The Lesser Square is a picturesque part of Prague. Here, you can sample a thousand views of small, cozy buildings, some of them still inhabited by old-ish locals, and dream about how life was 100 or 200 years ago. However, there are also many very, very contemporary pleasures to enjoy.
The French Times
There are not that many French restaurants in Prague, but what you can find is usually very good. Café de Paris is the place where even the less well of locals go as a treat, because their dishes are worth spending a little extra even from a less-than-stellar numbers on your pay slip.
The dishes here are the French classics: onion soup, paté, and of course meat. The star of the show is their Entrecôte „Cafe de Paris“ – a perfect with pommes frites, a salad and a french baguette. If there ever was a restaurant in Prague where most people came for the one dish, this is it!
U Prince has been a favorite amongst tourists for its perfect setting just across the world famous astronomical clock in Prague’s Old Town Square. This place has much more to offer than just a standard meal with a view.
The Hotel U Prince has two restaurants and a bar. Restaurace U prince is the restaurant that made this place such a favourite, because of that view. However, there is also Terasa U Prince, the terrace that guides keep recommending if you want something even more special: this roof is worth visiting and you can also rest assured that if you are looking for a place to host your family celebration, this is one you will not forget. The menu offers the usual pan-European selection with several fish and meat options.
The third place that this building proudly offers is the Black Angel’s Bar: inspired by the 30s style of the “public houses” in the USA, this place has both style and a good drinks menu.
The cocktail tradition
The drinks menu of the bar is built upon notes of the legendary Czech bartender Alois Krcha who was running a bar in the previous centruy – they claim to have discovered them during a big refurbishment of this place. Neat!
Spices Restaurant & Bar used to be called Essensia, so in older guides and websites dedicated to Prague’s restaurant scene you might find the dated info that in the Mandarin Oriental hotel there is Essensia.
The new name does not mean they parted with their superb reputation. They serve what they call “crossover cuisine” dishes and that means they blend Asian influences with European tradition and of course, at the same time, try to use as many local, fresh ingredients as possible. You can try good Asian things from raita to lassi or a Vietnamese dish made of duck, and the kids can chose from their own menu, too.
The bar itself is a good destination, too
Restaurants usually boast about their repertoire; in this case, it is not an exaggeration though, when this place says they offer “mouthwatering cocktails.” Their bar tat you can visit just for a few drinks bar serves both classic and contemporary cocktails, and of course everything else that is to be expected at such a place: come see how it is done right, and in a beautiful setting! On weekens they close at 2 am so you can drop in after theatre or a cinema evening to finish the night off in style.
Bakeries and the like are pretty much an everyday thing. They might not even seem that important, or poetic. Unless you know the right ones, that is.
The people who run this marvellous place are truly the masters of their craft: their breads and scones and everything else seem “ordinary” and almost rustic, but as you take the first bite you are hooked forever. Their offer consists of sourdough bread and many other creations and the stars of the show are plain-looking but fantastic-tasting Scandinavian sweet treats.
Our favourite combo and a reward after a long day (thankfully they are open long enough!) is buying a loaf or half-loaf of the sourdough bread for home and having a scone with berries and white chocolate. Hey it is all healthy anyway? And for sure, it is a top quality and very pleasurable thing to eat in the city.
Czechs love to eat their lunches in pubs, bistros and restaurants, and the centre of Prague is dotted with various places offering lunch menus, from the rustic cheap pubs for the hard working to more elaborate places that cater for the business people. And everything in between.
Vinohradský Parlament is the very good in between for lunch, and a very good idea in the evening, too. And if some of your friends from abroad (or you!) want to try Czech cuisine, this is a good place to start.
The recently refurbished pub is light, airy and busy. They offer more or less updated Czech and European food on the heavier side, with a nod to the season (we wrote this when mushrooms were in season and it was also the time of the loved geese, and we enjoyed what their cooks were able to create from these ingredients). Another thing that they launched in 2019 is an unusual idea not often seen elsewhere various new-ish takes on the knedlíky – a Czech and also Austrian staple that is basically large dumplings, some of them filled with sweet or savoury things and others served as thick slices accompanied by meat and a choice of sauces – everything cooked to perfection of course.
Here, you can have very interesting and at the same time homey food experiences. The prices are mid range so you can afford to have a meal here even when on a budget, and we like to see that the traditional Czech pib and its fare is a concept that can be developed even further. Well done!
“The origins of Coffee Source can be found in 2003, when we, the current owners, after the frustration caused by the lack of good coffee in the Czech Republic, started their coffee shop by importing coffee from a small Italian roaster and La Marzocco coffee machines,” says the website of this coffee powerhouse. Indeed, the Coffee Source is now a name that true coffee lovers know.
