One of the reasons why I moved to Amsterdam was because I assumed that it would be very easy to travel around to Europe’s many beautiful countries. And guess what? It HAS been super easy to travel around. With this ease, we went to Prague over the holidays without much planning and unexpectedly found a city of very warm people despite the snowy weather outside.
Even better than the people was the real WOAH factor, the food scene!
Hello, where have you been all my life?
Why hasn’t anyone raved about you yet to me?
Is there some secret ‘I love Prague’ club I’ve been excluded from?
As you can tell, I loved the food in Prague. I haven’t had this consistent of a run on five star meals since moving from New York City so this was a very welcome surprise, AND on top of the food tasting so damn fine, with the exchange rate, the price of everything was so relatively CHEAP for a New Yorker.
I haven’t experienced fine dining at this price really ever before in my life, which made me feel like a king at nice restaurants. If it’s your first time in Prague, you’re definitely going to want to spend some time in their restaurants! Without further ado, here’s where to eat in Prague like a king (and where not to eat despite the good reviews some restaurants oddly got…).
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Where to Eat in Prague for Meat Lovers
Be still my heart, Naše Maso. I’m counting down the days ’till we meat again.
Your steak tartare is the best I’ve had in the world,
your meatloaf made me realize I’ve never actually had meatloaf
before I stepped into your little butcher shop,and alas, your goulash, I didn’t try it anywhere else in Prague,
but I imagine there was no need.The cool part was (nerd alert…) that they served raw garlic with their bread. I haven’t seen this done since I went to Italy in 2014 so almost TWO FULL YEARS without seeing my spicy little friend being served on the plate alongside bread– TSK TSK!
If you’re wondering what to do with it, simply rub it on the bread, and voila- lovely garlic bread with a raw bite! (scroll back up to see that bad boy in action)
If there is one place you eat at in Prague, it should be this… or Ristorante Pagana… or Café Imperial— ooh! So tough to decide. I can’t decide!
Price: From memory, all 3 items + wine + juice came out to be about $30USD. HOT DAMN! Working it with that middle class dollah– what what!
I recommend for two people: everything I mentioned above OR swap something out for the burger, which looked amazing.
As a note, we originally weren’t going to be piggies and were only going to get the meatloaf and the tartare, but the cashier convinced us to get the goulash too. We didn’t put up a fight. Don’t judge us!
This spot would be good to go to after a Prague beer tour.
We went to this restaurant based on our Airbnb’s host’s recommendation, and damn, it was so good that I’d listen to anything that lady had to say.
First, the place is absolutely gorgeous. Its interior is embellished with art nouveau features from the early 1900s, and its high ceilings with lovely inlaid carvings add a spectacular feel of grandeur to your meal like you’re a king.
Also, their bathrooms are really cool– gold plated swan faucets. Enough said.
Now onto the food!
Because I was obsessed with the steak tartare I had at Nasê Maso, I got the veal tartare at Café Imperial. It was drizzled with truffle oil and paired with total egg porn– you know, the egg that oozes all over your food when you break into it. OHHHYAH!
I got the tartare at Nasê Maso, but that was steak, and this was veal, AND (cue run-on sentence), this appetizer was only $8USD.
For what I’m used to at a $$$ place on Yelp, that’s ridiculously cheap!
Mike got the goose paté for his appetizer, which was the best course of our whole meal. DO NOT skip out on this. Again, $8 USD– I almost felt like I was stealing from the restaurant.
For the main entrée, Mike and I went splitsies on the duck and the braised short ribs.
Normally, I’m not a fan of duck. It gets overcooked too easily, but hey, I have to live a little sometimes, and I’m happy I did. This was a meat-fall-right-off-the-bones kind of dish with just a nudge from the fork.
Be prepared to keel over after this meal. It’s paired with the infamous Czech dumplings, which are pretty much made for inducing fatigue.
Lastly, here’s the braised short ribs– again with the nudge-of-a-fork-meat-falls-apart kind of dish. This was the star of the two entrées.
