There’s a lot of culinary talent and ambition in Prague, and plenty of places to sit down to a fancy multi-course meal. But here’s where the Czech capital is really beginning to shine: in the casual eateries that are fuelling its vibrant emerging food scene, one that relies more on butcher paper and condiments than white napkins.
Thanks to the skyrocketing popularity of open-air markets and food festivals, unsung local chefs in the Czech capital are getting the notice they deserve – in fact many of the casual dining spots mentioned here started out as stands.
Fun, fresh, and fast (you should be able to get in, order, eat and get out in 40 minutes or less) these are the places I find myself visiting again and again for a satisfying quick bite. With the Prague food scene moving faster than a speeding food truck – and two major food markets due to open up in the next couple of years – there’ll be plenty more places to add to your quick-bites bucket list in no time at all.
Arepas De Lyna
Korunní 83, Prague 3 –Vinohrady
M-W: 16-22h, Th-F: 16-23h
Sa: 11-23h, Su:11-22h
This little spot serves up incredible, fresh Venezuelan street food from the coastal region of La Guaira, just north of Caracas. Corn flour is the base of everything, so all arepas and empanadas are gluten-free. They change up the menu a lot, so there are always surprises for repeat customers. There are usually three or four varieties on offer, plus they sometimes do tequeňos, which are fried bread sticks with queso blanco in the middle (not gluten-free). For a sweet finish, have the quesillo, which is the Venezuelan version of flan.
Dělnická 40, Prague 7 – Holešovice
Every day: 11-22h
Texas barbecue with Czech ingredients and sensibilities, this “Czexan” spot slow smokes their meats and when you come in, there’s a batch ready. This makes for some pretty fast service. No plates – the food is placed on butcher paper on a tray. Plenty of great side dishes as well, some of which are vegetarian-friendly. Beer from Clock Brewery, a pretty good wine selection and maybe the best small kolač in town round out the offerings. They also do a three-Benedict brunch on Sundays that’s something quite special.
Francouzska 78, Prague 10 – Vršovice
Every day: 17-22h
Right by the top of Krymská, these self-styled “street food maestros” are all about quick, fresh, healthy fare that’s more than just a snack but less than a meal. They have two sandwiches they’re famous for – a 14-hour slow-cooked pulled pork shoulder and a Cuban pulled pork sandwich. But they always make sure to have veggie and vegan options, like wraps, daily soup specials, Indian street food dishes, Brazilian potato pumpkin stew and more; the menu is always changing. And the cinnamon rolls are pretty darned good.
Dim Sum Spot
Milady Horákové 29, Prague 7 – Letná
M-Sa: 11-22h, Su: 11-21h
Tucked in the back of Pasáž Belcredi right by the Kamenická tram stop, this place does Chinese-style dumplings right. They always have a number of pork and veg options, often a chicken dumpling or two, and vegan ones as well. There are some broths usually available in addition to dumplings, and sides like homemade pickles, kimchi and pao cai. They also have special events from time to time where they try out new dumplings, or sometimes go crazy and offer things like Nepalese or Peruvian dumplings, or even tacos. Fast, fresh, and delicious.
Krymská 30, Prague 10 – Vršovice
As the name suggests, this place focuses on focaccia, probably the best in town. This stuff is super light yet crunchy and covered in a variety of delicious toppings. It’s run by Italians, so none of this should come as a surprise. There are often other options as well, like fresh arancini and even flavoured ricottas. They’re mainly a takeaway joint, but you can get a big slice heated up to eat right there if you like. They also have some incredible Italian sweets, like jaw-dropping Sicilian cannoli. The only bad thing about this place is that they aren’t open at the weekend.
Veleslavínova 10, Prague 1 – Staré Město
M-F: 9-22h, Su: 9-21h (closed Saturday)
Milady Horákové 16, Prague 7 – Letná
M-F: 11-22h, Sa-Su: 12-22h.
The vegan lifestyle has really taken off here in Prague, and the folks at Forky’s have come up with a sure-fire winning concept. It’s a 100% plant-based quick service bistro that uses recipes from all over the world. They cook global street food that focuses on flavour, and also happens to not have any animal products. They’re probably most famous for their burgers, including a cheeseburger without cheese or meat that makes most vegans swoon with happiness. But they also do superbowls, wraps, rolls, soups, vegan sausages and hot dogs, and a weekly rotating lunch menu. They’ve become so successful, they have three locations in Brno, two (soon to be three) in Slovakia and one in Vienna, and are opening two more Prague locations this year (in Malá Strana and Chodov).
