One of the great things about Statcounter.com is that as well as giving an overview of site traffic per day, visitor paths, keyword analysis etc etc, it also shows from which countries readers have visited your blog.
I initially assumed any readership that ‘Knedliky Etc’ managed to muster would be pretty much exclusively based in the Czech Republic, with the occasional UK IP from when my faithful mum and dad stop by to catch up on my culinary (mis)adventures.
In fact to my own surprise, only two thirds of my traffic in the event comes from the Czech Republic – the other third is made up by the UK and the US (about 20%), while the remainder of visitors hail from literally all over the world – I’ve had hits from as far-flung places as Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Uganda, Yemen, Denmark and Qatar, among others. I also seem to have attracted a small but loyal following in Latvia, for some reason.
It is a source of constant mystification to me how, out of all the pages on the world wide web, such visitors end up on ‘Knedliky Etc’ of all sites. Are they prospective tourists investigating dining possibilities for an impending trip? Former residents / expats simply taking a trip down memory lane? Or did they simply Google “sexy Czech babes food fetish” and somehow (much to their own disappointment, presumably) end up with me...?
Going on the assumption then that up to 25% of my readership may not be familiar with the Czech Republic, I thought I’d put together a quick rundown of a few decent budget places to go on the Prague tourist trail in the hope that it might help any future visitors avoid the usual tourist traps in the Old Town / Castle / Muzeum area. Neither list is comprehensive by any means, and additional recommendations for further culinary diamonds in the rough are, of course, always welcome!
The below are primarily recommended with brunch / lunch / coffee stops while on the sightseeing trail in mind – further recommendations in terms of evening wining and dining options around town can be found on my Prague Top Ten entry.
Sorry to regular readers to keep banging on about this place, but I just love it so very very much... Not the cheapest bakery-café in Prague, but definitely one of the best and just a stone’s throw from Old Town Square to boot. My previous reviews / further photos of the place can be found here and here.
Also situated just off Old Town Square, Maitrea (along with its sister restaurant Lehka Hlava) is one of Prague’s most popular and vibrant vegetarian restaurants. With a varied menu and changing daily two-course lunch options for 108kč, this is a good bet if you’ve overdosed on the traditional meat and dumplings in your first few days in the Czech Republic and now fancy a change. My full review of the place can be found here.
Another veggie / vegan option just off Old Town Square is Country Life, a self-service bistro with attached wholefood shop on Melantrichova. You can pick and choose from the range of salads, soups, casseroles and lentil loaves etc on offer – a small plate is 75kč, a large 109kč.
Yuan Dong Sushi
A short walk from Old Town Square is Yuan Dong Japanese restaurant, which does pretty reasonably priced sushi platters, bento boxes and bowls of ramen noodles. Not the best Japanese to be had in Prague, but certainly some of the cheapest in the area.
Bohemia Bagel is something of a Prague institution. If you’re looking for gigantic bagels, American-style brunches, a decent burger, or just free refills on drinks, then this is the place to come. The Bohemia Bagel branch on Masná (just off Old Town Square) is most popular with tourists, but there are other locations about town in Malá Strana and Holešovice as well. More on the subject of best bagels to be had in Prague here.
Avoid like the plague: U Dvou koček / Terasa Hotel U Prince (terrible food, even worse service in both cases).
The area round Muzeum is pretty thin on the ground when it comes to good eats, but Dobrá Čajovna at Václavské Náměstí 14 is for me something of an oasis when it comes to sitting down for a nice cup of tea chosen from their biblical menu and a light bite of furikake (Japanese tea rice, rice prepared with green tea, seaweed, sesame, wasabi, dried tuna, soy sauce, pickled ginger and daikon radish) at 105kč, pita with sweet cheese and raisins or balkan cheese and roasted vegetables (75č / 105kč), baba ganoughe or houmous with 85kč, or simply a plate of pistachios, sesame seed biscuits, pumpkin seeds or crystalized ginger at 20 - 30kč per plate. I also highly recommend their Chai Chai Chai – truly a cure for all life’s ills.
At the upper end of Wenceslas Square is a gastronomic breath of fresh air in Half & Half, a half Mediterranean snack bar serving tasty gyros, pizza by the slice, generous portions of pasticcio and moussaka, and half confectionary serving ice-cream, medovnik and milkshakes. A small seating area is available upstairs. Brewsta does a full write up on the place here.
Not necessarily the cheapest lunch option available, but definitely one of the most tasty is Modrý Zub at Jindřišská 5 (another branch at Spálená 29 at Národní třída), which serves up a variety of noodles, Thai curries and soups, dim sum and sushi. Particular favourites for me are the Tom Kha Kai and beef Rendang curry. Another Brewsta write up on the place can be found here.
This little hole in the wall on the corner of Vodičkova offers of a wide range of ciabatta and panini as well as sweet and savoury crêpes from about 59 – 89kč a pop. They also do ice-cream and a small range of cakes. No seating area available, but a good place for a quick and tasty bite on the hoof.
Wenceslas Square Sausage Stands
A sausage at Wenceslas square is a Prague rite of passage, and though it took me four years here to finally get round to it, I am now a true devotee of the Pražská klobása in particular. Full write-up of the many and various sausages available can be found here.
Avoid like the plague: Mayur (overpriced and terrible “Indian” food) / anywhere that touts in florescent jackets or muttering about marijuana try to persuade you to frequent.
Though a little bit hit and miss in terms of service, Malý Buddha is still one of my top places in Prague and certainly one of the best bets in the otherwise tourist trap glut that is Hradčanská as a whole. Offering up a wide range of teas, fresh juices and Thai / Vietnamese fare in atmospheric environs, Malý Buddha is a true oasis from the tourist crowds and just a stone’s throw from the castle itself. Reservations definitely advised.
Not far from Malý Buddha is Gopál, a Hare Krishna run vegetarian Indian restaurant serving up tasty thalis at 150kč a pop, as well as barfi sweets and nice yogi / ginger tea. They also have an outdoor courtyard for sunny days.
Le Bistro Kampa
A short walk from the Castle area is Le Bistro Kampa, a delicious patisserie-café by Malostranská metro serving up a vast variety of croissants, cakes, crêpes, salads, sandwiches and baguettes. A nice spot for a light lunch and sit down on the way from Old Town up to the Castle or vice-versa.
I mention U Kocoura, situated at the bottom of Nerudová, mainly out of sentimental reasons, namely that my friends and I stopped in here on a weekend trip from Germany in 2001, where we were living as students at the time. As I recall, back then the place was packed with Czechs tucking into tasty stuffed meat dumplings and duck with sauerkraut for 99 – 150 odd crowns a meal, and you had to wait for a table at peak times. These days the prices sadly no longer fall within such modest a price range and the custom is seemingly 50/50 split between Czech and tourist, but out of sheer nostalgia I’m still going to tentatively recommend giving the place a go.
Being owned by the same people as the Bohemia Bagel franchise, it’s perhaps not surprising that the menu at U Malého Glena is dominated by tasty and generously portioned bagels, burgers and Tex Mex cuisine, with breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner options all available. The downstairs area of U Malého Glena hosts popular jazz evenings on Thursday, Fridays and weekends, which can be enjoyed with ten kinds of beer or a cocktail off their copious drinks list.
Other: Bohemia Bagel / Starbucks (if you can’t possibly go a holiday without your standard gande double-shot skinny Caffè Vanilla Frappuccino, that is).
Avoid like the plague: Anywhere with “Old Bohemia” and “Staročeský” in the name.
Ok, that’s as much as I can come up with for now – hope this is of help to any prospective visitors and, above all, have a good trip!!