Dining in a Day: Prague

The astronomical clock tour and colorful buildings on Old Town Square make Prague a picture perfect destination that cannot be missed. Photos by: Megan Williams

We have a running joke among us study abroad students that Europe looks a lot like Disney’s Epcot. Whenever we try to make comparisons in each city to something we have seen before, it always comes back to those 11 pavilions from the house of mouse. Prague blows Epcot out of the water. Entering the town square makes you feel as though you have entered an old storybook. The colorful buildings decorated with white, ornate carvings come together to create the most magical feeling of being inside of a fairy tale. The dark, Gothic style astronomical clock boldly pops against its cheery surroundings, and the gray stones perfectly frame its gold and blue face to attract its famous, fascinated crowd at the top of each hour.

Before you make it to Old Town Square and after exploring it, you will surely be hungry. Luckily, Prague is home to some of the best food I have eaten while in Europe. The culinary scene is diverse and inspired with many restaurants serving up new twists on traditional Czech fare. If you find yourself getting hangry in the middle of the day with no time to sit, you are in good hands. The streets of Prague are lined with the most delicious (and Insta-worthy) food you could ever find coming from a kiosk. Whether you decide to go casual, fancy, savory or sweet, this historic city will not let you down.

Since all of my friends chose to study abroad at the same time, I had the perk of visiting Prague with a built-in tour guide. My best friend, and temporary local, Ronnie knew of all the spots to hit, and dishes I should try before I could even conduct my usual research. My favorite eats are all listed here and combined to achieve the ultimate day of dining in Prague. Enjoy!

Breakfast/Brunch

If you follow us on Instagram, you can probably tell brunch is one of our favorite meals. What is better than a big feast where you can eat double the amount of food because its covering two meals? Brunch options also often hit both sweet and savory notes. These flavors combined with the fact that I do not have to roll out of bed early to eat my eggs, makes this hybrid meal the undisputed champion of the day. Central Europe always seems to do brunch right, which is why I could not pick between these two stellar options.

Café Savoy

This french toast and the eggs benedict behind it are both featured on the cafe’s “small meals” menu. Photo by: Veronika Bedard.

If you Google “best breakfast in Prague,” it will be impossible to not find Café Savoy. It accumulated such a following over the years that it is now on almost every guide to the city. The food and atmosphere are well worth the hype. Diners will be transported to the late 19th century with its Neo-Renaissance style interior while indulging in homemade pastries and breads made at their own in-house bakery. On the breakfast menu, there are five specialty breakfasts the cafe is most known for. I could not pass up the opportunity to order their version of eggs benedict with buttery brioche pieces substituting the classic English muffin because of my addiction to this incredible dish. My hollandaise-smothered poached eggs were surrounded by a bed of spinach and pickled onions resulting in a more mature and dimensional benedict. Ronnie opted for the french toast with fresh fruits, which you can see is every bit as gorgeous as you imagined. The most popular plates are the “Breakfast Savoy” and “French Breakfast” each served with a main egg dish, an array of sides and hot drink. You cannot go wrong with any dish at Café Savoy, but you can make the mistake of not booking a reservation. There are always people crowded inside waiting for a seat, so be sure to skip this queue with a quick call ahead. Breakfast is served on the weekdays until 11:30 a.m. and until 4 p.m. on weekends.

Café Letka

Café Letka sources most of their ingredients locally to create fresh breakfasts for their customers. Photo by: Veronika Bedard

Café Letka is a wildcard choice for breakfast. It is very different than the classic feel of Savoy. You may have to take the tram to get there, and you will probably be seated at a large community table, but upon looking around the unique interior you will realize you are somewhere special. According to their website, the cafe was restored in 2015 after being an abandoned coffee shop for more than 100 hundred years. The remodeled interior is a trendy, rustic space that makes you feel at home among strangers. There are only two breakfast choices: sweet or savory. They are both showstoppers presented with bright, local ingredients and an array of flavors that somehow all fit together in each bite.

Our savory boxes had a sweet, cinnamon oatmeal with pumpkin seed granola on top that added a crunchy texture when spread on top of the soft, local breads. The beet hummus and greens dressed with pesto were the stunners of the meal while Prague ham and a soft-boiled egg rounded out the box. As an eggs benedict only kind of girl, it was hard for me to be excited about this when I ordered it. If someone offered it to me today, I would give up my creamy hollandaise in a second. Tasting is really believing at Café Letka. Be sure to order their homemade lemonade pictured above for a colorful way to kick off your day. Ronnie and I did not make a reservation when we went and got a table, but you might not be as lucky as were. If you go on a weekend, definitely call ahead because it will fill up quickly with locals.

