Prague is a go-to city for a break, with cheap beer and a pretty cityscape of historical sites, it is the ideal weekend getaway. But, as Élodie Noël reveals, there is a vibrant, rich food and drink culture to explore around every corner.
There is much more to Prague than the cheap beer that attracts countless stag and hen parties to this side of Europe for a weekend of liquid meals. The capital of the Czech Republic, which is a mere 2h30 hours away from the Irish shores, has also been touched by the globalisation of the food culture, which has created an interesting and tasty new cuisine relying on local produce with Asian, French and Italian influences.
So forget what you think you know about Central European’s cooking and follow us on our tour of Prague’s eclectic and exciting food and drink scene.
Kick off your day with a visit of the Klementinum, which hides one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, then head to the Tricafe for a morning cuppa. Try their signature Kashmir chai latte - it’s pink, so will provide the ultimate Instagram-friendly shot, and have a bite of the deliciously nutty and gooey brownies.
If you feel like starting the day on a slightly lighter note, they also have raw gluten-free vegan cakes which are so good you’d forget all the healthy labelling.
Address: Anenská 3, 110 00 Staré Město. Tel: +420 222 210 326
11.30am Manifesto Market
Walk to the Museum of Communism to learn about the fascinating political past of the Czech Republic, then wander to the once derelict Florenc area and get inside the Manifesto market for a quick bite or drink.
You can get all sorts of food in this new outdoor food market made of industrial containers: pancakes, burgers, Mexican tacos, Italian pizza, Lebanese mezze, or trendy poke bowls and rolled ice cream. If you feel like a quick tipple before lunch, Le Valmont bar has an appealing cocktail list.
Address: Na Florenci, 110 00 Prague-Nové Město
This true Czech eatery revolves around meat and fire. Grab a piece of paper at the entrance and head to the counter. No need to understand what the menu says, just point out to the chefs what you want, they’ll write it down on your piece of paper which will serve as a bill which you’ll pay on your way out.
Roast beef, pulled pork, beef soup, roast potatoes and veg, everything is cooked fresh in front of your eyes. Don’t forget to add a squeeze of their homemade ketchup to your tray, it puts all the store-bought ones to shame.
Address: Politických vězňů 5, 110 00 Prague-Nové Město
4pm IF Café III
For dessert, you can grab a Trodl in one of the many stalls and bakeries selling it in the streets. Also called a chimney cake, this local sweet delicacy is made of rolled dough wrapped around a stick and cooked over the grill, topped with sugar and cinnamon and filled traditionally with cream, custard, ice cream and fruits. Long story short, you need to be quite hungry to appreciate the treat, which comes with all sorts of toppings and fillings.
If you feel like something daintier, cross the Charles Bridge and head to the Werichova vila. After learning about the famous Czech actor and writer Jan Werich, a local legend, take a seat at the cafe located inside the art centre, which offers lovely coffee and beautiful pastries, like creamy caramel custard-filled choux buns or dark chocolate domes.
Address: U Sovových mlýnů 501/7, 118 00 Malá Strana
Take a quick tour of the Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia which has been standing by the Vltava river since 1233, then cross the river and go up to the Letna Gardens, where you can quench your thirst in a beautiful beer garden. Offering a unique view over the city, this vibrant outdoor area has rows of tables and benches where the locals like to meet after work for a world-famous Pilsner beer or a delicious apple cider.
Address: Letenské sady, 170 00 Praha 7-Letná. Tel: +420 233 378 200
This industrial looking building hosts a bakery, a cafe and restaurant led by Head Chef Martin Štangl, who has been trying to redefine what modern casual Czech cuisine is.
Go for the five-course tasting menu, which changes every day depending on what they find in the market, but make sure to include their house special, the potatoes in ash, smoked fish, dried egg yolk and kefir. For dessert, overcome the initial scepticism and enjoy the strawberries with mascarpone, dill and cucumber – a surprisingly tasty combination, if they are in season.
Address: Pernerova 49, 186 00 Praha 8-Karlín-Karlín. Tel: +420 731 140 884
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10.30pm Hemingway Bar
It’s hard to choose what to order at this elegant bar as their cocktail list boasts some truly tempting options, all priced between 250-300 CZK (€10-12). Made of tequila, wasabi, yuzu, the Takumi Taco is a delicious citrusy option as a nightcap. If you feel like the night is only young, get the Revenant, a mix of absinthe, ginger cordial, kombucha, lemon and orchid, served in a dramatic container...
Address: Karoliny Světlé 26, 110 00 Staré Město. Tel: +420 773 974 764
Author: Élodie Noël
Élodie is a French journalist who relocated to Dublin about three years ago. She immediately fell in love with the island and its amazing food and has been writing about it on her blog Lemon Lipstick.