Today’s Prague City Guide comes to us from Countlan magazine editor, Sarah Lambersky. Sarah was born in Toronto, Canada and caught the travel bug early on in life. She has had the opportunity to live in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, New York, Prague and currently resides in Copenhagen, Denmark where she is the editor of Countlan, a quarterly digital magazine dedicated to exploring how people all over the world entertain at home and lectures undergraduate marketing strategy courses. Today, Sarah takes us on a tour of the picturesque Eastern European city of Prague. Thank you, Sarah, for such a wonderful guide! –Stephanie
Read the full guide after the jump…
Prague is a city with a wonderful reputation. Every time I meet someone and Prague comes up in conversation, the city is showered with praise and positive memories. I had the opportunity to live in Prague for just under two years and made my best dent in the city as it related to exploring its nooks and crannies. Despite having a reputation for beer and bland food, the city revealed a different side during my time there. I discovered great food, a growing entrepreneurial spirit, a passion for design and a good sense of humour.
To those passing through unaware of Prague’s design roots; one would assume drinking is the only activity given the proliferation of bars, pubs, clubs and numerous points-of-sale for alcohol. However, Prague’s growing design scene, music scene, appreciation of green space, strong café culture and ever-changing culinary landscape is not to be missed. Here is a selection of my favourite spots to take in some culture, a bite to eat and a souvenir or ten.
Be sure to check out all of the below listings on this Google Map!
In 2002, a handful of Central and Eastern European countries were ravaged by flood. In Prague, the neighbourhood of Karlin was put under several meters of water and was one of the worst hit in the city. Today, Karlin is a small, yet interesting neighbourhood located East of Old Town and North of Zizkov-off the tourist map, which brings together a mix of furniture and home design shops, a café bearing some of the best coffee in the city, several new wine bars, a soup shop and second hand clothing stores.
Muj Salek Kavy: The best filter coffee and breakfast in the city. Muj Salek Kavy (“My Cup of Coffee”) is a bustling, cool café with a fireplace (great for colder days), funky vintage and industrial furniture, a big exposed brick wall, friendly, knowledgeable staff and a changing menu of salads, sandwiches, pastries and snacks. Křižíkova 105, Praha 8 Monday to Saturday 9am-10pm Sunday 10am-6pm.
Polevkarna: This is Prague’s ultimate (tiny) soup kitchen that is lovingly adorned with its identifiable red plaid wall. Polevkarna serves six delicious soups (vegetarian and meat based) as well as a handful of non-soup items like salads, hummus, open faced sandwiches, khachapuri (their addictive Georgian cheese bread) and cookies. All of the food is made in their on-site kitchen and when a soup is sold out, it gets crossed off their chalk board menu. I am addicted to their chicken and tarragon soup. Sokolovska 97, Prague 8 Monday to Friday 8am-6pm
Blomus Concept Store Karlin: A modern design store that specializes in Blomus products but also carries items from other modern European design brands such as arketipo (Italian furniture), Jesse (Italian furniture), Artemide (Italian lighting), Asa (German tableware), Koziol (German plastic tableware). Křižíkova 51, Prague 8 Monday to Friday 10am-6pm.
Veltlin: A new wine bar that opened earlier in 2012 that is creatively themed on the wine growing regions in the former Habsburg Empire. You can have wines by the glass or by the bottle alongside small snacks or a cheese and meat platter. The interior of this wine bar is beautiful. The interior includes vaulted ceilings, a see-through glass bar made up of the different soils in the wine region, hand illustrated wallpaper, vintage furniture and a big wall of wine. In warmer months you can drink outside on their patio. They also have an online shop if you would like to purchase any wine. Křižíkova 115, Prague 8 Monday to Friday 3pm-10pm, Saturday 4pm-10pm, Closed Sunday
Red Hot Chili: There are a handful of standout Vietnamese restaurants in the city and this is one of them. Red Hot Chili is a quaint sit-down Vietnamese restaurant right across the street from the modern Vitra offices on Křižíkova. They serve breakfast, lunch and an early dinner if you can get there before 7:30pm. The rice rolls, noodle dishes and pho are all tasty. Křižíkova 67, Prague 8 Monday to Friday 9:30am-7:30pm.
Sister Conspiracy: This fashion label was established in 2006 by Alice Klouzkova and Jana Jetelova. They started with a menswear line and have since expanded and launched a womenswear line as well. Vitkova244/8, Prague 8 (Karlin) Tuesday and Thursday from 11am-7pm by appointment only email [email protected]
Prague 1/Mala Strana
I typically go to Mala Strana to eat out. There are lots of terrific little restaurants in this area with charming atmosphere and outside of the busy old city. Mala Strana is located on the “castle-side” of the river. One could easily spend an entire day in this area if you were planning on visiting the castle. There are lots of little shops, restaurants and a massive park (Petrin Hill) in this area.
