Many visitors to Prague believe they should indulge in traditional Czech cuisine throughout their entire stay. Enjoying some beef goulash and bread dumplings on Old Town Square, followed by a stroll across Charles Bridge to Prague Castle—sounds like the perfect plan, right? How about trying some game meat? Venison and more bread dumplings, why not?
Certainly, sampling Czech cuisine in the capital is a must, and I highly recommend trying traditional dishes in Czech restaurants around the city. (In the list below, you’ll find some delicious Czech dishes in places like Kantýna, Taro, and The Italians Wine and Food Market.)
However, don’t limit yourself to Czech fare in Prague. Czech cuisine can be quite heavy, especially in the summer, and eating it every day may not be everyone’s preference.
Instead, leverage Prague’s excellence in other culinary realms: Vietnamese cuisine, Asian fusion, and butcher shop restaurants.
Experience at Kantýna: The best local Czech cuisine, rich local meats, delicious beer, and Prague’s tastiest burgers. Not suitable for vegetarians, vegans, pescatarians, or those avoiding red meat.
How do I begin describing Kantýna? It’s my favorite place, my fiancé’s favorite, and a top pick among my friends. It’s the spot I ask friends, “Do you eat meat and drink beer?” before they come to Prague.
Kantýna is a butcher shop and restaurant, offering delicious, high-quality local meats and fantastic Czech light beer. There are seated areas and a large communal table where people stand to enjoy their meals and revel in the atmosphere. It’s a very Czech-style casual, lively, and fun experience.
Walk in, grab a numbered ticket from the cash register – that’s where the server will record your tab. You can order burgers, steaks, tartare, and slices of raw meat at the counter; in the middle, there’s grilled meat and ready-to-eat food; at the bar, you can get beer. They give you a bone with a number on it, and your food is brought to you. Servers also bring beer and other drinks.
Note that Kantýna is immensely popular and doesn’t take reservations, so you might end up standing in the middle (which is a fun dining experience but not ideal if you really need to sit).
Kantýna also offers “Dinner Off the Bone,” a dinner only available by reservation for 6-12 people. They provide a tasting menu featuring popular and unusual cuts and even include a behind-the-scenes mini-tour. I’ve done it twice (one of my favorite unusual things to do in Prague), and it’s fantastic if you have enough people.
What to get at Kantýna: I consider Kantýna to have the world’s best burgers. Yes, the best. But their steaks are also outstanding. I usually start with some excellent slices of raw meat or tartare (if with friends, we get both!), then depending on my mood, I might go for the cheeseburger or steak. If you opt for steak, their cilantro sauce and coffee sauce are great. And, of course, there’s beer.
Experience at Taro: Luxury for special occasions, a tasting menu, Asian flavors, exquisite presentation, affordable yet upscale lunch. Not suitable for picky eaters or groups.
Taro is the perfect place in Prague to celebrate special occasions. This restaurant focuses on Vietnamese cuisine, incorporating modern European techniques and unique flavors from across Asia.
Taro offers an eight-course tasting menu for dinner, each dish designed beautifully and creatively. It’s a pricey affair at CZK 1700 (USD 83) for food only. However, they also provide a more affordable “Business Lunch” during weekdays, featuring a four-course menu for CZK 750 (USD 34).
Reservations at Taro are a must, as there are only 20 seats arranged around an open kitchen area. This design makes it best suited for solo dining or couples sharing dinner, not ideal for groups.
What to get at Taro: Since Taro serves a tasting menu, what you get is what you get. However, I recommend checking out their creatively crafted lemonades. Czechs love their lemonades (usually more like fruit sodas with little lemon), but Taro makes some uniquely inventive ones.
The Italians Wine and Food Market
Experience at The Italians Wine and Food Market: Prague’s Eataly, gourmet foods from various Italian regions in a casual yet stylish setting. Suitable for families, picky eaters, and those with dietary restrictions.
The Italians Wine and Food Market is Prague’s version of Eataly, a large market offering produce from various regions of Italy, including an extensive selection of Italian wines. While a bit on the expensive side for regular shopping, it’s the place to go when you need something special.
Connected to the food market is a large restaurant offering dishes from different regions of Italy, including plenty of pizzas and pasta. One highlight is that the restaurant feels upscale yet remains welcoming to various people. Most of the menu is in Czech, but the staff speaks English and can help with translations.
What to get at The Italians Wine and Food Market: Everything here is good, but I particularly love their pizzas. If you order a large pizza to share, it feels like the closest thing to New York pizza you can get in Prague. Don’t miss the dessert counter upfront; I especially love their tiramisu.
QQ Asian Kitchen
Experience at QQ Asian Kitchen: Creative Asian fusion cuisine, above-average quality.
Prague boasts several interesting pan-Asian restaurants, and the best among them is QQ Asian Kitchen. You might not be initially drawn to the idea of pan-Asian or Asian fusion cuisine, but this restaurant does it exceptionally well, combining delicious flavor combinations that make their dishes stand out.
Here, you can order from the regular menu or try the four-course tasting menu. The range of dishes goes from the Betutu curry of roasted rabbit to coconut-spiced prawns, sweet potato tofu dumplings, and slow-cooked beef rendang. The chefs have backgrounds from Bali and Taiwan, guiding many of the flavors.
QQ labels itself a “Casual Fine Dining” restaurant, not trying to please everyone, but it’s a place suitable for special occasions while still feeling approachable.
What to get at QQ: QQ has many cool dishes, but I must mention the Soft Shell Crab Wasabi Tower, a dish everyone in my circle tends to order. One friend even gets a second tower for dessert!
Experience at Polévkárna: Affordable weekday lunches, quick soups, and Khachapuri (Georgian cheese pie).
Many places on this list are high-end, but Polévkárna is one of my favorite budget eateries. This small Georgian restaurant in the Karlín district offers fresh soups and homemade Khachapuri (Georgian cheese pies) for lunch on weekdays.
Polévka means soup in Czech, and -árna means “a place where they sell” (similar to lékárna for a pharmacy or pekárna for a bakery). So, Polévkárna isn’t a proper word, but it’s a lovely Czech hybrid!
They serve around five different soups each day, but note that Czech people tend to eat lunch relatively early, and by around 1:00 PM, they’ve usually sold out of all soups except for minestrone and chicken noodle (which is fine by me since minestrone and chicken noodle are my two favorites!)
Pair your meat-based soup with one of their baked goodies, especially the plain or spinach Khachapuri, to complement your meal. Most of the menu is in Czech, but the staff speaks English and can help with translations.
What to get at Polévkárna: If you think minestrone is a sad cold soup, this restaurant will change your mind; their minestrone is fantastic and served warm, with meat and a dollop of sour cream on top. The Khachapuri is also great, and I love dipping a piece into the soup.
This list highlights restaurants in Prague that I personally love, each with its unique charm and features. Explore the culinary scene in this city and savor delicious dishes from around the world, complementing traditional Czech cuisine. Enjoy your gastronomic journey in Prague!