Prague is not just a city to visit for its architecture and history, but also to live through its many culinary angles. You have not really experienced this city if you have not stopped for breakfast or a snack while exploring. Finding a great place to eat in Prague is not as easy as it seems, given the exceptional amount of restaurants and bars at your disposal, but coffee houses are a true gift from heaven, tempting you with all sorts of sweets and occasionally also salty treats.
Continental breakfasts are also commonly found in most coffee houses, and are bound to satisfy even the biggest appetites.
Coffeehouses in Prague are sprouting everywhere like mushrooms, some are small and trendy, some are very old, nestled along the tourist routes, or hidden in residential alleys off the beaten path.
Regardless of their size and location they represent an official component of Prague’s lifestyle. You will almost inevitably come across one, lured by a festive sign, or by the aroma of fresh ground coffee, or ginger and mint tea, (which I highly recommend).
You will almost inevitably find yourself settling down at a nice table, ordering that coffee or tea, and instinctively coupling it with a slice of cake or a muffin, or, if you are really hungry, a continental breakfast, English or French style, or even Czech style, although, if Goulash is part of it, you will need to carry an extra digestive pill with you.
In Prague’s coffeehouses you will be in the company of all sorts of people: mesmerized tourists, just like yourself, students, families or teenagers, as well as people busy working, comfortably seated in front of their computers, inspired by a delicious slice of cake and that unique bohemian atmosphere you can only find in Prague (I forgot to mention that WiFi is available practically everywhere and nobody will kick you out if you decide to make a coffeehouse your home office).
Here are some coffeehouses worth having a meal at, some are full of history and have been around for quite some time, and some are modern and not so well known. I will happily suggest a couple from each category for you to choose from.
Places to eat in Prague: historical coffee houses *
Café Louvre is without a doubt one of the oldest and most famous coffee houses in the Czech capital. It opened its doors in 1902 and it’s located in a very central part of Prague, inside a beautiful turn of the century building. It’s typically quite difficult to find a place to seat, especially around lunch time and it’s best to reserve in advance to avoid long lines.
It’s located on the busy Narodni Avenue, civic number 22. You enter the building through a heavy wooden door, after crossing an old corridor that takes you to a few ramps of stairs up to the second floor.
Once you are there, you find yourself in a foyer that separates the restaurant hall, to the left, from the coffeehouse area, with its Parisian style décor and its large, elegant windows overlooking the crowded street below.
From the magnificent ceilings hang gorgeous chandeliers, which provide just the right kind of lighting needed to make your stay relaxing and inspiring. Old wooden tables and chairs invite you to sit down and, although they are arranged in close proximity to one another, you easily forget they are, as you settle into what seems a nest of privacy.
At these tables once sat Prague’s social elite, along with some of the most prominent scientists, politicians and artists of the 20th century. Einstein, T.G. Masaryk and Kafka, to name a few, were regular visitors at Café Louvre and some say their best works were created right at these tables.
Because of its intellectual roots, each table is equipped with a little notepad with the café logo and a pencil, just in case you feel poetic.
This superb coffeehouse is surprisingly standard priced, considering its location and its reputation as a “must go to” in any respectable tourist list.
You can reach Café Louvre via the Yellow Metro line, stopping at Narodni Trida , or by tram ( 22, 9, 2 and a few others). You can also get here on foot in about 10/15 minutes from Wenceslaus Square.
I recommend you visit it in the late morning or early afternoon to get a chance at finding a table without having to fight long lines or waiting time. You can also reserve in advance by calling in or booking online at their booking site.
This café is a little jewel located on a rather quiet side street off Karlovo Namesti. Its classic French style and décor immediately welcomes you with a “taste of Paris” charm. This was my first experience of a French coffee house in Prague and it was not disappointing.
It’s an excellent eating choice in Prague, especially in between standard meal times, or when in need of a quick and tasty snack not included in typical restaurant menus.
Café Amandine is definitely less crowded than Café Louvre, but it depends on the time of the day you get there. The café features beautiful wooden walls and floors, and a subtly opulent French décor all around, with a patisserie counter where delicious pastries and sandwiches wink at you teasing your taste buds.
You have ample choice from the menu for either breakfast or even a complete dinner. They also provide targeted menus like the Snidanove menu, (breakfast only) or Poledni menu (lunch and specials of the day), along with a varied brunch menus.
The address of this café is Na Morani 1689/17, right around the corner from Karlovo Namesti, which is very easily accessible either on foot or by tram. Additional info and booking options can be found on the café website.
Places to eat in Prague: coffee houses off the beaten path but worth mentioning *
When in Prague the choice of coffee houses is pretty much endless, not just the grand and popular ones I already mentioned, but a myriad of small ones waiting to be discovered, probably right around the corner from the hotel you are staying in. As I mentioned, a lot of them are new and small, run by young entrepreneurs with an eye on contemporary urban décor and a lot of imagination in their menu choices. I have ended up in some by accidents, some other ones were recommended by friends. I can easily admit that it will take a long time for me to try them all out.
While I am far from done exploring, here are a couple of places I can suggest right now:
Alenka V Risi Divu
Don’t let the name scare you, we simply call it Alice’s coffeehouse because of the representation of scenes from Alice in Wonderland painted on the walls . The dining hall is small and bright, and kids love it, if you are travelling with little ones, as there is a themed play area where they can have their fun while you are having your adult tea time party.
Colorful and soft pillows give you magic comfort as you enjoy your sweet treats presented on white little metal trays straight off Alice’s festive table.
Needless to say the variety of pastries and cakes is as extravagant as it is delicious, and a perfect complement to your tea.
It should also be noted that the owner is surprisingly courteous and does her best to communicate with you and make you feel welcome. This is sort of an exception as Prague is known for its lack of smiling and open minded customer service employees. One last note: this fairy tale tiny place is also inexpensive and perfect for a low cost breakfast.
As for the other coffee houses here mentioned, I like to thank Marina for having introduced me to Café Jen, where, in her own words (and in mine after having tried a slice of it), you will find without a doubt the best carrot cake in Prague.
If you are a carrot cake lover, head straight here and you will not be disappointed. Couple it with a cappuccino or an Americano, made with an undeniably strong coffee that the owners get straight from fresh crops from leading European specialty roasteries.
New coffee blends are weekly advertised in their website along with their history and peculiarity, to encourage consumers to come and try a cup. Their favorite one, and mine, is called “Has Been Coffee”, it comes from a Stafford roastery and it has found at Café Jen its special place in the spotlight.
At this little coffee house you are going to find several options for a salty breakfast, which are a great alternative to lunch as they are as close to a complete meals as it comes, and healthier than a fast food meal purchased at a street food cart or by the metro galleries.
Café Jen is tucked in a beautiful residential street, famous for its Art Nouveau buildings crowned by spires. It’s reachable by tram 22, the same tram that takes you to the castle from the center but in the opposite direction, your stop would be Rymska.
After turning the corner on foot to Kodanska, (the address is Kodanska 37), all you have to do is walk up to this tiny coffee shop, located in a light and bright basement. Here too is best to reserve.
Stay tuned! More recommendations will follow.
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