in to purchase cuts for a homemade meal, or grab a seat at one of the few small tables and order a sandwich to enjoy in-house. Always ask for the butcher's recommendations!
The Real Meat Society - Another ethically minded butcher shop selling only meats from the Czech Republic from farms and farmers that they know. The butchers here know exactly how the animals live in addition to where and how they are slaughtered.
Mozzarellart - An Italian gem in the heart of central Europe, Mozzarellart is the first producer of handmade mozzarella in Prague. All the cheeses are made using unpasteurized milk from local farms. The staff speaks Italian and during the day you can see the mozzarella being pulled from the street or from within the shop. They also have a selection of Italian pantry items as well as some fresh herbs and produce on some days.
Eska - Appearing again as they sell a variety of pantry items, breads, and kefir/probiotics.
Farmer's Markets - Decidedly the best place to buy produce in Prague is at one of the numerous farmer's markets in towns. Expect a handful of produce vendors, bread, specialty products, and flowers at most and wider selections at the larger Saturday markets.
- Naplavka Waterfront (Saturdays only, large)
- Jiriho z Podebrad (Weds-Saturday, large on Saturdays, medium weekdays)
- Farmarsky Trh near Namesti Miru (Tues-Fri, small but nice)
If you made it through all of that, I am impressed. Na zdravi!