Eating out in the Czech capital has recently become much more exciting. The number of quality, affordable restaurants has sky-rocketed, and there are plenty of eateries with an emphasis on locally sourced, organic ingredients. Here are some of the best places to eat in the city if you’re after great food at wallet-friendly prices.
Czech cuisine is heavily focussed on meat, and Prague’s restaurant scene is no exception, but these days meat-free food is surprisingly easy to find in the Czech capital. One of the best veggie options is Etnosvět which offers lunch with an international twist, such as moussaka or pizza, with gluten-free versions also available. Desserts include raw foods such as blueberry cheesecake.
The food scene in Prague has become much more cosmopolitan recently, but Lokál offers a traditional beer hall experience, with vaulted ceilings and long tables. The menu is typically Czech, which means pork, mounds of sauerkraut and layers of dumplings – accompanied by beer, of course. The quality of the grub here is noticeably higher than that of an average pub.
Housed in a cosy brick-vaulted cellar, this convivial restaurant specialises in tapas in the evenings. During the day, from 11am to 3pm, Kofein serves a loyal band of regulars who are attracted by the popular lunchtime specials. The menu offers a creative mix of internationally inspired dishes, such as risotto or pasta, and lighter versions of Czech traditional ones, such as pork or chicken schnitzel or goulash. Diners can always count on at least one veggie option. The lunch price includes a drink of homemade iced tea.
Small and easily overlooked, and located on a Vinohrady street corner, this restaurant is a real find and lies close to several public transport routes. Lunches at the friendly neighbourhood eatery draw on international cuisine; regulars also rave about the beef wellington. Main courses here are more expensive than those on some lunch menus, at around CZK 150 (£5.10), but the many local devotees would argue that this is money well spent.
Decent food at fair prices can’t always be guaranteed in the city centre, but luckily, the centrally located Meat & Greet Burgerhouse meets both criteria. As the name suggests, meat dishes predominate, with a focus on traditional Czech or contemporary beef or pork-based dishes, as well as burgers and chicken. At lunchtime, the restaurant offers three main courses and one soup course. Bear in mind that it gets very busy with local office workers, so arrive early to avoid the lunchtime crush.
Prague’s small but enterprising Georgian community has popularised restaurants specialising in soup, and the name of this popular little joint means ‘soup cafeteria’. Polévkárna Paní Mančo doesn’t have a lunch menu as such, but serves several varieties of soup – Georgian, Czech and international – throughout the day. Look out for the charčo, a thick, filling soup with walnuts. They also make a sinfully good khachapuri, a cheese-filled flatbread. Visitors can also try Georgian-style open sandwiches and a selection of healthy salads.
If visitors to Prague’s Holešovice district find themselves feeling peckish, they can join the office crowds making their way to Puzzle Salads for a quick and satisfying meal. One of a new range of stylish, excellent-value eateries with an emphasis on healthy food and imaginative menus, the restaurant opens during working hours and on weekdays. As well as salads, a filling daily soup and a main course option are available. There is also a takeaway service.
A short hop east of the historic centre, the narrow gridiron strip of Karlín has been transformed after the 2002 floods, and the subsequent regeneration has fuelled a restaurant boom, particularly on and around Křižíkova street. Krystal Bistro is an example of the new breed of affordable and stylish new restaurants serving quality traditional Czech dishes with a French twist.