Croissants, Porridge and Kafka: Breakfast in Prague is a Culinary and Literary Adventure

A traditional Czech breakfast is a disappointing affair consisting of dark bread or bread rolls, slices of cheese, salami or ham washed down with coffee. Sometimes pastry with poppy seed paste completes the meal. You get the feeling that people are still full from the evening before or saving themselves from what is yet to come. Eating your breakfast in your hotel may sound a good alternative. The breakfast buffet is an endless array of tempting dishes. But hotel breakfasts are the same all over the world and you hardly notice in what city you are. The bread rolls may have a different shape, but the scrambled eggs, the salmon slivers, the jam, honey and orange juice are the same no matter in what country you are.

Most cafes are also excellent places to come back to at lunch time. Many serve fixed price lunches that are excellent value for money. Do noy expect exquisite culinary delights but you are sure to get a nourishing meal that will please carnivores.

If you need an early do--it-yourself breakfast, go to Albert or any of the other big supermarkets in the center of Prague. They are open from 7 o"clock in the morning. Fresh bread and crispy rolls are an excellent start of the day.

Here is a list of breakfast suggestions that will make your day.



Ovocny Svetozor Sokolovska
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Do you fancy ice cream for breakfast? Ovocný Svetozor is one of the best places in Prague to satisfy your wish. Ovocny Svetozor is famous for its fruit cakes, cheesecakes, cream cakes, pancakes, waffles and ice-cream. But also for its tasty sandwiches, croissants and freshly brewed coffee. They have several outlets scattered about Prague and there is always one right where you are. A very special shop is the one in Sokolovkska street near Florenc metro station. The interior is decked out in a London-theme in fiery red colours. The walls are decorated with London street scenes, red double decker buses and phone booths as entrance to the toilets. Does your strawberry tart or honey cream cake taste like the one you had in the coffee bar of your hotel? Ovocny Svetozor supplies cakes and ice-cream to various hotels, pastry shops and restaurants throughout Prague.

Local Expert tip: Ask any Prague resident where you can eat the best breakfast and the answer will invariably be Ovocny Svetozor. Not only is this the perfect spot for breakfast, their banana-strawberry flavored ice-cream tastes heavenly.

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Paneria is a popular fast food chain and has a number of shops dotted all over Prague. They are the perfect place for an early breakfast as they open 07.00 or 07.30. They specialize in Italian style sandwiches, bread rolls, baguettes, croissants. The sweet-toothed can choose from tantalizing strawberry tarts, cherry turnovers or apple strudel. Pick up a ready-made Panini for a picnic along the Vltava river embankment, or grab one of the tables inside and connect to free WiFi. Paneria is also an ideal spot for lunch. Their fresh salads, wraps and vegatarian dishes are sought after by tourists and locals alike.

Local Expert tip: Assemble your own special Panini menu and choose from your favorite Panini, cheesecake or spring salad. Wash it down with Fanta, Sprite, Bonaqua or CocaCola and save money.

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The Globe Bookstore and Cafe
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

The Globe Bookstore has been going strong since 1993. It is a favorite hang-out for book-loving anglophiles who browse the inventory of over ten thousand new and used English books. Settle for a French breakfast with croissants or homemade porridge with dried fruits and sprinkled with brown sugar. Sunday brunch draws a crowd who can choose from cinnamon French toast to apple walnut pancakes and vegetarian dream omelet. Order endless coffee and set up camp at your table for the rest of the day. There are computers to check your email and free WiFi.

Local Expert tip: Not only does the Globe Bookstore serve the best porridge in Prague, it also hosts literary readings, movies, live music and other special and top sporting events. Check their website for the program.

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Pekarstvi v Karmelitske Cafe
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

As soon as the doors open, locals come in to get their fresh-baked bread or sit in the café sipping strong coffee accompanied by scrumptious pastries. Join them and take a seat near the window to catch a glimpse of locals hurrying to work and tourists looking for the Infant Jesus in Mary Victory Church opposite. Order chlebicky, open sandwiches topped with cream cheese, ham, egg and gherkin or palacinky, crepes filled with warm forest fruit and whipped cream. When weather is too beautiful to sit inside, take your meal out and climb Petrin Hill on the other side of the street. Settle on a bench in the sun and enjoy your breakfast al fresco.

Local Expert tip: Be sure to try kolac pastry with a dollop of fresh prunes or strawberries. Washed down with strong sweet coffee it is pastry is the perfect breakfast snack. There are many more delectable pastries in the display case. If you don't know what to order, simply point out your selection.

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Cafe Tramway 11
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Right in the middle of Wenceslas square, Cafe Tramway is an eye-catcher. This fiery red tram used to trundle along Wenceslas Square. The two vintage streetcars stand on their own, now disused tracks. One car is the café, the other is the kitchen and toilets. Today more advanced models have replaced it, but still clang their way through the center of Prague. Tramway 11 Café is small, straightforward and unpretentious and so is the menu. Apple strudel or honey cake washed down by strong black coffee or frothy cappuccino makes an excellent breakfast. If you rather go for something savory, Tramway 11 also makes delectable sandwiches, salads and pizza. Sit inside at one of the tables and read clippings from newspapers with stories about Prague trams. Eat your breakfast inside or take it to an outdoor table.

