If we got a penny for every email we get in November and December asking “Where should we eat on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve?”… we’d have lots of pennies. Yes. Dining out in Prague is hard over Christmas, especially if you don’t like hotel restaurants. (And yes, we don’t particularly like them either.)
It’s funny: while the Czechs may form statistically one of the most atheist societies in the world, they do like and celebrate Christmas. Heck, kids write letters to Baby Jesus, because he brings Christmas presents! (Sorry, no imagery behind that.) And Czech Christmas could also be easily called the National Day of Overeating at Home, which means that nearly all eateries will shut down to some extent, especially for Christmas Eve. So if you are hungry on Christmas Eve, you will probably stay hungry until Christmas Day. Mark our words.
Of course, you don’t have to be a foreign visitor to have a keen interest in Christmas dining options. We mean, have you ever hosted a Christmas Eve dinner for the family? Exactly. Everybody’s late, you’re stressed (honey, have you bought the sweet wine your mom likes?), the potato salad tastes funny and the carp has bones. And then bitter disappointments and fake smiles under the Christmas tree. Yeah. Thank you but no, thank you. Why not just skip it all and have a great dinner somewhere nice, like the solid and self-respecting humans we all are?
So we have rung a few numbers, talked to a few friends, browsed a few websites, and set up this Prague Christmas Dining Guide. Sure, you may now think you will not need it at all. But trust us: you’ll wish you’d paid attention to it when the morning of December 24 arrives. Bookmark this post. Act on it now. Or weep later. Merry Christmas!
If you want something fancy
Sure, you can have a meal in your hotel restaurant. But that isn’t really winning, is it? Wouldn’t you actually rather be among some locals? If the answer is yes, and you’d like to celebrate Christmas in style, give these fine dining places in Prague a chance.
La Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise, the Czech Michelin star, is closed on 24/12, but otherwise sticks to their normal schedule. Which means they will be open on New Year's Eve. If you want to taste their modern take on traditional Czech cuisine, give them a call (six courses for CZK 2,450; eleven courses for CZK 3,350).
The very popular Italian restaurant in the Vinohrady district that has recently reopened in a new location will be open throughout the holidays. They do serve a set menu for Christmas Eve (CZK 1,950 or 2,950 without or with the wine pairing) and the New Year’s Eve, the latter with a James Bond theme (CZK 3,750 without or CZK 4,950 with the wines). Oh yes, shaken, not stirred.
La Finestra, Aromi's sister with a focus on meat, will remain open throughout the holidays as usual. Again, they will serve a special Christmas menu (CZK 1,950) and a NYE menu (CZK 3,250).
Grand Cru is closed on 24, 25 and 27/12, and will offer a three or five-course Christmas menu (CZK 790 or 1190) on 26/12 from 5pm, and then later on from 28/12. A set menu will be served on New Year's Eve. The menu costs CZK 2900, or CZK 4,500 with wine pairing.
SaSaZu, the hip Asian fusion restaurant in a converted meat packing hall, will be closed on 24 and 25/12, only to reopen on 26/12 to their regular menu. For New Year’s Eve, they’re planning a set menu of six present courses and five cocktails of your choice. You can come on New Year’s Day, but not before you sober up: they will open at 6pm.
Field, one of the younger restaurants on Prague’s fine dining scene that we’ve previewed here, is closed on 24/12, 25/12 and 26/12, to be followed by their usual opening hours. New Year’s Eve dinner, which will start at 7.30pm, will be inspired by the Pulp Fiction movie. Hope you like adrenaline shots delivered into your chest. The menu can be seen here. It will cost CZK 4,500 and can be booked, and paid, here.
Kalina, the high-end French restaurant near the Old Town Square, is already fully booked for the lunch on 24/12 and shuts down on 25/12. The traditional Czech goose will be served on 26/12 as a set 4-course menu for CZK 1450. A prix fixe menu will be served on New Year’s Eve for CZK 2950 pp. Then the restaurant will reopen on January 4. (We sense big plans for the NYE party!)
Pot-au-feu, another French restaurant, will be closed on 24 through 30 December. They will be open on 31/12. No special set menu will be served, so you order a la carte. Which is not necessarily a bad thing if you like to choose your own meals. Don’t show up on 1 January. You’d be crying in front of a closed restaurant.
Spices, the restaurant of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, will be open throughout the holidays, of course. They will serve a traditional Czech Christmas menu on 24 through 26/12 for CZK 1550, but will serve an Asian-flavored dinner on Christmas Eve for CZK 2680. Two options are ready on NYE: either the gala dinner at the Grand Ballroom that includes a buffet, live music, and drinks, and a handshake from the director, for CZK 7000 pp, or a six-course meal at Spices for CZK 5350.
