Prague travel tips

Hana's Five Favorites in Prague

Hana's Five Favorites in Prague

In an ideal world, Hana would have been the first team mate we would have hired. We did talk about her joining us waaaay back when Taste of Prague was just Zuzi and Jan. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and Hana was not ready to leave the big law she was practicing at the time, just like Zuzi did a few years before. Fast forward five years later, and we are incredibly happy to welcome Hana to our small team. She will fit in like a glove - she loves food and other people’s company. She still does practice law a bit, though. (Remember, not living in an ideal world?)

There is something about Hana. She has a calming, soothing presence, and you just can’t help but feel good when she’s around. She’s a great listener with heaps of empathy, and when she talks, you listen. We also assume she hates being bored: she’s a well-travelled fan of food, wine and coffee, an avid skier who likes to bike and hike, and has a keen interest in architecture and urban planning. Oh yes, and movies. You know, the smart kind.

What we’re trying to say she’s busy. Or crazy. One of those two things. But never mind her schedule, she was super quick to give her tips for her five favorite places in Prague and five social media accounts, and not one, not two, but four (!) secret tips for Prague. But that’s just Hanna being Hanna. So here we go!


The new Prague Foodie Map is here! Bigger, fatter, badder.

The new Prague Foodie Map is here! Bigger, fatter, badder.

So the day has arrived and we are happy to announce the third itineration of what our moms, and the voices inside our heads, say is by far the best food guide to Prague - the Prague Foodie Map.

This version did not come easy to us. Originally scheduled “before Christmas”, it took us over half a year to finish. And let us tell you, a lot of things can happen in six months on Prague’s food scene, which has led to many, many, many rewrites. This was the first full version we wrote as parents, and in many way, the process showed. But at the end of the day, we feel that writing the guide as parents has added a completely new dimension that the guide lacked before. (And no, we’re not talking about sleep deprivation.)


The 2018 Prague Food Scene in Review

The 2018 Prague Food Scene in Review

Confession: we have been bitching about Prague food scene’s development probably for a better portion of 2018. Not enough places are opening, some great places are closing, and where’s the innovation? While Prague lost a Michelin star and a Bib Gourmand award in the spring, the world lost Anthony Bourdain and Jonathan Gold, and generally, the mood here at Taste of Prague was fairly low. (Only to be lifted by the shenanigans of JJ and Lola, the two newest members of the team.)

But looking back at the year, things look a bit more rosy now in hindsight, thanks mostly to what can be described as a strong finish. (And the pills may have finally kicked in too.) 2018 was a year that has solidified some of the trends we have had seen before. People in Prague like to go out. A lot. Booking great restaurants for our Prague food tours has become a game of long-term strategy, and booking for last-minute enquiries nearly impossible. Don’t believe us? Look at Instagram videos from Dva kohouti, which opened in December. It’s been hopelessly full from opening up until Christmas. Whatever the concept, people seem to jump on it, at least for now.

Also, 2018 saw consolidation, as two new groups seem to have emerged to challenge the market-leading, and, in a way, defining behemoth that is the Ambiente group. Czech diners want common sense, quality and transparency if they are to spend top dollar, and seem less prone to jump on hype. So when an all-avocado restaurant opens, the logic of opening a restaurant based on produce that is in no way local and has to travel the world to get here is questioned online, and when a new rotisserie chicken place opens and serves chickens from a large, industrial chicken farm, they are called on that, too. That said, both of these places seem to be prospering at the moment, so we’ll see if this awareness manifests itself only online, and not in… ahem… real life.


12 things you should know before visiting Prague

12 things you should know before visiting Prague

If you ask us, vacations start once you book the flights, and the joys of research start right away. Problem: today, you can Google pretty much everything, and information seem to contradict each other. Case in point: have you tried to google child vaccination? Yeah, exactly. The link you click the first will set you on a path through a rabbit hole, and you’ll end up no smarter after two weeks of research. Solution: you’re joking, right? When it comes to Prague research, we’re the solution. The following should set you on your path through the right rabbit hole. Oh, we mean Prague trip research. 

Here’s the twelve things you should know before you travel to Prague. 


Winter Prague Tips, Day 2: Gallery and Soup

Winter Prague Tips, Day 2: Gallery and Soup

This is the second post of a series about things to do in Prague when you are freezing. For the previous post, please click here. We started with breakfast and coffee.

Having ordered tea to go at Novy svet cafe, we have safely reached the Brusnice tram stop. Nothing special about that one, really. We tuck in the covered waiting area and wait for the tram. We have two optional routes for our perfect winter day: either the Rudolfinum gallery in the centre, or the Dox centre in the Holesovice district. 


