Prague cafes

Five Faves: Prague tips by locals - Marcela Vuong

Five Faves: Prague tips by locals - Marcela Vuong

If you want to see the Sapa market, you want to see it with Marcela - project manager by day, Vietnamese food tour guide by… ehhhh… day, too (but mostly on weekends). Warm, friendly and passionate about food, she is the perfect companion to what at the beginning might seem like an impenetrable maze of warehouses and hole-in-a-wall pho places. (Did we mention she’s beautiful, too?) Heck, she gave us her own tips when we wrote about the market, and they have never failed us on our own visits.

Born in Vietnam yet raised in the Bohemian town of Chomutov (“No-one comes from there,” she claims incorrectly, not knowing that Zuzi was in fact raised there, too.), she has a unique insight into both Vietnamese and Czech food and culture, and isn’t afraid to share it. What started as cooking Vietnamese dishes for her friends (and she has many, often recruited from young fashion and design circles) eventually snowballed into one of the most popular tours to Sapa. She also seems to be travelling all the time, which we often observe on social media with thinly disguised envy. So yes, we like her, and we think you’d like her too. Here’s her five faves for Prague and social media.


The best Prague cafes (2017 edition)

The best Prague cafes (2017 edition)

The cafes in Prague are great, and the specialty coffee they serve is seriously good. It's easy to forget that or take it for granted. But when we travel, one of the things we miss the most about Prague is coffee. It's really that good.

It hasn't always been the case. Five yeas ago Zuzi came back from the specialty coffee workshop and the number of coffee shops we could visit shrunk to about two or three, much to Jan's dismay. Now when a new cafe opens, it is more likely to have good rather than bad coffee. Sure, they rarely bring anything very new or different to the table, but they are usually good. And it's not only about the "centre" anymore. None of the residential districts that surround it are actually lacking in the specialty coffee department. 

So what makes the cafes in Prague so special? Passion. Specialty coffee seems to be a viable career in Prague, and the baristas of Prague's best coffee shops seem to genuinely like what they do. Most of the coffee shops are  independently owned and can source their coffee from wherever they wish. Prague's leading specialty coffee roaster has set the prices of coffee fairly low, which means you get great bang for your buck. And at the coffee scene's core lies a community of baristas who know and continue pushing each other. And you generally don't get any attitude or scolding when you want sugar in your coffee. 

It's time to reap the benefits. Here's the best cafes in Prague, according to us.


Our favorite places for hot chocolate in Prague

Our favorite places for hot chocolate in Prague

We don't know about you, but when the summer ends, we say good-bye to our running shoes, waste any exercise we engaged in during the summer, and just focus on a steady diet of Pho, roast pork, buttery risottos and other comfort foods. Hey, the winter's coming, and that's not the time to fool around. You need to eat. Just ask our grandmas. 
But the gloomy, dark and increasingly short days have a positive side, too: the season for hot chocolate in Prague has officially begun. Talk about a silver lining. Here's the places we like to visit for our cup of the delicious - and highly addictive - stuff.


Prague off the beaten path: Bethlehem Square and its surroundings

Prague off the beaten path: Bethlehem Square and its surroundings

Calling an area this central “off the beaten path” can be quite daring, but we think the stretch of the Old Town between the National Theatre and the Charles Bridge can offer a truly authentic, local experience, with many venues frequented more by locals than foreign visitors. You see, most of Prague’s visitors move between the two bridges along the river bank, which surely is beautiful, but sadly bypasses some hidden, shady streets just a block away from the river that can offer some nice culinary and shopping opportunities. 

And on top of that, this area, which takes the total of some 15 to 30 minutes to explore at a leisurely pace, is just utterly beautiful, with a nice, quiet atmosphere that can be enjoyed literally seconds from the madness that is the Charles Bridge. Just a few steps away, you have an area where you can fall in love with Prague all over again, have a breather or contemplate the day in some of the nicest cafes and bars in Prague, and talk to the owners of some of the nicest and cleverest shops in the entire city. What follows are our personal tips for the area.


Best Cafés in Prague (2015) - Specialty Coffee Guide to Prague

Best Cafés in Prague (2015) - Specialty Coffee Guide to Prague

It’s funny how times change. A few days ago, a guest of our Prague food tours tweeted, having visited the Prague Coffee Festival, "Prague is becoming one of the world's coffee capitals.” Now, while this may be a bit of an exaggeration, the truth is that we are not longer traveling for great coffee outside of Prague. Oh no. Today, we are coming back to Prague for great coffee.  

Cafes in Prague have gone a long way in the past few years. While it was nearly impossible to get filter coffee in Prague a few years ago, today it’s an item that goes without saying. Acidity in coffee has become an accepted characteristic and the variety of styles offered in Prague is quite overwhelming. And while we had to cherry pick and travel for good coffee in Prague, specialty coffee in Prague has today entered just about every Prague’s district, if we discount the outskirts.