Local Expert tip: Take you breakfast out and eat it at one of the outdoor tables while you scoop the whipped cream off your Videnska kava Czech for Viennese coffee. Drink it slowly while seeing the world go by on always buzzing Wenceslas Square.

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NeoPalladium Cafe
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Located in the Palladium Shopping, Neo Palladium Café is right in the center of Nove mesto, the New Town. This is an excellent option for anyone looking for a healthy breakfast. Their fitness breakfast is simply delicious; yoghurt with muesli and fresh fruit. This is also one of the few places where you can get a full English breakfast, Czech style. The sausages are like Frankfurters, no toast but French bread instead. If you like a less filling breakfast, Neo Palladium you can go for the French breakfast consisting of a croissant, baguette and Emmenthal cheese, butter and jam. Be sure to get a jumbo cup of frothy cappuccino or just a simple espresso.

Local Expert tip: Breakfast at Neo Palladium is the perfect beginning of a shopping or sightseeing day in Prague's historic center. Their scrambled egg on toast with mushrooms or salmon tickles the taste buds any time of day. Breakfast sandwich with sweet tomatoes, mild cheese and fried eggs is a meal in itself and will give you enough energy until lunch time.

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What better way to start the day with a warm pain au chocolate or a vanilla cream filled croissant? No need to go to France because Cukrarna St Tropez in Prague has about every sweet delight or pastry you fancy. The shop is like gourmet art gallery. The marzipan figurines are too beautiful to eat. Their chocolate cake is heavenly. Breakfast here is a true delight because there is so much to choose from. Is it going to be a simple muffin or would you rather indulge in a coffee-cream filled éclair? The interior is mint green, along one side runs a counter filled with the most delicious French pastries, rolls, croissants and bread all sorts and sizes. Cukrarna St Tropez is first and foremost a bakery shop, but there are a few round tables and chairs where you drink a café crème with a croissant. Cukrarna St Tropez is a spot of France in the middle of Prague.

Local Expert tip: Cukrarna St Tropez is housed in Palac U Novaku, a building with an elaborately decorated art Nouveau façade. Before enjoying your French breakfast, be sure to have a look at this amazing piece of architecture.

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Jan Paukert Lahudkarstvi
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Jan Paukert Lahudkárství is an institution in Prague. Located on Narodni Street, you are bound to amble along on your way to the National Theater and the Vltava River. Make it an early morning walk and stop here for a traditional Czech breakfast consisting of chlebícky. Chleb is the Czech word for bread and chlebicky is the diminutive. This 'little bread' is an open-faced sandwich, but not just any kind of open sandwich. Each single piece is a true masterpiece. Rounds of crusty white bread but soft inside are topped with any number of ingredients arranged in an arty fashion. The bread is spread with soft cheese or potato salad. Garnish includes roast beef, ham, salami, smoked salmon, egg and gherkin. Jan Paukert Lahudkárství includes a deli counter, lahudky, a sweet shop, cukrárna, and a cafeteria, jídelna, serving full meals accompanied by excellent wine.

Local Expert tip: Be sure to savor chlebicky healthy style. These are open-faced sandwiches without the traditional mayonnaise or soft cheese, but topped with roast beef and marinated zucchini or prosciutto and green olives.

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Prague 07 Holesovice
Bohemia Bagel Holesovice
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If you have a craving for bagel and milkshake, try Bohemia Bagel. No better way to start your day than with a freshly baked bagel filled with cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onions and capers. Washed down with La Boheme American drip coffee, this is one of the best meals you have ever had. After this hearty breakfast explore an art exhibitions in the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art just across the road. Come back for lunch. Free WiFi enables you to check your email while you devour a big hamburger with large strips of crispy bacon. Go on a shopping spree in nearby Milady Horakove Street and return to Bohemia Bagel for a drink from their well-stocked bar.

Local Expert tip: Weekend brunch starts at 10 am and the last crumb is eaten at 4 pm. Time enough to enjoy a culinary Saturday or Sunday meal. Who can resist scrambled eggs scrambled with spinach and tomatoes, topped with soft cream cheese and served with bacon, home fries and mini bagels?

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Bakeshop Praha
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

The aroma of fresh bread rushes towards you when you enter Bakeshop Praha. This is one of the best places to tuck in crispy croissants, real French pain au chocolate or bagels topped with sesame seed. Sit on the high stools in front of wall to ceiling windows and enjoy an Americano. Borrow the newspaper to catch up with the world news, but only if your Czech is up to date. In summer you can enjoy your breakfast al fresco, either on the benches lining the cobbled pavement or on the little square across the street. Bakeshop Praha is a bakery with a difference.

Local Expert tip: Once you have tasted Bakeshop's walnut sourdough bread, you will come back every morning and miss it when you are back home again. Freshness is their key word, yesterday's bread or pastry is not on sale. Firstly because there is a large turnover, secondly because all pastries and bread are prepared and baked on the day you eat it.

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Meet Marianne Crone

Marianne Crone divides her time between her home in the Netherlands and an apartment in Prague, the city where her son, daughter-in-law and grandson live.

Now retired, Marianne is still an...  More About Marianne