Also reviewed this week: Čajovna Ve věži
I won’t lie – I wasn’t really looking forward to my visit to Dobrá Čajovna. As I consulted the map, my heart sank as I realised that the branch Expats.cz had asked me to visit is halfway up Wenceslas Square. My heart sank further as I remembered that Dobrá Čajovna is a chain. Even though it is often credited with being the lynchpin of the 1990s revival of Czech tea houses, Dobrá Čajovna’s touristy location made me expect a Starbucks experience: overcrowded, overpriced and not very relaxing.
I was pleasantly surprised then, as I found this tea house. Tucked away off Wenceslas Square, it is hidden from view in a little courtyard, the entrance to which is marked by a discrete sign. It was quiet and still, with tinkling music, which was not drowned out by the hustle and bustle of Prague’s main street.
I visited on a warm day, so chose to sit outside in the decked area with bamboo sun umbrellas, low tables (made out of wooden tea chests), and stools. For different weather or in the evening, the inside looks very comfortable – with Persian rugs on the floor and photographs of tea, tea drinkers and tea producers. At one end the floor is strewn with cushions should you wish to sit or lie on the floor.
The menu (which is available in English and Czech) is fantastically informative. It lists Dobrá Čajovna’s eighty-or-so tea and suggests the ideal number of ‘pouring’ for each one. It offers a three or four line description of each tea. Delightfully, these include “A good tea to drink whilst reminiscing” (The Calling for Nepal), tea that is “suitable for drinking when returning from a walk in the park at twilight”, (Silver Monkey’s Paw), and tea “for a quiet meeting with close friends” (Sencha Kyoto).
Dobrá Čajovna’s food menu includes snacks such as nuts and Japanese rice crackers. Savoury dishes including couscous and hummus are also available. Soft drinks are offered and are, happily, limited to exotic sounding chilled fruit juices – no crowd-pleasing Coca-Cola here!
My waiter was very helpful. I am indecisive at the best of times and, when faced with a menu of such alluring choice, completely stumped. My waiter asked how I felt and what I thought I might like. I said I was quite tired, likely to have something to eat, and would like something a little sweet but not too overpowering. My waiter ‘diagnosed’ me White Peony (88 CZK), which is a white tea. I also ordered hummus and pitta bread (85 CZK).
My tea arrived quickly, together with extra water. It was served in a tiny one-person earthenware tea pot decorated with Chinese characters and images and stuffed with fragrant tea leaves. My waiter prepared the first pouring for me, first warming the pale green drinking bowl with hot water. The tea was a pale yellow, honey colour and smelt and tasted slightly sweet. It was refreshing and really thirst quenching. This was just what I’d wanted and I was impressed that my waiter had chosen so well for me.
My food arrived shortly afterwards, and I was very impressed. Beautifully presented, the hummus was served with red peppers and cucumbers, with olives and olive oil on top and warm pitta bread to one side. It was the best hummus I’ve tasted in Prague, and a good size for one person.
I also ordered crystalized ginger (30 CZK).
This was delicious but did pack a serious punch – go easy if you don’t absolutely love ginger! The portion was very generous but Dobrá Čajovna kindly gave me a doggy bag to take the leftovers home, which may keep me going for some time!
Overall, I was surprised by how much I loved it here. The service was excellent, discrete but attentive and very well informed. The atmosphere was much more relaxed than I had expected given the location. The tea and the food were of a really high standard. I look forward to visiting again and to trying Dobrá Čajovna at its other locations.
Dobrá Čajovna also has a shop selling leaf teas, teapots and cups.
Dobrá Čajovna is located at Václavské Náměstí 14, 11100 Prague 1. Open Mon-Fri 10:00 to 21:30, Sat-Sun 14:00 to 21:30