Kurator's Taste of Prague: Wrap Up

Well, the first week of awesome Prague locals blogging and posting on our social media is now officially over. And what a week it was! When we first gave our social media to Martina, Jan and Terezka of the Kurator shop, we had no idea what we were getting into. The results far exceeded our expectations. We are writing this from Portland, OR (we love it here, btw) and we only wish Kurator had posted the same overview for Portland, as well. Would have made our research much easier.


Prague off the beaten path: Novy svet

Let’s face the facts: Prague as a popular destination gets very, very busy during the summer season. We like to avoid the crowds when we travel, too, and that is why we give some Prague tips to the guests visiting our food tours

For instance, we recommend that you visit the main sights early in the morning or late in the evening, and for the rest of the day visit the more residential, local parts of the town. We have already written about the Charles Bridge early in the morning earlier, or about Prague views that can be enjoyed outside of the main tourist routes. 

But still, sometimes you may find yourself in a busy area and are in need of a quick escape. Where to go? What to see? We understand that you still want to see something meaningful but without all the crowds. That is why we will, from time to time, write about some Prague escapes: gems that are still in the historical centre but off the beaten track. The first of our escapes - and our secret Prague tip if you are in the Castle area - is Novy Svet.

NOVY SVET

Novy svet (which loosely translates as “The New World”) is a fantastic, picturesque part of the Castle district that is severely neglected by virtually all the tourists but secretly loved by all the locals. Dating back to the 14th Century, it is a small area consisting of just a few streets that have retained the atmosphere of a small village. If you want quiet far from the madding crowds (actually, it’s just two streets away from the main route between the Castle and the Strahov Monastery), this is where you’ll find it.

On top of that, the area now boasts a wonderful cafe that bears the name of the area: Novy svet. It’s a tiny room and a few chairs outside. Nestled in an area associated with tourism, you would expect inferior products and premium on everything. You would be wrong: they take coffee from Doubleshot, high-quality Prague-based roasters, and use an E61 Faema machine. They also serve good ice-cream by 2AD and a few cakes and snacks. The venue sits about 20 maximum but includes probably the most beautiful place in Prague to enjoy a cup of coffee: their small balcony with two chairs and a table overlooks a dense, forgotten garden.

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If you want to go back to the centre but wish to avoid the castle and the associated crowds altogether, we recommend you walk through the Deer Moat, a steep, lush valley underneath the castle. The beautiful walk includes the famous tunnel that allows the Brusnice stream to flow along the length of the valley. The route will eventually lead you into the Lesser Town, namely the Klarov area near the Malostranska subway stop.


Prague travel tip resources

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Whenever we travel, we like to do quite a bit of research. Well, actually, Zuzi does all the research. Jan just tags along. At least that’s what Zuzi says. Anyway, research is good because it saves you time when you arrive to your destination. You do not have to rely on free maps full of advertisements, on "sincere" recommendations by your receptionists (we still remember our disastrous dinner in Bologna, Italy, based on our lovely receptionist's advice) or on the first source of information you find online just because they are good with search engine optimization.

Where do we look for information when we travel? Good question! You may have noticed already we like to do what the locals do. So instead of the online guides and review websites where all the reviews come from foreign visitors, we like to tap into the local social media. See what the locals have to say. This strategy has always guaranteed good results and while we may not have been always satisfied with the cafe or bistro we ultimately visited, we always knew it was truly local and authentic. 

Because we want you to travel well, enjoy Prague as locals and avoid all the tourist traps here in Prague, we give you a small list of sources you should follow when you do your research for Prague. We have divided these sources into categories based on the channels. Handy, right? :-) Of course, there are many more feeds that you can visit, and you are likely to find many more once you delve into it (hint: just follow the "likes"), but these are the ones we would recommend as your starting points. 

So without further ado, these are the sources you should follow:

Websites and blogs

Artel Style Blog: The blog of Artel Style, whose owner and chief designer Karen was interviewed on our blog recently, focuses on the quirky cultural tidbits and oddities you can find in Prague. A great and entertaining read with some funny insight into the soul of the Czechs.

Expats.cz: A large website by and for expats living in the Czech Republic. The quality varies with the author of the articles and we would take some of their food advice with a grain of salt (you should especially take the results of their surveys, e.g. the "best pizza" and so on, for what they are, and nothing more), but Expats.cz is still a great resource for all things Prague.

Scuk: For food related questions, this website is an absolute must. The child of pan Cuketka and his girlfriend Misa (see below) is an online community of foodies that review restaurants, cafes, bars and food shops in Prague. All the reviews are overseen and approved by the community when published and not shown if found iffy. The website is in Czech but Google Translate should help.

