Restaurants in Prague: An Abbreviated Guide

Maybe it’s the cobblestone streets and abundance of castles, or perhaps it’s the throngs of tourists at every turn, but Prague – and restaurants in Prague – feel a bit like Disneyland at times. That being said, it’s a stunningly beautiful city with gorgeous old buildings that retains the feel of an older, nostalgic Europe. And if you can manage to get away from the touristy areas you’ll be rewarded with good food, great beer, and excellent deals. Here, a very abbreviated guide to restaurants in Prague – and cafes, and bars, and even a place to do karaoke.

Bakeshop
On the edge of the Jewish Quarter, Bakeshop is an upscale bakery-café that is reminiscent of New York’s City Bakery, from their logo to their prices. They have a mouth-watering selection of baked goods as sandwiches and well as by the pound savory offerings that looked delicious. A large chocolate chip cookie and two cappuccinos set us back 215 CZK, or almost $13! Still, a nice stop after visiting every synagogue in Prague. Kozi 1, Praha 1, 110 00 (222 316 823), www.bakeshop.cz

Bohemia Bagels
As New Yorkers we pretty much always crave bagels. We can’t help it, it’s in our blood. Searching for a bite to eat within Prague Castle can be a challenge so we were thrilled to come across this quiet bagel haven. It’s nothing special, but it’s probably the least expensive dining option within the castle walls and the bagels with veggie cream cheese weren’t bad. They also have other things on the café-style menu, but it seems like the kind of place where you should stick to the basics. Lázeňská 19 – Malá Strana, Praha 1 (257 218 192) www.bohemiabagel.cz

Coffee Lovers
A cute café in the Jewish Quarter, Coffee Lovers is the perfect stop for a quick, inexpensive lunch or snack. Tired of heavy meals, a light Panini was just what we were looking for. In addition to sandwiches and salads they also have a lovely looking selection of baked goods. Their sidewalk café is excellent for people watching on a nice day, and the back of the café is surprisingly stylish with asymmetrical, slanted shelves filled with books and flowers. They do not accept credit cards, but do offer free wifi. Kaprova 9, Praha 1, 1100 00

Costa Coffee
Costa Coffee is our new favorite coffee chain, first discovered (by us) in Budapest. The British franchise offers standard coffee options like lattes and cappuccinos, as well as the Australian favorite, a flat white (leading us to initially believe the company was Australian). A flat white is basically a cappuccino made with microfoam, or wet foam, instead of dry foam. Whatever your caffeine of choice, they do a nice job and have decent pastries to boot. There are multiple locations in Prague, but this is the one we went to:  Náměstí Republiky 1, 110 00 Praha 1, www.costa-coffee.cz

Groove Bar
When we passed this café, bar and lounge I got excited because they advertised cocktails, and in particular Negronis. We’d already had good luck at Tretter’s (see below) so thought we’d give Groove Bar a shot. To be honest the cocktails weren’t the greatest, but it is a comfortable café with free wifi that turns into a bar/lounge in the evening and apparently a club on weekend nights. My Negroni came in a large glass with lots of ice (not how I like it) but at 100 CZK, or less than $6, it’s hard to complain too much. They do not accept credit cards, but do offer free wifi. Voršilská 6, 110 00 Praha 1 ( 720 260 329) www.groovebar.cz

Hudebni Klub Meloun
So this isn’t the kind of place where we would normally hang out, but Evan had been itching to sing some karaoke and that’s exactly what they advertised. Located downstairs on Narodni Street, it’s not far from many major attractions but do not expect to find other tourists here – this place is for locals. Wednesday night is karaoke night, and it’s totally free (of course one of their reasonably priced beers helps things along). It wasn’t super crowded when we were there so the wait wasn’t too long. They have both English and Czech selections, but if you want to get the crowd going though, you better go with a Czech song. Thursday nights they spin 80s and 90s music, and Friday and Saturday nights are all Czech and Slovak music, all
the time. Národní 11, 110 00 Prague 5-Old Town, (724 010 307) www.hudebniklubmeloun.cz

Knajpa
This restaurant ended our self-proclaimed “beer walk,” and seemed not overly priced or overly touristy. The oversized menu may be in the shape of a mug of Pilsner Urquell, but the food was decent and reasonably priced. I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way for this place but if you happen to be in the area it’s a safe bet. The cheeseburger was massive and filling with a side of fries for 169 CZK, or about $10. Potato and cabbage pancakes were large and came three to a plate. They were greasy but tasty. The menu is quite large, so you can get your fill of Czech favorites like pork knuckle and goulash, or go for gnocchi or a salad. Half-liters of good beer were 29 CZK. Masarykovo nábřeží 246/12, 110 00 Praha 1
- Nové Město (222 516 922) www.restaurantknajpa.cz