What is nice about third-wave coffee in Prague is the lack of attitude and pretentiousness. The community around specialty coffee is inclusive and wants to make friends, with very little foes and enemies within it. The baristas in general don’t have attitude and don’t ridicule the customers for lack of knowledge, instead explaining and helping them navigate Prague’s coffee culture.

This is the third edition of our little Prague Coffee Guide. We’re talking thirty good cafes, up from maybe less than ten some three years ago. We have divided them into three groups for you, depending on how much time are you spending in Prague, and how much coffee you want to drink: "Must-visits", the cafes you should not miss, “Other favorites”, the cafes we like to frequent, and “Other good cafes”, the cafes we visit when we’re in the area.

So, there you have it. What follows is our list of the Best Cafes in Prague.


Prague Tour of Cool… Coffee

Prague Tour of Cool… Coffee

Don’t get us wrong. Summer is great, and Zuzi is a strong proponent of the idea that the monthly average temperature in Prague should be around 25C/78F all year round. But when it gets really hot, the high temperatures make it really hard to enjoy one of our primary passions and the fuel we need to get us going: coffee. 

Luckily, Prague cafes have been working hard to resolve the issue and are offering some interesting summer coffee specials. Virtually every specialty coffee venue offers cold drips, cold brews, iced filters and espressos, and we love ‘em. (Zuzi can’t seem to go through a single day without the shaken iced Aeropress at EMA Espresso Bar.) But you can also taste bona fide signature drinks that will get you cool, caffeinated, and sometimes a bit buzzed. And we like all these three things in the summer. 

To help you celebrate coffee in Prague in the summer months, we’ve created a small tour around Prague in search of great summer coffee drinks. You don’t have to worry about feeling tired. You just have a cool coffee drink in each stop. Problem solved. (And if you overdose on coffee, we’ve heard bananas help.)


Prague cafes with outdoor seating

Prague cafes with outdoor seating

Yes, the days are getting longer and the temperatures are getting higher, which can only mean two things: the spring is officially here, and we can finally enjoy food and drinks outside! We love to sit outside if the restaurant and/or cafe allows it: you can get a tan (and after the long winter, we need some, seriously), eat some nice food or enjoy some drinks, and just carelessly watch the people walking by, which is probably our favorite past-time. It’s like watching theatre, so don’t judge us, okay? Also, there’s nothing like reading a book with shades and sipping a nice drink to go with it. Honestly. We’ve tried it and it’s great. 

In the upcoming weeks, we will bring you one or two posts about our favorite places in Prague to eat and drink outside so that you can enjoy them during the relatively short summer season here in Prague. We start with our favorite cafes with outdoor seating areas. 


The best vetrnik pastries in Prague

The best vetrnik pastries in Prague

The vetrnik is arguably one of the best pastries in Prague, and the weak spot of many Czech and foreign men and women (us included). Incredibly rich and creamy, this choux pastry seems very light at the beginning, yet can become very filling at the very end. Heck, we even finish our tours with one, and it is one of the highlights. As our recents guests said it: “How come this is not famous?” (Yes, they went back to have seconds the next day.)

But just like with every great pastry, every pastry shop has its own recipe and the variables are aplenty. Which begs the question: which vetrnik is the best in town? To answer that question, we have set out to put some of Prague’s vetrniks to the test. We have reserved a table at EMA Espresso Bar one Saturday (they do not normally make reservations, but the owners clearly understood the severity and importance of the task - thank you for that) and invited esteemed judges. 


Meet a Local: Jarda Tucek of doubleshot coffee roasters

Meet a Local: Jarda Tucek of doubleshot coffee roasters

If you’re drinking great coffee in a Prague cafe, the odds are that the beans were roasted by doubleshot coffee roasters. In about four years, they have managed to teach locals drink lighter roasts of high-quality coffee from selected farmers, and showed them how to brew great filter coffee at home, too. Their flagship cafe, Muj salek kavy, is one of the best in Prague, and we still insist that their paper cups are the only cups that are the right size. (Yes, we hate those humongous cups as much as you do.)

In this edition of our Meet a Local series, we have talked to Jarda Tucek, one of the three founders of doubleshot, and arguably the face of the company. You know he’s been around when Ralf, the owner of The Barn in Berlin, tells us to say hi to him, or when the barista at Joe Coffee HQ in New York City asks us whether we know him. We had a small chat at doubleshot’s new barista training centre right next door to Muj salek kavy in the Karlin district that has recently opened to the public, too, which means it is not only designed for doubleshot’s wholesale customers but also allows the public to learn how to prepare a great cup of coffee at home. 


Prague local favorites: Kafe Karlin

Prague local favorites: Kafe Karlin

To be honest, the people of Kavovy klub really ruined mediocre coffee for us. Some five years ago, you felt like a connoisseur over a cup of Illy coffee. Then Zuzi joined the wonderful Scuk gang and agreed to attend their coffee course. She was concerned. Coffee usually caused bad heartburn for her and she always ordered lattes to dissolve the coffee in lots of milk. But she was new and wanted to learn. The course, lead by Zdenek, one half of the Kavovy klub duo, opened her eyes to specialty coffee. No heartburn and delicious arabicas!