Czech Please: One of the first Prague food blogs written by Brewsta, an anonymous American foodie living in Prague. His annual Prague burger rankings are very popular and… dare we say… prestigious. We passionately disagree with his view of Cestr, for instance, but nobody’s perfect, right? :-) He seems to have had less time for his blog lately but he is still active on social networks.

Beer Philosopher: An Argentinian with an excellent command of English, the Beer Philosopher has been reviewing beers and pubs in the Czech Republic for years. A fantastic resource of in-depth information about beer if you are into that thing. 

Artmap: If you want to tap into the local arts scene, the Artmap.cz project will definitely get you started. This listing of new exhibitions in young and independent Prague galleries is a valuable resource for planning your artsy stay in Prague.  

Prague Post: Formerly the biggest English-written newspaper in Prague, Prague Post went out of print a while ago and is an online service only. Still offers some good advice on Prague and a summary of international and Czech news in English.

Go Out: Go Out is the website to visit if one of the things you would like to do while you are in Prague is... well... go out. They have a fairly comprehensive listing of clubs, galleries, cinemas, theaters and so on and write about interesting events in Prague.  

Radio Praha: Radio Praha, or "Radio Prague", is a service run by the Czech Public Radio. It is a website linked to their English service. We website may seem like just another news outlet but it is more than that: sometimes they run an article about Czech customs and society or about Prague that may explain a thing or two while you are here.  

Prague Stay: We really like the shopping tips of this site that focuses on apartment rentals in Prague. We take issue with some of their food recommendations, so just concentrate on the shopping, ok? 

Prague Up & Coming: A nice Facebook feed with great pictures of past events and invitation to upcoming events around Prague. Also a good resource for venues and popular places where the young, hip locals go to hang out.

Lost & Found in Prague: A really simple but nice collection of old photographs from Prague. Interesting to see how, and whether at all, the atmosphere of the city has changed throughout the past century.

Taste of Prague: Did you know we write a blog about Prague and the food in it? Of course you did. You are reading it now! Good job! :-)

Twitter

Fiona Gaze: A former food editor of the Prague Post newspaper and a freelance journalist having her pieces published by various media outlets, Fiona has many good tips and shares insider information with her followers.

Mark Baker: Mark is a writer for the Lonely Planet, has its own travel blog, and has his articles published both off and online. Mark is a good resource of information about Prague and Central Europe in general.  

Sansho Chef: The Twitter profiles of Mr Paul Day, the owner of Sansho, and of his partner, Misa of The Real Meat Society, give you an insight into the minds behind some of the best food - and meat - in Prague. Great for updates about both. We get jealous about Paul’s celebrity sightings sometimes ;-) 

Prague Beer Garden: If you are traveling to Prague mostly because you want to taste some beers, you should check out this feed. Lots of interesting and valuable information about the beer scene in Prague (despite the name, it’s not just about beer gardens).

Evan Rail: A food and travel blogger living in Prague and contributing to the NY Times (here and here, for instance) and other media. Great resource for local information about beer and other local events and newly opened venues.

Taste of Prague: Jan used to hate Twitter. "It’s like shouting into the darkness,” he used to say. Now he likes Twitter and prefers it to other channels. Check out what we have to say! 

Instagram

We figured pictures are more important here than the words, so we included people who post in Czech only.

Cuketka: Mr Cuketka (Mr Zucchini in English) is without doubt the most famous Czech food blogger, the co-founder of the Scuk review site and a food ubergeek who is not afraid to experiment with food or to share the results with the world. He also has a great Twitter account but in Czech only and we think all the dry and funny humor would be totally lost in Google translation.

Misa: Mr Cuketka’s partner in crime (and life) also has an Intagram feed that actually ventures out of the couple’s kitchen and often posts mini-reviews and quick impressions of places they visited.     

Martina Pavlíková: Martina is our friend, a great cook and clearly a supermom. Looking at her Instagram feed, one thing is clear: she should open a supper club or something. We would be camping in front of her house. Or operate a shuttle service to her house outside of Prague.

Oldriches: An exercise in absolute randomness with some insight into the professional and private life of Mr Sahajdak, the Executive Chef at La Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise, the Michelin-star Czech restaurant in Prague. We absolutely love that profile. Don’t ask us why. We just do. 

Taste of Prague: ToP’s Instagram feed is Zuzi’s domain. We like to post our impressions from the venues we visited and snaps of the good foods we tasted.

There are many more Instagram profiles that Zuzi likes to... ehm... stalk on a regular basis. So if you have some time, you're having coffee and have wifi or a good data plan, you can have a a look at these, profiles, too: Maskrtnica, the baking blogger, Honza Zima, the photographer for the Ambiente group of restaurants, Jason Nam, an expat student here in Prague, and Eliska and Lukas, an artsy couple photographing the city, and many, many more...