If you follow us on Instagram (and you should if you don’t already), you will have noticed by now that we love burgers. One of us, Jan, could eat a burger for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And repeat it the next day. Really, burgers are great. If you haven’t had one, you should give them a try. Also, burgers are a good idea if you are traveling. Why? Easy. When you have a fancy dinner in a fine dining restaurant in the centre (nothing wrong with that), you sometimes eat with other foreign travelers. However, when you go for a burger, you tend to eat with the locals. And that’s exactly what we want you to do when you are here in Prague.
For a long time, burgers were seen as a US import and something inferior. In the 1990s, nobody really served gourmet versions and if you wanted burgers in Prague, you’d have to go to McDonald’s. Despite the comparatively high price, McDonald’s became a sensation when it opened in 1992 here, bringing high standards of service and hygiene into the Czech culinary scene (yes, the food was pretty bad here back then). Some Czech restaurants followed suit, offering horrible, deep fried patties of mystery meat in a cold bun. This all started changing a few years ago and now we are truly witnessing a burger explosion here in Prague. If you want a great gourmet burger, you will be happy here. These are are favorite burgers in Prague:
Dish serves one of our most favorite burgers in Prague. There is clearly a well thought-out concept behind it all: a nice brioche bun, well seasoned meat and perfectly balanced flavors in any of about ten burgers they offer. They also serve any burger “naked” if you are not a fan of gluten. We also like their dips served with the fries, and if you want to go the extra mile, order the "fitness fries": fries with maple syrup and bacon. Dish is a very lively place and it is fairly hard to get a table during their rush hours, so making a reservation here is a very good idea, especially when you come with a bigger group. Dish serves unfiltered lager by the local Unetice brewery and Fritz Kola, hipster cokes from Germany. The only thing we would improve are their two veggie burgers: if you want no meat, the mushroom version is clearly better.
The Tavern is the place to visit if you like burgers American style: big and messy. You can order a mix of their fries and tater tots to go with the burger, all served in paper and a plastic bowl. We especially love the pulled pork burger with Slivovitz-infused BBQ sauce. The atmosphere is this fairly tiny place is very welcoming and the soundtrack is always right. You can’t beat the location: right next to the Riegrovy sady park at the borner of the Zizkov and Vinohrady districts, this is the perfect place to get a burger and then eat it outside in the park when the weather cooperates. The Tavern likes beers and it shows: they serve Jezek beer and Pilsner Urquell as standard, followed by a selection of craft beers from local microbreweries.
The owners have recently opened a new place a few blocks away: U Kurelu is now still more of a pop-up than a regular venue but they do hold events that focus on burgers, barbecue, meat pies and beers! Check their Facebook profile for info about their upcoming events.
We Are Burgers
Having tasted their burgers, you would not believe that the people behind We Are Burgers are a bunch of young guys who are NOT chefs but run an advertising outfit. They do not have a permanent “place of business” and are instead a pop-up grill. We have tasted their burgers on several occasions and always liked them. They buy they meat at Nase Maso and we like their patties, although it may have been too well done for our taste sometimes. Still, We Are Burgers are definitely worth checking out. Have a look at their Facebook profile for their upcoming appearances.
If there is anyone serving a properly “Czech” burger, it would be Nase maso, the butcher shop that forms a part of the omnipresent Ambiente group of restaurants. Juicy beef patty made right there in the butcher shop with a very coarse grind and no additional ingredients except the meat, salt and pepper, is served in a toasted Czech houska bun and the condiments are mustard, raw onion and pickles. The burger is served wrapped in paper and cut into two halves for convenience, and it works. This burger, just like the venue, is all about the meat. And the meat is delicious. At CZK about 160, this is a steal. To kick it up a notch, just go for the dry-aged beef burger at less than CZK 200, or the lamb burger they may have from time to time. To beat the crowds, have the burger outside of the office lunch hours when the lines in the butcher shop are not that long. You can wash it down with a cup or two of the lager on tap made by Antos, a small brewery seated in the town of Slany some 25 miles from Prague.