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Today Eater returns to Prague — the enchanting capital of the Czech Republic — to call out eight newish restaurants on the front lines of a Czech food explosion. We turned to contributing editor Kat Odell, who has roots in Praha, to share her picks for the city’s buzziest openings of the past 12 months or so.

“While 40 years of Communist rule helped preserve Prague’s ancient architecture, it all but crushed traditional Czech cuisine,” says Odell. “With little to no access to fresh ingredients, food became dependent on processed and canned products. But Tomáš Karpíšek and his restaurant group Ambiente have spent the last 20 years trying to change this — reintroducing the city to fresh ingredients, chef-driven menus, and smartly designed spaces.” And he has inspired others to follow.

For one, ramen is trending, and while the city offers a number of options, the best place to slurp a bowl is Isai Ramen Bistro. For a refined tasting menu, consider newbie Bockem, which not only offers a seven-course dinner, but a breakfast that unfolds as its own three-course adventure. Super-popular KRO Kitchen might feel fast casual, but the sliver of an eatery is helmed by a chef who spent time at Copenhagen’s Manfreds, and the relaxed restaurant even boasts a sommelier.

With that, the Eater Heatmap to Prague, a guide to what’s new and hot in the city of a hundred spires.

Editor’s Note: Eater is not updating international maps at this time given disruptions to global travel during the COVID-19 crisis.


1. Isai Ramen Bistro

There’s no shortage of ramen in Prague, but the city’s hottest new bowl, Isai Ramen Bistro, popped up in July in the Petřiny district. The chef, who goes by Mr. Yoshi, trained at famous Japanese chain Ippudo, where tonkotsu (pork) broth is a specialty. And here in Prague, Mr. Yoshi is also offering tonkotsu, with thin or thick noodles, in addition to more modern ramens, like one flavored with curry and a rotating, limited-edition special like spicy barley miso (ramen starts at 265 Czech korunas, or $11.50). The menu also includes Japanese starters like gyoza and fried chicken karaage, plus Pilsner Urquell on tap, a number of Czech wines, and sake. The simply adorned cafe offers seating for 42.


2. Bockem

Homepage | Bockem

Former Cafe de Paris executive chef Ondrej Kyncl is behind Bockem, a quiet respite mere steps away from Prague’s buzzy city center. Set in an early 20th-century building and designed with unfinished walls and raw materials like wood, rock, and iron, the young dining room (with seating for 26) already feels perfectly patinated. Bockem kicked into gear this past summer plating a three-course breakfast tasting menu (320 korunas or $12), with European dishes like croque monsieur and a cheffy take on a classic Czech breakfast, krupicová kaše (semolina porridge topped with cinnamon sugar and ghee). Kyncl’s seven-course dinner menu (1,200 korunas or $51), which debuted in October, embraces a similar mix of European and Bohemian. Expect a modern take on Czech fine dining, with simply plated dishes built on local and seasonal produce, like beets with blueberries and blackberries capped with vanilla-vinegar meringue shards or roasted duck with wild mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, and sour apple.


3. Manifesto Market Smíchov

Prague’s first outdoor food hall, Manifesto Florenc — 27 movable shipping containers occupied by a mix of first-time restaurateurs and industry vets — launched during the summer of 2018 in Prague’s Florenc neighborhood. Designed by American landscape architect and entrepreneur Martin Barry, the food hall transformed a derelict corner of the city into a hip dining hub. The concept proved so successful that Barry introduced little sister Manifesto Smíchov one year later in Prague’s gentrifying Smíchov district. The micro market consists of six restaurants and two bars, but the entire operation embraces the Czech Republic’s beer culture. A central bar dispenses the country’s most famous brew, Pilsner Urquell, alongside local microbrews like Vinohradský Pivovar’s Vinohradská 11 pilsner. The Manifesto team curated food vendors that serve international cuisines that pair with beer. Repeat sellers from Florenc, like Faency Fries, mix with new vendors, such as cheesesteak specialist the Craft.


4. Autentista

Natural wine meets Champagne at newly minted Autentista. The lounge comes from two of Prague’s biggest players in fermented grape juice, Champagne importer Antonín Suchánek and Bogdan Trojak, co-founder of Prague’s first natural wine bar, Veltlin. Tucked down quiet Řetězová Street in Old Town, Autentisa claims the ground floor of a 14th-century townhouse. The 1,700-square-foot space is clad with elegant vaulted ceilings that lend it an old-fashioned, cavernous feel. At one of the 42 seats, guests will find around 600 natural wines by the bottle in a list focused on European producers (mainly culled from Italy, France, the Czech Republic, and Austria), plus 12 rotating by-the-glass selects (80 korunas, or $3.50 and up). There are also 100 Champagnes by the bottle, and four by the glass (240 korunas, or $10 and up). Continuing the theme of fermentation, chef Tereza Havlíková oversees a menu of “fermentation bowls,” which combine local vegetables and meat with at least one fermented component.


