The Prague Dining Experience: from French Cuisine to Bohemian Platter

Prague's Nove Mesto quarter is dotted with restaurants, cafes and beer halls all serving Czech specialties from Bohemian platter in Pivovarsky Dum to roast goose in Mlynec. Prague is the only city with a dancing house. When the Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry designed the Dancing House to fill the place of a bombed apartment, the finished building caused quite a stir in 1996. The only way to see the inside is dining in Restaurant Celeste on the top floor. You will be treated to topnotch French cuisine. The sweeping view is the bonus. You can listen to rousing accordion music in Art Nouveau decorated Plzenska Restaurant, in the Municipal House. This is also the perfect spot to rest your feet for a while and indulge in Viennese coffee and crispy apple strudel with a big dollop of whipped cream. Come back in the evening for the full meal. Join the locals and spend the evening in micro-brewery Novomestsky Pivovar drinking the home brew accompanied by schnitzels as large as doormats. Like many Prague restaurants Zofin Garden Restaurant is very child friendly. A play corner with toys, books and crayons inside. The outside playground with swings and climbing frames will make them very hungry.


More than fifty types of pizza plus pasta, salads, a kids' menu and entertainment tempt fathers , mothers and grandparents on a regular basis. Pizzas are prepared in front of you in traditional wood-fired ovens by experienced chefs. Neapolitan pizza, tomato, mozzarella and mushrooms or the plain Margherita, just tomato and mozzarella, Rugantini pizzas are difficult to resist. Or go vegetarian with fifteen different possibilities. Salads are big, so depending on how many there are in your party, agree on one or two and plan to share. Pizzeria Rugantino also offers a variety of hot and cold starters and tasty desserts including tiramisu and home-made ice cream.

Recommended for Nove Mesto's Best Restaurants because: The weekend events for families with children make Pizzeria Rugant into the best restaurant for fathers, mothers and grandparents.

Local Expert tip: Spend an hour or two in the wine cellar and taste the best Italian wines.

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Located on Slavonic island, Zofin Garden restaurant is the most idyllic spot in Prague to enjoy a gourmet meal at affordable prices. In summer, sit under palm trees in the gazebo that resembles an orangery with a multitude of Mediterranean plants and flowers. Chefs prepare Czech specialties on the open grill. Dining inside the Zofin Palace is equally rewarding. Zofin Garden is excellently suited for families with children. There is a children's play corner inside the marquee and older children can explore car-free Slavonic island, feed the swans or have a go on the swings in the large playground.

Recommended for Nove Mesto's Best Restaurants because: Be sure to come with your family for Sunday brunch. The kids enjoy Batman or Pirates while you listen to a live jazz trio.

Local Expert tip: Dine inside a Zofin Palace in winter: sample venison or goose. Sit outside in summer and enjoy a large beer with burgers or lamb skewers.

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Chef Marek Purkart of Mlynec Restaurant believes in a climate smart menu, in other words do not expect fresh strawberries in December or pumpkin soup in spring. Dining in Mlynec Restaurant is a pleasure for the taste buds and easy on your wallet. The menu ranges from warm Prague ham with red lentil purée for starters to roast duck with dumplings for the main course. The special Sunday Roast menu is much recommended. Nothing can rival the roast leg of lamb doused in coriander-mint sauce followed by orange cheesecake. The wine list includes Czech wines along with a good selection of international wines. Sunday lunch includes an unlimited number of selected drinks such as Moravian wines, soft drinks and fresh orange juice. Mlynec means dining in style in an elegant interior or on the summer terrace with breathtaking views of Charles Bridge.

Recommended for Nove Mesto's Best Restaurants because: Roast goose, Moravian wine and first class view of Charles bridge is Mlynec in a nutshell.

Local Expert tip: Savour traditional Czech cuisine prepared by chef Marek Purkart who won the prestigious Bib Gourmand award, meaning excellent value for money.

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Prague 02 Vinohrady
U Kalicha
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Jaroslav Hasek author of the Good Soldier Svejk and Josef Lada who illustrated the book often drank and ate in Hostinech U Kalicha. Hasek's stories describe a good-natured soldier who is driven by the desire for a good mug of beer. Svejk's simple wisdom makes the war, the bureaucracy look ridiculous. The restaurant owners cash in on this beloved character and provide their guests with an 'all svejk experience'. This is a spot where tourist meets tourist. The main dining hall seats several hundreds of diners. The menu is in sixteen languages, but the fare is traditional Czech and the portions are very generous. Nothing beats beef in cream sauce with bread dumplings. Roast piglet with red cabbage and roast duck with sauerkraut are dishes you must have tried at least once.

Recommended for Nove Mesto's Best Restaurants because: If you have read 'The Good Soldier Sveijk', be sure to dine at least once in U Kalicha.

Local Expert tip: Sample roast goose with dumplings and red cabbage, the very meal the Good Soldier Svejk must have eaten when he said the famous words: after the war in U Kalicha at eight. The good soldier is present everywhere on the walls, on posters and on the Svejk merchandise.

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No wonder that Café Louvre is perpetually crowded. The location is central and the menu goes forever. This Parisian style café dates back to 1902, was forced to close in 1948 when the Soviets took over. Since its re-opening in 1992, Café Louvre is populated in the morning by coffee drinkers reading their newspapers or gazing out of the large windows that overlook busy Narodni Street. Lunch draws an office crowd and in the afternoon the main attraction is the freshly made pastries, tarts and pies. This is one of the best places to sample Czech goulash served with bread dumplings. The beer on draft is unpasteurized Bernard either lager or dark.

