Recently we have been getting desperate emails and calls from people planning to spend the holidays in Prague asking us to confirm whether the rumors that many restaurants would be closed over Christmas were true. Yes, they are. Although eighty percent of the Czechs are atheists or agnostics, Christmas remains the main holiday of the year and the majority of services, restaurants and shops shut down over the holiday season. Hey, those Christmas cookies won’t eat themselves, right?
We don't want you to end up with cheap booze offered by fake Santa (pictured above), so we have made a few calls, browsed a few websites and collected information about the opening times and special events some of the popular restaurants in Prague (that have our "seal of approval”) may have over the holidays. Here’s the results. Let’s start with the Michelin starts first:
La Degustation is closed on 24/12, but otherwise sticks to their schedule. A special menu will be served on New Year’s Eve (several courses for CZK 3,150).
Alcron stays open over the holidays. However, given the small capacity (seven tables only), they are already booked out on 24/12, on 26/12 and on 31/12.
And now for high-end Italian restaurants:
CottoCrudo (which forms a part of the FourSeasons hotel and has a great view of the Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle, if you get good seats) is also open throughout the holidays. On 24/12 and 31/12, you can reserve either the 5.30pm or 8.30pm spots for dinner. They accept reservations for New Year’s Eve only for bigger parties. They will serve special set menus for both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
La Finestra will remain open throughout the holidays as usual. Again, they will serve a special Christmas menu. Their bistro just next door may close earlier over Christmas but will remain open until 2am on New Year’s Eve.
Divinis, a popular Italian-inspired restaurant near the Old Town Square, will be closed on 24 and 25 December but will reopen for the rest of the holiday season (but just for dinners from 6pm, not for lunches). They will have a special set menu for 31/12.
Aromi, the very popular Italian restaurant in the Vinohrady district with a focus on fish, will be open throughout the holidays, closing at 10pm on 24, 25 and 26 December. They do serve a set menu for Christmas Eve and the New Year’s Eve.
Fancy French? Here you go:
Pot au feu, an exciting high-end French restaurant, will be closed from 23 to 25 December. They will be open on 31/12 but do not accept reservations. No special menu but a shorter a la carte menu. (BTW, their website lies about the lunch specials - they do not offer them.)
Kalina, another high-end French restaurant, will be open on 24/12 but only for dinners. They will serve a set menu on 31/12 and will close on 1/1.
And now for something Czech, shall we?
Cestr, the Czech traditional steakhouse 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.
Kastrol restaurant, the relatively new restaurant that does Czech (and international) dishes really well, will be closed from 22 to 30 December, but will reopen for New Year’s Eve, serving a set menu (for CZK 990 for food and CZK 500 for the wines - fantastic value). This place is great if you want to celebrate the New Year with the locals.
Lokal, the infamous beer hall 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.
And now all the rest:
Dish fine burger bistro, the extremely popular place that serves arguably the best burgers in town, will be closed for 24 and 25 December but will remain open for the rest of the year. Their closing time on 31/12 is 10pm.
SaSaZu, the cool and delicious Asian fusion restaurant and club, will be shut for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but will reopen on 26 December. On 31/12, they serve a set menu, which has to be paid fully in advance by 20 December if you want a table.
If you want to spend Christmas Eve the American way, head over to the newly opened George Prime Steak, which serves butter squash soup, turkey and pecan pie in a set menu. They will stay open throughout the holidays and will serve a set menu for 31/12. However, you need to prepay CZK 1000 per person to reserve a table.
If you cannot enjoy a good meal without a spectacular view, head over to Aureole, a non-touristy fine-dining Asian fusion restaurant at the top of a high-rise building near the centre. They will serve two Christmas menus on 24/12 (we really like both menus - one classic, Czech Christmas-style fish-based menu, and a "gourmet" menu, both offering excellent value at CZK 990 and CZK 1,500), will be shut for 25 and 26/12, and will serve a set menu for New Year's Eve party (for CZK 4,990).
Café Savoy, the Czech/French café and restaurant in a beautiful setting, 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.
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. They will serve a set menu on 31/12. The same applies to Pasta Fresca, the upper-end pasta restaurant near the Old Town Square, with one exception: no set menu for 31/12, just a la carte dishes.
And what about bars, we hear you say?
The Vinograf wine bar will be open on 31/12, will serve their usual dishes, cheeses and charcuterie, and is likely to offer more Champagne on 31/12.
Hemingway Bar, our favorite place for cocktails, sells tickets for their New Year's Eve night. CZK 590 gets you a welcome drink, some snacks and a glass of Champagne.
Black Angel's, 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.
Finally, Bar and Books offers tickets for their branch behind the Tyn church. CZK 695 buys you a glass of Champagne, a cigar, some snacks, and hats and boas to wear for the ladies and gentlemen. Their branch at the Manesova Street in the Vinohrady district will have a burlesque show on for 31/12.
No matter where you end up over the holidays, we wish you merry, peaceful and, above all, delicious holidays!