YOLO stands for “you only live once” and this youthful slogan is the epitome of hedonism. At the YOLO Karlín though, they approach this in a more thoughtful way: they serve good, healthy breakfasts and lunches for the growing community of office workers and creatives in the karlín district who want to eat good.
Old School Baby
Classic Czech dishes such as “koprovka” are stars of this show but the kind people behind YOLO come up with new and less usual dishes too. The rules are proper food, no unnecessary chemical additives, no “empty” dishes ie food of poor nutritional value. Your lunch does not have to be a rushed event where you inhale some fried stuff and run back: after all, you do not live twice, do you?
The Czechs are famous for being playful and inventive. We also love trains, and model railways, well up to the age of…101?
The grand idea of having a pub where you are not served by a person, but rather a mini train brings your order, seems like something you’d make up after a beet pd 5. But, the Czechs have made this funny idea a reality, and Výtopna, named of a part of the train is now actually a successful concept that offers also a possibility for franchising.
1200 metres of tracks to get you a beer
The original Výtopna can be found right in the middle of Wenceslas Square, it the main square of Prague. The biggest one, though, is in Palladium, the big department store (Náměstí Republiky 1, Praha 1) where you are “waiting” at the platform for the legendary Swiss Bernina train to bring your order. There is 1200 metres of tracks in here, and if this does not convince you to visit, nothing will.
This place – a gastropub if you want – is all about being big, and bigger. It has three floors, it has huge tanks for beer stacked on top of each other, and it hosts a huge amount of people, around 700 we have heard.
The Talk of The Town
The Red Stag is a huge place with a style that is about beer, proper meaty dishes, and fun (that can get pretty loud we guess – and this used to be a bank!). They have the iconic Plzeňský Prazdroj (Pilsner Urquell) on tap, and each floor has its own tap – of course.
The restaurant utilizes a grill and serves simple dishes made of local ingredients – some of the recipes are Czech, some more international. A good steak, a great rotisserie chicken, a rustic potato soup, and of course a cold glass of Czech Republic’s most famous beer. Visit this place at least once if you want to experience a pub that is not afraid to go big.
Basic food, and great ingredients for simple dishes. That has been a big trend in the past few years, and what’s a better place to use this philosophy than a bakery.
Bread, butter and more
Chleba & Máslo means “Bread & butter” and this very small bakery of course has great bread – some argue it is the best in town right now. Whereas bread is what gave this much-loved place its name, sweet pastries is where it’s at for many others: a great cup of coffee, and a wonderfully smelling, absolutely fresh, maybe still hot sweet piece it you are lucky, and you are lured. This pretty place with a stylish, rustic yet elegant interior on the corner in the hip Prague 7 will be calling you back shortly.
Pro tip: Visit the café nearby, The Farm, if you like their style and want to sid down with a hot cup, as the Chleba & Máslo’s creations are available there, too. Find them at Korunovační 17, Praha 7.
Dish is something of a burger powerhouse, at least if you look around Prague. Burgers have become very popular as of late and the consistent quality has been bringing visitors old and new to its famous headquarters..
The concept – simple but meticulously prepared burger dishes – has proved so popular there are now two Dishes: not very far away from each other, there is a Dish at Římská street just off Náměstí Míru, and another one at Belgická – this one is new. We like that they are starting off small with a tentative menu that includes burgers and some extras things such as beef tataki with ponzu sauce (we are very fond of this sauce! And tataki is a great thing you can do to beef, that’s for sure). We are also happy to see a mizuna salad as mizuna is a very underrated and very healthy green. All in all, this is a place to try for all burger fans!
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!