Křižíkova 58, Prague 8 – Karlín
M-F: 11-14h & 16.30-19.30h
This family run Canadian spot literally opened in a former garage, thus the name. What they sell is poutine, a snack from Quebec that is double cut steak fries covered in cheese curds and brown gravy. You got your classic style, you got one with pan-fried Canadian bacon, another with pulled pork (which is just mind-bogglingly good), also variations with ground beef and pork, ground beef and pork with cheese, shredded beef, and fried onion (that’s the Montreal way) or just all the darned meat. Two sizes for two prices to accommodate time and appetite constraints. They also make some pretty great lemonades, and have Molson beer.
Vinohradská 66, Prague 3 – right on the Vinohrady/Žižkov line
M-Th: 11-15h & 17-21h; F-Sa: 11-15h & 17-23h
A small place that packs a big punch, taste-wise. The idea is to create a place that focuses equally on flavour and freshness, with some classic rotisserie dishes and an ever-changing bistro menu. Chicken is a staple here, and their Rueben sandwich is getting some pretty high praise. Their bistro dishes are often incredibly creative, taking inspiration from here and there, but with no particular ethnicity in mind (see their Facebook page for some of their past creations). The place gets jammed sometimes, but they only accept reservations for half their tables – the other half are for walk-ins. So, you might get lucky. This is one of the places pointing the way towards the future of the Prague food scene.
Kamenická 24, Prague 7 – Letná
Every day: 11-22h
In May, this Letná hot spot celebrates five years, and yet they still keep putting out some of the most consistently delicious food of this type in the city. The hot dogs are amazing (especially the Chicago) the fries are fantastic (especially the Dumpster Fries). But really, it’s those sliders that are just astonishing. Close to the Platonic ideal of what a slider should be. They have daily soup specials (always a recipe from some family member of one of the employees), lots of daily and weekend specials (ranging from pulled pork sliders and meatloaf to lobster rolls and fried fish burgers, just to name a few). No milkshakes, but some rather fantastic cocktails (probably the best Bloody Mary in town and, in the summer, their coriander martini is hard to beat), with Vinohradský pivovar beer and an ever-changing list of guest beers. This place is ridiculously popular, so either go early, make a reservation, or don’t be starving when you show up since you might have to wait a spell for a table.
Myslíkova 29, Prague 1 – Nové Město
Every day: 8-22h
One of the success stories to come out of Manifesto Market, these folks focus on pulled pork and pastrami on brioche as their standard dish, and then lots of delicious specials that change frequently. Recent examples are a Swiss-style pork cheek sandwich with a hash brown on it and Raclette cheese, pulled chicken on a potato puree with chipotle salsa and daikon, pulled pork with cheddar sauce and corn salsa…you get the idea. Creative, fresh, delicious. And yeah – meat. A lot of meat. They’ve got weekly lunch menus M-F, 11-15h.
Štěpánská 11, Prague 2 – Nové Město
Every day: 10-22h
Another dumpling place but these are pelmeni, a classic dish from Russia and Kazakhstan. They’re fresh, they’re filling, they’re delicious and they’re affordable – no wonder they are sometimes called “the heart of Russian cuisine”. They’ve got lamb, beef, chicken, Siberian (which is pork and beef), mashed potato and onion (veggie-friendly) and cottage cheese with apricot (for something sweet). An “order” is 16 pelmeni, which is around 300g or 450 calories, if you’re counting. They are all delicious as heck. Sadly, none of them are vegan or gluten-free. To wash it all down, you can get some no-nonsense kvas (a Russian fermented rye bread drink) or mors (a Russian berry lemonade), or get some beer or even vodka. They have a lunch special every day 11-16h, where you can get 10 of that day’s special pelmeni, with sour cream, plus a drink for around 135kc.
Le Petit Bouillon
Manifesto Market Florenc, Prague 2 – Nové Město, Market hours
OC Quadrio – Prague 2 – Nové Město, every day 11-22h
OC Nový Smíchov – Prague 5, Smíchov, every day 9-21h
Another success story from Manifesto, this French comfort food joint has decided to expand by opening up carts and stands instead of a fixed address. The concept is the brainchild of Alexis Manach, who founded Bezrealitky.cz and Zarpo.com but then dropped all that for a life in the kitchen. We’re talking French onion soup, ratatouille niçoise (veggie option), Toulouse-style cassoulet, boeuf Bourguignon and the like. It’s all deep, rich and satisfying.
Le Pizze di Frankie
Otakarova 5, Prague 4 – Nusle
M-F: 11-14.30h & 17.30-20.30h
This one’s a success story from the pop-up scene. Frankie started doing pizzas featuring his handmade dough at bars and random spots, and then finally got this tiny little location near Náměstí Bratří Synků. There are a couple of places in there one could perch and eat, though most people get it to go. The thing is, this is very probably the best pizza in Prague, possibly in Central Europe. So who cares where you eat it, as long as you eat it? The toppings are fresh and artfully combined, but it’s that crust that makes this truly special. We predict they’ll get a bigger space in the not-so-distant future (especially after the nearby metro station for line D opens up). Frankie’s is already a Prague food institution.
