Prague Restaurants

Prague generally gets high marks for architectural beauty and decidedly low marks for the quality of the food. But this is an unfair assessment based on impressions from the 1990s, when finding a decent meal really was something of a challenge. Since then, the global slow-food, fresh-food revolution has washed up onto the shores of Bohemia. Everywhere you look, serious restaurants are touting the freshness of their ingredients, and often claiming to source everything locally where possible. Some places are reviving classic Czech recipes that may be more than a century old, while others are liberally borrowing ideas and inspiration from cuisines around the world.

Part of the credit for this dining renaissance goes to the Ambiente chain of restaurants, which through its stable (including La Degustation, Lokál Dlouhááá, and Pizza Nuova) has greatly raised standards. And it’s done wonders for the Czech national pride that excellent food is now easy to find. Other leading chefs have made their mark: Paul Day at Sansho, Roman Paulus at Alcron, and Jiří Nosek at Zdenek’s Oyster Bar, among others. And Czechs have responded. A few years ago, it was a given the best restaurants were for visitors and businessmen. Now, many Czechs are discovering for themselves the pleasures of truly good food outside their kitchens.

International trends and fads, of course, have had an impact here, too. Every year seems to bring a new dining mania (and with it some great restaurants). The latest crazes for handcrafted burgers made from locally raised beef and for good Vietnamese cooking have brought a fresh crop of contenders. Past years have seen waves of sushi places, steak houses, and Thai noodle bars. We say, keep it coming.

Alas, what still needs an upgrade is service. English is widely spoken, but service can still be brusque or, worse, incompetent. Restaurateurs spend millions on the food, but don't put the same thought into training their staff. This will be surmounted in time, though, and in general the dining scene continues on the upswing.

Classic Czech fare is best sampled in a hospoda, or pub. These local joints have menus that usually include dishes for which Bohemian cuisine is justly (in)famous: pork and sauerkraut with bread dumplings; roast duck; beef in cream sauce; and, for the vegetarian, fried cheese. In recent years Czech brewers like Staropramen and Pilsner Urquell have opened chains of branded pubs (Potrefená Husa and Pilsner Urquell Original Restaurant, respectively). These chains are to the traditional pub what a new Swiss timepiece is to an old watch—light years ahead in terms of the quality. If you're looking to dip a toe into the waters of Czech cuisine, these pubs are an excellent place to begin.

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  • 1. Aromi

    $$$ | Vinohrady | Italian

    Gracious, gregarious, and extremely confident, Aromi is easily among the top-tier of Italian restaurants in the city and proud of it. Classic...Read More

  • 2. Bio Zahrada

    $ | Vinohrady | Café

    A cheerful little spot, this beautiful café and organic bakery, full of blond wood and clean white walls, has a relaxed, peaceful garden out...Read More

  • 3. Cotto Crudo

    $$$$ | Staré Mesto | Italian

    Having settled into its role as a leading light on Prague's culinary scene, the kitchen here dwells on crafting definitive Italian fare, overseen...Read More

  • 4. Cukrkávalimonáda

    $$ | Malá Strana | Café

    An excellent pit stop while exploring Malá Strana, this warm, inviting café and bakery serves freshly made soups, salads, sandwiches, and pasta...Read More

  • 5. La Finestra in Cucina

    $$$ | Staré Mesto | Italian

    One of Prague's hottest tables, La Finestra is the meaty counterpart to its sister restaurant, Aromi, right down to the wooden tables and brick...Read More

  • 6. Lokál Dlouhááá

    $$ | Staré Mesto | Czech

    Sleek and relatively sophisticated, Lokál takes the Czech pub concept to a new level with fresh local ingredients, perfectly poured beers, and...Read More

  • 7. Noi

    $$ | Malá Strana | Thai

    A lounge-y spot on a well-trafficked stretch of Újezd, Noi delivers on the promise of its Zen interior by cooking excellent Thai classics. Lithe...Read More

  • 8. Sansho

    $$$$ | Nové Mesto | Asian

    When Sansho opened in 2011, it radically redefined the local dining scene. Head chef Paul Day introduced many novel concepts to Prague's foodies...Read More

  • 9. The Tavern

    $$ | Vinohrady | Burger

    A hopping burger bar on the fringe of Riegrovy Sady park in Vinohrady, the Tavern arguably serves the city's best hamburgers and cheeseburgers...Read More

  • 10. U Modré kachničky

    $$$ | Malá Strana | Czech

    This old-fashioned tavern puts on airs, but if you're looking for the perfect Czech venue for a special occasion, it's hard to beat the "Blue...Read More

  • 11. Zdenek's Oyster Bar

    $$$$ | Staré Mesto | Seafood

    In the few short years since it's been open, Zdenek's Oyster Bar has established itself as the city's best seafood bar. Aside from the namesake...Read More

  • 12. 500 Restaurant

    $$ | Dejvice | Eclectic

    Near the Hradčanská Metro station, this restaurant is a hit with families, and it's easy to see why. The menu covers comfort-food classics—like...Read More

  • 13. Alcron

    $$$$ | Nové Mesto | Seafood

    The Alcron restaurant, inside the Radisson Blu Hotel, offers the city's best seafood, bar none. Head chef Roman Paulus propelled the Alcron...Read More

  • 14. Au Gourmand

    $$ | Staré Mesto | Bakery

    This sweet little café with tiled mosaic floors, globe lights, and a green pastry case provides an inviting spot for a lunch. It's similar to...Read More

  • 15. Bakeshop Praha

    $ | Staré Mesto | Bakery

    An American-style bakery and café counter, Bakeshop Praha sells familiar U.S. favorites, from avocado BLTs to entire pumpkin pies. Though it...Read More

  • 16. Beas

    $ | Staré Mesto | Vegetarian

    Right behind the soaring spires of Old Town's Týn cathedral, Beas offers inexpensive, Indian-style vegetarian and vegan food just a short walk...Read More

  • 17. Bohemia Bagel

    $ | Malá Strana | Café

    This informal breakfast and sandwich spot is just steps away from the Charles Bridge. When it opened more than a decade ago, it was a welcome...Read More

  • 18. Bohemia Bagel

    $$ | Holešovice | American

    A lifeline to American breakfast when it opened in the '90s, today Bohemia Bagel remains popular with visitors and expats looking for a taste...Read More

  • 19. Brasserie mEating Point

    $$$ | Staré Mesto | Eclectic

    Ignore the silly name and you'll find a restaurant that's a cut above your typical hotel dining experience. Inside the King's Court hotel and...Read More

  • 20. Bruxx

    $$$ | Vinohrady | Belgian

    Czech beer is facing increasing competition these days as younger Praguers set out to forge new traditions. Belgian ales, often tinged with...Read More

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