At the end of every year, we write a piece on new openings in Prague. And every year we’re surprised by how many good or decent places actually opened. And boy oh boy, while 2021 sure was a difficult year. We have edited our count down to 52, which means one opening per week. Not too shabby. And this list is by no means exhaustive – it’s just a list of places that have entered our radar and are or are supposed to be good.
And like every year, we’ve made a cheat sheet for you to print out and out it in your wallet or on your fridge, in an attempt to remind yourself that there are still places in Prague you haven’t been. Feel free to scroll down for a download.
Anyway, let’s go down recent memory lane and see what opened in 2021.
We really stay away from compiling any rankings or awards but we think that four openings were truly notable this year.
It all started with the Dian restaurant by bothers Ta of Taro and Gao Den, who have decided to gentrify the Brumlovka area with good food. And they succeeded: Dian is a fun place with sharing plates of delicious Asian-inspired dishes, mostly natural wines and cocktails. Think Taro, but less intimidating given the more generous space and more intimate seating.
The second notable opening was Kro Bistro & Bar in Karlín, the second location of Vinohrady’s Kro Kitchen. You’d think it’s more of the same, but you’d be wrong. In a town where great food and great cocktails coexist but rarely meet, this is a place that tries to change all that. So you have all the delicious and smart fast food that made Vinohrady’s Kro famous, with a few twists of its own, and great cocktails for lunch or dinner. And the outdoor seating in the summer is really nice. Can’t wait for Alma next year!
The third must be the all-new Le Terroir in Kozí in the Old Town. Fun fact: when we met online, Jan tried to get Zuzi to join him for a dinner date at Le Terroir, back then with a kitchen headed by Chef Punčochář, now a TV personality as a Masterchef Judge and the owner of the U Matěje pub. Anyway, Le Terroir is now a wine bar/bistro headed by Vít Hepnar, a legendary sommelier that serves traditional French food with traditional French wines, and his choices are hard to fault. We don’t often dine like this, but our light lunch and Le Terroir was honestly one of the best meals of 2021 in Prague.
An old pub near the Náplavka farmers market, reopened – after some delay – in December under the auspices of the Ambiente group. It is headed by Chef Všetečka, while Chef Grigoryk, Mr Všetečka’s colleague in Ambiente’s former Creative Chefs team, is heading the bakery. The pub focuses, perhaps surprisingly, on nose-to-tail cooking, and it’s delicious. We loved the pig ears, pork tongue with carrots, or his now famous tripe dish. Add fresh Pilsners and you’ve got a winner. (More fish should be added later.)
We probably write this every year, but Prague punches way above its weight when it comes to specialty coffee, and while a few years back it was a revelation when a place opened and served specialty coffee, it is now a surprise when a place opens and DOES NOT serve specialty coffee. And the number of Prague (and the Czechia’s) roasters is only rivalled by the number of its brewers.
What we’re trying to say is coffee is good in Prague. New openings in 2021 were mostly expansions of existing businesses, or additional concepts to some well established ones. Take Metok, a small espresso bar/flower shop in the Palmovka area by the owners of Holešovice’s Ca Phe. Or Ye’s Kafe and Wine, a more wine-centric coffee shop opened in the new developments of Rohanské nábřeží in Karlín by Ye’s Kafe & Studio over at Holešovice.
Opened two new locations: one in Železná street that connects Old Town Square and the Estates Theatre, and another in the newly developed Bořislavka retail centre on the way to the airport. Mamacoffee opened Café Nezisk in the area of Pohořelec just under the Strahov Monastery, and will take all their profit and give it to a non-profit organisation of their choice every month. Speaking of reclaiming touristy areas, Kafe a hrnky is a new coffee shop just a few blocks below in the super touristy Nerudova street. And remember Pauseteria, the coffee shop and bistro just by Malé náměstí in the Old Town? Well, they are reopening after shutting down during the first wave of covid, and they have a coffee stand right in the Old Town Square, so specialty coffee is now becoming commonplace even in areas that were before dominated by touristy ripoffs. Talk about a silver lining of the two Covid years.
Finally, two more place a bit outside of the historical centre: first, 20m2 is an expresso bar in Břevnov, an area that needs more places like this, and the FLAT Café has brought specialty coffee and breakfast with London vibes to the Vršovice area between Krymská and Kodaňská streets.
Not sure if Prague needs more wine bars, but we need more wine in our lives, so whenever a new wine bar opens, we’re happy. And there were some notable openings when it comes to booze in Prague.
