From the moment you step through the door of Indian Jewel, you are transported away from the bustle of Prague’s Old Town Square and into an entirely different world. A world filled with the tantalizing aromas of curry, cumin, and coriander. A world full of vivid colors and exotic patterns. A world representative of the country it aims to bring to life: India.

Authentic Indian cuisine in Prague
       Indian Jewel is the successful conception of owner Sanjeev Wadehra’s decades-long pursuit to bring authentic, crowd-pleasing North Indian cuisine to the Czech Republic’s capital city.
       “It’s the real culinary passage to India,” said Wadehra, alluding to the restaurant’s slogan that hangs proudly above its entrance.
Wadehra came to Prague from New Delhi, India in 1996 and opened Prague’s second ever Indian restaurant. But after it was destroyed by the Prague flood in 2002, Wadehra was forced to vacate the premises and start over. Four years later, he opened Indian Jewel just behind Old Town Square’s Church of Our Lady before Týn. Initially driven in popularity by Prague’s extensive expat community, the restaurant has gradually gained momentum among Czech clientele over the years.
       At Indian Jewel, sitting and waiting for your food to arrive isn’t a test of patience. Instead, it’s a feast for the eyes. Take the opportunity to visually explore the carefully selected decor surrounding you. Vibrantly colorful paintings and drawings deck nearly every wall, with many incorporating lavish jewelry brought from India into the piece itself.

Authentic Indian cuisine in Prague
       But when the food does arrive, it deservedly gets all of the attention. You can’t go wrong ordering lamb and potato samosas as a starter, or the onion pakoras if you’d prefer something a bit less filling. While these fried delicacies stand on their own, the true star here is the mint dipping sauce served with them. The perfect blend of freshness and spice, it expertly complements the heaviness of these traditional appetizers.
       Next comes the main course. Courses, rather, as family style sharing is definitely the way to go. Chicken Tikka Masala is a personal favorite, and it does not disappoint. The sauce refrains from going overboard with a tomato-y taste, which brings out the other flavors — garlic, onion, cumin, and just a hint of coriander. It pairs perfectly with garlic naan and ‘zafrani pullao’, a pale yellow basmati rice that’s flavored with saffron and other spices.
       Owning an Indian restaurant in the heart of Central Europe has made Wadehra extremely conscientious of the fact that those unfamiliar with Indian cuisine may not be able to handle the typical spiciness of dishes served in India. For this reason, he includes several non-spicy options. A must-try is the Chicken Pasanda, a dish that boasts a just-sweet-enough creamy almond sauce, topped with delicately sliced almonds. But if you do decide to venture into spicier territory, don’t worry — the restaurant’s air conditioning (a relatively rare find in Prague) will help keep you cool and comfortable.
       If you’re in the mood for red meat, order the flavor-rich Lamb Rogan Josh or the smoky, spicy Lamb Vindaloo (apparently Anthony Hopkins’ choice when he dined here). Wadehra imports the restaurant’s lamb from New Zealand, and like all of the ingredients used in the restaurant’s food, the quality is undeniable.

Authentic Indian cuisine in Prague
       And finally, the grand finale: dessert. Here, the genius is in the simplicity. For the sweet tooth, Gulab Jamun (milk dumplings soaked in sugar syrup with rose water) is a no-brainer. More like a balled-up pancake than a dumpling, these hot, bite-size spheres of mouth-watering goodness will satisfy your soul (or burn your tongue, if you’re not careful). For a less sweet, but still satisfying option, try the Kheer (saffron flavored Indian rice pudding).
       Part of what distinguishes Indian Jewel is Wadehra’s commitment to giving his customers an unrivaled experience in terms of both food and service. Present in the restaurant most nights, Wadehra believes that interacting with guests is as essential as providing fresh, high-quality food.
       “Giving service to your customers is important for building that relationship,” he said.
This attentiveness is also reflected by Wadehra’s staff. Throughout the meal, waiters regularly check to make sure you have everything you need, without being interruptive or intrusive. If you’d prefer to sit in the restaurant’s outdoor section, they are more than happy to do what they can to accommodate you.
       Today, there are numerous Indian restaurants throughout Prague. But its customer-centric approach combined with exceptional Indian cuisine is what makes Indian Jewel a true gem in the heart of Prague.


Caroline Corrigan

 

         
  Indian Jewel Restaurant PragueIndian Jewel
Týn 6, Prague 1 - Staré Město


Opening hours:
Daily: 11.00 - 23.00

TEL.: +420 725 107 059, +420 222 310 156

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Web: www.indianjewel.cz

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Whether you are looking for fresh seasonal products, home-made goods, or even delicious dishes from Prague street food vendors, Prague Farmer´s markets are the place to go. From spring to autumn small farmers sell quality Czech food, local and sometimes organic produce at different locations in Prague. Outdoor farmer´s markets aim to promote and support small farmers and producers. Take a look at the capital´s best food markets below. Updated information including opening hours can be found in „What´s on“ section.

