As the COVID-19 restrictions continue, many small food-and-drink businesses are continuing to feel the crunch. Meanwhile, delivery services are booming, with more and more restaurants signing up. “Every day there are more restaurants that want to be added,” says Filip Fingl, CEO of Dáme jídlo, a Czech company that blazed the way for large-scale food delivery in 2012.
Not only are more restaurants using these services, but more people are as well. “A lot of people are working from home, so when lunchtime comes they can’t go to the canteen or eat locally. The previously significant difference between weekend and weekday ‘Wolting’ is no longer as significant as it used to be,” says Jan Foret, general manager for Wolt, the Finnish delivery company that debuted on the Czech scene in 2018.
Dáme jídlo currently reports that over 1,500 businesses in Prague are using their service. Wolt, which works with 370 restaurants in Prague have added 65 new restaurants just in the past week.
With so many more eateries and food suppliers signing up for delivery services in an effort to reach out to house-bound customers, businesses are finding creative solutions as well as trialing new business strategies. We’ve put together some tips for eating well in the time of quarantine while continuing to support them.
Family platters and take-and-bake treats
Several restaurants are offering large platters of food that a whole family or a smaller household can enjoy over a period of a couple of days. La Boca, an Argentine and Spanish place in Petrská čtvrť has a Wolt offering that includes a sizeable Argentine mixed grill for 2 people, and platters of Iberian meats or cheeses, as well as tapas samplers.
The Sardinian charcuterie platters from Ichnusa Botega Bistro, currently offering takeaway service, are spilling over with fresh meats, cheese, and olives. Choose from a limited menu that includes fresh pastas, pane frattau (a Sardinian flatbread), Sardinian pasta dumplings called Culurgiones, and Malloreddus, Sardinian gnocchi with a touch of saffron, and either saffron or squid ink risotto. See their Facebook page for ordering details.
Take-and-bake comfort food that you can finish in your own oven is another appealing option. Malá Argenta food stand has fresh Argentine empanadas — ham and mozzarella, slow-cooked beef, and two veggie variants, Caprese and leek and mozzarella — which arrive frozen and can be enjoyed after baking just 15 minutes; they keep in the freezer for up to three months. Empanadas are 50 CZK each, minimum 6 per order and can be picked up in Prague 1 or delivered depending on where you live. See their online order form; the menu is updated on their Facebook page.
Dirty Dog Barbeque is currently developing unique “cook it yourself” packages, vacuum-packed food, complete with heating and serving instructions, that customers could drop into boiling water to finish cooking. Follow their Facebook page for updates.
Smith’s Pies delivers homemade traditional savory pies and quiches throughout Prague. Pie flavours include creamy chicken bacon and mushroom, spicy beef, red pepper, and ginger madras, minced beef Bolognese with mature cheddar top, and cheese, red onion and potato. Minimum order of 10 pieces for 1,000 CZK includes delivery. Orders are accepted via Facebook message.
Meatier meal offerings
Prague foodies who lamented the closing of Maso & Kobliha last year will be pleased to know that Paul Day, also the chef/owner behind Sansho (which currently has a call and collect window) and the Real Meat Society, has resurrected it as a virtual restaurant and will be delivering some of its classic dishes, including moussaka, at mid-range prices via Wolt.
“It’s a great way for people to try our food, as well as keep our staff employed,” says Michaela Day, Paul’s wife and business partner.
The Real Meat Society butcher shop also remains open, delivering anywhere in the city for orders of 1,000 CZK or more. “We even go places Wolt doesn’t go yet,” says Michaela Day. Meat lovers can order combo boxes of various meats or individual cuts. Featured recipes on their website let you start cooking straightaway.
Restaurant MeatEater Steak & Wine also has some prime cuts for home delivery Mon-Fri; order by phone or through their Facebook page.
Radovan Tlstovic, owner of Salt ‘n’ Pepa Kitchen in Prague 7 says he’s still offering their famed burgers at a discount via Wolt while cooking up some very cheap comfort food options, mainly for the people that still work and live in our neighborhood, in addition. Dishes like Paprika chicken with halušky as well as sheep cheese halušky are available at a 50% discount for elderly customers as well as first responders (like medical staff, police, and firefighters).
“We’re all in the same boat in some respects,” he says, “and we’re aware that take away could become a luxury that not many of us can afford during these hard times. So, we want to help support vulnerable locals and those who are helping all of us in any way we can.”
Beer, wine, and margaritas to go
Businesses on the beverage front are also getting creative. Vinohradský pivovar is selling beer in 1-liter PET bottles from a walk-up window and will deliver orders of 12 liters or more (for additional beer-delivery tips, see our article Support Czech beer Prague’s pubs and bottle shops are delivering to your doorstep). You can also support Czech microbreweries via the ZachranPivo platform.
Wine and Dine organize private supper clubs and wine tastings (when not under quarantine). They are currently offering a range of food and wine options for home delivery as well as online recipes. Aside from homemade organic dessert sauces, like salted caramel or choco-caramel with sea salt, they have wines from Germany, France, Spain, and Italy for surprisingly reasonable prices.
The end of the workweek is “Lucky Friday,” when they have a deal on Burgundies, and any order that they get before 20:00 on Thursday will be delivered the next day free of charge.
Pioneering Prague Mexican joint Las Adelitas promises fans on its Facebook page that there will never be “a drought of tacos and margaritas in this city.” Making good on its promise, it has delivery specials on 1-liter pitchers of margaritas, the perfect accompaniment to their tacos which can be ordered via delivery or walk-up window.
They are also offering gift certificates for 500, 1,000, 1,500 or 2,000 CZK, valid for six months from purchase date. “Buying vouchers is one of the best ways people can help support us right now,” says David Zamorano, co-founder of the chain. Zamorano adds. “We’re a destination place, and our business has fallen by 80%.” While their Old Town location remains closed, their other locations remain open and are accepting walk-up orders, as well as their La Taquería on Rumunská.
“We’re working with third-party delivery companies, but very soon we’ll offer our own walking delivery in the neighborhood as well,” he says.
Delivery services and safety
Hygiene is important, and Wolt and Dáme jídlo are currently only accepting online payments and offering contactless delivery. Take-out windows observe proper hygiene practices including wearing masks (Prague 7 Letná food mecca Mr. HotDog, which has just joined up with Wolt as well as re-opened their walk-up service is sporting particularly stylish ones made by the fashionistas at SWAP Prague).
“This is for the protection of both the delivery person and the customer,” says Foret. The contactless policy extends to the restaurants themselves, so food and packaging is handled as little as possible.
“We not only insist on handwashing throughout the day,” Fingl tells us, “but each vehicle is equipped with spray to disinfect the interior and the thermo boxes in which orders are delivered.” And, of course, masks are a must for delivery drivers these days.
It seems the public appreciates the effort: tipping has gone up significantly, “around 25% higher”, says Fingl. “Apparently people appreciate the work of the couriers.”
Tips for home delivery
- To keep abreast of what’s going on with your favorite local food businesses, follow them on social media or buy vouchers so they’ll still be here when things get back to normal — in addition to Las Adelitas, Bad Jeff’s Barbecue is another restaurant that has launched a voucher system, for instance.
- Add tips directly onto delivery orders where possible (Wolt has this feature).
- For a detailed list of places still operating in Prague, compiled and updated by the folks at Taste of Prague food tours.
- See our previous article on food delivery Prague Food Heroes deliver good eat community vibes during quarantine.
Let us know your current favorite Prague delivery spots in the comments below.