The OG of good wine bars in Prague that was the first to serve Czech wines with pride again, has opened a new location at Korunní in the Vinohrady district (sadly, they did shut down their original shop at Míšeňská in the Lesser Town). We did mention Le Terroir before as a bistro, but we should not forget it’s a wine bar too, and a great one at that. And to enjoy some mere traditional French wines, head over to Merlot d’Or just two blocks away at Dušní. It’s a beautiful wine shop that looks like an old apothecary of wine. Finally, Lot of Wine, again just two blocks away, is serving French wines and delicacies in the Ungelt area. So the Old Town just added three great places if you enjoy more traditional French wines.
The bar scene in Prague added one notable place, the OMY (Oh My Yalta) bar in the back of the Yalta Craft Bistro of the Yalta hotel on Wenceslas Square. The bar, with its central circular bar, is a collaboration between the restaurant and Mr Žufánek, arguably the most famous and the most popular Czech/Moravian distiller, who presents his entire portfolio, including some very limited items, in the bar. Expect great drinks and frequent pop-ups by some big names of the global cocktail scene. At least that’s the plan.
While the Ambiente group did not manage to open the new Lokál at Vodičkova (it must open in early January 2022), they did manage to open Pult, a craft beer spot in U Celnice street right next to the Sia restaurant. The highlight? Six local lagers on tap, including Pilsner Urquell and (the Czech) Budweiser on the same tap, a Prague first. (It’s like getting Coke and Pepsi in the same place.) Add three more specials on tap, loads of other craft beers in bottles, and some pretty delicious bites to go with that. Pult immediately became very popular, with improvised closing times well into the night.
2022/1/1 EDIT: It seems that a new Lokál U Jiráta in Vodičkova street opened on 31 December, after months of delays. This will make it Prague’s seventh Lokál. The kitchen is headed by former chef of Lokál Dlouhá, so expect more of the same, really. (Nobody’s complaining.)
Good bread is on a roll (see what we did there? haha) just about anywhere, and Prague is no exception. Just like with coffee though, most new openings were new locations by established businesses.
The opening of the year for us was definitely the Karlín location of the Praktika bakery. Which didn’t just open a new shop in Karlín like they did in Letná before. Oh no, they moved their entire production to Karlín, meaning they mill their own flour there and bake all their bread there. And they are working on their bottlenecks: their crowdfunding project was a success and they are now the happy owners of a new stone flour mill, so we can expect more and more delicious bread going forward.
Speaking of new locations by established businesses, the popular Artic Bakehouse opened a new location on Štefánikova street near Arbesovo náměstí in Smíchov, while our favorite sugar and fat pushers, Oh Deer Bakery, opened a new location to sell their cronuts on Dejvická street in Bubeneč – yet another location after their Malostranské náměstí spot, and yet another piece in their evil plan to make the country morbidly obese. Helping them is Defidu, a Žižkov bakery, which opened a new location on Vinohradská.
The opening of the year must be the brand new IF Café in Werichova vila at the edge of the Kampa park. After a bitter separation and divorce, Iveta Fabešová (the IF in IF Café), having lost everything except the brand name to her ex-husband, has pulled herself together and opened a new and better, more adult pastry shop that is a joy to shop at. Other new sugar-forward spots include Kookie, which sells – you guessed it – cookies and specialty coffee at Ostrovní in New Town. And then it’s ice-cream: both Créme de la Créme and Puro Gelato (the latter probably merging with 360 Pizza) opened their shops in Bubeneč, to loud cheers especially from our 4yo son – we live in the area. And Lunar ice popsicles opened a shop in Vyšehrad.
The only properly new baking business in Prague was probably Zrno a zrnko, a concept of bakeries that has the ambition to take the city by storm, just like Antonínovo pekařství before it. While it does speak to a crowd interested in artisanal baking, Zrno a zrnko is a huge investment by experienced investors with a strategy. (Nothing wrong with that.) They seem to be keen on expanding really fast and get some real economies of scale going.
We highlighted four openings of the year above, but there were other interesting venues opening this year.
Ansámbl in Krymská street is a tiny place and a collaboration between Bad Flash Bar next door and former La Degustation chef. The result is a casual dining bistro with some fine dining techniques and sensitivities. They are just at the beginning of their journey. And there are a few obstacles ahead (like a kitchen that is not connected to the dining room otherwise than through a food lift), but there is some promise here given the quality of the food we tasted.
Is the newest addition to the Together restaurant group, and the name is a bit misleading because you’d be wrong if you expected a vegetable or potato-forward kitchen. Sure, there are some potato-based dishes, but this is mostly traditional Czech protein-forward comfort food with potato sides. Still, it’s nice to see a professionally run kitchen in more remote areas like Pankrác.
