With cheap student pubs being closed and substituted for more profitable hotels and shops, it is becoming hard to locate a genuinely authentic Czech restaurant or pub in the city’s historical centre. Many Czechs do not frequent “authentic” eateries and prefer the more cosmopolitan food of other countries to boring sauerkraut. Consequently, historic venues with a “traditional” Czech atmosphere have turned touristy—although they are still lots of fun, great value and liked by local people. Expect nice rustic areas, a smoke-filled ambience, surly waiters and fairly good, affordable cuisine.
For best traditional Czech cuisine head to the following restaurants: Pilsner Restaurant Municipal House; U Sádlů; La Degustation Boheme; CzecHouse; U Maltézských Rytířů, Mlýnec, Malostranská beseda, Čestr, Potrefená husa, V Zátiší. For a breathtaking view of Charles Bridge and yummy specials visit Hergetova Cihelna.
La Degustation Bohême
You may take pleasure in excellent Czech cuisine at the La Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise restaurant, which boasts a prestigious Michelin star. A team of chefs and pâtissiers prepares three tasting menus consisting of seven courses supplemented with seven amuse-bouches. Come to the best traditional meals of Czech culinary art from the end of the 19th century inspired by masterful techniques of the culinary personality Marie B. Svobodova.
Location: Haštalská 753/18, Old Town. Open Mon-Sat 5 pm until midnight. Rated: Expensive (Michelin quality for real gourmets). website
U Maltézských Rytířů
This restaurant on the ground floor and in the cellar of a charming house provides one of the friendliest and most reasonable home-cooked Czech meals in central Prague. The atmosphere makes you feel as if you’ve been invited into the family’s home for a cosy candlelit dinner.
Location: Prokopská 10, Lesser Town. Open: Mon-Sun 1pm-11pm. Rated: Moderate. website
Part of the successful Ambiente chain of “inventive” restaurants, Lokál has championed the “Slow Food” movement here in the Czech Republic, turning out quality, reasonably priced Czech plates – think livers, fried cheese, svíčková – in a trendy space, with free-flowing Pilsner and a lively, upbeat pub atmosphere.
Address: Dlouhá 33, Prague 1-Old Town. Open: daily 11 am until 1 am. Rated: Moderate. website
The restaurant has a middle-age decor, with suits of armour and weaponry on the wall. The kitchen produces outstanding tenderloin, hearty soups and other burly fares, but with a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. The food is really excellent, and the portions are big.
Location: Klimentská 2, New Town. Open: daily 11am-1am. Price range: Cheap to Moderate. website
A longstanding part of the Kolkovna chain, with a huge menu of vast Czech plates and some international items, like one of the hugest hamburgers known to man. Colourful, nice hip interior and bustling atmosphere.
Address: V celnici 4, Prague 1-New Town.
Open daily 11:00-midnight. website
Halfway up the Petřín Hill (via funicular railway), this restaurant boasts a beautiful terrace with views over Prague Castle, a cosy, wooden interior and Czech classics on the menu. Popular for parties as well as romantic lovers.
Address: Petřínske sady 393, Prague 1–Malá Strana (take the funicular from Újezd, one stop)
Open daily Mon.–Thurs. 12:00-23:00, Fri.–Sun. 11:00-23:00. website
Czech traditional dishes are well prepared in this Art Nouveau restaurant that dates back to 1912. Housed in the beautiful Secession-era Municipal House, this eatery offers a true taste of history. Address: Municipal House, Nám. Republiky 5, Prague 1–New Town
Open daily 11:30-23:00. website
This Czech restaurant right on top of Wenceslas Square boasts 400m of the miniature railway system that winds around the room and delivers drinks to your table with local favourites on the menu.
Address: Wenceslas Sq. 56 (in Palác Fénix), New Town
Open: Sun-Thr 11:00-midnight, Fri-Sat 11:00-01:00. website
This must-see restaurant is situated entirely in underground caves. Wax-dripping candelabras, heavy velvet curtains and a roaring fireplace add to the mystique. Serving excellent but quite expensive Czech dishes.
Address: U trojského zámku 35, Prague 7-Troja (near Zoo)
Open Tues.-Sat. 18:00-01:00. webiste
Some of the best expressions of classic Czech cuisine anywhere in the city: skewers of meat in enormous portions followed by freshly brewed beer. Almost always crowded, especially in the summer months.
Address: Břevnov Monastery, Markétská 1, Prague 6
Open daily 11:30-23:00 Tram 22, 25 Břevnovský klášter. webiste
This is a very popular spot and is a short walk from Wenceslas Square. It serves the usual Czech dishes, sometimes with great aplomb. Ribs hee stand out, as well as the duck. At times, the kitchen falls well short of expectations. But with a boisterous group, low prices and Pilsner Urquell straight from the tank, the misses don’t matter so much. (Tip: be careful about “extra” tourist charges.)
