Just like towards the end of any other year, the hottest question any foreign visitor - or a local for that matter - in Prague should ask in this cold weather is… where do I eat on Christmas Eve? What do I do on New Year’s Eve? Will the restaurants close for the holidays? You see, while Czech may be statistically one of the most atheist societies in the world, we still do celebrate Christmas and nearly everything shuts down for Christmas Eve especially. Which means that if you are hungry on Christmas Eve and don’t have a reservation or don’t like hotel restaurants or gas stations, you will probably stay hungry until Christmas Day.
Of course, Christmas dining may be a more pressing issue for the foreign visitors who end up in Prague over the Christmas holidays, but it is relevant for the locals, too. You know what we are talking about if you’ve ever hosted your family for Christmas: while Christmas should be the holidays of peace and calm and family, they end up being anything but - the parents are late, the kids broke the washing machine, the potato salad is not right and the carp is burnt. Oh, and the Christmas tree should not be on fire, either. Why not just skip it all and have a great dinner somewhere nice, like the solid and self-respecting humans we all are? We’ve tried it last year actually, and we are never coming back.
So to help you spend the Christmas Eve and NYE without stress about the food, the setting up and the cleaning after, we have 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”. Below are the results. Merry Christmas!
IF YOU WANT SOMETHING FANCY:
La Degustation is closed on 24/12, but otherwise sticks to their normal schedule. A special menu will be served on New Year’s Eve, so if you want to taste their mushroom ice-cream and other delicacies, give them a call (eleven courses for CZK 3,150).
Alcron stays open over the holidays. However, given the small capacity (seven tables only), they are already fully booked for the entire holidays. That said, their less fancy sister, La Rotonde, has the last table open for 24/12 and a few tables for 31/12.
Grand Cru is closed on 24/12 but will offer a set menu on New Year's Eve. You can see it here. The menu costs CZK 2600, or CZK 4,500 with wine pairing. They still accept reservations (and require a deposit up front when you reserve).
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 25 and 26 December. They do serve a set menu for Christmas Eve (CZK 1,750) and the New Year’s Eve (CZK 3,750 without or CZK 5,150 with the wines).
La Finestra will remain open throughout the holidays as usual, closing at 10pm on 24 through 26 December. Again, they will serve a special Christmas menu (CZK 1,950) and a NYE menu (CZK 3,750).
If you cannot enjoy a good meal without a spectacular view, head over to Aureole, a non-touristy fine-dining Asian fusion and international 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 1,250), will be shut for 25 and 26/12, and will serve a set menu for New Year's Eve party (for CZK 4,500).
Atelier Red and Wine will close on 24/12 (and serve a set Christmas menu on 25 and 26/12) but they do something really fun: if you don't want to cook, they will sell you a "Christmas box" of nearly completed Christmas dishes per your order. The do most of the hard work, you just finish the dishes and claim the fame! Pretty cool. They will serve a set menu on 31/12 for about CZK 2,000. Pretty cool if you want to spend the last day of the year in the centre, yet far from the madding crowds.
Field, the new kid on the Prague fine dining block, is closed on 24/12, 25/12 and 31/12. Lazy!
Kalina, another high-end French restaurant, are already fully booked for online reservations on both 24/12 and 25/12. They are open on 31/12 but will close on 1/1. (We sense big plans for the NYE party!
Pot au feu, a high-end French restaurant, will be closed on 24 through 30 December. They will be open on 31/12. No special set menu ("People don't want them", said the lady on the phone) but a shorter a la carte menu.
IF you want something more casual:
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 and will serve a set menu but a la carte dishes will be served, too.
RedPif, a great designer wine bar with a focus on natural wines from home and abroad and a decent kitchen, will be closed for 24/12 but otherwise will remain open. They will have a set menu on 31/12 that includes a glass of proper Champagne and costs CZK 2,450. Tucked away in a small street but about 5 minutes by walk from the Charles Bridge, this might be a great place to celebrate NYE!
Café Savoy, the "First Republic” Czech café and restaurant with a French influence in a beautiful setting near the river, 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 their all-you-can eat menu, expanded by a selection of steaks, for CZK 780 on 31/12. And what says Christmas more than a pizza, right?
Pasta Fresca, the upper-end pasta restaurant near the Old Town Square, will be open on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and will serve a la carte dishes, although the menu may change to reflect the holidays.
La Bottega Bistroteka, the latest opening of Riccardo Luque’s Prague Italian food empire, will serve a set Czech and Italian menu on 24/12 for CZK 765, or CZK 865 respectively. On 31/12, they will serve an all-you-can-eat menu that will include charcuterie, cheeses and one main course, all for CZK 945.
La Bottega di Finestra, the bistro sister of La Finestra di Cucina in Platnerska near the Charles Bridge will close at 6pm on 24/14 and at 8:30pm on 25 and 26/12. They will be opened on 31/12 throughout the night (at least until 1am). No set menus, just a selection of their regular salads, charcuterie and dishes. Nice.
Gastronomica, the cool Italian bistro under the TV Tower at the border of the Vinohrady and Zizkov districts, will serve an Italian-inspired Christmas menu from 6pm on 24/12 and on 25/12. On 31/12, they will serve a set of Italian NYE dishes, incl. a glass of Prosecco and a small Panettone.
Kastrol restaurant, our secret tip for a great Czech meal if you have an hour to spare for travel outside the centre and back, will be closed from 22 through 31 December. What the heck?
Story, a new and promising restaurant in the Petriny district in Prague 6, will be closed on 24 and 25/12 but has the last two tables for its "Taste of Story" tasting menu to be served on 31/12 (CZK 1,190).
and IF YOU WANT SOMETHING fun:
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. The location at Dlouha will close on NYE at 1am, while the location at Misenska near the Charles Bridge will curiously close at midnight (probably expecting their guests to leave and celebrate on the bridge nearby).
Dish Fine Burger Bistro, the extremely popular place that serves arguably the best burgers in town, will be closed for 24 through 26 December but will remain open for the rest of the year. Their closing time on 31/12 is 10pm. Burgers ahoy!
The Tavern Bar, a place that serves great burgers in arguably the best atmosphere in town, will be… wait for it… open on 24/12 through 26/12 from 11:30am until 10pm. Yes, somebody’s boycotting Christmas here. They will also open on 31/12 but only until 10pm, so you’ll have to pop the Champagne somewhere else… probably at their sister pub a few blocks away, U Kurelu, that will host a NYE party!
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 Thai-inspired set menu. They will have two seatings, one at 5pm and another at 8:15pm. Then you can continue with the “masquerade” party in their 2,500 capacity club next door.
Hemingway Bar, our favorite place for cocktails in town, sells tickets for their New Year's Eve night. CZK 690 gets you a seat, some snacks and a glass of Champagne.
The Vinograf wine bars will be closed on 24/12 but the small bar at Misenska near the Charles Bridge reopens on 25/12. Both locations will open on 31/12 as usual. No set menus or anything, just get in, order Champagne and enjoy yourself!
Black Angel's, another very cool place for cocktails and drinks with skilled bartenders near the Old Town Square, sells accepts reservations up until 9:30 on New Year's Eve.
Finally, Bar and Books at Tynska will open on 24/12 at 9pm for those in desperate need of a drink after the family dinner. On 31/12, they will have a "Champagne Celebration" starting at 4pm. Their Manesova branch will host, just like every year, a burlesque show. The doors open at 8pm and the show starts at 9pm.
No matter where you end up over the holidays, we wish you merry, peaceful and, above all, delicious holidays!