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Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Best... Bagels

In my first year in Prague, I had the privilege of living on a little side-street just off Old Town Square, which basically meant I not only lived at the heart of one of the most beautiful and historic cities of Europe, but also within the lesser-known “Bagel Triangle” that is Bohemia Bagel on Masná, Praha Bakeshop on Kozí, and last but not least Coffee Fellows directly on Dlouhá itself. As a result, after a year I considered myself an expert in all matters bagel related, and would like to just jot down my favourites (again in reverse order) here:

Praha Bakeshop

Oh, Praha Bakeshop, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways... More on that in my next entry, but right now we’re talking bagels. What I like about Praha Bakeshop is that they do traditional sourdough bagels (poppy, sesame, or onion at 35kč a pop), which are both deliciously dense and at the same time virtually impossible to eat in their entirety without feeling that you’ve swallowed a cannonball afterwards. I usually get some veggie cream cheese or smoked salmon spread from the deli counter to go with it (priced at 520kč/kg and 575kč/kg respectively). Very tasty, but be warned - if you have one for breakfast, don’t go making any appointments for lunch...

Bohemia Bagel

Back in the day, I ran the full gauntlet of Bohemia bagel varieties, both in terms of type / toppings (everything from spinach to wholewheat to chocolate chip) and fillings – usually either as a stomach liner before or after Bombay Bar and Coyotes, or hangover cure brunch the morning after... Annoyingly I never took any photos, but do recall that favourites at the time were chicken salad, sun-dried tomato and mozzarella, and pastrami and cheese (though admittedly was put permanently off the latter after polishing off a stomach busting whole one to myself, and consequently spending the rest of the day looking like I was about to give birth and genuinely wanting to die).

On the whole, however, I always found Bohemia Bagel just that little bit overrated (especially after later decamping to this entry’s winner), and actually hadn’t been back in about two years until for the purposes of review, I headed over to the Masná branch (for old time’s sake!) last week to grab a trusty ham & swiss on sesame (105kč). This bagel was packed to the rafters with sliced meat, cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion, mayo and mustard - good, but as usual with gargantuan Bohemia Bagel portion sizes, I was full after just one half...

Another day, I got a plain cinnamon and raisin (11kč) to go, which back home I lathered in my own shop-bought cream cheese – firstly because Bohemia Bagel are notoriously stingy with theirs, and secondly as I resent having to pay an additional 50kč for such a measly portion. Incidentally, this is also why I only ever once got the smoked salmon there, as 155kč was (in my humble opinion) pretty extortionate for basically nothing more than bread filled with just one tiny little slice of fish and a paltry scraping of cream cheese.

With branches at Holesoviče and Malá Strana as well as Old Town, all in all BB is a pretty good option for bagels in Prague, but in my humble opinion not a patch on...

Coffee Fellows

Without doubt this is my absolute favourite place for bagels in Prague. Yes, their menu is more limited and their bagels more modest (or from my point of view, manageable) in size, but their quality is just so much better – with generous fillings on a fresh salad base and warm, squishy bagels (warmed but not toasted) that just melt in your mouth... I headed there the other day for my absolute favourite, the smoked salmon on poppy seed bagel at a modest 70kč. Unlike Bohemia Bagel, Coffee Fellows is liberal with the salmon, and the sandwich as a whole simply tastes much more light and fresh.

Other flavours I used to love were turkey curry and mozzarella, and they also do a large range of tempting looking cakes and milkshakes.

And on a final note, is it me, or were the café owners pre-sentient Obama supporters??

Well, on the bagel front at any rate, all I can say is that when it comes to Coffee Fellows, it is most definitely a case of "Yes We Can!!!!".


  1. I forget there are places out there that sell bagels, too bad it's all for the most part centrally located.

    byw lol Commie Obama pic.

  2. Just discovered your site. Thanks for the tips and keep up the good work. I enjoy your new postings. A

  3. It's interesting that you have reviewed my favorite places so far :-)) I visit all the restaurants you write about. There were times when I was at Masna's BB every week. Me and my friends called it our headquarters. But as the prises started to get higher and the quality of food lower we've found a new place to meet. I went there few weeks ago just out of sentiment, but it was a great disappointment:-( Fellows has great bagels and cakes, but is so full of smoke that I usually just run in to get a take away.
    Rockie (rockie@email.cz)