Recommendation: If I were to go back and stuck with what I knew, I’d get the braised short rib and the goose paté.
Price: From memory, 2 appetizers, 2 entrées, a vodka martini, a glass of wine, and a beer came out to $60-70 USD. Ridiculous, I know.
P.S. A local reviewer on Yelp said this is not someplace they would go with locals, but would go with friends visiting from out of town. My question to him is, “WHY NOT?”
Where to Eat in Prague for Pasta Addicts
The second you walk into Ristorante Pagana, you’re treated like a royal guest.
You’re first greeted and seated by the owner of the family-owned restaurant, the mom! Then you’re welcomed by her son, Santiago, at the table who tells you the history of the restaurant and shows off his mom’s work of art all around the restaurant as well as the menu she hand drew and wrote.
It’s so freakin’ endearing and cozy in an upscale kind of way.
Everything we had was delicious.
For the appetizers, we got the salmon carpaccio, and the appetizer from the specials, calamari.
For the main entrées, we got this slow cooked duck parpadelle, which was just about the greatest pasta I’ve had in a long time.
So you know, there is no butter in this dish. All that juice is right from the duck simmering so long. Now, this makes 2x that I’ve had great duck on one trip– probably more than I’ve had in my whole life together.
We loved the duck parpadelle SO MUCH that we considered ordering it again, but instead got this off the menu pasta made for us as our 2nd entrée recommended by Santiago.
So you know, Santiago is the perfect server– one who is engaged with the dining experience and attentive without being too overbearing. He also knows all the right things to say to make your dining experience one of a kind.
For dessert, Mike got a quite delectable tiramisu that had almonds in it, which I’m allergic to, but of course, I had a bite (or two) of it anyways. GET IT!
Recommendation: Get the duck parpadelle and the scallop carpaccio. If you’re not a fan of duck, which you will be of this one, get anything pasta. Their homemade pasta has the perfect chew– you know, when you let go of your bite, but the pasta still sticks to your teeth… yah, you know.
Price: For two appetizers, two entrées, one dessert, and a bottle of wine, our meal came out to $75. WOWZA. For fine dining, this is a steal.
Where to Eat in Prague for Pho-natics
Pho Vietnam Tuan & Lan
When I heard that Prague’s largest immigrant population is Vietnamese, I had to get pho (because quite frankly, the pho in Amsterdam is severely lacking in flavor meaning I haven’t had good pho since NYC six months prior).
Our first stop after the Airbnb was Pho Vietnam Tuan & Lan. It’s a large basement restaurant that makes you feel more like you’re stepping into a Chinese restaurant than a Vietnamese one, but who’s paying attention…
It was a bit weird ’cause it’s unexpectedly a self service place. You order at the counter, then they bring the food out for you.
We got a summer roll and spring roll each, which looked like they were sitting in the glass cabinet all day, but if you can ignore the freshness, these were good! And I don’t say that often about summer rolls. I’m a hard critic ’cause I make these at home often.
I also liked the spring roll. Both of these appetizers had flavors I wasn’t used to in these foods, which (I think) screamed authentic.
Now onto the star of the meal
The pho was so satisfying. Its broth was much lighter than what I’m used to in the US, but the flavors were rich and its subtle depth warmed me up just like soup should on a cold, winter day.
I also tried another pho place (review below) but would recommend sticking with this place.
For you serious pho-natics, on the scale of phos I’ve had worldwide, this doesn’t come close to the best ones so take it for what it is– good pho in a European country.
Price: $8 a hearty bowl
Note: Don’t go for the service. Also, there are two locations.
Where to Eat in Prague for Vegans & Vegetarians
Finally, after all that meat and non-environmental food I’ve been eating, something for the vegans & vegetarians 🙂
Don’t judge me too much! My diet is extra meat-ful on vacation. Now moving past the guilt factor…
Lekhaá Hlava is perfect for vegans, vegetarians, and even meat eaters (aka my husband) as long as you know what to get.
For starters, we both got soups to warm up our cold souls on this snowy day. Mine was made with cabbage and potatoes while his was a coconut Thai-esque soup.
