We’re back, baby!
Yes, after two Covid years, the 2022 holiday season finally feels like a real holiday season in Prague – the Christmas markets are on (and not cancelled two hours before their were supposed to start like last year), Prague is full of tourists, and the shopping craze is not hindered by any pesky shutdowns or curfews. Yay?!
Which also means that if you’re reading this now, frantically trying to find a place to eat out on Christmas Eve, it’s probably too late. But if we were to look for a place to eat out during holidays, it would be one of the ones below.
So good luck, and here’s our 2022 Prague Christmas and NYE Dining Out Guide.
Czechs celebrate Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day, and the city stops to a halt on Christmas Eve at about 4pm. Most restaurants and businesses will shut down for the day in the early afternoon. So if you don’t have a reservation for a Christmas Eve dinner, act now.
The traditional Christmas dish for the Czechs is a schnitzel made of carp with potato salad. Escargots are also a popular Christmas treat. Fish soup is common, as well as „kuba“, barley risotto with mushrooms. (According to tradition, Czechs are not supposed to eat meat on Christmas Eve, and fish and escargots don’t count.) That said, many Czechs ditch that tradition and have meat instead. We’re talking schnitzels, maybe duck or goose, and „wine sausage“ is quite common, too. And most restaurants open on Christmas Eve will probably let you choose between fish and meat.
Dining on Dec 25 and 26 is easier – many (but not all) restaurants will reopen for these two days, so there’ll be many more options. Retail will still be mostly closed for Christmas, though.
New Year’s Eve is not a bank holiday in the Czech Republic (unlike 1 January), so everything should stay open. Here the choices should be based on your very own style of celebrating NYE – a quiet, fine-dining dinner? Or a wild party at a wine bar? Somewhere near or above the river to watch the midnight festivities? Only you know you the best, and you should do you on NYE.
Enough chit chat, let’s get to it. (Or scroll down for coffee.)
The website of the popular Bib-Gourmand awarded modern Czech restaurant in the Holešovice district says they’re fully booked for both Christmas Eve and NYE. We recommend calling them to see if there are any cancellations or a waitlist. This is a great choice for a quieter, more elegant yet still pretty casual celebration of both.
Café Imperial is a classic Belle Epoque restaurant headed by Chef Pohlreich who’s one of the most famous chefs around here (he ran the Czech version of Kitchen Nightmares). Don’t expect avant-garde here but a trip down the Austro-Hungarian memory lane.
What’s good about their Christmas menu, served on 24 through 26 December, is that’s it’s all a la carte, which is great if you don’t want to commit to a full tasting menu or have restless kids. The menu includes Czech Christmas classics like fried escargot, fish soup, pike perch with mushroom kuba, or goose.
On NYE, they are planning a comprehensive buffet dinner with a la carte main dish from 7pm with live music. The price is CZK 3450 and 1725 for children. Here’s what’s on the menu: lobster Thermidor, venison terrine, foie gras crème brulée, roast beef, Parma ham, salad bar. A la carte mains: duck confit, rack of lamb, pike perch, dear or beef cheeks. Add selection of cheeses, desserts.
Next Door is literally next door from Café Imperial and shares the same chef and approach to dining, but the room is a bit more modern, although it tries not to be.
Again, we’re having a la carte Christmas menu served on 24 through 26 December: marinated trout, creamy fish soup, pike perch with light potato salad or grilled duck breast.
Their NYE buffet shares a lot with Café Imperial: starts at 7pm, has live music, costs CZK 3450 or CZK 1725. A la carte mains: duck confit, daily fish, boar steak, suckling pig cheeks, corn-fed chicken, the buffet looks similar to Café Imperial’s.
Bottega Linka is a casual Italian restaurant with a beautiful interior and a great selection of mostly natural Italian wines. It offers nice warm dishes, along with a salad bar. It belongs to the La Collezione group (think Aromi, La Finestra, Amano and all the Bottega bistros.)
On Christmas Eve, they have an a la carte menu that features escargots, lobster velouté, seafood spaghetti or veal ossobuco and pannetone.
For NYE, they offer a tasting menu for CZK 3990 and optional CZK 2500 wine pairing. The five courses include steak tartare, chestnut ravioli, fish with smoked beurre blanc, or Texas-style beef ribs.
Aromi, the flagship restaurant of the La Collezione group in the Vinohrady district, is fully booked for Christmas Eve as of the writing of this article, but their sister, La Finestra, still seems to have seats for theis simple yet great looking Christmas menu. The star is the lobster Thermidor for two, escargots and oysters. Served á la carte.
For NYE, La Finestra has prepared a tasting menu for CZK 3995 that includes a lobster toast, pumpkin tortellini, scallops, and a choice of duck or fish. La Finestra is a great, comfortable restaurant that has a fantastic, strategic location – just a few steps off the Charles Bridge, but tucked away is a smaller street.