Jiraku

Farmer´s market at Jiriho z Podebrad, Prague 3

Wednesday to Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

From 2017 the Town Hall of Prague 3 organizes Farmer´s markets at Jirího z Podebrad square. Located in the centre of Vinohrady, this bustling market boasts friendly atmosphere, beautiful location and a wide range of goods including fresh fruit, veggies, flowers, herbs, pasta, dairy products, fresh meat, fish or pizza. Certified organic products are also available. Visitors can enjoy live music Saturdays and various seasonal events such as street food festivals, Easter or Christmas markets.

Farmer´s market Kulatak, Prague 6

Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Situated close to Victory square and the metro station on line A, Dejvicka, Farmer´s markets Kulatak take place every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. This markets is well known for its perfect organization and careful selection of goods and farmers. The market has everything from fresh meat to delicious pastries. Fruit, vegetables, fish, baked goods, cheeses, eggs, coffee, beer or honey are all high quality, fresh and local. An educational programme for children called a „Small farmer“ take place at the kid´s play area every Saturday. Children can participate in competitions, workshops and various creative activities. The market also has an appealing community atmosphere and live music programme. Every year the market hosts seasonal events and the Festival of Embassies, which has a diverse selection of worldly cuisine including Thai, Chinese, Afghan, Russian as well as traditional British favourites.


Farmer´s market Naplavka, Rasinovo nabrezi, Prague 2

Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Registered Voluntary Association Archetyp organizes Naplavka Farmer´s market below the Palacky bridge at Rasin embarkment. Best organic, traditional and homemade foods as well as spectacular location at the river and amazing views make this food market really unique. The market features many stalls with a wide variety of goods including fresh and delicious fruits, veggies, meats, poultry, eggs, honey and breads. Traditional sausages, homemade pasta, beef burgers, savouries, crepes are also offered at the market.

Farmer´s market at Kubanske square, Prague 10

Tuesday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Town District of Prague 10 operates Farmer´s market in Vrsovice. It is a small market with about 20 stands and its focus is on building community atmosphere. Fresh grilled fish, fruits, vegetables, quality and reasonably priced milk, eggs, juices, baked goods, pastries and flowers can be found.   This market is easily accessible via public transportation. It hosts seasonal events with accompanying programme, for example, hog feasts, spring celebrations, Christmas and Easter markets.

Farmer´s market Tyl square, Prague 2

Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Famer´s markets at Tyl square is hold every weekday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. from March to November. The market offers fresh and quality products from Czech farms such as fruits, vegetables, smoked meats, juices, jams, mushrooms, honey, wine, bakery and dairy products. Exotic market sometimes takes place on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors can sample the wide range of exotic foods. Stallholders from various backgrounds will take you on a culinary journey around the world.

www.farmama.cz


Farmer´s market Karlin square, Prague 8

Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Located close to Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Karlin food market is hold every Saturday from the end of March to the end of November.  Shoppers can find antiques, tasty dishes, and fruit all in one location. High quality goods from small Czech and Moravian producers and proximity to public transportation make this market a go-to for many residents. Interesting events with accompanying programme for both kids and adults take place every month. Children cen enjoy workshops, theatre performances, games, competions or traditional Czech roasting of sausages on the open open fires. Traditional flea markets are hold at the same time as Farmer´s market.

www.facebook.com/karlinsketrhy


Hermanak
Farmer´s market Hermanak, Řezáčovo square, Prague 7

Selected Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Registered Voluntary Association Archetyp invites all residents and visitors to „Farmer´s market without plastic bags“. Archetyp takes its commitment to the environment seriously by using only recyclable containers for ready-to-go food, drinks and dishes, and encouraging shoppers to bring their own containers and paper bags. As the main focus is on eco-friendly packaging solutions, food and drinks are not served in disposable cups and plastic plates but in glass or porcelain tableware. Farmers offer a wide range of high quality and fresh products.

www.farmarsketrziste.cz


Holesovice Market, Bubenske nabrezi 13, Prague 7

Monday to Friday 7.30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Located in Holesovice market in hall no. 22, large fruit and vegetable market stay open all year.  Small growers and farmers offer locally grown produce such as fruits, veggies, eggs, meats, fish, honey, herbs, nuts and spices. The advantages of the market are a large number and variety of vendors and proximity of the parking lot (1 hour for free).

For those who don't know, Vapiano  is a casual dining Italian restaurant chain that has been rapidly spreading its great food and unique approach to dining around the world. At the time of this article, there are over 200 Vapianos in 33 countries and there are now two locations in Prague with a third one on the way.

Vapiano Restaurant interier Prague
Starting in Hamburg Germany in 2002, Vapiano had a simple philosophy, based on an old Italian proverb, "If you have an easy going and relaxed approach to life, you'll live more healthily and longer". Vapiano takes this idea and creates a reasonably priced restaurant with an upmarket ambience.