Cukr Kava Limonada: This charmingly stylish black walled and wood modern café meets patisserie meets wine bar is located closer to the Charles bridge section of Mala Strana’s neighbourhood. Curk Kava Limonada serves a tasty array of breakfast dishes (eggs, pancakes and yogurt), baked goods, pastas, salads, sandwiches and beverages (tea forte tea) throughout the day to a backdrop of eclectic music. The restaurant is sizeable, spread over two adjoining rooms and is non-smoking. Lázeňská 7, Prague 1 (Mala Strana) Open daily 9am-7pm
Potten and Pannen: A high-end kitchen store in the city that has been around for two decades. Potten and Pannen has multiple locations around the city but their Mala Strana concept store is a beautiful shop to wander around. It carries a mix of European brands such as Emile Henry bakeware, Christofle crystal, Wesco trash bins and Sigg products. Újezd 25, Praha 1 Monday to Saturday 10am-8pm Sunday 12pm to 6pm.
Czech Photo Gallery: Located just down the street from Potten and Pannen is the Czech Photo Gallery that usually holds interesting photography exhibits of local photographers or photography taken in and around the Czech Republic. Újezd 19, Praha 1 Tuesday to Sunday 12pm-7pm. (Free admission)
Café Savoy: Café Savoy, part of Prague’s Ambiente Restaurant Group, is housed in a beautiful old building with ornate, mosaic ceilings and shimmering chandeliers. The food at Café Savoy is French and also has an in-house patisserie which churns out stunning cakes and desserts. Café Savoy is popular for its weekend breakfasts and brunches. It is a pricier option in the city but a showstopper for its beauty. Vítězná 5, Mala Strana Monday to Friday 8am-10:30pm Saturday and Sunday 9am-10:30pm.
Ichnusa Botega & Bistro: A fantastic Sardinian restaurant in Prague that will satisfy those searching for authentic Italian food. Its high, decorated ceilings and white tablecloths promise a warm and welcoming atmosphere to enjoy a multi course meal that unfolds. Note: this restaurant does not have a menu. Instead, your server will communicate what is on offer for the day, but expect to find pastas, meats, fish and a few starters like burrata or a charcuterie platter. Italian staples are also available for sale behind the counter. Plaská 5, Mala Strana Monday to Friday 12pm to Midnight, Saturday 4pm to Midnight (Reservations recommended)
Pekarstvi Markol (Novy Smichov) If you are looking to sample some Czech baked goods, look no further than Pekarstvi Markol in mall, Novy Smichov. They have the most incredible apple cake that I have ever tasted, not to mention soft chewy grain breads and other Czech treats like jelly doughnuts, poppy seed cakes and cheese filled danishes. Štefánikova passage Plzeňská 8. Open daily from 7am to 9pm.
Bily Jerab (White Crane Tea Room) For a change of flavour and ambiance, head to Bily Jerab. This Japanese tea room is located in the middle of the Mala Strana strip, and provides respite and tranquility from the castle and Charles Bridge crowds not to mention quality Japanese food and an extensive loose leaf tea menu (non smoking). Štefánikova 51, Prague 1 (Mala Strana) Open Monday to Saturday 11am-10pm.
Luka Lu (Balkan Food). When I first arrived in Prague, I do not think I could identify “Balkan” cuisine. After one meal, Luka Lu became a fast favourite of mine. This restaurant is quirky, colourful and serves some of the most addictive bread I have ever tasted in my life. The food features a menu of grilled Balkan cheeses, platters of meats, fish, pasta, salads and soup. It is a fun spot and a great way to experience a cross section of south eastern European food. Ujezd 33, Prague 1 (Mala Strana) Open Monday-Sunday 11am-midnight.
Augustine Hotel: Luxury boutique hotel
Aria Hotel: Luxury boutique hotel
Andel’s Hotel: Business hotel
Original Coffee: You can find excellent filter fair trade and non fair trade coffee (Mama Coffee) as well as tasty baked goods in this quaint, minimalist coffee shop. Original Coffee also hosts coffee tastings and sells a range of Mama Coffee handmade pottery and coffee accessories. If you are sick of espresso based drinks, you will your syphon, French press and aeropress brewed coffee here. Korunni 46, Prague 2 Open Monday to Friday 8am-7pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-7pm.
Las Adelitas: Yes it is possible to find decent Mexican food in Prague. Las Adelitas is always rammed with margarita and sangria clamouring expats and locals alike. Make a reservation if you want to dine on Las Adelitas’ burritos, nachos, tacos and guacamole. Americka 8, Prague 2.
Di Showroom: Di Showroom is part wine and delicatessen, part design and home décor showroom and part art gallery. For the cross border collector or those interested in checking out unique finds, Di Showroom can be an interesting spot to browse if you are in the neighbourhood. Slovenska 5/891, Prague 2.
Milleme: High quality French pastries and food can be found at Milleme. This café also has a great view of the Church of the Sacred Heart, the eccentric and unique shaped building designed by Slovakian architect Joze Plečnik. Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad 4, Prague 2 (Vinohrady) Open daily from 8am-9pm.
