Prague was not always known as a foodie destination. In fact, having been behind the iron curtain, Prague wasn’t really known as a destination at all until the 90s. But as the city’s tourism industry flourished after the Velvet Revolution, so too did its foodie scene, and today the city is full of excellent restaurants where you can eat like royalty without breaking the bank. I know, because I did it... and here are my top tips for where to eat in Prague:
This was the first meal I ever ate in Prague, and what a way to start a weekend’s worth of good eating. Dish is a proper gourmet burger joint, where you’ll get great quality beef, lamb and vegetarian burgers with beautiful choices of toppings, excellent fries (I really liked the sweet potato ones), and gorgeous sauces. You can get a fat juicy burger, fries, sauce and a decent craft beer for around €15. Book a table online before you go; it’s always busy.
I’m going to tell you to try the Old Prague Ham that’s sold by the street vendors in Old Town Square, because it honestly is absolutely delicious and it’s pure ‘Prague street food’, but the suggestion comes with a caveat or two… Some tourists have reported being ‘scammed’ by how the ham and potatoes are priced by weight, ending up paying £20 for a giant lump of ham and a bowl full of potatoes that they didn’t really want. So, order carefully, ask exactly what you are paying for, and be very specific about what you want. If you're not sure where to eat in Prague for lunch during a day of sightseeing, this is actually a great choice.
Apparently this famous Czech cake is not actually a traditional Czech cake at all, but all traditions start somewhere. These cakes are pretty much part of the Prague furniture now, and they won’t be going anywhere any time soon. You’ll see signs for it all over the city, and it’s an absolute must-try in Prague, but some Trdelnik is better than others, so choose your cake-on-a-spit wisely! I got a gorgeous almond one from Creperie U Kajetana which is close to the Castle, and offers trdelnik with a good selection of different fillings.
Okay, please note that this one is not suitable for vegetarians. The name of this place - Nase Maso, which literally translates to ‘Our Meat’ - kinda tells you everything you need to know about what you’ll find on the menu. This is a traditional Czech butcher shop with a gourmet twist – you can go in and buy meat to take home, but if you want you can have a seat at one of the small tables in the shop, and have them cook you up something delicious, made with their very own produce.
Kafe Damu is attached to ‘Damu’, a performing art centre and theatre right in the centre of Prague. Minutes from Charles Bridge, it’s a spacious, stylish and modern café where the staff ae lovely and the atmosphere is gorgeous and calm… You can take a genuine breather here from the throngs of people milling around outside on one of the city’s busiest tourist thoroughfares. The coffee here is excellent, as are the cakes and food, and it’s really reasonably priced. Also, they serve wine and beer. In conclusion, there’s absolutely no reason not to go here.
Ok this might be more of a digestional exercise than a gastronomical one – but when you’re in Prague it would be ludicrous not to try the city’s famous fried cheese (smažený sýr). This is, essentially, slab of white cheese (generally Edam), coated in breadcrumbs, and fried. Now, you can go and get this I a restaurant, served with potatoes and salad. But if you’re going to eat a slab of fried cheese, why not go the whole hog and get it in sandwich form from one of the infamous street vendors of Wenceslas square. Go there and find ‘Vaclavsky Grill’, and order a fried cheese sandwich. These may or may not taste better after a rake of pints.
The hot chocolate in Prague is famously good, and if you’re there in colder weather, these little cups of heaven might just be your saving grace. Prague hot chocolate isn’t just a drink, it’s an occasion. Thick, rich, sweet and delicious, it’s available all over the city and in most places they make it really, really well. I had a few when I was in Prague, but the one I enjoyed most was the one I got in Pražská Čokoláda (Prague Chocolate). If you're feeling particularly indulgent you can do what I did and get a chocolate lollipop to dip in it. Be prepared for a lie down after.
Bila Krava translates as White Cow, which is a reference to the Charolais bulls that the restaurant uses for their famous beef dishes. This rustic French restaurant is extremely particular about the quality of the meat it serves, and as obvious as that is from looking at its dishes, the proof really is in the tasting. Steak lovers are in for a serious treat here, with a menu that has no fewer than eleven different beef dishes to choose from. The Mixed Grill of five different cuts of steak is the daddy of them all, and a brilliant dish for sharing. Make sure you book in advance.
I actually happened upon this little spot unexpectedly while trying to find the Kafka museum, and it turned out to be a lovely little discovery. Gorgeous baked goods, from sweet scones, tarts & cheesecakes to savoury treats like quiches, wraps and sandwiches. The atmosphere is lovely and chill, and the coffee is excellent. There’s a bigger Bakeshop over in the New Town, but this little hole-in-the-wall bakeshop charmed me. It’s tiny though, so don’t go in a large group!
If you're a vegetarian with no clue where to eat in Prague, this might just be the answer to your prayers. This is proper restaurant with a cleverly thought-out menu full of really great veggie and vegan meals - perfect for a little bit of a fancy night out... experct deliciousness like green asparagus risotto, vegan steak tartare (no really), and gruyere fritters with mushroom and onion jus.