I checked out the central location in the Quadrio shopping mall at Narodni třida. It's a big open and bright space. One wall is floor to ceiling windows, with a view of bustling Spálené street. The large space seats 220, with large tables for sharing and smaller more intimate spaces as well. Each table has its own herbs, growing in little pots, to be picked fresh as desired. They also have their own chilli oil made right in the restaurant. There is always at least one olive tree growing in every Vapiano and the Quadric location has two. There is a children's corner for the little ones and a bar at one end for the adults.

Vapiano restaurant Prague food
In addition to the chilli oil, Vapiano also makes its own pesto, sauces, ice tea (in five flavours) and eleven different kinds of pasta made fresh every day, right there as well. You can see it for yourself as the whole production takes place behind glass panel walls in full view of the diners. Everything at Vapiano is fresh. Each location sources as much as they can locally so there will always be some variation in the menus from one location to the next, depending on what's available but whether it's locally sourced vegetables and eggs or imported Italian mozzarella, a standard of high quality ingredients is strictly adhered to. All products, they use, are tested by Vapiano HQ to make sure they meet the highest quality standards.

At Vapiano they have no servers. There is no one between you and the person who prepares your food. When you enter the restaurant, you receive a "chip card".  You use your card to purchase things from one of the many serving stations or the bar, as many times as you like for as long as you are there. When you're ready to leave, you simply present your card and pay the balance at the till. Simple. The only hard part is choosing what to eat.

Vapiano comes to Prague
Vapiano has four pasta stations where your pasta is prepared while you watch. A pizza and lasagne station and a salad and antipasto station. All the stations have soup. There is a great variety of Italian favourites and a few items that fall into the general category of "Mediterranean" but without question, something for everyone. They even spice up the menu every three months with new seasonal specials.

If you live in Prague or just here for a visit, give Vapiano a try. Great food at good prices in a space that makes you want to stay for more. It's a great place to come with friend or family but if you're alone, grab a seat at one of the long oak tables. They're very conducive to spontaneous conversation. Don't be surprised if all you talk about is the food.

Vapiano restaurant for kids Prague
You can learn more about Vapiano and check out their menu and winter specials at their website, http://cz.vapiano.com/en/home/ or just drop by the Quadrio or Chodov Roztylska locations. The Chodov location has a large kids area so it's great for families.

Steve Meyers


         
  Vapiano PragueVAPIANO PRAHA 1
OC Quadrio Spálená 2121/22, Prague 1

Opening hours:
Mon - Thu: 11.00 - 23.00, Fri - Sat: 11.00 - 23.00, Sun: 11.00 - 23.00

Tel.: +420 225 017 160
Email:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Vapiano PragueVAPIANO PRAHA 4
Centrum Chodov Roztylská 2321/19, Prague 4

Opening hours:
Mon - Thu: 10.00 - 22.00, Fri - Sat: 10.00 - 22.00, Sun: 10.00 - 22.00

Tel.: +420 246 086 626
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Web: www.vapiano.cz

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Levitate is one of Prague's newest fine dining establishments. Located at Štepanska 14, just 300 meters from Wenceslas Square, Levitate gets its share of the high-end tourist trade from Prague's five star hotels but the local culinary connoisseurs are starting to take notice. In spite of being rather new on the scene, Levitate has already created a bit of a buzz here through local and social media.

Levitate Restaurant fine dining in Prague
After a full year of preparation and planning, Levitate opened its doors on October 6th, 2017 with the unique concept of an Asian / Nordic restaurant. The Asian part is mostly in the food. Levitate uses spices, sauces, seasonings and herbs from Korea, China, Thailand, Japan and Viet Nam to create a melange of Asian flavours. The Nordic part manifests itself largely in decor and presentation but also key to Levitate's overall philosophy is the Nordic tradition of using locally sourced ingredients. Levitate uses only locally sourced ingredients and try to adhere to a strict "zero waste" policy.

All of Levitate's meat is from local farms. They get their mushrooms fresh from local forests and grow their own herbs. They even get seafood from local fish farms. Clearly, they take the Nordic concept of locally sourced ingredients very seriously. When you go to Levitate, the food on your plate was obtained that day. They don't even own a freezer.


Levitate Restaurant fine dining in Prague
Like all great restaurants, Levitate is mostly about the food but atmosphere is always important and their approach to the design of the space is worthy of note. Levitate's website describes it as "an oasis of tranquility in the heart of Prague." and i think that sums it up nicely. Walking into Levitate, you are truly transported to another place. It's not a large space but it's open and airy. It seats 22 but it could easily hold a few more. The creators of levitate, in keeping with a Nordic sense of  simple, clear and natural surroundings use lots of real plants, sparse furnishing and a bright and open space to create a unique dining environment. It really is an oasis. Just far enough from the bustle of tourists to make you feel like you've discovered a local favourite, which it's fast becoming.

