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.