Vegetarian restaurants in Prague
Long gone are the days when meat and dumplings were the only meal on offer in Prague, and when vegetarians had to settle for peeling a slice of ham off of an order of fried cheese.
Not only has the capital become home to an increasing number of internationally renowned restaurants but there are more and more restaurants focusing exclusively on innovative, quality vegetarian and vegan fare, with yet many more places offering at least several memorable vegetarian options on their menus. Here's a rundown of the best places to check out:
A family-friendly, nonsmoking restaurant just below the train tracks in trendy Karlín, Mlsná kavka is a bright, cozy space with a creative, all-veg menu based on seasonal ingredients, with several vegan and gluten-free options included. The wait staff are also part of the civic initiative Green Doors, which prepares people with mental illness for the work force. Young visitors will appreciate the generous children's corner.
There's no reason to sacrifice Olde Worlde ambience for modern food preferences, and Estrella, housed in a wood-beamed room just off the cobblestones of New Town, is proof. With a focus on Czech and international cuisine, the nonsmoking Estrella prepares artful, healthy dishes, including a great veggie burger. Good wine list.
With several locations around the city, this bustling Indian-style canteen is an ideal option for a quick, cheap meal on the go: Just ladle up your tray with your choice of the daily curry offerings and have it weighed in at check-out. While the food tends to stay away from spicy, it's a healthful, solid option.
An uber-cool hangout in Vršovice, Plevel is all about vegan and raw food, and a majority of its menu is gluten-free. The seasonal menu changes daily, and includes nods to various cuisines, including a vegan take on the Czech classic svickova and goulash, and staples such as Thai curry, lasagna and chili.
"Clear Head" was one of the city's pioneering vegetarian restaurants, and it still holds a top spot as a local favorite, even among non-vegetarians. The restaurant's interior is a treat, whimsically decorated with a starry sky on the ceiling, and its Old Town house dates to 1410. Lehká hlava constantly outdoes itself with new offerings of creative fare that change based on the season.
Maitrea is a sister firm of Lehká hlava. It has 2 floors with 90 seats and interior in the style of feng shui. Inside there are two fountains, fireplace and a retreat with the Buddha – MAITREA. The quality, fresh ingredients combined with creative culinary spirit result in mouthwatering dishes that continue to impress guests, both the ardent vegetarians and omnivores alike.
Fiona Gaze is a food and travel writer based in Prague. For news about restaurants and events, follow her on Twitter @FionaGaze.