Anthony Bourdain may have famously called the Czech Republic the land that vegetables forgot but today in Prague that legacy — though not Bourdain’s! — has become a thing of the past. Numerous best-of lists have crowned the Czech capital among the top cities for vegetarians and vegans and a proliferation of fast-food kitchens, cafes, and full-scale restaurants specializing in green versions of hearty Czech cuisine have debuted in recent years.
In celebration of World Vegan Day this Friday, November 1, these are just a few of the Prague restaurants that are sending out guilt-free cover versions of some of the meatiest Czech eats around:
Open-faced sandwiches (Chlebíčky)
The Chlebíček Store
Earlier this year we picked up a batch of these open-faced sandwiches from the Chlebíček Store in Prague’s up-and-coming Libeň district. The small cafe’s mission is to give a healthful and animal-cruelty-free makeover to that meatiest, mayo-heaviest of Czech party snacks, the open-faced sandwich. Strips of “ham” and peas, colorful pink shreds of beet salad, and veg-based potato salad made these the perfect alternative to the usual office party fare.
A popular spot for weekend brunch or daily lunch, this tiny bistro on Žižkov’s sloping Milíčova street employs socially disadvantaged waitstaff who help to serve up a rotating menu of dishes, many of them all-time-favorite Czech eats, with a vegan variation. From tomato sauce and dumplings to this flavor-packed and crispy pea-and-celeriac schnitzel, Czech comfort food has never tasted so deliciously guilt-free.
Fried Cheese (Smažák)
Eaternia is a vegan jídelna (the Czech word for “cafeteria”) operating in a former malthouse in Prague’s Smíchov quarter. Open just since last year its daily menu combines veggie-revamped Czech classics with modern vegan fare — including vegan burgers and dogs — using an array of local products. The funky retro decor makes it a fun place to enjoy a casual bite.
Tenderloin in cream sauce with dumplings (Svíčková)
Plevel on Vršovice’s bohemian Krymská street was a pioneering restaurant in Prague’s vegan movement. While its menu incorporates inventive and colorful plant-sourced mains and desserts, it’s signature creamy svíčková (the meaty version of which is considered by many to be the Czech national dish), is a firm-favorite. Plevel also does a mean meatless version of Szeged goulash, a traditionally pork heavy stew served with sour cabbage and herb dumplings.
This Old Town sister restaurant to Prague’s Lehká hlava which specializes in more experimental dishes, offers a selection of Czech dishes to visitors from its Týnská street location. Another great spot offering vegan takes on goulash and svíčková in an area heavy on pork-knee pubs is Vegan’s Prague on Nerudova street just below Prague Castle.
In Prague, the World Vegan Day festival takes place on Sunday, November 3 at Cross Club and will feature a vegan marketplace, cooking demos, tastings, lectures, and more. See the Facebook event page for more details.