“There are no facts, only interpretations” - Friedrich Nietzsche
As my blog mission statement is at pains to point out, I’m just a long-standing Prague expat who loves wining and dining. A lot. Culinary / literally / photographically speaking I’m by no means an expert – I just happen to photograph my food and type up an irreverent account of my dining experiences afterwards.
That said, for what it’s worth I thought I’d give a quick run of my personal gastronomic favourites in Prague – it’s been tough confining it to a top ten, but (in reverse order) here we go:
10. Chai Chai Chai at Dobra Čajovna
Dobra Čajovna is just one of many tea houses in Prague, but its creamy and comforting rendition of ‘Chai Chai Chai’ at 78kč makes it my personal best of the bunch. Dobra Čajovna’s expansive tea menu describes the drink as “a black Indian Assam tea simmered in milk and strongly sweetened. Served in a 0.2l glass with an interrupted shout of ‘chai chai chai’”. Consumed in Dobra Čajovna’s atmospheric environs on a cold winter’s day, Chai Chai Chai is my personal remedy to just about any problems life can through at you.
I’ve unfortunately not got round to doing a full review of this place yet, but with its funky interior and pan-Asian range of noodles and curries, the Noodle Bar is one of my top places for a casual lunch or dinner with the girls. I particularly love the phò bò (almost as good as the authentic Vietnamese article) and the Chiang Mai noodles here. A word of warning though: though officially open till 10pm, their kitchen closes seemingly at whim any time from 8.30pm onwards. If you couldn’t already tell, photo is property of noodle.cz.
8. Norsky Salat
Not so much a place as a food stuff I’ve only ever encountered in Prague, norsky salat constitutes my own personal equivalent to culinary crack. My staple of a solo cheap and chavvy night in is a plate of pasta topped with a pot’s worth of the stuff and accompanied by copious amounts of cheap wine and an episode of Corrie. Full review on the joys of norsky salat can be found here.
Alas, the one time I was taken to gourmet tasting restaurant La Degustation was way back in my pre-blog days, and I can’t afford to take myself again now. La Degustation is unique in Prague for its seven-course (plus various amuse-bouches) set tasting menus, either Czech or international (though you can mix and match). Carefully coordinated wine menus are also available to pair each main course, though as I recall their wine servings were decidedly on the stingy side. I’m not saying the La Degustation is extortionately expensive, but at the time I was actually living directly above the place in Prague 1, and dinner for two there cost more than my entire monthly rent. Needless to say, the bill wasn’t on me.
This backpacker-themed restaurant on Masarykovo nábřeží offers up a huge menu of Lebanese, Iraqi, Syrian and Indian dishes, as well as the occasional Czech eccentricity such as Canned Luncheon Meat with Bread served in a Mess-tin, Müsli Stick Flattened through Sitting Down on It, and Water from the Vltava. Karavan Seraj is justifiably popular based on the quality / variety of its cuisine and ambient surroundings – reservations to both here and its sister restaurant the Kardamon Club are definitely required. My full write-up on the place can be read here.
5. Curry House
Curry in Prague is a controversial subject among expats – or at least us spice-mad British ones. Over the years I've been to been to Masala (started off good, but seemed to go off the boil lately), Tikka Dhaba (just plain weird, inauthentic food, possibly stoned waiter), Beas, Balarama and Govinda (all more canteen than restaurant though and usually only open when I’m at work), Tandoor (overrated), Chanchala (great dhosas and chai, but located in a shopping mall), Himalaya (good put pricey), the Indian Jewel (yet more costly), Khajuraho (just plain silly expensive), Haveli (good but out of the way), Mailsi (meh), Manni Pakistani (terrible), Dilli-Delhi (frozen vegetable travesty), Rasoi (shut down a couple of years back amid allegations of tax evasion, as I recall), and last but not least Rana (my hitherto pleasantly down-and-dingy favourite). Amidst all this masala mediocrity, the only place that has ever truly hit the spice spot for me is Curry House in Palmovka – my complete blog entry of the place can also be found here.
In one of my very early reviews, I jokingly referred to the fact that if I were ever to get hitched, it would have to be at Viniční Altán based solely on the fact that it was here two years ago I first realised me and Mr K were meant to be when he took me here on our fifth or so date for (an admittedly rather late) breakfast. Yes, that’s right – a vineyard for breakfast. Clearly we were destined to live together in happy co-dependent bliss until cirrhosis do us part. Now he’s officially popped the question (at Buckingham Palace two weeks ago, no less!), I think I will have to now start making official enquiries!! :-))))
These two superb patisserie-cafés get equal status here due to the fact that I genuinely couldn’t pick a favourite between them – it would simply feel like gastronomic infidelity to favour one over the other. My slightly tongue-in-cheek odes to my two true culinary loves can be read here and here, however.
2. V & R Imports (a.k.a. “Robert’s”)
Oh the good times that have been had at Robert’s over the last year, and the invariable embarrassment / regret / soon broken vows to never ever drink again that invariably ensue... Based in Karlin at Sokolovská 61, V & R Imports is an importer, distributor and retailer of fine wines (most of which have been personally sourced from vineyards across Europe and the New World) by Vera and Robert themselves (the "V" and "R" namesakes respectively). Lovely wines, nibbles galore, comfy sofas and guaranteed warm welcome make this place the drinking establishment of choice of myself, Mr K and all the girls alike. Maybe you are the type who can appreciate quality wine in civilized moderation. PragueGinge and I, sadly, cannot.
Hello, my name's Knedlikova and I'm a SaSaZu addict. Which is rather unfortunate for me really, as unlike all my other many and varied, comparatively inexpensive addictions (wine / kebabs / norsky salat / swimming / Coronation Street etc), without resorting to the usual junkie means of turning tricks, mugging little old ladies, botched corner shop robberies and the like, I can't afford to get my fix at this upmarket Asian restaurant / club situated in the somewhat incongruous surroundings of Holešovice flea market on more than a select few special occasions a year... The SaSaZu rolls in their many and varied varieties are like culinary crystal meth – one hit and you’re hooked for life... You can read more about SaSaZu’s range of addictive substances here.
And there you have it – my “official” top ten of Prague gastronomic hot-spots. In reality there are countless more that could just have easily have made the list – Kabul Karolina for Afghan, Lehka Hlava or Maitrea for funky vegetarian, Cantina for Mexican, Coffee Fellows for bagels, Luka Lu for Balkan, Kozička for stuffed dumplings and halušky, Kogo, Da Nico, Aromi, Artisan and La Bodeguita for special occasions and so on and so forth.
Anyway, hope someone out there finds the afore-mentioned top ten helpful, and in the meantime anyone else’s personal recommendations are always gratefully received!