There's not many things in life that come even close to eating a great meal with the right person al fresco on a lazy summer afternoon: you just sit down, savor the food and the ambience, and bask in the sunlight. Just lean into the chair a bit more and let it all hang out. You deserve it.
To recreate that fantasy here in Prague and to make sure you fully enjoy your summer trip to Prague, we have put together a list of our favorite Prague restaurants that have outdoor seats. This is not en exhaustive list. These are simply places we ourselves like to go to enjoy a nice meal on fresh air.
Some of the best moments on our food tours come when talking about life with our lovely guests, sitting outside behind the tables in front of Sansho. Sitting there in the sun feels like Sunday: there’s simply something relaxing about the whole experience. And the food, of course, is top notch: their summer pork belly dish (with hoisin sauce and watermelon) is one of the best dishes in Prague in our book, followed by their soft shell crab sliders and the beef curry. Worth noting is the fact that Maso a kobliha next door also has a small backyard seating section that fits like three tables. And there’s nothing like drinking craft beers and eating Scotch eggs in the sun. Trust us.
Red Pif has always been a place for natural wines, i.e. wines without any chemistry used in the vineyard or in the wine cellar, but also for good food. Headed by the former chef of Cafe Fara, a foodie refuge in the South Moravian wine region, and often aided by the popular Czech chef/food blogger Kamura, the kitchen also prepares some tasty food. And both things can be had in their designer outdoor seating just across the street from the bar, with some elements mirroring the design of the interiors. It is a small wonder that this place, with its good food, great wines and central location just off the Bethlehem Square, has not become a tourist trap by now. Let's keep it that way.
Sure, the place for Cestr’s outdoor seating is fairly uninspiring, but we think they squeezed out the maximum out of the location: it must have been really hard to build something as cosy just a few meters off a busy road (to be fair, it is separated from the highway by a wall). This as an extension of a steakhouse that is more pub-like than the modern interiors: long communal tables with benches, kids playing in the sandbox, and the grill turning Cestr’s good protein into some delicious pub food that pairs well with the Pilsner Urquell from the tank. And if sausages are not enough, you can try your luck and ask nicely if you could order anything from the kitchen inside.
There are not many places in the historical centre that would offer outdoor seats and not be touristy rip-offs on the main squares of Prague that sell overpriced food and drinks to unassuming tourists. One of the exceptions is the recently opened Spices restaurant (formerly known as Essensia) in the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Of course, the surroundings are not truly inspiring - you’re basically looking at the parking area in front of the hotel - but the seating is separated from the street, and many of the Asian-inspired dishes eat very well in the summer. Still, we’d go for the kulajda soup from their lounge menu: one of the best soups in Prague.
Truth, the cheery beer drinking at Lokal, the locals’ choice for fresh, unpasteurized Pilsner from the stainless steel tanks, tends to spill out on to the streets around the pub in any of their five Prague locations regardless of whether they have outdoor seating or not. But three of them do. First, the Lokal u bile kuzelky at Misenska near the Charles Bridge has a few tables, so this is your place for a beer and sausage after you’ve climbed the hill up to the Castle and then descended back. Second, the Lokal nad Stromovkou in the Letna district has a few tables (provided that you're lucky and get good service at that place), and third, the Lokal U Zavadilu in the Kunratice district far, far away has a proper, roofed outside seating that just whispers in your ear something about staying a bit longer and having just one more beer... just one, promise.
When La Gastronomica opened, it heralded a change in the strategy for Riccardo Luque’s Italian food empire: a move away from fine-dining restaurants to high-end Italian bistros with strong design. And the design is great: created by the Edit! architects, it is light and modern and airy, and it extends into the outdoor seating: just a few tables near the big windows that, when opened, connect the interiors to the street outside. The view isn’t bad either: we can debate whether the TV Tower is beautiful or not, but it definitely is interesting, and the park underneath it is green and leafy. The food is good too, from pretty opulent breakfasts to light Italian dishes for lunch, and nibbles to go along with their selection of wines. We can think only of a few better places for a Sunday brunch. Oh, and their older sister restaurant Aromi nearby also opens a few tables on the street during the summer, which is a chance to taste their lunch specials that offer a great value.
What can we write about a place that we have written about so many times before? Dish is our place to go to for a fantastic burger (comparable to the best out there in any city), and Jan would have their Smoky Dish burger and their fries with the smoked chili mayonnaise for breakfast, lunch and dinner (his doctor disagrees). And in the summer, they do have outdoor seating too. Sure, it fits about a dozen people (and they have to like each other) and the surroundings are not breathtaking in any way whatsoever, but hey, you’re sitting outside on a sunny day, enjoying a great burger and drinking beer. And isn’t that what’s life all about? (Okay, we got excited a little bit here.)
LAS ADELITAS AT AMERICKA
Our favorite Mexican restaurant in Prague has two locations, but we much prefer the one in the Vinohrady district over the centrally located one: it is less crowded and smoking is not allowed. Although the interiors are cute and inspired by Mexico, the owners’ place of birth, they open a few tables outside for the summer, and that’s exactly where we’d have our daily dose of Al Pastor carnitas or tacos, washed down with their delicious (and humongous) mango margaritas. Just beware of brain freeze. (We’ve been there.)
In all honesty, the Story restaurant has quickly become the place we love coming back to, simply because we love the flavors and the love the young couple who owns and runs the place and who have some previous cooking experience in Michelin-starred restaurants in London put into the dishes. No, it’s not in the centre, and no, you should not expect a design statement from the interiors or the outdoor seating area. But the tables outside are pleasant: Story is located in a quiet, residential area among small, semi-detached houses. (You have to get to the end of the tram line from the centre to get there, and that adds to the surprise: you would not expect cooking of this quality in a place like this.)
If you’re up for a proper Czech meal and don’t mind using the public transport for a 30-minute journey outside of the centre, Kastrol restaurant might just be the place for you. The pub in the middle of a village farmhouse surrounded by a sea of Communist-era panel houses serves really good, honest Czech dishes, and their seating outside in the yard is something for the entire family (kids included). If you have a car in Prague, make sure you also visit their sister restaurant Na Pekarne in the Cakovicky village, our favorite Czech restaurant on the planet. (Don’t skip dessert: their povidlove tasticky are the things dreams, and obesity, are made of.)
Sure, the central location of Home Kitchen does not have outdoor seating, but the new Home Kitchen in the Holesovice district does. Although the place is open virtually all day (we have no idea how they can bear the long shifts), we recommend it for breakfast if you’ve decided to visit the Dox Museum nearby. The outdoor seating area looks into the Marina residential development project (so not onto the street with traffic) and is one of the calmest spots in Prague to have a breakfast. We definitely recommend this one for a lazy Sunday morning, followed by a stroll through the Holesovice district.
Okay, so this one is not technically in Prague, but some of our guests have visited the place on a recommendation of a hotel concierge, and if they could make the journey, so can you. After about a 30-minute drive from the centre of Prague, you’ll arrive at the “Grandma’s Garden”, a relatively large restaurant with an even larger outdoor seating area. Think restored countryside house that serves homey dishes and could be a great wedding spot, if you like large weddings. This place is like a small getaway where nobody can find you: friends, enemies, cabs that you've ordered, or cell signal.