Location: Politických vězňů 13, New Town. Open: Mon-Sat 11 am until midnight; Sun 11 am-11 pm. Rated: Inexpensive. website
This is not far from the Dejvická metro station but worlds apart from most pubs when it comes to foodservice. Some creative items on the menu, including an appetiser spread of pork cracklings (with decent bread) and goose liver rolled in almonds cooked in red wine. It is better, indeed than many three-star restaurants. Czech owned and operated by the Budvar brewery. Oh, and with Bud on tap, naturally.
Location: Wuchterlova 22, Dejvice. Open: daily 11 am until midnight. Rated: Inexpensive. website
Tipping: When visiting a restaurant, the standard tip amount is 10%, providing the service and food quality were both good. If you feel that you didn’t have a good meal, though, don’t be afraid of not leaving a tip at all.
The Hilton Prague´s flagship restaurant features Czech specialities as well contemporary European cuisine. This is a vast room inside the Hilton dedicated to Chef Roman Paulus’ creations. He concentrates on upscale, modern versions of classics but throws in a few twists, such as an over-the-top USDA prime beef tartare with caviar. Nothing is disappointing about this place besides the less-than-stellar view of a parking lot and office building.
Location: Pobřežní 1, Karlín (inside the Hilton Hotel). Open: daily 6 pm-11 pm and for lunch Mon-Fri noon until 3 pm. Rated: Expensive. website
This is a cheap, friendly and modern restaurant. Think farm tools (transformed into fixtures and decoration), Ferdinand beer on tap and what amounts to outstanding interpretations of Czech pub food. Plebeian fried bread is topped with grated blue cheese. Try the delicious goulash and sample ‘Seven Bullets’ beer brewed on the premises, named after the seven bullets that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The goulash is dense, with tender meat and almost intricate layers of flavour. This is the best unrefined Czech food located just in the core of the tourist zone.
Location: Opletalova 24, New Town (just off Wenceslas Square). Open: Mon-Fri 9am-11pm; Sat-Sun 11am-11 pm. Rated: Inexpensive. website
Slightly uphill from Jiřího z Poděbrad, U Palečka is a neighbourhood wine cellar with decent Czech fare. The kitchen stretches traditional recipes with caramelised vegetables and fresh paprika, building dense flavours into dishes often left to fend for themselves. You will find a nice vibe, with outdoor seating under old trees and a real sense of Vinohrady.
Location: Nitranská 22, Vinohrady. Open: daily 11 am until midnight. Rated: Moderate. website
Service here can be atrociously slow or moderately quick. The room is curious, with bizarre artwork and a poor masquerade of the faux-finish technique. Tables and chairs? It is very uncomfortable, but it isn’t easy to find a more reasonably priced example of Czech cooking anywhere so close to the city centre.
Location: Provaznická 3, Old Town. Open: daily 11 am until midnight. Rated: Moderate. website
U zavěšenýho Kafe
A cramped front room opens into several large spaces out the back, generally full of rambunctious groups. You will find typical food (read: filling) and daily Czech specials such as potato soup. The location is uphill from Prague Castle, downhill from the Petřín Hill trails – along with the colourful and eclectic décor, these may be the biggest attractions.
Location: Úvoz 6, Hradčany. Open: daily 11am until midnight. Rated: Moderate. website
Tourists rarely, if ever, venture into this no-frills restaurant. So it is mostly a crowd of locals and a few in-the-know ex-pats filling themselves absent-mindedly on hearty Czech meals. Food is straightforward and well-made and anything but visionary. The room is rustic and purposeful. It is pure Czech.
Location: Korunní 39, Vinohrady. Open: Mon-Tues 10am-11pm; Wed-Fri 10.30am until midnight; Sat-Sun 11am-11pm. Rated: Inexpensive. website
Some restaurants, especially those located in tourist areas, might try to cheat you. Be careful and always check the bill. Don’t eat what is left on the table, as it will usually result in being charged extra. It is illegal to ask for an additional service charge (leave tip only at your discretion).
Other Czech Restaurants
Masná 17, Prague 1; Website: www.amosrestaurant.cz
Masná 17, Prague 1; Website: www.ambi.cz
Tržiště 23, Prague 1; Website: www.baracnickarychta.cz
Na Zlíchově, Prague 5; Website: www.folkloregarden.cz
V Kolkovně 8; Website: vkolkovne.cz
Kozí 1, Prague 1; Website: www.kozicka.cz
Vítězná 7, Prague 1; Website: www.kolkovna-group.cz
Vinohradská 104, Prague 2; Website: www.potrefene-husy.cz
Restaurace Pravěk IV
Na Bělidle 40, Prague 5; Website: www.pravek.cz
Pštrossova 21, Prague 1; Website: www.solidninejistota.cz
Valentinská 11/56, 110 00 Praha 1; Website: www.mistralcafe.cz
Hálkova 6, Prague 1; Website: www.restauraceuhavrana.cz
Škroupovo nám. 5, Prague 3; Website: www.usadu.cz
Michalská 13, Prague 1; Website: www.vysmatyzajic.cz
Zlatý Strom Restaurant
Karlova 6, Prague 1; Website: www.zlatystrom.cz