Vegetarianka in a Land of Meat and Potatoes

Written by Gaela LaPasta, (Cornell University) Student Correspondent CET Film in Prague, Spring 2018

You might think that the Czech Republic, a place that Anthony Bourdain called “the land that vegetables forgot,” would be a very difficult place to be vegetarian. But for me, the only difficult thing about being vegetarian here has been resisting the giant, cheap sausages in Wenceslas Square or the traditional goulash on every Czech menu. Prague is, much to my surprise, an easy place to be a vegetarian! Not only is there delicious traditional Czech food for vegetarians, but there are also a plethora of great vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the city.

I did not expect to become absolutely obsessed with any Czech food. Before I came here I associated Czech cuisine with sausages, stews, and pork knuckles. Turns out that cheese is another major part of the cuisine- lucky for me, a self-proclaimed cheese fanatic. There are two main Czech cheese dishes that I’ve encountered: smazeny syr, fried eidam or Camembert cheese usually served alongside potatoes and tartar sauce, and my favorite cheese dish Nakládaný hermelín, camembert marinated with garlic, onion, and a bunch of other delicious spices. This small wheel of cheese is served either as an appetizer, or, for vegetarians, as a main dish with thick slices of crusty rye bread.

If you’re a vegan looking to sample Czech food…you might be out of luck at the average Czech restaurant. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a rich and fulfilling culinary adventure in Prague! Prague has two great local food chains that specialize in vegetarian and vegan food. My favorite is called Dhaba Beas. It is a pay by weight restaurant that specializes in North Indian and Asian inspired cuisine. My favorite is their deliciously fresh spring rolls. A big tray of vegetarian goodness will only run you about $5! Plus, they have free water and Wi-Fi. The other chain that vegans can rely on for a delicious bite is Loving Hut. They’re especially well known for their delicious vegan pho, a rarity in Prague.

There are many more highly rated vegetarian restaurants in Prague that I haven’t yet had a chance to sample. On top of my list is Maitrea, which has vegetarian and vegan versions of traditional Czech dishes, including goulash, Svíčková, and crackling spread. Another is Radost, a vegetarian restaurant that does double duty as one of the hippest dance clubs in the city. They’re especially well known for their brunch, featuring vegetarian and vegan version of classics like huevos rancheros and French toast.

Prague never ceases to surprise me with the availability of vegetarian options. Just yesterday I decided to try out a new supermarket and found vegetarian hot dogs! I’m looking forward to more adventures in meat free eating in Prague. Of course, if none of these options appeal to you, you can always stick to delicious Czech desserts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

My List of Vegetarian Restaurants in Prague

Maitrea for vegetarian version of Czech classics

Clear Head for great ambiance and creative vegetarian dishes

Radost for a great brunch

Dhaba Beas for a cheap, tasty lunch

Loving Hut for the pho and other Asian inspired dishes