Prague coffee

Where to go for Czech pastries in Prague

Where to go for Czech pastries in Prague

When we started our Prague food tours in 2011, the hardest thing was finding a decent place for Czech pastries. Just like the chefs tended to cheat a lot with the ingredients under the Communist rule, pastry chefs were no different, and even the consumers had pretty low standards up until a few years ago (witness the popular “Hera means baking” campaign by a big margarine producer). We would literally have to buy pastries somewhere before the tour and bring them over to the restaurants we were visiting, bribing the wait staff with favors and smiles to let us serve them there, while the chefs and managers were refusing to bake their own on the assumption that Czech pastries were “too common”.

Which is a shame. The Czechs are famed to have been the pastry makers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with a long and proud tradition of baking and French-inspired pastry making. And the fact is that Prague is full of pastry shops frequented by locals. The problem is most of them are not exceptional. Prague still lacks places like Cedric Grolet’s Le Meurice in Paris, and while Prague has its star chefs and star butchers (oh yeah, we like our meat), we are still waiting for star pastry chefs to pop out (with, perhaps, the notable exceptions of Mr Skála and Ms Fabesová).

That said, Prague has some great pastry shops that will make you reasonably happy and quite unreasonably fat. So if you have a sweet tooth and are on the lookout for pastry shops and pastries in Prague, we are here to help. This is our guide to the best pastry shops in Prague. You live only once, right?


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.


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 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. 


Fun recent Prague openings: gelato, coffee and cocktails!

Fun recent Prague openings: gelato, coffee and cocktails!

As we like to say, research is the hardest part of our job. We have to visit new places when they open to see if we can recommend them or whether they are so good that we can actually steer our Prague food tours in an entirely new directions. Yes, we know, a truly horrible plight, but somebody has to do it. Now, to give you the fruit of our pain and suffering, we will - from time to time - post short notes on the places we have visited recently. These will be our opinions based on only one or two visits of fairly recently opened venues so they cannot be seen as full-fledged reviews. That said, let's start with three today.


Prague local favorites: Muj salek kavy

Prague local favorites: Muj salek kavy

If we ever move to the Karlin district like we sometimes plan to, we’ll blame it on Muj salek kavy. The flagship cafe of the local Doubleshot coffee roasters single-handidly put Karlin back on the map and helped it turn into Prague’s Williamsburg that it is today. Why? Because the coffee is consistently good, and the place has a really nice, vibrant vibe. Oh, and are we the only ones who have noticed that their takeaway cups match the sizes of their porcelain cups? That is worth applause by itself. We don't want huge paper cuppa filled to the brink! We just want our regular coffee the way we like it! And yes, we're talking to you, the rest of the Prague coffee scene.


Breaking news: Adam of EMA in World Barista Champs Semis!

Breaking news: Adam of EMA in World Barista Champs Semis!

If you have been reading this blog for some time, you may know we love coffee and always are in search of the best coffee in Prague. It is also no secret that one of our ultimate favorites is EMA Espresso Bar. It’s reached the level where we have our mail delivered there, and we lovingly call the bench just left of the entry “our second office”. (The other guests of EMA seem to ignore the fact that we like to sit there, and occupy what naturally belongs to us.)

Needless to say, Adam, the manager and barista of EMA Espresso Bar, is one of our favorite baristas in town. We did love his coffee even when he worked at Cafe Lounge before he transferred to EMA. We did also root for him at the Czech Barista Championships earlier this year, although the finals were heartbreaking: we love Ondra, the barista at Alza cafe who finished second, as much as Adam, but hey - he won another category, so the universe can be at peace.

Anyway, Adam is now competing at the World Barista Championships in Seattle and… he’s progressed to the semifinals! Which means he’s one of the twelve best baristas in the World for this year. We’ve made a deal with Adam before he left and he keeps sending us random pics from his journey, although - quite logically - he is very busy over there in Seattle. Please see some of them in the gallery.


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!


The Prague food scene in the year 2014: the Recap

The Prague food scene in the year 2014: the Recap

Food projects we hope will continue in 2015

Street Food Festival. From its very first edition in the Holesovice district, the Street Food Festival was an instant success: perfectly organized food event with lots of young talent cooking great food. So great, actually, that we ended up stuck in traffic on the D1 motorway for two hours on our way to the Brno edition while watching Instagram photos of the great bites we would never be able to taste because they were sold out before we actually got there. Great events with great people and food, and we can’t wait for the festivals in 2015!