Milady Horákové 9, Prague 7 – Letná
M-F: 11-15h, 16-21h
This started as a food fad in Japan and quickly caught on to become its own thing, and now there’s a place in Prague that does it. Onigirazu are basically onigiri, which are rice balls with fillings, sometimes round and sometimes triangular, but with a wrapping of seaweed, so the whole thing is sort of a sandwich. Because it’s a “new” thing, people have a tendency to think outside the box when it comes to fillings. At this Prague 7 spot, they call it a “sushi-sandwich”, except that their stuff is mainly vegan. So, things like ponzu coleslaw with smoked tofu; smoked carrot with dill, sesame, cucumber and lemon mayo; Thai basil, pear, peanut, cabbage, spinach and tofu. The menu changes all the time. This is a pretty unique thing.
Odborů 2, Prague 2 – Nové Město
Milady Horákové 63, Prague 7 – Letná
Manifesto Market Smíchov, Prague 5 – Smíchov
11-22h, all locations
A unique, some might say audacious, arrival on the Prague food scene that started out at Manifesto, started partly by Sergio Raygada of Wing Haus fame (see below). Poke (rhymes with “okay” not “smoke”) is a Hawaiian raw fish salad with super fresh veggie elements and a collection of sauces, oils, and toppings to choose from. You can choose from their menu of cleverly-named combos featuring tuna, salmon, octopus or tofu, or create your own combo. So you could eat here every day for two weeks and always have a different poke. And yes, the seafood is fresh and responsibly caught, despite our being far from the sea here. They’re in crazy expansion mode, and are due to start a number of new locations in the upcoming months. This winter they’ve also been offering some pretty darned good ramen as well. And the Letná location will have a whole patio area and lots of fun events come warmer weather. They’ll also be participating in the Manifesto at Florenc, but as a churros stand.
Dlouhá 39, Prague 1 – Staré Město
Spálená 16, Prague 1 – Nové Město
M-F: 8-20h; Sa-Su: 9-18h (Dlouhá opens at 8h)
As Prague becomes more international and cosmopolitan, you might wonder what will become its signature dish. Sisters is pointing the way by taking the classic Czech open-faced sandwich, the chlebíček, and putting a modern twist on it. These things are practically works of art, they’re so beautiful. But they’re not; you can eat ’em. Which is a good thing because they are just fantastic. Using only the freshest ingredients, these creations are a whole experience – gorgeous to look at, fascinating to think about and stunningly delicious to taste. This place has become so popular they’ve opened a second location recently on Spálená. Let’s hope they end up opening plenty more.
Vinohradská 32, Prague 2 – Vinohrady
Su-Th: 11-22.30h, F-Sa: 11-23h,
WingHaus Restaurant and Sports Bar: Cimburkova 10, Prague 3 – Žižkov
M-Tu: 11-23h, W-Th: 11-22h, F: 11-24h, Sa-Su: 11.00-23.30h.
One of the ultimate quick bites to come out of the US is the fabled chicken wing. In recent years, many have tried to get it right but there’s really only one that does. That’s this place, who bill themselves as “professional wingmen,” started in part by Sergio Raygada, who later went on to help found PokeHaus (see above) and ChurroHaus (coming soon to Manifesto). They started out in a tiny storefront on Vinohradská 32 and recently opened a sit-down place with burgers and TV screens for sports matches. Their flavour scale, ranges from least hot (Teriyaki) to Ghost, which is spiced with the infamous ghost chili (rated at over 1 million on the Scoville scale, 400 times hotter than Tabasco, used in India as an elephant repellant and in riot control grenades). Recently, they created the !!Nuclear!!, which is even hotter than the Ghost, and Raspberry Fire, which sits above Sriracha BBQ but below Bohemian Fire. Personal favs are the Garlic Parmesan, the Lemon Pepper, the OG Buffalo and the Sriracha BBQ, though the Chicken Parm is not without merit. They also have boneless versions for a bit more money, as well as vegetarian wings.
Haškova 7, Prague 7 – Letná
This “fusion summer roll bistro” is all about Asian-style rolls. But not traditional ones, necessarily. The menu changes pretty much daily and everything is made fresh right there. Crunchy veg rolls with goat cheese, marinated beets, cranberries, pomegranate seeds, spinach and arugula drizzled with honey, lemon and crushed hazelnuts with a honey soy dipping sauce; salmon and mango or shrimp with beet (both with crunchy rice and a peanut-coconut sauce); pear and mackerel with wasabi mayo, fried red onion and rice noodles; crispy bacon with cabbage, avocado, rice noodles, spinach and sunflower seeds. Super unique, super new, super exciting stuff. They also sometimes have equally innovative soups and salads, homemade banana bread and other tasty treats. There’s always some veggie- and/or vegan-friendly option.
Got a favourite place that isn’t on this list? Mention it in the comments and we’ll go try it out.