I’d recommend the coconut one for the everyday person, but as I love cabbage, I loved my soup![/column]
For the entrées, we got the tempeh burger, which actually reminded me of a McDonald’s big mac (I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing, or if that means I have no clue what a McDonald’s big mac tastes like ’cause truthfully, the last time I had one was probably in 2007).
We also got the fried goat cheese salad with pesto sauce over a potato au gratin. ERMAGOD! Anyone will love this dish (‘cept for vegans… obviously) so if you’re a vegetarian and want to bring a meat eater here, I’d opt for this baby.
Aside from making vegetables taste so damn fine, they’re very conscious of dietary restrictions and allergies, which they clearly label on their menu.
Recommendation: the fried goat cheese salad, the tempeh burger, and the coconut soup
Price: One entree is about $10USD (from memory– I should probably start keeping better track of how much things actually cost).
Where NOT to Eat in Prague
We went to this place based on a couple people’s recommendation as well Taste of Prague‘s recommendation. This combined with the 4 stars on Yelp made this a no-brainer for us to go to, but we were sorely disappointed.
According to Taste of Prague, we were warned not to be greedy and not get the all-you-can-eat option, which is where we first went wrong as the all-you-can-eat pizza + pasta + salad amounted to $25USD a person.
Scratch that– stepping foot into this place at all is where we first went wrong.
While I was eating:
- the soggy pizza with no flavor,
- the too al dente pasta with worse than out-of-the-box sauce taste,
- and the semi-savior of a salad bar that provided me with not-so-special arugula (rocket) to put on my bland pizza,
I asked myself, “Would this pizza have been better if I didn’t get the unlimited option and only got a single pizza? Would they have baked that one longer so that it would be crispy?”
And my conclusion was NO.
- The dough was nice and chewy, and tasted ok, but in the middle of the pie, it was ridiculously soggy like there was no dough there to begin with,
- the sauce tasted like the basic Albert Heijn brand tomato sauce with basic grocery store dried herbs sprinkled in it after the pizza had baked,
- and the cheese was severely lacking in flavor.
That’s coming from someone who is lactose intolerant and barely eats cheese so finds any teensy morsel of cheese to be out-of-this-world delicious.
This is the curse of a serious pizza lover. If you’ve had pizza in New Haven, New York, and Italy, everywhere else pales in comparison.
The strange thing is that the Taste of Prague and I agreed on so many other places: Nasê Maso, EMA Espresso Bar, and Beer Geek, but we just sadly didn’t agree on this one. Can’t win ’em all.
Alright, I wrote way too much about a place I didn’t like…
Remember Vietnamese Food
There was nothing to remember about this Vietnamese food.
The pho was pho-ly (can’t help myself…) lacking in any flavor, and the summer rolls were made mostly of iceberg lettuce so they basically tasted like water somehow. I still don’t get how they did that.
I’d give this place a 2 (out of 5) stars just for being edible, but other than that, there’s not much going on.
Oh yah, their meat was weird. They were tiny slivers of meatloaf that wanted to be a regular pieces of pho beef. #onecandream
So that’s the end of this very long but necessary post on where to eat in Prague (like a middle class king lol).
Prague has wowed my tastebuds so much that Mike and I have already talked about when we’ll be going back. I’m thinking fall time to see the changing colors all around the Charles Bridge. What do you think?
If you have any suggestions on where to eat in Prague, feel free to comment below! I’ll be back again so would love to get your input.
Update because I love my readers!
I’ve gotten some feedback on how this post misleadingly labels the restaurants as cheap so wanted to emphasize that it’s relatively cheap in comparison to my life in New York City and other fine dining experiences I’ve had around the world, especially with the exchange rate. I can’t say that it’s going to be relatively cheap for you, but I sure do hope it is!
If you don’t find this to be relatively cheap and have suggestions on where to eat in Prague that’s truly kind on the wallet, then comment away! I’ll be back in Prague with an appetite.
Thanks for stopping by! xo.