5. Grils

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In January 2019, a devastating fire erupted from the central hearth of Grils, Ambiente restaurant group’s 2-year-old rotisserie chicken bistro. After shuttering the restaurant for two months, the team reopened, switching gears to offer more of a quick-serve barbecue menu focused on chicken and pork. Simple dishes include options like pulled pork on house-made buns and a grilled chicken salad. Interior designer Tereza Froňková (also responsible for the modern look at Ambiente’s Eska) retooled the former 19th-century farmhouse with a cozy, rustic feel, adding blond wood chairs and stone floors. Meanwhile, Ambiente owner Tomáš Karpíšek decided to build a passageway from the restaurant to a nearby courtyard, from which guests can access the Dva Kohouti brewery (also owned by Ambiente and also on this list), enabling newfound collaboration between the venues. Grils provides food for Dva Kohouti guests to eat at the brewery, while the brewery delivers super fresh beer to the restaurant. The restaurant even uses a Dva Kohouti lager to make its sandwich rolls.


6. Dva Kohouti

The all-star team behind this joint project explains this Karlin district microbrewery and beer hall’s instant success. It’s a collaboration between Ambiente restaurant group, head brewer Adam Matuška, of the famed Pivovar Matuška microbrewery, and tapster Lukas Svoboda, who won a major international bartender competition in 2010. The founders conceived of the concept in December 2018, intending to connect the art of brewing beer with the skill of pouring it (many in the Czech Republic recognize pouring beer as a craft). The result is Dva Kohouti, a spacious, modern, industrial drinking den with room for 80 guests indoors and another 120 on an adjacent outdoor patio. Chef Petr Benda of Lokál (a popular Czech pub under the Ambiente umbrella) oversees the concise snack menu of beer-friendly, pickled bites like sausage or carp, which pair well with Dva Kohouti’s collection of nine beers on tap (55 korunas, or $2 per glass). The options are entirely Czech, always including one house-brewed lager, alongside seasonal specials and selections from Pivovar Matuška. Following Czech beer dispensing tradition, patrons can order their brews in three styles: hladinka (a glass filled with three-quarters liquid and one quarter foam, the most common style), šnyt (a glass filled with roughly 40 percent beer and 60 percent foam), and mlíko (a glass almost entirely filled with foam). Dva Kohouti often hosts food trucks serving burgers or crepes, but the team also encourages customers to bring food over from nearby meat specialist Grils (also on this map).

7. Kro Kitchen

Vojtěch Václavík clocked hours at Copenhagen’s lauded Manfreds and Baest before returning home to open Kro Kitchen in April. He hired architectural firm Neuhäusl Hunal to get the most out of a humble, 130-square-foot, antique book shop in the city’s Žižkov district. The team transformed the space into a hip, minimalist venue decorated in slate gray, black, and white, with a lightning bolt shooting across the ceiling. The snug, 15-seat bistro is centered around affordably priced, rotisserie-style proteins and seasonal veggies (around 175 korunas, or $7.50 and up). While the menu may seem straightforward at first, with items like rotisserie chicken, pulled pork knuckle, and caramelized cabbage, KRO is actually a rather cheffy affair. Václavík sources the best local produce, cooks with sous vide, and incorporates fermentation throughout the menu with options like cabbage and leek kimchi, or fermented chile-and-onion dry rub on rotisserie chicken. There’s even an in-house sommelier who may suggest pairing dishes with natural Czech wines or an excellent local cider like Cidrerie Kliment.


8. Výčep

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One of Prague’s most promising additions, Výčep is a modern Czech pub from the Kolektiv restaurant group (also responsible for contemporary Czech concepts like Meat Beer and Nejen Bistro), plating an updated take on Wallachian (North Moravian) food. Chef Jirka Hrachový has helmed the 60-seat eatery since it debuted in Prague’s Vinohrady district in December 2018. The chef crafts thoughtful interpretations of traditional Czech cuisine, using great local and seasonal ingredients. As an amuse, Hrachový might serve an aged slice of Prague ham, and from there, guests can dive into hearty, beef-friendly plates of unctuous baked bone marrow decorated with wild garlic, chives, and preserved currants, or grilled pork tongue with dill and onion jam. A bright and welcoming contrast to many of the city’s dark pubs, Výčep embraces simplicity and minimalism via blond wood, painted brick, and pendant lighting.