Coffee houses in the Best of Czech Tradition Means Strong Coffee and sometimes Large Mugs of Beer

Coffee lovers can satisfy their craving in one of the many coffee houses dotted all over Prague. Coffee is immensely popular and the Czechs claim their coffee is the best, even under Communism when beans were shipped from Cuba. Coffee houses have always been meeting places for politicians, artists and dissidents. In Communist days they were under close surveillance of the Secret Police. Today for the price of a small coffee, students and young professionals can sit and work undisturbed with their laptops for as long as they like - WiFi is free – and sit undisturbed for as long as they like.

Many of the coffee shops are known for their specialty coffees and ambiance. Step back in time and sip your cappuccino in the Kavarna of the Municipal House or join the moms in Mamacoffee chatting over their cup of Fair Trade coffee. Café Evropa excels in Turecka, a strong Turkish brew. Wait for the grounds to settle before taking your first sip.

Sample Videnska kava (Viennese coffee), a robust blend topped with whipped cream served in tall vase-like glasses. Add some excitement and try Alzirska kava (Algerian coffee), with a generous dollop of egg liqueur.

You may not have time to visit all ten coffee houses in the list below. But also if you visit only one, your trip to Prague will be an unforgettable experience.


Metro Cafe
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Metro Café is next to Malostranska Metro station. If you need a quick shot of caffeine, this is the ideal place. It is simple, unpretentious and service is fast. A pleasant side effect is that coffee and cakes are modestly priced taking into consideration its star position. After all they are next to Wallenstein Garden and close to top attraction Prague Castle. Drink you Illy coffee inside and take advantage of free WiFi or take it out and sit in the garden a popular tourist spot. This is also a good spot for breakfast that is served all day. There are three menus to choose from, ham and eggs with vegetables and bread sounds good. But what does vegetable mean? The Czechs have a special idea about vegetable. In this particular case it means tomato and cucumber.

Local Expert tip: Take a sightseeing break at Metro Café. Grab a coffee-to-go, drink it in Wallenstein garden and continue your trip to Prague Castle. The menu is translated into English, German, Italian, Russian and Korean, meaning you won't be the only tourist.

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Cafe Nona
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Cafés that do not double as restaurant are quite rare in Prague. Café Nona is an exception to this rule. Any time of day you drop in just for coffee without ordering a meal. To tell the truth they don't serve full meals but only snacks. Take a window seat and watch the crowd in busy Narodni street, clanking trams and just a glimpse of the Vltava River. Read the paper or borrow a book from their library, but only if your Czech is up to scratch. The coffee and tea menu is in Czech only but not difficult to understand. That is no problem because each member of the staff speaks English.

Local Expert tip: Café Nona is the perfect fuel stop when shopping and sightseeing in the New Town, Nove mesto. The café is located in the foyer of Nova Scena, known for Laterna Magika performances. The building is remarkable. Some consider it an eysore others find it an interesting piece of architecture.

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Kavarna Evropa
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Enter Café Evropa on your first visit to Prague and you will think, I have been here before. You are partly right. In the movie Titanic, the ornate interior of Evropa stood model for the ship's dining room on the ship. It was also featured in Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible. Café Evropa occupies a platinum location on Wenceslas Square and provides a perfect stop on your way to the historic center and Charles Bridge. Watch the world go by on the outside terrace, unless you want to feast your eyes on Art Nouveau details. For that, you must sit inside.

Local Expert tip: Coffee in a hundred-year old Art Nouveau building right on Wenceslas Square. Sit on the summer terrace of Kavarna Evropa, sip your cappuccino or savor Pilsner Urquell, said to be the best Czech beer.

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Kava Kava Kava
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Tucked away in a courtyard off Narodni street, Kava Kava Kava is a popular coffee house. The coffee is 100% Arabica, strong and robust. Big change that all seats are taken. No problem simply share a table with a local or another tourist. This is very common in Prague. Feeling a little hungry? Freshly toasted beagel oozing with cream cheese and chives tasted perfect with your latte or cappuccino. Or do you rather have carrot cake or banana bread? And what about choco muffins? Don't despair, you can come back every morning and try them all.

Local Expert tip: Coffee in Prague. Is this possible in the beer capital of Europe? If you have had enough beer and craving for a strong cup of coffee, Kava Kava Kava (coffee 3x) has the best and most fragrant coffee in Prague.

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Cafe and Restaurant Slavia
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Kavarna Slavia is undoubtedly one of the most famous cafés in Prague. This was the meeting place of Czech Avant-Garde in the early twentieth century and of dissidents during the Communist regime. Café Slavia is located right across from the National Opera and the perfect spot for a pre or after drink. In the morning is the favorite spot of coffee lovers. Try frothy cappuccino with a sprinkling of cacao or Vídenská kava, a tall glass of strong coffee topped with whipped cream. Eat it with Sachertorte or crispy apple strudel and you can skip lunch.