As I said, Levitate is creating a bit of a local buzz and that buzz is mostly about the food. It would be accurate to call Levitate's food, "Asian fusion" but that would be telling only half the story. Chef and co founder, Chu Phong Duy has years of experience with Asian cooking but Levitate's policy of using only locally sourced ingredients, constantly challenges the limits of his creative ability. Much of that year of planning and preparation was spent experimenting and coming up with signature dishes. Chu is not able to take it easy now that Levitate is up and running. They plan to have a new menu every season, based on the best local ingredients available at that time. Every dish has been thoroughly tried and tested before it makes the menu but Chu's creative experimentation is a constant feature of Levitate's charm. If you find yourself there on a night that's not too busy, you can expect Chu to visit your table to talk about the meal, answer your questions and get a little feedback from you.

Levitate Restaurant fine dining in Prague
Levitate is the brain child of Thanh Nguyen. Thanh is of Vietnamese decent but born and raised in the Czech Republic. He knows Asian food because he grew up on it but as a born and raised European, Thanh understands European tastes and culinary desires. Thanh is part of that generation of Vietnamese Czechs who have one foot firmly planted in each culture, giving him the solid footing needed to take on a project like this.


Check out Levitate's website at (http://www.levitaterestaurant.cz) to see their latest seasonal menu and click on the gallery option to have a look at the space itself but also the presentation of the food. The food is beautifully presented, using elements from nature in a fashion that stays in step with the Nordic theme. Thanh (George), Chu (Chris) and third partner Jiři Bosák have created more than just a restaurant. Levitate is a unique dining experience in Prague.

Steve Meyers

         
  Levitate restaurant Prague Levitate Restaurant Prague
Štěpánská 611/14, Prague 1

Opening hours:
Mon: 18.00 - 24.00; Tue - Sun: 12.00 - 15.00, 18.00 - 24.00

TEL.: +420 724 516 996

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Web: www.levitaterestaurant.cz

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El Emir is not just the best Lebanese restaurant in Prague, it's one of the best restaurants in Prague, full stop. The word "restaurant" is important here. El Emir is not fast food, it's not your local Lebanese take away. El Emir is an elegant and authentic Lebanese restaurant.

Let me be clear, I'm not knocking your neighbourhood Lebanese take away. I'm sure their falafel is great. I'm saying that El Emir has it beat in two important areas.

El Emir Lebanese Restaurant Prague
First of all the space is large, bright, warm and welcoming. Located at the bottom of Wenceslas Square, El Emir has two levels, a cafe on the ground floor and the main restaurant upstairs. It's a space big enough to host events, which they often do. The cafe has your standard cafe fare as well as Lebanese coffee, mint tea and shisha. The restaurant upstairs is beautifully decorated in the middle eastern theme. It has a VIP area but otherwise it is mostly a large open space that can still offer an intimate dining experience.

Then there's the food. El Emir has an extensive menu. They have a huge variety of hot and cold appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts. Their main courses include dishes made with seafood, chicken, beef and lots of lamb. If meat is not your thing, check out their great vegetarian options.

The kind of variety offered at El Emir sets them apart from all the small Lebanese take aways I've encountered but more than that, it's the freshness of the food they use and their dedication to authenticity. They take great care to get the best ingredients. El Emir uses only halal meat and you won't find caned humus at any of their tables.

El Emir Lebanese Restaurant Prague
El Emir has been in the Wenceslas Square location for six years now and at their Paladium location for ten. Remeh, the owner, is from Lebanon but has been in the restaurant business in Prague for 25 years. Rameh says that it's hard to get Czechs to try Lebanese food at first, partly because they think it will be spicy. However, he says, "they come for the first time, we always get them back."

The extensive menu allows you to have a new experience every time you visit El Emir and I suggest several visits so you can try it all. If it's your first time then I recommend the “FIRST TOUCH MENU“ (for 1 person): Hommos, Moutabal, Warak Inab, Makdus Batinjan, Bastorma, Tabbouleh, Kabis, Falafel, Sambousek Lahme, Sambousek Jibneh, Fatayer, 2 ks/pcs Shish Taouk, 2 ks/pcs Lahem Meshwi, 1 ks/pc Kafta Halebieh

or the “WELCOME IN BEIRUT MENU“ (for 2 persons): Hommos, Moutabal, Warak Inab, Tabbouleh, Kabis, 1/2 Falafel, 1/2 Sambousek Lahme, 1/2 Sambousek Jibneh, 1/2 Kibbey Makli, 1/2 Jawaneh Meshwi, Mixed Grill

and for those less inclined to dine on meat, Vegetarian Mezza Plate for 1 person: Selection from Lebanese Mezza Hommos, Moutabal, Warak Inab, Makdus Batinjan, Tabbouleh, Kabis, Zeitun, Falafel, Sambousek Jibneh, Fattier.