Recommended for Nove Mesto's Best Restaurants because: Café Louvre is the perfect lunch stop after you have done your shopping in Na Prikope, 28 Rijna and Narodni streets.

Local Expert tip: Café Louvre is the perfect restaurant for a light or copious meal before going to a performance in the National Theatre across the road.

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Plzenska Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Plzenska Restaurant takes its name from the most famous of all Czech beers; Pilsner Urquell, brewed in the city of Plzen or Pilsen in west Bohemia. This beer hall is one of the restaurants in the Municipal House, the most elegant and elaborately decorated Art Nouveau building in Prague. Spoil yourself with starters like spicy pickled Prague sausage with onions and chilies or a generous slice of Prague ham with a big blob of fresh horseradish sauce and lots of gherkins. The selection of main courses includes Czech classics like duck or goose served with two types of dumplings, bread and potato. Dumplings are one of the main stays of Czech cuisine and Plzenska Beer hall is excellent place to sample them. Wash them down with a mug of Pilsner Urquell, the King among the Czech beers.

Recommended for Nove Mesto's Best Restaurants because: Come to Plzenska Restaurant with a good appetite because portions are huge.

Local Expert tip: Come after 7 pm to Plzenska Beer Hall if you like accordion music to accompany your meal. Be sure to sample juicy wild boar served with zesty cranberry sauce and crisp potato pancakes or beef goulash Prague style includes a grilled sausage, fried onions and dumplings.

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Bellevue means French dining with a breathtaking view, that's so spectacular it will give you goose bumps. The multicourse tasting menus includes crisp roasted duck in honey-lavender sauce or grilled suckling pork chops with mustard sauce – true adventures for the taste buds. The sommelier offers a special wine list that features classical French to local wines grown in the vineyards of Moravia. The interior of Bellevue is a delightful blend of modernity and tradition. The soft mauve and beige shades go well together with the crystal chandeliers, the classic furniture and the crisp white tablecloths. On warm sunny days, diners can enjoy their meal al fresco while taking in unrestricted views of Prague Castle across the Vltava River.

Recommended for Nove Mesto's Best Restaurants because: Bellevue means dining in style. Sweeping views of the Vltava River and Prague Castle go very well with Moravian wines.

Local Expert tip: Ask for a table near one of the huge windows for the best view of Charles Bridge and Prague Castle beyond.

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Novomestsky Pivovar
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Novomestsky Pivovar is a micro-brewery and a popular restaurant where you might lose your way in the underground maze of rooms done in farmhouse décor. This pub is popular and sometimes it is difficult to find a seat. This is no problem, table sharing is the normal thing to do in Prague pubs. The menu is in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish and Russian. Czech is hardly spoken her. If you like to spend time with other tourists, this is your place. Novomestsky kvasnicovy lezak, either pale or dark is one of the best beers you can get in the Czech Republic, slightly bitter with a warm aftertaste. The waiters are slightly pushy and refill your glass even before you have agreed. The food is tasty but portions are small.

Recommended for Nove Mesto's Best Restaurants because: Drink Novomestsky kvasnicovy lezak then do the tour of the Novomestsky Pivovar brewery. Your beer certificate shows you are now member of the Novemestsky-Brewing Guild.

Local Expert tip: Book ahead in summer, because Novomestsky Pivovar is popular with tourists and locals.

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Celeste Restaurants's circular dining room atop the Dancing House offers sweeping, views of Vltava River and Prague Castle. In summer, tables spill out on to the terrace. The French chef Gwendal Le Ruyet makes every meal a culinary adventure. Seafood lovers will appreciate the turbot fillet with warm seaweed and crisp apple salad. Fregula pasta, risotto style, with asparagus, parmesan cheese and herb oil is a pleasure for the vegetarian palate. A Pinot Blanc or Riesling Grand Cru is an excellent choice to accompany your meal. Finish the French way with cheese followed by champagne mousse with basil cream and fresh strawberries.

Recommended for Nove Mesto's Best Restaurants because: Celeste Restaurant offers French dining in the only Dancing House in the world.

Local Expert tip: Sip before-dinner cocktails on the summer terrace on the top floor of the Dancing House when the sky is ablaze with the setting sun.

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Favored by locals, Pivovarsky Dum exels in light, mixed and dark unfiltered beer. This is not the only reason to pop in here. This Micro Brewery is the perfect pub to taste flavored beers; coffee, champagne, banana or cherry. These beers offer quite a challenge and there are more flavors than you can possibly taste in one evening. A pleasant smell of hops mixed with malt lingers and whets the appetite. Ask for the chef's special: roast pork joint stuffed with smoke meat and accompanied by potato dumplings. Another favorite is Bohemian platter; roast and smoked pork, sauerkraut and red cabbage. Be warned; the portions are huge.

Recommended for Nove Mesto's Best Restaurants because: Pivovarsky Dum is the perfect pub to wind down after a pleasant day filled with sightseeing.

Local Expert tip: Sample fruit-filled dumplings smothered in sour cream sauce, a Czech speciality which is often difficult to find, but you will find it on the menu of Pivovarsky Dum..

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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