Amano is an Italian restaurant bordering between classy and hip/trendy. They offer a Christmas menu that can be enjoys á la carte, or as a tasting menu that goes for CZK 1890 (and a CZK 1690 wine pairing). The main dish can be either turbot or Iberico cheeks.
The cool and immensely popular Vietnamese/Asian restaurant in the Anděl area with bar seating around an open kitchen – and the most recent addition to Michelin’s Prague guide – may be closed on Christmas Eve, but they do open on 28 December and stay open on NYE for both lunch and dinner, although they don’t seem to be preparing any special NYE menu. Which does not have to be a bad thing – their dinner menu is excellent.
The younger sister of Taro in the Brumlovka area that serves cool Asian dishes to share is closed for Christmas, but will be open for NYE, and will serve a NYE lunch between 12 and 3pm, and NYE dinner! The lunch consists of six courses (with the likes of a soft shell crab bao, Robata grill chicken Satay or Vietnamese duck) and costs CZK 2590. Add cocktails and a live DJ, and this could be really fun!
The restaurant of the newly opened Andaz hotel in the New Town with a very competent young chef that seems to target not only the hotel guests but also cool, hip and younger locals is serving Christmas set menu dinners from 24 through 26 December for CZK 1995 (with an optional CZK 995 wine pairing). The menu is a pretty traditional Czech affair – kuba, wine sausage and zander. Zem also offers a fun Christmas brunch on 25 December that has plenty of options for food and drinks alike. This is a great idea actually that is unique within the context of Prague.
Finally, Zem also plans a NYE party: dinner at the ZEM restaurant, followed by drinks at the MEZ bar that stays open until 3am. There are different packages available on their website.
The very popular modern Czech restaurant with some fine dining touches by the river (just slightly south of the main attractions of the historical centre) is planning an 8-course dinner for NYE that goes for CZK 3990 or CZK 4990 with wine pairing. The first course is a snack bar, followed by Prague ham stock and whole lotta protein dishes. But Vallmo is a great choice for dinner – the kitchen produces tasty dishes and you can then walk to the river and enjoy the festivities a bit farther away from the craziness, while enjoying a great view of the Prague Castle.
The two Michelin-starred restaurants are both closed for Christmas and open on NYE but now only accept entries in their waitlist – they are fully booked already. Still, one can dream! (But you have to dream real hard – La Degustation’s wait list has twenty on it people already.)
The OG of good eating in the Karlín district will be closed for Christmas but will offer a NYE menu: their charcuterie made in house, Panco-encrusted sweetbreads, steak with foie gras and truffle, and pear crumble with vanilla ice cream. Prepare to shell out CZK 1180 for the entire menu but be ready to be out of the restaurant at 10pm. Not a problem – just finish the night at Liquid Office bar nearby for fantastic drinks and a bit of a quieter evening.
The modern Czech pub with a focus on all things dumplings in the Vinohrady district will actually stay open throughout Christmas Eve until 10pm and in addition to their standard menu will serve escargots, which will be available through 26 December.
The lively and casual French restaurant will be open for Christmas Eve lunch and have a menu based on escargots – two seatings only until 3pm.
The fancy dining restaurant will a great view of the city was always a bit under our radar – it just seemed to gimicky and too focused on the view and the tourism – but now that the kitchen is headed by Chef Hlaváček, whom we consider to be one of the most promising young Czech fine dining chefs, this might be a fantastic option if you like your dinners heavy on technique and the surroundings luxurious. Their website says nothing about their plans for Christmas or NYE, but definitely give them a try. (And be ready to pay a price for all of that.
Aureole is a swanky restaurant on top of a high-rise building in the Pankrác district (don’t panic – it’s just a short Uber ride from the centre). They used to serve great Christmas Eve dinners but apparently don’t serve one this year and will close for the entire holiday.
However, they do offer tickets for their „NYE in the sky“ dinner. The tickets range from Black to Diamond (depending on the seating) and from CZK 8200 to CZK 10000 (part of the difference is whether you get a seating with a view), and they’re nearly fully booked. They include a 7-course meal with Champagne, midnight snack and toast, live music and a DJ.
So morning coffee on the 24th will be easy: both Kafemat and onesip coffee, our two specialty coffee staples, will be open. Prepare to wait though. Bubeneč’s mazelab coffee will be open on Christmas Eve morning, too.
The problem is Christmas Day, when everything seems to be closed right now, with one exception: The Miners in Železná, which is open every day over Christmas, with shorter opening hours (4pm on the 24th and 6pm on the 25th and the 26th.). We think you can also get your fill at restaurants that serve specialty coffee. Right now, only some of the Ambiente outposts come to mind: Myšák and Café Savoy in the centre, and Eska over at Karlín.
Many, but not all, coffee shops will reopen on the 26th, like Karlín’s Etapa bistro. See you there with circles under your yes and a mug in hand!
Categories: Vinohradský Parlament