Konopna
This was probably my favorite place that we discovered in Prague. Knopna (if that’s even it’s name) is not somewhere you will read about in guide books, or anywhere else for that matter. We stumbled upon it, an outdoor stall on the river selling beer and grilled sausage. Perfect. They have tables, but for those of us who couldn’t get a spot, the edge of the Vltava proved a great place to sit and watch the sunset. Half liters of light or dark Dudak beer go for 29 CZK and two bacon-wrapped sausages with nice rye bread are 75. The clientele appeared to be entirely locals. Between the Paleckea and Vysehrad Rock Bridges, across the river from the Staropramen brewery and Admirel Botel

Mistral Café
This was another of our favorite eateries in Prague. We found it our first day there, fresh off the train from Berlin and in need of some caffeine. We returned the next day for breakfast when we slept through breakfast on the botel. It’s just a lovely café with a few sidewalk tables and a large indoor area with smoking and non-smoking sections. Although it’s smack in the middle of the touristy action, Mistral Café seems far removed from the touristy throngs. They make a mean apple strudel, and good (but a little too milky) cappuccinos. The chive and brie omelet is simple and well-prepared and the pancakes with marmalade and dark chocolate are beautifully presented crepes, perfect for dessert or breakfast. The rest of the menu looked
amazing as well with dishes like grilled duck and bulgur risotto. The staff was attentive
and nice and they accept credit cards. Valentinská 56/11, 110 00 Prague 5-Old Town (222 317 737) www.mistralcafe.cz/en

Paneria
Caddy corner from Mistral Café, Paneria is a decent chain café (they have nearly 20 locations in Prague alone) reminiscent of Au Bon Pain in New York. Short on cash, we stopped here for our afternoon dose of coffee and cake knowing they accept credit cards, and were pleasantly surprised. Both the chocolate cake (55 CZK) and apple roll (30 CZK; tasted like charoset) were moist and fresh tasting and the coffee (39 CZKfor a cappuccino) was pretty good. They also had pre-made sandwiches and Panini that looked decent if you are in a rush. Kaprova 3 – Valentinská, Praha 1 (224 827 912) www.paneria.cz

Pivovarský Dům
Our first stop (ok, second after coffee at Mistral Café) upon arriving in Prague, Pivovarský Dům is similar in feel to New York’s cartoonish Heartland Brewery. But beneath the hokey veneer is a good microbrewery with a creative selection of beers and good food to accompany them. Their unfiltered, unpasteurized dark beer is a good rendition of a traditional dark Czech lager that is flavorful but light bodied and highly drinkable. The coffee beer has a pronounced – you guessed it – coffee flavor similar to a coffee or chocolate porter, but again light bodied and easy to drink. Their nettle beer is their most successful of their unusual flavored beers. A foggy lime green in color, it’s exactly what you would expect a beer made from nettles to taste like: herbaceous and ever so slightly spiced. It was very pleasant and surprisingly good. Their sour cherry beer was not such a success; it tasted like Robutussen. After this failure, we couldn’t bring ourselves to try the banana beer. The food, often cooked with beer, is meant to go with your brew and succeeds. Dense, greasy potato pancakes, fried bread with garlic, and a horseradish-flavored cole slaw were all quite good. Jecna/Lipova 15, 120 44 Praha 2 (296 216 666, www.gastroinfo.cz/pivodum

Staromáček
This is another restaurant that I am writing about with reservations (no pun intended. No, really.). Tired and hungry, I actually succumbed to the barker – the barker! – and was rewarded with a restaurant touristy beyond belief. We were seated at a communal table with two on-duty police officers, but they didn’t have to pay a bill so I don’t know if that gives the place any more cred. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by my rabbit with garlic and cabbage, which was actually fairly moist and very flavorful. Evan’s pot roast with green peppercorns was tasty but very tough and didn’t come with a side. Beers were a whopping 35 to 50 CZK, much more than anywhere else, but mains were about 180. Located just off the Old Town Square,
you could do worse for the location. Dlouhá 4, 110 00 Praha 1, (222 311 366) www.staromacek.cz

Staropramen Brewery / Na Verandach
Walking up to this large brewery (it’s the second largest in the Czech Republic and each Czech drinks an average of 160 liters of beer per year) is a little like approaching Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Or a beer prison. It is both magical and ominous. We may have gone the back way though… Located far, far away from any other tourist attractions, or anything really (it’s on the same side of the river as and about an hour walk from Prague Castle), you have to make a special trip to go to the Staropramen brewery and it’s adjacent restaurant, Na Verandach. They offer quite a few beers on tap, including their most popular and oldest brew, a classic pilsner. The dark lager is light-bodied and surprisingly low in alcochol (at 4% it used to be considered a ‘woman’s drink’) and the 4.8% Granat is a pleasant ruby lager (we were hoping for something like an amber, which it is not). My favorite ended up being their wheat beer, a surprise coming from this IPA-loving gal. Na Verandach is also supposed to have excellent food, though we can only vouch for the pommes frites. Nádražní 43/84, Praha 5 – Smíchov (224 918 691) www.staropramen.cz

