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!
Prague Drinks Wine. Another event we truly enjoyed this year. For the first edition, it was nearly perfect. And EVERYBODY was there. We got pretty tipsy very early into the night and were it not for a few teas by Tea Mountain, the memories of the great event would have been much less positive.
European Coffee Trip. We met Ales and Radek earlier this year in Industra Coffee in Brno just as they were starting their coffee project and we talked about the perils of blogging: how to be consistent, how to never give up and so on. We were being so smart and they were so nice to listen to us. A few months later… and they have a bigger following than we do. No wonder. Their blog is becoming a fantastic resource for specialty coffee around Europe… and it’s only going to get better.
New cafes that make the Prague coffee scene more interesting
Kafe Karlin. This diminutive espresso bar in our favorite Karlin district serves one of the best espressos in town. They sell beans by various European roasters but also roast their own coffee. Their Irish coffee is fantastic. Our secret tip? Buy coffee at Cafe Karlin, sit on a bench in the Karlin park nearby, and consume the drink with a rakvicka from Lokal or kolachees from Simply Good, both located on the same Sokolovska street. Heaven.
Kafemat. Kafemat has brought good coffee to Prague 6, our home district, which has suffered horrible coffee just for way too long. Kafemat ended that suffering with coffee by Doubleshot and other European roasters and a La Marzocco machine. Just a take-away affair only for now but that may change soon. Kolachees by Simply Good as the only food served. Great owner and his lovely Slovak assistant barista. We could chat with both for hours.
Coffee Room. An ambitious cafe in the Vinohrady district run by a young owner who clearly cares and has the drive to see things through. Great cookies and reading materials with the coffee. Despite our initial reservations, we have learned to like this place: it gets better every time we go there.
Doubleshot Training Centre. Not sure if this fits this category or the previous one, or any other category at all, but hey - we need to put them somewhere, ok? This training centre right next to Muj salek kavy in the Karlin district has been long in the works but has now finally opened its doors - first to professionals and now to the public. We definitely have to attend the home filter coffee class - having bought a Chemex in the US, is it really three layers on one side and only one on the other with their filters? We need to find out. They also offer espresso courses.
Honorable mentions also go to La Boheme Cafe, arguably the most stylish cafe in town, Paralelni polis, which sells coffee in exchange for bitcoins (so if you don’t have bitcoins in your smartphone, you are out of luck), and Anonymous Coffee, which saved our Christmas by being the only good place for coffee open on Christmas Day.
The juiciest quick bites
Maso a kobliha. It is hard not to enjoy a visit to Maso a kobliha. Great butcher shop with organic, traceable meat. Great British pub food (think Scotch eggs and Faggot). Beer by the Matuska brewery. Without doubt the best donuts in town. The occasional brunches with northern soul LPs spinning on the turntable. You can see that Paul Day of Sansho fame is having fun at this place, and it shows in the food and in the atmosphere.
Nase maso. This Czech butcher shop revival is winning hearts of the locals with one of the best meatloafs anywhere and classic, juicy sausages and hams. The lines can be insufferably long but the product is well worth the wait. The Antos lager on tap does not hurt, either.
Sisters. Hana Michopulu’s chlebiceks, Czech open-faced sandwiches, have become the talk of the town when they opened in spring, and were covered both by NY Times and by the Wall Street Journal. No wonder: they are fresh and the flavor combinations are classic and modern at the same time. If there is a fast food joint with a low guilt factor, this must be it.
U Kurelu. From meat pies to BBQ and Banh Mi, U kurelu is a happy place. Great food, live DJs and a younger crowd create an atmosphere where you might just see yourself stand up and dance in between meals. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Home Kitchen. Just like the original location, the Holesovice kitchen brings soup to the masses, and some quick bites on top of it. We also like their hearty breakfasts served in the modern, industrial space in the Prague Marina.
The most inspiring meals for grown-ups
Grand Cru. Lots of ambition in a newly modernized restaurant space. Chef Puncochar’s transfer to Grand Cru was one of the biggest news on the Prague fine dining scene the whole year. We liked the food a lot.
Atelier Red & Wine. Casual and airy, Atelier is a place for people who love food. The service may be slower at times, but the food is worth the wait, especially when they serve great wines by glass.
Story. We are happy to see young chefs serving delicious food served outside of the centre, too. The Story restaurant in the Petriny district by the young couple of chefs with London experience is worth a separate trip.
Field. Although we think mimicking signature dishes of famous Michelin-star restaurants is quite uncool, we did like many of the dishes, and we hope that we will see more independent thought and less meaningless buzzwords from this promising restaurant with a talented chef in the year to come.
The tastiest drinks, cold or hot
Beergeek. It is really hard to argue with a well-curated selection of 30 beers on tap. Sure, there are arguments about how well the beer is poured, and if you want to eat, you have the head-spinning choice of peanuts or potato chips (for now), but the friendly atmosphere and the sheer enthusiasm will win you over. And let’s be honest: after the fifth beer, it gets easier to be won over, isn't it?
Tea Mountain. One of the openings of the year. If you love teas, there is simply nothing better for you in town. And if you’re a novice, you will learn a lot from the personable owner and his staff without being intimidated. Besides, you will love the interiors.
Public Interest. Beautiful place in the Stinadla district of the Old Town may be tucked aways in one of the smaller streets but the simple and subdued decor is striking and the soundtrack is right, too. Now we wish they work on their cocktails a bit, too.