10 Places To Eat, Drink And Caffeinate In Prague

Good food was practically nonexistent in Prague during Soviet times, and when democracy arrived, the finer restaurants that cropped up tended to boast a Continental bill of fare — when they weren't serving lousy pizza and other mediocre grub to tourists, of course. Recently, though, all that's been changing. Homegrown chefs are showing new interest in old recipes (the former capital of Bohemia was once a renowned dining destination). And residents have gone mad for all things local and seasonal, evidenced by the many farmers markets, the brew pubs that keep popping up around town and menus increasingly focused on area-grown offerings. Here are 10 places that you must visit.

Nota Bene

Like most cities around the globe worth their artisanal sea salt, the Czech capital's recent restaurant openings reflect an obsession with seasonal fare. On the menu at Nota Bene, which debuted last year, that might mean soup made with whatever's at the market, veggie-heavy lasagna or traditional sausages stuffed with sustainable meats. The surroundings are rustic and spare, dominated by brick and heavy wood that imbues a pub feel. That's appropriate since the craft beer list, offering a number of unusual tipples from the region, is just as carefully put together as the food lineup. notabene-restaurant.cz

Food Adventure

Raise your hand if you've tried Slovenian food. Thought so. The country's cuisine doesn't come up often, but it should. With borders on Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, its grub is a melting pot in the best way. Food Adventure began as a farmers market stall and soon after expanded to this light-filled, airy shop — with just one large wooden communal table for eating in. It's a lovely spot, with a friendly, English-speaking owner who will walk you through his offerings: raw-milk cheeses and killer salumi in the deli case; and on the menu recently, a bracing, ham-studded dandelion greens salad, followed by house-made ribbons of truffle-dusted pasta. It's likely you'll swoon and start looking up airfares to this undersung land. foodadventure.eu

Grand Cafe Orient

The Cubist movement of the early 20th century established a robust foothold in Prague, where its linear details can be found on building facades around the city. For a glimpse of Czech Cubism's glamorous effects on interior design, drop by the faithfully restored Grand Cafe Orient for lunch or a coffee. The second-floor corner space has a sprawling, vintage feel — with marble tables, gleaming wood, and chic-circa-1912 mint striped upholstery. Channel the vibe by ordering a coffee with ice cream, which arrives accompanied by a cookie, on a silver tray. When you're finished, don't miss the gift shop downstairs selling Cubist furnishings. grandcafeorient.cz


If you were to wander off the block into this teeming beer hall, its unadorned look and often surly service might seem off putting. But for those in on the joke, there's humor (and appeal) in this throwback to a Communist-era canteen, where the interior design borders on austere, and your pivo (beer) is efficiently replaced as soon as you finish it. House specialties cover the classics, from cabbage soup to schnitzel to goulash; be sure to order a side of bread dumplings for mopping up sauces, as well as the excellent creamy spinach. lokal-dlouha.ambi.cz

Muj Salek Kavy

Coffee nerd-dom is just beginning to take hold in Prague, and probably the finest bellwether lies in increasingly hip Karlin, just beyond the city center. The name means "my cup of coffee," and indeed, java-ficionados can choose from any number of in-vogue brew methods–Chemex, Aeropress, etc. If you simply want an excellent cappuccino, the staff can make that happen as well, using local beans and a Mirage espresso machine. Take your brew to go and stroll to the hood's lovely square a few blocks away, or sip it in the mural-bedecked cafe space. mujsalekkavy.cz

La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise

In the first few decades of the post-Soviet era, Continental cuisine dominated the upper echelons of the city's dining scene. But things are changing. Nowhere is this more evident than at La Degustation (with a sister restaurant, Hospoda, in New York), where chef Oldřich Sahajdák is reaching back to the era when Bohemia's capital was a renowned dining destination. He's updated some vintage recipes for the contemporary palate, with changing tasting menus that let local, seasonal ingredients stand out (sample dish: piglet, wild garlic, buttermilk). La Degustation is not cheap, but it is the place to try the new (old) Czech cuisine. ladegustation.cz


It may surprise some that Southeast Asian food is booming in the Czech capital. In the past year or so, enough Vietnamese restaurants have sprung up to form a legitimate trend. For excellent farm-driven pan-Asian food (yes, you read that correctly) there's Sansho, where chef Paul Day previously sous-ed for David Thompson at famed Thai restaurant Nahm. The lineup changes, but soft-shell crab sliders are always on the menu, and they're a must-order: crisp crustacean inside a sweet white bao with dollop of wasabi cream. Beef rendang or pork belly with watermelon are other menu staples, made with the same sustainable meats sold at Day's butcher shop, the Real Meat Society. sansho.cz

U Tri Ruzi

Perhaps nothing is more striking on Prague's current gastronomic landscape than the proliferation of brewpubs. This newcomer located smack in the center of Old Town showcases its shiny copper tanks via glass windows in the sturdy-wood-outfitted bar area. House-made beers rotate through the taps six at a time; try the delicately sweet semi-dark lager or the citrusy weissbier. The excellent food menu skews traditional and meaty, from beef tartare served with toasted dark bread and raw garlic to a succulent (and comically huge) pork knuckle. u3r.cz

U Flecku

Sure, it's touristy, but a trip to a classic beer hall should be on any Prague itinerary. U Flecku's sprawling interior is dim and dark-panelled, while fine days draw drinkers to a large central courtyard. Don't be drawn in by the honey wine a waiter will bring around on a tray; skip straight to the house-made brews, and maybe plate of traditional food, like the sausage sampler. If you're lucky, roving musicians will stop by to play a song, prompting patrons well into their cups to sing along. ufleku.cz


It's beer Prague is known for, not wine, but that could change as the folks at stylish new vino hang Veltlin, in the burgeoning Karlin neighborhood, continue their efforts to source natural wines made from the region's historic grapes. The movement is known as Autentiste, and it's an expanding group of (for now) eight winemakers who work with traditional Central European grape varieties produced via natural fermentation. At the moment, Veltlin is the only wine bar to offer a solely Autentiste selection. The expert staff should be consulted on pours, though Rieslings from the region are a good bet. When the bill comes, it will seem astonishingly cheap. veltlin.cz

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