Tretter’s New York Cocktail Bar
I’ve been starved of good cocktails in Israel and desperately missing my overpriced but oh-so-good fancy New York cocktails. So I was super excited to stumble upon Tretter’s New York Cocktail Bar nestled between the Jewish Quarter and the Old City Square (there were also a number of really nice looking restaurants that were out of my budget but worth checking out). The dark bar has a prohibition-era interior, with a mahogany bar and jazz and old standards wafting through the air and the bartenders wear white tops, somewhere between a scientist and a chef. The extensive cocktail list, presented in the form of a book, offers both classics and new creations using fresh fruits, house-made syrups, and all that jazz. A classic Bronx was perfectly prepared, as was the Eddison Square, a well-balanced mix of rum anejo with muddled lemongrass and tomarillo. V kolkovně 3, 110 00 Praha 1 (224 811 165) www.tretters.cz

U Medviku
On our way to dinner we couldn’t help but stop at U Medviku, which proudly bills itself as “Prague’s smallest brewery” and dates back to 1466 (the building also housed Prague’s first caberet). Indeed, the brewery is so small they didn’t even have any of their own beers on tap, but we were able to sample the local light and dark Budvar, whose label looks deceptively like American Budweiser. Of course there is no comparison as this is a very good beer, with both varieties being flavorful but light and drinkable. And we had to try their bottled X Beer 33, which they brew once a month and claim is the strongest beer in the world at 12.6%. Although we don’t typically like barley wine (they say it’s a lager, but there’s no way), this was actually very pleasant; not overly thick or syrupy and with caramel notes. It would make a nice dessert beer or after dinner drink as they suggest. The restaurant also serves food and we saw more than a few huge chunks of meat go by. There is also an attached hotel. Na Perštýně 7, 100 01 Praha 1 (224 211 916) www.umedvidku.cz

Universal
Another place that we happened upon, Universal is a cute French bistro-style restaurant slightly off the beaten path. We actually passed it the day before and made a point of returning the next day for dinner. We were not disappointed. The duck breast was succulent and served with a heady red wine and plum sauce (269 CZK) and the recommended side of decadent Gratin Daupinois (45 CZK). Fresh tagliatelle with salmon (165 CZK) was cooked perfectly with generous slices of fresh, well-prepared salmon. A quarter liter of Moravian red wine (Frankovka) was a good value at 58 CZK and while it tasted too strongly of prunes on its own, it actually complemented the duck nicely as a result. The atmosphere was quiet and comfortable,
the service was excellent, and the food was very good. V jirchářích 149/6, 110 00
Prague 5-New Town (224 934 416) www.universalrestaurant.cz

Vinotéka Voršilka
Just down the block from Universal and next door to Groove Bar sits this unassuming, unpretentious wine bar for locals. I had no experience with Moravian and Bohemian wines so we decided to stop here for a nightcap. The menu is written in Czech on a chalkboard, and the two English-speaking women working that evening helped us navigate it and select wines to try. The truth is we weren’t crazy about the Czech wine, but I was glad to have tried it and loved the atmosphere of the wine bar. They also offer snacks like charcuterie and cheese to accompany your wine. Voršilská 6, 110 00 Praha 1

Hotel
Florentina Boat Hotel
I know this is mostly a food post, but I wanted to give a shout-out to the hotel – or should I say botel – that we stayed in. This was our first time staying at a boat hotel and the Florentina Boat Hotel was wonderful and reasonably priced. Situated right on the Vtlava river, close to the Charles Bridge, Old City, and Jewish Quarter, it was perfectly located. The staff was friendly, there was free wifi, and a modest breakfast buffet was included. The room was very small, which we expected and we had two twin beds (only down side). But they were comfortable and the shower had excellent pressure with unlimited hot water. There is a lovely roof deck where you can have a beer or dinner, and although we didn’t try it they had very inexpensive meals. Dvorakovo
nabrezi, Pier No 7, 110 00 Praha 1 (
739 002 550) www.florentinaboat.cz


3 Comments

  1. Awesome advices, i´ve been on a couple of those places and i really like them, so i will go to the other places…. thanks for the info…

  2. I remember walking by the botel and wondering who stayed there. How fun that you got to experience that!

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