El Emir Lebanese Restaurant Prague
I should note that El Emir will not disappoint the wine lovers. They have a nice selection of wines, including several Lebanese wines. If you're not familiar with Lebanese wines this would be a good opportunity to get acquainted. Lebanon, as you can imagine, has great growing conditions coupled with French techniques and wine making tradition, culminating in some very good wine. I had a "Ksara reserve du couvent 2014". A full flavoured red that went very well with the beef lamb and cheese.

El Emir has a belly dancer on Saturdays and that's likely their most popular night but reservations are recommended on any evening and for lunch in the summer. If you're looking for a great place to go with a date or with a group of friends, El Emir is the spot. A great location, a space with class and style, good wine and some of the best food in Prague, El Emir has it all.

Steve Meyers


         
  El Emir Lebanese Restaurant PragueEl Emir Lebanese Restaurant Prague
Václavské náměstí 846/1, Prague 1


Opening hours:
Mon-Thu 11.30 am - 11.30 pm, Fri 11.30 am - 12.30 am, Sat 12.30 pm - 12.30 am, Sun 12.30 pm - 11.30 pm

TEL.: +420 224 281 099, +420 739 529 855

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Web: www.elemir.cz

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About two blocks off Prague's old town square, at V Kolkovně where Dlouha changes into Kozi, The Bakeshop sits behind an impressive old town facade. Once inside though, I was struck by how cosy it seemed. It looked smaller than its exterior might suggest. The main reason, of course, is that two thirds of the interior is the actual bakery part of the operation. Behind the walls you can imagine ovens, baking tables and exhausted bakers, all coated in flour. The din of whisks and spoons on mixing bowls, the clatter of oven trays, cookie sheets and cooling racks and the excited chatter of the red-faced bakers whipping up their magic.

The remaining one third of The Bakeshop is an L-shaped space. Two walls of large windows with counters and stools facing the street. Across the isle from the stools is a serving counter stacked high with fresh baked wares and attended to by a notably efficient and friendly staff. Behind the bustling staff are shelves holding even more baked goods like fresh rolls and breads of all kind.

Bakeshop Praha
Choosing something to go with my coffee was not easy. The variety was a little overwhelming and everything looked so good. I decided on an apple croissant and navigated my way through the early morning coffee crowd who buzzed like bees from croissant tray to brownie basket to cookie stack and back again. I found my way to the end of the counter where the coffee is served, ordered my small Americano and took a seat on one of the benches lining the wall outside.

I had arranged to meet with owner and general manager Martin Hofman and he joined me on the bench to give me a little background on The Bake Shop. Martin is from Boskovice in Moravia but moved to Australia in 1998. It was in Australia, working various jobs that Martin learned his bar and restaurant management skills and also where he met his wife and business partner Carolyn.

Bakeshop Praha Exterior
After about five years in Australia Martin and Carolyn move back to the Czech Republic. At first trying to make a life for themselves in Martin's home town but ultimately landing in Prague. Martin went to work at different hotels and restaurants around town before finally taking on the manager position at The Bakeshop in 2010 and buying it in 2011.

The Bakeshop first opened in 1998 and expanded over the years to finally reach its current size in 2007. Martin and Carolyn opened a small version of The Bakeshop in Mala Strana, U Lužického semináře 22, but otherwise have not changed the physical business since taking control five years ago.

In a broad way The Bakeshop has remained the same over the years but Martin is constantly changing what's on the menu. Constantly adding and subtracting items and changing recipes while maintaining old favourites like their luxury cakes, cheesecakes and croissants.

Bakeshop Praha Interior
Almost everything is made right there; not just the croissant but the jam you put in it. Not just the bread but the beef in your sandwich was roasted right there in the back. The Bake Shop obviously places a lot of importance on freshness and quality. Variety too is a prominent consideration, along with good service and a comfortable environment but if you ask Martin what's his main goal, he'll tell you, he does not want The Bakeshop to be like anywhere else. There's no question Martin and Carolyn have achieved that goal. The level of quality, freshness, comfort and good service puts The Bakeshop in a class of its own. The Bakeshop is the original.

The Bakeshop is open from 7am to 9pm. It’s not easy to find a decent breakfast in Prague so it’s a safe bet i’ll be back again in mornings to come but The Bakeshop is busiest at lunch time. I went back for lunch another day and was impressed by the selection. A great variety of old favourite lunch items and a few choices that border on the exotic. Breakfast lunch or dinner, The Bakeshop is a winner.