Aureole, a fine-dining Asian fusion and international restaurant at the top of a high-rise building near the centre, is fully booked from 6pm on on Christmas Eve already. (Don’t look at us. We’re eating elsewhere this Christmas.) Traditional Czech Christmas Eve lunch will be served from 11am, followed by classic Czech dinner from 3pm. Then they close on 25 and 26/12. CZK 3900 will buy you their “Taste the World” buffet menu and a “live cooking show” on New Year’s Eve. Please enquire at the restaurant for more details about prepayment.
Oh, and if you think we forgot about Alcron, the other Michelin star in Prague, we haven't. They’re fully booked throughout the holidays. Go figure.
If you want something more casual
Yes, sometimes you don’t have to sweat it. The holiday season should be about peace and calm. So wear your favorite pair of jeans and your casual jacket, and enjoy Christmas and NYE in a more casual environment.
The Czech traditional canteen with a modern twist, will close for 24/12. Other than that, it will remain open throughout the holiday season as usual, and will stay open past midnight for New Year’s Eve and may serve a set menu (not sure yet), but a la carte dishes will be served in any case.
The spanking new Czech tradition-meets-Nordic cuisine restaurant, bakery and cafe in one in the Karlin district will be closed for Christmas Eve, only to reopen on 25/12 for dinner service. Extended brunch service from 9am until 3pm will be served on 26 and 27/12, followed by their standard dinners. NYE plans? Their regular a la carte dishes and standard opening hours.
One of our favorite weird hidden gems in Prague and a foodies’ favorite in the Petriny district, will close from 24 to 28/12. That said, they will be open on NYE and 1/1 as usual. It seems that no special menu is planned.
La Bottega Bistroteka, the Dlouha street location of Riccardo Lucque’s Prague Italian food empire, will serve Christmas specials from 21 to 27/12. They will close a bit earlier, at 10pm during Christmas. New Year’s Eve set menu will set you back CZK 2,590.
La Bottega di Finestra, the bistro sister of La Finestra in Platnerska near the Charles Bridge, will serve a Christmas menu for CZK 950 from 24 to 26/12. Their 7-course NYE menu will cost CZK 2,790.
Gastronomica, the cool Italian bistro under the TV Tower at the border of the Vinohrady and Zizkov districts, will be serving a Christmas menu from 24 to 26/12 for CZK 795. On 31/12, they will serve a set menu for CZK 1,150.
La Bottega Tusarova, the latest location in the Holesovice district, will be serving a Christmas menu from 24 to 26/12 for CZK 795. They will close at 4pm on Christmas Eve. A set menu for CZK 1,500 will be served on NYE. The doors will open at 7pm.
Café Savoy, the "First Republic” Czech café and restaurant with a French influence in a beautiful setting near the river, will shut down for 24/12. However, they will do business from 25/12 as usual. They will close at 5pm on 31/12 only to reopen at 7pm for the rest of the night.
The designer wine bar with a focus on natural wines from home and abroad and a kitchen run by Steve of former Spices restaurant, will be closed for 24/12 and Sunday, but otherwise will remain open. They will have a 4-course Christmas menu valid from 21 through 26/12. A seven-course set menu will be served on 31/12: CZK 2800 without and CZK 4500 with the wine pairing. Tucked away in a small street but about 5 minutes by walk from the Charles Bridge, this might be a great place to celebrate NYE!
No special Christmas plans at Na kopci, a Bib Gourmand-awarded local foodie favorite: the restaurant closes at 2.30pm on 23 December and reopens on 26/12 at 11:30am. NYE and NYD plans? Not at Na kopci: they will be closed and will reopen as usual on 2 January.
If delicious pizza and pasta is your thing, Pizza Nuova will shut down for 24/12 and will stay open until the end of the year. On NYE, only all-you-can eat menu, expanded by a selection of meat and fish, for CZK 820 on 31/12 (they will close temporarily from 3 to 6pm). And what says Christmas more than a pizza, right?
Limited budget with lots of fun
Okay, it’s time to paaaarty! Yup, if you’re not in the mood for Christmas, or if you want to celebrate Christmas and NYE like it's 1999, print this out. We’re sure you can hit them all in one night!
Maso a kobliha
Maso a kobliha will be closed on 24 through 28, but will be open on 29 and 30 December. What? We’ll have to survive nearly a week without their Scotch eggs or vanilla custard donuts? This is torture, people.
Nase maso, the über-popular butcher shop in the Dlouha food arcade will be closed on 24/12, but that’s about it. Fancy a "dinner from the butcher"? Well, they will be available every night except Christmas Eve, i.e. including New Year’s Eve. And what better way to say farewell to the old year than by devouring big slabs of meat? Yeah, we don’t know either.
Dish Fine Burger Bistro
Dish, the extremely popular place that serves arguably the best burgers in town, will be closed for 24 through 26 December but will remain open for the rest of the year. Their closing time on 31/12 is 10pm. Burgers ahoy!