One of the most common questions we get from the guests of our food tours is for restaurants with a view. We rarely know what to respond because these tend to be quite touristy in Prague. Enter Atelier Petřín right next to the Petřín tower, which is run by Atelier Red & Wine just at the foot of the same hill. The views? Check. The food and wine? Check. This could be a no brainer when it gets to dining with a view.
Has become a covid sensation, drawing crowds to taste their kolache and sweet baking from near and afar. Další kus, which opened next door, is more about savoy baking and deli stuff. Think pigs in a blanket (but really good ones), deli salads, salty rolls and such. If you come to Kus koláče, you’d be forgiven for thinking they were hiring at Eska’s team building exercises. And Další kus, headed by Eska’s former executive sous chef Kateřina Jakusová, is no exception.
In Senovážná has an ambitious menu spanning from Asia to South America (never a good sign). But it is run by seasoned professionals with CVs that include the Mandarin Oriental or Orea Hotels and they could just pull it off. It’s fairly new so we’re yet to see if the concept is right for the time and area, but the menu does look quite nice actually.
Fast food is the new black in the pandemic world, and 2021 did bring us some nice concepts. Burgerman became a sensation early in the year. To the point where he had to leave his shared kitchen in Žižkov and found refuge in the Point Gallery at Betlémské náměstí. Random Sandwich Bistro opened at the edge of Vinohrady, and the menu looks quite nice, too. Porkchaps deli opened at the very end of Lublaňská and served some pretty great sandwiches, but we’ve heard they had to shut down already. What a shame. Smoke Heaven is a new BBQ in Karlín with its very own experienced pit master. Bon Fresh Ramen and Soba didn’t open one but two new locations in 2021. One on Letenské náměstí and the other right across the street from Taro at Na Knížecí. Chef Kalina, formerly known from Prague’s fine dining district, opened Kalina food truck, a rotisserie chicken and porchetta sandwich truck, in the parking lot of the Macro store in Stodůlky. And Holešovice’s Fatfuck Smash Burgers are serving – you guessed it – smash burgers that have gained quite a following… to the extent that they managed to open a second location on Bělohorská already.
Sure, this is not necessarily in Prague, but we’ll allow it: Papilio opened in a golf resort in Vysoký Újezd. Some 5 miles behind the Ikea in Zlličín. The restaurant is headed by Jan Knedla who has amassed loads of experience in Michelin stars and multistars abroad. And offers ambitious tasting menus that only present the finest to the finest. Think Paloma in Průhonice, without the bitter aftertaste about you know who.
Casa de Andalucía opened in Karlín’s Šaldova and in addition to classic take out. They will also put together a cheese and charcuterie platter to eat – and wine to drink – at the bench outside of the shop. Nice stuff. And George’s Delicatessen opened recently at Italská. They offer bread by Artic Bakekouse, dairy and charcuterie of all kinds from France and Italy, complemented by wines from the same traditional regions.
One of the most interesting openings of the year must be Goodlok on Palackého náměstí. The guys have been juicing stuff forever. But now they’ve added food (they consulted the food with ex-Ambiente’s Jan Bilíková) and loads of fermented goodies prepared or designed by our very own Martin Blum, so woot woot! Go check them out.
Opened in the building of the Masarykovo nádraží building on the Hybernská side and it looks awesome. Can’t report on the food but the menu looks like the classic modern pub like Červený Jelen or Potrefená Husa in its immediate vicinity. The Borsch brings Ukrainian food to Vinohrady, and that can never be a bad thing. More like this, please!
Finally, we’re finishing the with some bistros – Lokálně is a collaboration between Eliška, a Le Cordon Bleu graduate, and her friend who ran the Lokálně shop. They decided the shop into a little bistro right near the CAMP centre and Emmaus monastery. Jídlovice is a small bistro/restaurant in the Bubemeč area for the budget-conscious. Layla was one of our faves when we found it in the summer. It’s a Lebanese restaurant run by a genuine Lebanese family. It’s literally a heart-warming experience to sit at one of the outside tables and eat proper food as if made by the Lebanese grandma you wish you had. Finally, our fave Radua Crystal opened a studio/bistro to present her glass works and cooking. Enough reason for us to go to Podolí.
And that’s it for us. Below is our 2021 cheat sheet. Print it out, put it on your fridge, in your wallet. You know what to do.
Have fun exploring in 2022! January will be pretty amazing from the rumours already.
Categories: Sia restaurant
Tags: David Petřík