Steve Meyers

         
  Bakeshop PragueBakeshop Prague
Kozí 1, Prague 1


Opening hours:
MON - SUN 7:00 - 21:00

TEL.: +420 222 316 823

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Web: www.bakeshop.cz

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Loď Pivovar is both a great traditional Czech pub and a great traditional Czech restaurant in one location. The restaurant is on the main level and the pub on the lower level, each with their own separate bar, menu and atmosphere. Loď Pivovar clearly strives to offer an authentic Czech experience. The menu, the beer, the staff and the prices, really hit the mark. There is no question that they will entice people who are visiting Prague and looking for some local flavour but the quality of the beer and the food along with the reasonable prices, will no doubt draw in the locals as well.

At this point, you may be saying to yourself, "I'm sure Prague is full of places like that. What makes this place so special? "Well, here's where it gets good. Let me break it down for you in three categories.

Loď Pivovar in Prague
1) For the nautical enthusiast,

Loď Pivovar is a boat. Yes, I know the Czech speakers already figured that out, (loď means boat). It's a fully operational river boat docked on the Vltava river near the Štefanikuv bridge, just a five minute walk from Namesti Republiky. Although it is fully operational, it would only "set sail" on very rare and special occasions so it will be there when you arrive, no worries. The Pivovar, as she's called, used to be in service in east Berlin's lakes, offering recreational tours for workers. Now after being lovingly renovated and restored, with a traditional Czech pub on the lower deck and a traditional Czech restaurant on the main deck, the old girl has a whole new life. The shape of the place and the unobstructed river view are constant reminders that you are on the boat but they reinforce the nautical theme with their beer names. Lod Pivovar's three permanent beers, Legie (10°), Republika (12°) and Monarchie (13°) are all named for actual boats that worked the Vltava but they will always add special beers to the menu for limited times. Beers with names like Bismarck or the 34° Titanic. They have plans for a Japanese beer called Yamato as well. All this talk of beer brings me to the second category...

Loď Pivovar in Prague
2) For the beer lover,

Lod Pivovar is a brew pub! Yes again, I know the Czech speakers figured that out too, (pivovar means brewery). They brew their three permanent beers as well as their various short term specials right there on the boat. In addition to the ones I have already mentioned Loď Pivovar are planning to introduce an Irish stout and an English style India Pale Ale and there's no doubt many more beers coming in the future. They also plan to offer a huge selection of bottled beer from around the world, as many as 100 different kinds. That last fact alone would make Lod Pivovar a certain stop for any beer enthusiast passing through or living in Prague. I tried the 10°Legie and the 12°Republika, two of their permanent brews, and they were both fantastic. I don't consider myself an expert on beer but I have lived in the Czech Republic for about a decade so, well let's say I've had a few. The beer tastes like it was brewed by someone who knows what they're doing and loves their job.

Loď Pivovar in Prague
3) For the foodie,

The food is wonderful. The prices are quite reasonable and the portions are generous so this will no doubt attract the locals and be a nice change for tourists who have spent a couple of days being over charged for mediocre meals. Lod Pivovar's restaurant menu is a nice selection of traditional Czech dishes. They have Duck, Rabbit, Bore and Goulash all prepared and presented in a very traditional way but with a slightly lighter, more calorie conscious touch. I had the goulash and it was, honestly the best goulash I have ever had. I may not be an authority on goulash but as I said, I've been here about ten years and I've had plenty of goulash. The quality of the meat and the dumplings were well beyond what you normally expect but the gravy was what put it over the top for me. I was also quite surprised by the quantity. I'm sure I would not have finished it if my wife, (who said she wasn't hungry) hadn't helped me. They also offer baked chicken, flank steak, grilled trout, some vegetarian dishes and a couple of meals just for kids. The signature dish would be the Wild Bore, roasted in bacon with rose hip sauce.

One last thing I think I should mention. In addition to the lower and main decks, there is an upper deck. The upper deck will have more seating, a barbecue, a children's play area, showers and beds. That's right day loungers, so you can take a nap. The owner and creator of Lod Pivovar, Vojtěch Ryvola, added the beds because he "always wanted to go to a restaurant where you can lie down after a good meal." (genius).


Steve Meyers
         
  Loď Pivovar in PragueLoď Pivovar Prague
Dvořákovo nábřeží, Štefánikův most, kotviště číslo 19, Prague 1

Opening hours:
Mo - Th: 11.30 - 23, Fr - Sa: 11.30 - 00.00,
Su: 11.30 - 23

TEL.: +420 773 778 788

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Web: www.pivolod.cz

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  Darja Krupkova opened Academie Du Cognac because of love.

  Born and raised in Prague, Darja's first love was dance. At the age of 11 her love of ballet brought her to France to study. She stayed there studying and working in ballet for many years. First in Paris, then Bordeaux, and ultimately to the region of Cognac. The move to Cognac was also precipitated by love. Darja fell in love with someone from Cognac but her love soon spread to the beautiful Cognac region and of course to its name sake product, Cognac.

académie du cognac Prague
  Darja spent five years in Cognac, studying the brown nectar, learning all about its rich flavours and history. Dance was now taking second place in her heart, her new fascination, her new love was now Cognac.