Lunch

A Prague Dog (or other street food)

At the sausage vendor I went to, there were two sausages to pick from: spicy and regular. This is the spicy dog. Photo by: Megan Williams

No matter which restaurant you choose for breakfast, I guarantee you will be stuffed throughout the rest of the afternoon. This creates the perfect opportunity for a quick, late lunch on the street when you start feeling pangs of hunger. Believe me when I say you will want to have an empty stomach for dinner, so stick with exploring all of the vendors cooking up Prague’s traditional, casual fare for this meal. You will find rotisserie meats, potatoes, cabbage, sausages and much more while pursuing your options. In my humble opinion, you cannot leave Prague without a dog. These street sausages are sold in every district of the city and are a famous favorite among visitors and locals. I loved grabbing mine right in Old Town Square because of the topping choices. Pick from mustard, mayo, ketchup, sauerkraut, jalapenos, cheese and more to customize your perfect midday fuel. After, walk a few steps to eat your masterpiece while admiring the clock tower with the rest of the crowd.

Dinner

Mlynec Restaurant

The first thing that will draw diners to this elegant restaurant is its location right next to the Charles Bridge. The floor to ceiling windows overlook one the most famous landmarks of Prague setting the tone of its contemporary and nature themed interior. The attentive staff pay special attention to each table, and are always there at the right moment to bring another drink or appear with the next course. When ordering, you can pick between their selection of degustation menus or an a la carte menu. I normally always choose from the a la carte menu when given the choice because sometimes tasting menus can be very expensive. To my surprise, each of their three menus were very reasonably priced, so I went ahead and ordered their Czech four-course meal. It did not disappoint.

Czech Degustation Menu

From left to right: Goat cheese gervais with hazelnuts, romaine lettuce and raspberries, traditional duck leg confit (7 hours) with red cabbage foam and butter-seared mashed potatoes, Prague ham with beetroot, horseradish and caraway bread and Apple strudel. Photos by: Megan Williams

This is in my top five meals from study abroad. The calm atmosphere, our charming server and attention to detail with each plate made this dinner an experience. Oftentimes tasting menus seem more like a show than a multi-course meal, which is why I love them so much. Great ones easily flow from plate to plate with a balance that leaves me wanting for nothing more after my final bite. While this was not a crazy ten or twenty course menu, it was the perfect way to try ingredients that are important to Prague’s food culture. I appreciated the modern approaches throughout this menu that updated the dishes just enough to make them creative and exciting, but not stray too far from the classic representations.

The star of this menu was without a doubt the Prague ham. I saw it advertised at restaurants all around the city during the weekend and wanted to get a taste of it. I wanted to know what was so special about this ham. It was tender and meaty, but not dense like ham can sometimes be. It had a lightness to it and was full of flavor with the perfect sweet notes. The accompanying ingredients added an earthy and fresh tone to the dish making it the perfect second course to follow the goat cheese gervais and introduce the duck confit. Each course had a great balance of varying textures and sweet and savory flavors throughout giving it the flow and cohesion of a successful tasting menu.

The saffron risotto and mushroom entree are both offered on the a la carte menu. Photos by: Veronika Bedard

The a la carte menu items impressed as well. My friend Ronnie ordered the saffron risotto topped with foie gras and the vegetarian mushroom entree. As someone who always steals a bite or two from my friends meals, I got the chance to give these a try. They were both as inspired and well thought-out as my tasting menu proving that every dish here is probably a star. Their care for the quality of each plate is unparalleled. To make the experience at Mlynec even better, each table starts out with an incredible bread service including a sun-dried tomato butter and curry mousse. We also each got a small box of chocolates upon being presented with the check. It is small details like this that make fine dining so enjoyable.

Whenever I am traveling, I always take the time to map out at least one perfect day of food to try a bit of everything the city I am in has to offer. Most of Prague’s essentials are all packed into this day of dining that will satisfy your cravings all the way from casual, street food to a slow, multi-course meal. When in Prague, follow this guide for a culinary experience you will never forget.

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