As a Slavic people with a beer culture, Czechs definitely tend to eat a lot of meat. The Czech national dish is a large piece of pork knee framed with sauerkraut and dumplings. However, the Czech public has recently shown a taste for fresh juices, a vegetarian diet and environmentally friendly food. As a consequence, green restaurants are springing up like mushrooms overnight. Currently the number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Prague exceeds 25.
“Vegetarian restaurants have become popular in Prague because this food has an exotic taste without any harm,” says Alice Kruglova, a manager at the vegetarian restaurant Maitrea. “Traditional Czech food is heavy, but now people are seeking healthy, light and organic dining. We are genuinely happy when not only vegetarians and vegans visit the restaurant, but also meat-eaters come to try delicious meals.”
“People are more conscious now,” believes Veronika Serookaya, an organizer of vegetarian catering for weddings and special occasions. “Food is the source of the chemical reactions in the human body and what we eat affects our perception, emotions and behavior. Indian sages believe that vegetarianism helps to see every person as a significant part of nature and the world.”
After talking to a number of vegetarians and visiting vegetarian restaurants in Prague, these are the restaurants that are the best and most often recommended.
Service, hospitality and a pleasant interior make this restaurant popular among both tourists and locals. It is a quiet and cozy place, decorated in soft, warm colors with wooden furniture. The owners claim that they drew up the design according to the rules of Feng Shui. Maitrea offers an abundance of vegetarian dishes made from quality ingredients without gluten or artificial additives. There is also a menu designed specifically for children. Visitors are recommended to try the tapas bar, hot appetizers, salads and soups. The most special dish here is creamy spaghetti with spinach, crispy shredded tofu and rosemary pesto. In addition to the basic menu, Maitrea offers a set lunch for 115 CZK, which includes soup, a main dish and water.
Where: Týnská ulička 1064/6, Prague 1 – Staré Město
This classy Indonesian fusion bistro with a calm decor and natural tasty food is an atmospheric and pleasant place. The menu offers an extensive selection of extraordinary vegetarian and vegan dishes such as carrot risotto with soy, or soup with shiitake mushrooms and mango. On your first visit to this restaurant, try “degustační talíř,” a sampling all the main dishes in small portions. The restaurant cares about the source of the food it serves – everything is from Czech farms or farmers’ markets. The website provides a complete list of suppliers with photos.
Where: Máchova 54/22, Prague 10
Founded in 1995, this place is a true veteran of vegetarian cuisine in Prague. Its motto is “Experience the taste of another world.” Guests will be pleasantly surprised by the meditative music and soothing atmosphere. All dishes in the restaurant are prepared according to traditional Indian recipes, because the cooks were trained directly in India. Definitely, you should try the special dhal (Dal) soup. This is a vegetarian soup with several kinds of beans that also contains coconut milk, lemon juice, tomatoes, fried onions, garlic and, of course, curries. Dhal is served with warm tortillas. By the way, on the ground floor there is a shop with goods from India, where you can buy hot sauces and canned food.
Where: Soukenická 2060/27, Prague 1 – Petrská čtvrť
In creating this restaurant, the owners were inspired by the famous New York place Zen Palate. Among the ideas they copied is a trendy open kitchen where you can see how skillfully chefs prepare your dish. The menu mostly offers meat-free burritos, hummus, various dishes based on beans and a huge selection of cheese. All dishes are fresh and made from quality products. The combination of healthy food and a friendly ambience makes this an attractive place. Portion sizes are large, and can easily be shared by two people. The average price of a main course is 150 – 200 CZK.
Where: Boršov 2/280, Prague 1 – Staré Město
Not a purely vegetarian place, but the presence of veggie burgers on the menu makes this restaurant worth including on this list. The Tavern serves unusual and delicious veggie burgers with spinach, lentils, rice or mushrooms. Green burgers here are juicy and tasty, and the staff is friendly. Prices for vegetarian burgers range from 149 to 299 CZK. This place is really small, overcrowded and noisy. As a consequence, try to book a table in advance via the Internet.
Where: Chupinova 1521/26, Prague 2 – Vinohrady
This unique restaurant occupies three floors of a historic building in the center of Prague. It offers visitors vegetarian dishes from different nations of the world. You can ask for specialty items such as vegan tartar, grilled seitan, nutty Wellington or Peking beans. Every day an international team of chefs, managers and animators creates a completely remarkable experience that satisfies the seekers of tasty and original food. Not only vegetarians and gourmets will be happy here, but also guests who want to try something unusual. Moreover, lovers of meat and fish will be surprised that their favorite flavors can be duplicated by the skillful selection and preparation of non-animal origin. Order the special “Peking duck” and you will be delighted!
Where: Legerova 40, Prague 2
Photos courtesy of Restu.cz