  Injuries had taken a toll and dance was becoming less of an option so Darja decided she needed to carve a new career path. She decided to move back to Prague and open Academie Du Cognac as a way of sharing her love of Cognac with her old home town.

académie du cognac Prague
  Expansion plans are already in the works but at the moment Academie Du Cognac is a small shop with some magnificent bottles of Cognac on display, a private room with lockers for members to keep bottles on hand, another room for tastings and larger groups and a patio.

  I went there to visit the patio which is open Friday and Saturday nights. There is a live jazz group, food served and, of course, Cognac. There are nine different kinds of Cognac on the menu, Champagne and four Cognac based cocktails. I ordered a Frapin VSOP and sat back to enjoy the music and the warm summer evening. The patio is out behind the shop which is at the back of a quaint old hotel on a quiet little old town street. The crowd seemed to be a mix of Cognac enthusiasts and hotel patrons.


académie du cognac Prague
  Sitting on this elegant little patio, sipping Cognac, I felt quite at home in my jacket and tie, even though it was early summer so shorts and t shirts were also well represented. I had already been there an hour by the time I finished my first drink and the sun had set but I wanted to try one of those cocktails before leaving. The four on the menu that night were "Nuts Paradise", (a combination of chestnuts and hazelnuts, "Raspberry Smash" (with Champagne and raspberries), "Vanilla Fumée   Cigar" (Cognac with smoked Vanilla and served with a cigar) and "Fruit De La Passion" (with apricots and egg whites). I decided to go with the "Nuts Paradise".  It tasted of Christmas and laughter, and as promised, nuts. I ate before I arrived because I didn't want to be tasting Cognac on an empty stomach but I wish I had waited. The food looked wonderful. It's a limited menu but you can have a full meal or just snacks. As the project expands, I'm sure the food aspect will expand as well.

  Whether you are a true Cognac connoisseur or just a novice, the next time you feel like having a Cognac in Prague, do yourself and your guests a favour and check out Academie Du Cognac. It's Prague's top spot for Cognac. Their selection and product knowledge are second to none. For a special bottle from the shop or a drink on the patio, or just to talk Cognac with Darja, Academic Du Cognac is located at Liliova 18 in Old Town, Prague 1.



         
  académie du cognac PragueAcademie Du Cognac
Liliová 1070/18, Prague 1 - Staré Město




TEL.: +420 725 927 414

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Web: www.academieducognac.com

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    Puro Gelato Artigianale, sits just about a block off Old Town square on Kaprova. Given its location, it might easily be dismissed as another tourist shop, selling a product of questionable quality to tourists that will never return. In fact with Puro, nothing could be further from the truth. Puro makes premium gelato right there in the back of the shop from fresh ingredients, every day. They have new flavours daily and nothing is served more than three days after it is made, if it lasts that long. If you go to Puro and have a vanilla gelato, that means someone was crushing vanilla beans in the back in the last 72 hours. It's all that fresh. On any given day they will have up to 16 different flavours available but the possibilities are virtually endless and they do make an effort to keep adding variety. Puro even tried out a basil gelato this summer and it was quite a success.

Puro, crafting the perfect gelato
    For those of you who don't know, gelato is a little different from ice cream. Gelato has less butter fat and less air. Gelato tends to be sweeter and denser than ice cream. Most gelato uses industrial made flavour pastes and compounds. Puro's complete artisanal approach uses only fresh ingredients. It’s the fresh ingredients and Puro’s devotion to freshness that sets it apart.

    Puro, Gelato Artigianale, was opened on Kaprova in 2016 by Ludmila Strakova. Ludmila is originally from Slovakia but lived in Berlin for ten years. She went to Berlin to study at first but after school Ludmila stayed and began her career in the hospitality industry. It is possible she would still be in Berlin but in 2013 Ludmila took a trip to Bologna to study gelato making under a famous gelato master. The trip was just for fun and there were no plans to start a gelato business at this point. Not long after returning from Bologna Ludmila began to think seriously about starting a business of her own. She wanted to do something that would allow her to be “hands on” at every step. A gelato shop seemed the perfect answer. She can be involved in everything from sourcing fresh ingredients to getting her hands dirty in the back and even handing a gelato cone to another excited customer. Every part of it is a labour of love for Ludmila, she is very passionate about gelato and Prague seemed like a city that might share that passion.

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    Puro Gelato Artigianate is at Kaprova 15/11 in Prague 1 just outside of Old Town square. It is a must for gelato and ice cream enthusiasts. Take a cone to go or have a seat in this bright and friendly little shop and watch the world walk by on the street. Better yet, take a seat in the back. Puro puts in a large window allowing customers to look into the area where the gelato is made. You can sit at one of the back tables, stare through the glass and watch the magic happen.