The Tavern Bar
The popular place that serves great pulled pork sandwiches and burgers and some of the best hangover food in Prague in arguably the best atmosphere in town, will be closed on 24/12 and 25/12, unlike the previous year. Oh lark, hear the sailors cry! That said, they will be open on 31/12 and 1/1 as usual.
U Kurelu, the classic Zizkov pub resurrected by The Tavern bar into its own image, will be… wait for it… open on both 24/12 and 25/12 from 5pm! If you’ve always dreamed of spending Christmas in a classic, wood-paneled pub with a welcoming atmosphere and eat hot dogs, well, your prayers have been heard. The opening times on 31/12 and 1/1 will be as usual.
Lokal, the infamous beer halls with good “pubby" dishes will shut down for 24/12 but will stay open for the rest of the year. This is a great place if you want to spend the end of the year in a loud, noisy, cheerful pub.
Our favorite Mexican restaurant in Prague is clearly taking a siesta during Christmas: all the three locations will be closed on 24 and 25/12. Only the Male namesti location in the centre will be open on NYE and 1/1. Ay carramba!
Okay, we're not really THAT fond of the all-you-can-eat, stuff-your-face-until-you-drop-dead Brazilian meat bonanza place but hey, Brasileiro's Carnival NYE party in the U radnice location actually sounds fun. Lots of meat, caipirinhas, live music and more for CZK 2,950. And it's located in a very strategic spot, two minutes from the Old Town Square, and five from the river.
Because drinking mulled wine outside just feels right around Christmas.
Jirak farmers' market
The last Christmas market on the Jiriho z Podebrad square in the Vinohrady district will be held on 23/12 from 8 until 6pm. The market will reopen on 30/12 and it will close the year on 31/12 with a NYE market, again from 8 until 6pm.
All the other farmers’ markets in Prague will be closed for Christmas, with 19 December being the last opportunity to see them.
No explanation needed. You’ll need a drink. You know it. We know it. Also, this is your main category for New Year’s Eve.
All the Vinograf wine bars will be closed on 24/12 but the small bar at Misenska near the Charles Bridge reopens on 25/12. The Andel location will remain closed until 27/12. The big Vinograf will open at 5pm on 26 and 27 December. All the locations will open on 31/12 as usual and close on 1/1. No set menus or anything, just get in, order Champagne and enjoy yourself!
Sure, the new wine bar in the Dlouha street may be cute and small. But they’re still formally part of the Ambiente group, which means they will work hard whether they’ll like it or not. Or maybe Roman Novotny is simply bringing his La Degustation know-how to his new place? Whatever the case may be, Bokovka will close on 24 Dec, but will open as per their opening hours during the rest of the holiday season.
Veltlin, one of our favorite places for natural wines, will take it easy this Christmas. They will be closed on 24 through 26 December and then will remain open according to their regular opening hours. Their NYE plans? Not much: they will close at 11pm just like any other day.
Hemingway Bar, the local favorite cocktail bar and one of our favorite cocktail bars in Prague, sells tickets for their New Year's Eve night. CZK 690 gets you a seat, some snacks and a glass of Champagne. No drinks on Christmas Eve though: they will be closed.
L’Fleur, the fairly new kid on the bar scene, and one of our favorites, will be open on Christmas Eve! Yes, that’s right. Open on Christmas Eve. They will do table reservations for New Year’s Eve, which means you’ll prepay a table, but the reservation will come with a bottle of Champagne. And that will come in handy as midnight approaches.
One of our favorite cocktail bars in town, and our friends’ clear favorite that serves really clean tasting and beautiful cocktails in a pretty hidden bar, will open its doors on Christmas Eve on 9pm. Because there’s nothing better than to drink on your presents. They will be otherwise open from 6pm every day, incl. New Year’s Eve. They will accept reservations for NYE with no strings attached: just show up and enjoy.
Bonvivant’s isn’t sure about its holiday season yet. That said, their plans at the moment are: lunch and early dinner on Christmas Eve from 11am until 10pm. Dinner and cocktail service during the rest of the holiday season from 5pm, and again full day open on 31/12 and 1/1. A prix fixe menu may be offered on New Year’s Eve.
Cash Only Bar
The younger sister of Hemingway Bar will shut down for 24/12 but will be otherwise open as usual. They’re still not sure what they will do on New Year’s Eve, but it seems like they’ll just simply open to the public, which means no reservations. Just bring some cash, okay? They really do not accept credit cards.
Another very cool place for cocktails and drinks with skilled bartenders near the Old Town Square, accepts reservations up until 9:30 on New Year's Eve.
Bar and Books
Finally, Bar and Books at Tynska will open on 24/12 at 9pm for those in desperate need of a drink after the family dinner. The Manesova location will close on Christmas Eve. On 31/12, the Tynska location will open just like any other day: no special drinks, opening hours or rules. Their Manesova branch will host, just like every year, a burlesque show for NYE. The doors open at 8pm and the show starts at 9pm.