Come taste it
They are not just an e-shop or roastery (although they own a roaster since 2007) though. They also run a cozy coffee spot named Coffee Source Francouzská, at Francouzská 106 in the hip Vršovice district. This is a no-nonsense place with a cozy garden and it has all you can expect from a top notch coffee place and you can taste their product and get advice on coffee. Also they sell it here, so you can shop till you drop, and then have more coffee and shop again.
Of course, vegetables are healthy. And pasta is a great invention. But meat is meat is meat, and we are happy to recommend you severa places where you can enjoy the best of it.
With a no-nonsense approach and a clear concept, this just works.. And that is exactly what this establishment does. They fight for “proper” puller pork and pastrami. See them at food and art festivals and know they are preparing to open their own bistro.
Their organic-only shop in Prague 2 is a good way to experience what a professional butcher shop for the 21st century should be like. The British chef Paul Day also runs the Sansho restaurant and used to have another bistro called Maso a kobliha that he closed as he now he has this shop with locally sourced meat from small Czech producers.
When Brasileiro opened, it became an instant hit. The way they serve the meat was uniques and still is an unusual thing: the passadores de carne walk amongst the tables with big skewers of grilled meats. It is called churrasco, and Czechs like this. Thy for yourselves!
Meatcraft is a newer addition to the Prague culinary scene, specializing in pastrami. They started only in 2019 and offer several types of pastrami sandwiches, and also very good burgers. Their very own smokehouse is a great thing!
Another “simple” concept. Beef Bar is your place to get beef..
The owners had visited Uruguay and Argentina back in the nineties and started importing their famous meat to the Czech Republic. Beef bar offers steaks and pastrami, amongst other specialties. Try their homemade sausages and wine that they import from traditional, family owned wineries.
Naše maso is always packed. This great butcher shop specializing in local meat, with premium meat and their own sausages, salamis and other delicacies, some are smoked – naturally (no artificial aroma!). You can order something extra special: In the evenings, a table that hangs under the ceiling of the small shop descends, and a feast begins…
They are your pork experts. The pork knuckle, so loved by the traditional fare loving Czechs, is available here, and so are many other specialities such as hot sausages, warm smoked pork cracklings, pork cheeks in gravy… ribs, pork schnitzel and beer to go with it. Just… yes.
V Zahradě offers classic Czech and European dishes with something extra: They have their own smoke box and put meat and fish in there, and sometimes also vegetables. That elevates the place gretaly, and if you are not convinced, know that their Pira charcoal BBQ grill is another magical instrument that makes things taste great.
Address:Schwaigerova 59/3 (in Hotel Schwaiger), Praha 6
We have raved here about the Manú Risto & Lounge, a wonderful Italian restaurant by the celebrity chef Emanuele Ridi. So knowing that there is another Manú by him sounded really good and we had to try it ASAP
Manú Praga is located at the riverbank, in a spacious, well lit place previously used by a travel agency and an airline. The design makes a good use of this space and cleverly contrasts the light and cold elements with newly added and colourful chairs and other items. Which is all well and dandy but we would not be so happy if the food was not good enough. Thankfully, it is.
The food is Italian (as you would expect from Ridi who is one of the chefs that made Italian food so popular here and keeps bringing to the Czech audience also the lesser known recipes from his native Marche), and works pretty well in the heart of Prague if you ask us. Manú offers a classic menu (pasta, steaks, fish), some seasonal items (we were super happy about the fresh combination of an Italian fish and a perfectly crunchy asparagus) and a pizza that makes you want to smile at the pizza chef who is working hard at the oven. Everything here is just right, and we will surely come back for more.
You may have heard about the Pohostinec Monarch right in the centre of Prague, offering a modern take on the classical local cuisine. Sounds like something for you? Then let us tell you about this one.
For the growing neighbourhood
Karlín is a part of Prague that is one of the most dynamic. After the floods in 2002 that have destroyed a lot of older buildings this area started to bloom much more than anyone could have anticipated. The growth spawned new restaurants, and, what is even more interesting, then new company headquarters and new flats and in turn, more restaurants for the newly relocated.
Pohostinec Karlín caters for those who want real, good, proper food and beverages. They do have many staples of the local cuisine but also carry USDA-certified meats that make wonderful steaks. They run a Josper grill that serves also for things like carrots and other goodies that accompany the perfect meat. Their menu is short but full of delights, and the whole concept just makes sense.
If you are looking for a simple place to eat in the middle of old Prague and want a good quality, we have a tip for you.
Any time is fine
Nostress opened in 2002. They have a lot to offer, on several fronts.
They have been offering original confectionery from their own shop, for a long time, and are constantly changing the offer. Their chef has been working here for over 14 years which tells something (his name is Benmissi and studied at a hotel school in Algeria and then worked as a chef and pastry chef in several renowned Czech establishments including the famous Villa Voyta hotel). We like that, and we also like their philosophy that it is a good idea to eat there any time, breakfast, lunch or dinner, including a coffee break between any of those.