Steve Meyers

         
  Puro gelato artigianalePuro Gelato Artigianale
Na Hrobci 410/1, Prague 2 - Výtoň

Opening hours: Mo-Th: 10-20, Fr: 10-22, Sa: 9-22, Su: 11-20

TEL.: +420 721 438 209

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Puro Gelato Artigianale
Kaprova 11, Prague 1

Opening hours: Mo-Su: 9-21

TEL.: +420 692 888 172

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Web: www.purogelato.cz

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The House of French Gastronomy La Gare is the center of the La Gare restaurants´ growing gastronomic empire in Prague. Situated just off beautiful and historic Namesti republiky on V celnici in Prague 1. Brasserie La Gare occupies the main floor and large patio with a boutiques gourmandes in a small section off to one side. There is also a charming and quite large restaurant Le Winstub downstairs, completely separate from Brasserie La Gare which is open for lunch Monday to Friday and brunch on Sundays between September and May and private functions anytime.

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 The La Gare Restaurants started about eleven years ago with their flagship eatery, "Les Moules"  and now they have the House of French Gastronomy La Gare with its boutiques gourmandes and "Le Winstub" downstairs as well as "restaurace Vozovna Stromovka" and "Hostinec u Supa". Having sampled just a little of what they have to offer, I fully intend to visit them all but let me tell you about Brasserie La Gare.

 I want to start with their boutiques gourmandes. As I said it occupies just a small area of the restaurant off to one side. Depending where you sit, it would be easy to miss but don't. This little French deli may be the jewel in La Gare's crown. It's shelves are packed with mouth watering morsels. Some products like the expansive assortment of French wines and cheeses are imported from France but much of what they have is made right there. Bread, baguettes and croissants, olive oil, jams and marmalade, pickles and foie gras. If you don't have time to sit and eat, La Gare's boutiques gourmandes sells jars of their French onion soup, coq au vin and cassoulet to take home. They also make their own ice cream, cakes, pastries, Belgian chocolates and macarons....mon dieu... the macarons.

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  Having had a chance to check the place out, I returned following evening for dinner. Monday to Friday are their busy days. Nestled amongst some of Prague's best hotels, you'd think tourists would be La Gare restaurants' bread and butter but in fact, the patio on this summer evening was filled mostly with locals. I'm guessing people who work in the area are coming by at the end of the day for a drink or a meal. It seems to me, it's always the sign of a good restaurant if you can keep the locals coming back.
 
The atmosphere on the patio this evening was relaxed. Although the clouds had been looming about all day but the air was warm so my fellow patrons and I sipped our drinks in calm defiance of the threatening rain. To my right I could see the majestic buildings framing this end of namesti Republiky and to my left in the distance, I could see Vitkov with its statue of Zizka. In front of me visitors from around the world stroll by.

  The interior of Brasserie La Gare is elegantly decorated, warm, tasteful and inviting  but when my date arrived we remained on the patio, deciding to watch the still bustling V Celnici while we ate.

  La Gare has the type of menu you'd expect from a French restaurant of this calibre. The menu is not expansive but as a first timer, you may experience some option anxiety. There are some great starters, frog's legs, smoked salmon, smoked duck breast, a French cheese plate and of course, escargot. I had the cheese plate because as an expat living in the Czech republic, I never pass up the chance to get my hands on a decent piece of cheese. I was not disappointed. I also had the French onion soup, even though I knew I was going to fill up before the main course. I haven't had a decent French onion soup since I left Quebec so I couldn't resist this opportunity. It was wonderful. I decided to go with the Coq au Vin for the main course. It came highly recommended and I imagined it would be a little less daunting then the grilled steaks of pork, lamb, and veal they were setting down on the tables surrounding us. It was actually a substantial meal but light enough I could almost eat it all, in spite of my earlier over indulgence of cheese and soup.

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  The Coq au Vin lived up to the praise but the Pressed duck and Baked rabbit seemed like popular choices too. They have some lighter options too with a variety of quiches, salads, a sea food stew, muscles and prawns.

  There is no question that the food at Brasserie La Gare is great. It's fresh, flavourful and beautifully presented. I was warned that it was a bit pricey and yes it's not the kind of restaurant where you're going to get a 100 CZK (5 dollars) lunch menu but taking into consideration the quality of the food and the location, you'd have to say the prices are in fact quite fair. The staff at Brasserie La Gare are dignified, prompt, pleasant and genuinely friendly. Good service is not something one comes to expect in the Czech republic. Perhaps that's why, although everything was wonderful, it was the service that impressed me most. Well the service and that French onion soup. I can still taste that French onion soup.

Steve Meyers

         
  La GareLogo
V Celnici 3, Prague 1

Opening hours:
Mon - Su : 8:00 - 0:00

TEL.: +420 222 313 712

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Web: www.lagare.cz

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