Pour Pour: Come here to find a mix of local fashion, jewelry and accessories brands. The shop was opened in 2004 and continues to be a gem for original pieces, and gifts. They carry brands such as Chatty, Zuzana Vesela, Atom Rat and Segrasegra. Vinohradská 74, Prague 3. Open Monday to Friday 11am-7pm. Saturday and Sunday 10am-6pm
Kaaba: An adorable, retro themed café that serves breakfast, lunch and snacky type food as well as coffee, tea and a full bar. Their salads and open faced sandwiches are satisfying and plentiful. Mánesova 20 Monday to Friday from 8am until close, Saturday from 9am until close, Sunday from 10am until close.
Vanille: This is the spot for gelato in Prague. Vanille’s owners make 12 homemade gelato flavours that rotate throughout the week. It is conveniently located on Namesti Miru’s main square in its own stand alone building adjacent to the church, so you will have no trouble finding this spot. Vanille also has an indoor café component with cakes, coffee, tea, juice and alcoholic beverages. Náměstí Míru 14, Vinohrady.
Ether: Beautiful handmade leather bags and accessories with adjustable strap lengths (made for sharing!) Cimburkova 5, Zizkov (on request)
Prague 1/Old Town
Mona Pret a Porter- A clothing and accessory boutique devoted exclusively to Czech and Slovak designers. Týnská 623/15, Prague 1
Hard De Core: This is a fabulous independent showroom and store that represents a handful of fashion and product designers in the Czech Republic. Senovazne Namesti 10, Prague 1. Monday to Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday 11am-5pm.
The Room by Basmatee: Street fashion/lifestyle focused, The Room by Basmatee carries a mix of independent and mainstream brands such as Onitsuka Tiger, Clae, Nike, Sixpack France, Supreme Being, Obey, Cote&Ciel, ragwear, Ontour and WeSC. Skolska 7, Prague 1. Open Monday to Thursday 11am-7pm, Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday Noon-5pm. Closed Sunday.
Botas 66: Is a cool concept store that carries a range of design focused accessories (WeSC headphones, Oclock watches) in addition to their own line of sports shoes, which were very popular in the 1960s. Two design students, Jan Kloss and Jakub Korus, helped to reinvigorate the shoe brand and relaunched Botas Classic 66 collection which has gone on to win international awards. Konviktská 1005/30, Prague 1. At the time of writing, the store is closed for renovation. Check the website to find out when it reopens.
Modernista: If you are interested in purchasing period pieces for your home or have a thing for Czech Cubism, look no further than Modernista. Modernista specializes in reproductions of decorative objects that were designed between 1911 and 1920 by Czech cubist architects, Josef Gocar, Pavel Janak and Vlastislav Hofman. Here you can find glass, porcelain and jewelry items as well as furniture. Celetná 12, Prague 1. Open daily from 11am-7pm.
Artel: American designer and entrepreneur, Karen Feldman built Artel, a beautiful design shop that specializes in Bohemian crystal glassware. Artel’s glassware is known for its bold geometric patterns and floral and fauna scenes. Karen has also penned an art and design focused Prague based travel book which you can pick up in either of her Artel shops. Celetna 29 (entrance on Rybna), Prague 1 and U Lužickeho semináře 7, Mala Strana. Open daily 10am-7pm.
material.: There is no shortage of Bohemian crystal manufacturers in the Czech Republic. Material. is a beautiful store and brand devoted to the craft. They make a range of glasses, tumblers and jars as well as larger items such as chandeliers, lamps and interior accessories like vases and candleholders. Tyn 639/1 – Ungelt, Prague 1. Open daily 10:30am-8pm.
qubus: Qubus is a hip design concept store that features a mix of whimsical, contemporary Czech and international fashion and industrial design brands. Pop into Qubus for cool denim pieces, limited edition porcelain such as the famed Waterproof onion, a pair of porcelain rain boots, or the Little Joseph, a set of three candleholders that look like doll heads. Qubus Design Studio Ramova 3, Prague 1.
Futurista Universum: This is a cool space in the city. It is located in Bethlehem Square where you will find the Bethlehem Chapel, one of Prague’s most important churches. Futurista Universum is a 1500 square foot gallery, shop and restaurant and is devoted to a revolving list of Czech designs from local talent such as Ondřej Elfmark (glassware), Jiří Pelcl (ceramics), and Jitka Růžičková (vases). Betlemske Namesti 5a, Prague 1. Monday to Friday 11am-6:30pm, Saturady 10am-6:30pm.
Hotel Josef: Boutique hotel
Hotel Yasmin: Boutique hotel
Hotel Elephant: Boutique hotel
Park Inn: Business/budget hotel
De-sign: Store, gallery and studio that focuses on carrying Czech porcelain and glass items. They also produce limited edition pieces as well as items for everyday use. Sladkova 7 (entrance from Havanska)
DOX Centre for Contemporary Art: Stunning minimalist contemporary art gallery that has a terrific museum store and a roof top café that is great for catching rays on a nice day.