Local Expert tip: Coffee with a view of the Vltava River and the National Theater in Art Deco surroundings. Extra bonus is free WiFi. Kavarna Slavia was once the meeting place of intellectuals, including former president Vaclav Havel, now the haunt of locals and tourists alike. Whether you come for a morning coffee or a pre-theater drink, ask for a table with a view.

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Cafe Imperial
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As if time stood still. That is what you experience when you enter Café Imperial. Hundreds of ceramic tiles with bas reliefs of birds, flowers and mystic figures give the café an oriental feel. Franz Kafka and many other famous pre-war Prague citizens were frequent guests. When German soldiers began to have their meals here, Czechs stopped coming. After the war, the café became neglected but was restored to its former glory after a complete make-over in 2005-2007. The coffee is excellent, the cakes are delectable. Try one of the specials: Karlsbad coffee, espresso, Becherovka, cinnamon and whipped cream or hot chocolate Imperial with gingerbread and whipped cream. Read newspaper, browse magazines and soak up the 1920s atmosphere.

Local Expert tip: You simply cannot ignore the pastry counter laden with scrumptious honey cakes, apple strudel, cheesecakes and cherry pies. Be sure to savor one decorated with sugary letters saying Imperial. Sit back and drink coffee in beautiful Art Deco surroundings of Cafe Imperial.

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Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Tucked away in a small side street in the Mala Strana district, Cukrakavalimonada is a combination of restaurant, wine bar and patisserie. The painted wooden ceiling blends well with contemporary furniture. This is the ideal place to refuel before you climb up to Prague Castle. Sit outside and discover that a café latte goes fabulously with fluffy meringue kisses. The hot chocolate with cherry cake tastes heavenly and is almost a meal in itself. The mint-lemon-elderberry drink is deliciously refreshing. If you drop in at lunchtime, homemade pasta, salads and pancakes will seduce you.

Local Expert tip: Non coffee lovers should try the mint-lemon-elderberry drink, deliciously refreshing. Cukrakavalimonada, meaning sugar coffee lemonade, is the perfect spot to relax after a sightseeing tour through Prague's cobbled streets.

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If you search for fair trade coffee or tea, Mamacoffee is your place. Choose from a wide range of quality roasted beans brought from all over the world. Freshly ground, they make supreme cappuccino or latte. Ginger ale or ice mint rooibos are the perfect summer drinks and go very well with a vegetable quiche or bulgur with mixed vegetables. Once you have experienced this smoke free, family-friendly café, you will come back again and again. If you do not have time to sit down, beans or ground coffee are available to carry home as well as ceramics and knick knacks.

Local Expert tip: Drink Fair trade coffee or tea while working undisturbed on your laptop. Free WiFi. Bring the kids because Mamacoffee is 100% smoke free.

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Kavarna Obecni Dum
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Kavarna Obecni Dum, Municipal House Café, sparkles with early twentieth century splendor. In summer, tables spill out onto the pavement, but if you wish to appreciate the opulence of Art Nouveau interior decoration, you'd better sit inside. Choose tooth-jangling pastries from the cake trolley. Select cheesecake with strawberries, walnut cake with whipped cream, raspberry temptation or Schwarzwald cherry cake for all far too tempting. Do a bit of shopping in nearby Na Prikope street and return at lunchtime for the two-course tourist menu. Be sure to taste palacinky, French style crepes oozing with ice-cream and mounds of fresh fruit.

Local Expert tip: Step back in time and sip your coffee in opulent Art Nouveau elegance of the café in Obecni Dum, the Municipal House. Be temped by hazelnut cake with whipped cream or crispy apple struddel and vanilla ice-cream.

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Prague 05 Smichov

Nestled in a nineteenth-century building close to the Vltava River and Kampa Island, Café Savoy started life as an imitation of a Viennese coffeehouse. The café became a popular meeting place for dissidents after the Velvet Revolution in 1989. In 1992 the Savoy was lovingly restored to its original design, an elegant mix of wood and marble. Even if you don't like coffee, pop in to admire the dramatic hand-painted ceiling. Café Savoy promises a charming stop for a morning coffee or afternoon tea. Sample Savoy Café au Lait, espresso with milk chocolate and cinnamon, or Algerian coffee, espresso with egg liqueur and whipped cream. This is also the perfect place for a gourmet lunch or a glass of red away from the crowd in the Old Town.

Local Expert tip: Savor your Viennese coffee in Prague surrounded by Art Nouveau splendor and grab a seat on balcony overlooking the main floor of café Savoy for a closer view of the period details and chandeliers.

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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