We’ve been told by fellow travelers that Prague has a reputation as a culinary wasteland – heavy Eastern European food that is poorly prepared. We couldn’t disagree more. We found cuisine in Prague to be inventive and extremely reasonably priced, making dining in Prague a real delight. Here we outline seven good restaurants to try if you are in the Czech Republic.
Dinner in Prague
U Tri Houslicek (The Three Violins)
When you think of Czech cuisine, you probably think of goulash and grilled meats. And this place delivers. It is right under the castle and was recommended by our hotel. I had the beef goulash with bread dumplings – both were flavorful. Laura had the tender beef filet. Being the Czech Republic, we naturally had a beer to drink. Overall, U Tri Houslicek was good, but seemed like a tourist place.
When you think of food in the Czech Republic, vegetarian doesn’t immediately come to mind. However, there are a number of good vegetarian restaurants and Maitrea is top of the list. Maitrea is homey (but not in a hippy way) that reminds me a lot of college towns back in the USA (and my own Boulder, Colorado), but without the rowdiness. The Zen-inspired interior compliments some wonderful food. Splitting a bottle of local Czech wine, I had a spicy rendition of Kung Pao Chicken, while Laura opted for the goat cheese, spinach and eggplant open-faced sandwich. The food was plentiful and healthy. Maitrea is well worth a visit!
If you tire of local cuisine, the Indian Jewel is tucked in a courtyard just off the Old Town Square. The convenient location and easy going ambiance make this place a winner. We shared a vegetable samosa appetizer. I had the Murgh Tikka Masala (basically a chicken tikka masala) and the naan bread. Laura had the grilled chicken tikka, which was a whole chicken, but was very moist and plentiful. Service was attentive and helpful. They weren’t able to accept our credit card (I don’t know if they don’t accept, or their machine was broken), so you might want to have cash on hand. (Cost was CZ 985).
Vino di Vino
Who doesn’t love Italian? Vino di Vino has good food and a massive wine selection. We started with the cheese burratina, which would melt into water right in front our eyes. Yum! I had the mind blowing garganelli pasta, while Laura had the Branzino fish. We finished it off with a tasty chocolate soufflé. It was heavenly, although the service was pretty slow. (Cost was CZ 1745).
Lunch in Prague
The Villa Richter is located on the side of the hill just below the castle and offers stunning views of the city. At dinner, they pack guests into the four different dining rooms and on the terrace in warmer weather. However, we found Villa Richter to be an excellent lunch spot. I had the mulled wine and goulash, which had crushed red peppers, making it very spicy. Laura had the Caesar salad with chicken, which came with cheddar cheese and bacon (a little unusual), which was excellent. Service was uninspired, but attentive. Being so close to the castle, this place could definitely suck, but it doesn’t. (Cost was CZ 595).
When you think Prague, you probably don’t think of a classic French café, but that’s precisely what Les Moules offers. The place is filled with table after table enjoying the steaming mussels. I had the chicken with roast potatoes, which was heavy and filling. But the highlight was Laura’s fish and chips – just what we needed before exploring Prague’s Jewish Quarter. (Cost was CZ 590).
El Toro Negro
This is a total tourist trap on the main square right across from the clock. We sat on the patio for a quick light lunch. I had a Panini sandwich and Laura had a grilled sausage with fries. Given the location right on the Old Town Square, you know what you get. The food isn’t great at El Toro Negro, but can provide a nice, quick lunch with a view and lots of people watching.
And the one that got away —
This restaurant near the Republic metro station stop is known for lighter fare (salads and pastas). We tried to go one evening for dinner and it was inexplicably closed with a handwritten note on the door.
This post was originally published in July 2013.