Two decades after the Velvet Revolution, Prague is no longer just an el-cheapo tourist destination with well-preserved Gothic and Romanesque architecture. The ancient city has rebooted its Bohemian decadence and café society status, rightfully reclaiming its role as one of Europe’s greatest cultural capitals. Here’s where you need to eat and drink when visiting the storied Czech city.
For the first time, two Prague restaurants now hold Michelin stars. La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise reintroduces 19th-century recipes to modern diners using local, seasonal ingredients. Choose either the six- or 11-course menu, paired with Czech wines, and enjoy dishes such as the signature beef tongue or piglet with horseradish. The city’s other Michelin star holder, Alcron, is well known for modern fish and seafood preparations, often employing Asian touches, such as a salad of squid and cauliflower, with radish, truffle and dashi. Hidden away in the Radisson Blu Alcron Hotel, this tiny 24-seat spot envelopes guests with a Tamara de Lempicka-inspired mural.
While beer gardens are ubiquitous, a whole new crop of cocktail lounges and ultramodern wine bars has emerged recently, adding greater dimension to the city’s drinking culture. Popular wine bar Monarch focuses on underappreciated, must-try Czech wines and also organizes tours of wineries and vineyards. Near the Charles Bridge, Vinograf features a rotating selection of more than two dozen Czech wines by the glass, with a knowledgeable staff ready to walk you through the options. Recently opened Veltlin in the up-and-coming Karlin district offers natural wines from sustainable and biodynamic Czech, German and Austrian producers. Finish the night at Tretter’s New York Bar with a properly made classic cocktail and a perfectly poured Czech Pilsner Urquell.
On Wenceslas Square, the historic Jalta Hotel is built over a bomb shelter for the city’s elite in the event of war with the West. A postwar landmark, the rooms have been tastefully modernized, and the street level restaurant, Como Mediterranean Restaurant & Café, serves some of the city’s best northern Italian cuisine in a prime people-watching spot.