How To Be Vegetarian (or Vegan) in Prague
In a country known for it’s meat dishes, it’s important to know where people with dietary restrictions can eat.
There’s nothing more complicated than having a food restriction while traveling. Whether it be a gluten-free diet, lactose intolerance or a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, traveling in a foreign country that doesn’t have English as a second language can be incredibly difficult. As a vegetarian myself, living in Eastern Europe with a dietary restriction was not as simple as I had hoped. Their “vegetarian options,” when offered, consisted of mushroom risotto or fried cheese. Many places didn’t quite grasp the vegetarian concept and offered fish and chicken under the vegetarian options.
But, all was not lost. In fact, being vegetarian in Europe was easier than I expected, thanks to the lovely Google. Based in Prague for the majority of my semester abroad, I had heard stories of this beautiful city’s inflexibility with vegetarianism. The Czech diet is high in protein and starch and offers limited vegetables in their traditional cuisine. Alas, on class trips and nights out I would often find myself ordering a side of mashed potatoes and a pint of beer to fill me up when even fried cheese wasn’t on the menu. But, after a few weeks, I ran into a local vegetarian, making my quest for vegetarian food so much easier. To date there are 89 vegan or vegetarian restaurants and food stores in Prague, according to Happy Cow. Below are a list of my favorite stores and restaurants for veg-lovers traveling (or living) in the fairytale city!
With multiple locations around Prague, this is my favorite vegan restaurant of them all. The Asian-inspired cuisine is warm, fresh and abnormally cheap. They’re the perfect place to go for a quick lunch or early dinner. The restaurant makes it easy to dine-in or take-out with their buffet option, which is pay-by-weight. Their most popular dish, Thai curry, has just the right amount of heat.
My second favorite vegetarian spot in Prague is MAITREA. With two floors and incredible feng-shui, this place is relaxing and hardly ever crowded. Their daily menus are a steal, with a soup, main dish and a water for 115 CZK (about 6 USD). The restaurant is also incredibly easy to find, as it is located down an alley by Church of Our Lady before Tyn (the giant gothic church in Old Town).
This is the go-to store for someone with a vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free diet. While nearly everything is written in Czech, the employees are helpful with translations, making sure what you buy is specific to your dietary restriction. The shop is all organic and, therefore, quite expensive, even by New York standards. In addition to the main storefront, Country Life has a buffet-style restaurant attached to it. While not entirely vegetarian, the options are for the most part obvious when they have meat in them. Remember, the price is determined by the weight of your plate or to-go box, so make sure to portion your food correctly or you’ll be paying an arm and a leg for a salad.
Vegans rejoice! This is the restaurant for you. Offering traditional Czech food and stunning views of the Prague Castle, this restaurant is a must try. Not only are their vegan burgers raved about in reviews, their goulash allows vegans and vegetarians to enjoy the traditional cuisine of the country (a rarity since most goulash is automatically made with beef). Enjoy the veggies and the view; they’re worth the price.
While Prague is not much for ethnic food, Dhaba Beas sets the bar for incredible Indian food. To this day I still crave it. The restaurant has multiple locations around the city, but it’s most notable one is just off Old Town Square. The enticing smells and delicious food make it easy to over-fill your tray. Also a pay-by the pound spot, avoid over-paying by limiting your scoops to one per item. You’ll still get all the yummy Indian cuisine for half the price.
Last but certainly not least is Las Adelitas. A traditional Mexican restaurant, it’s by far the best in Prague. With both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, Las Adelitas caters to nearly everyone. A popular location off Old Town Square, the restaurant quickly fills up on the weekends, so make sure to make reservations if you’re dying to try it. The overall atmosphere and lovable staff draw you in, and the food keeps you coming back again and again. Relatively cheap, it’s easy to spend $20 on a meal when you add in their delightfully strong margaritas.
Although there are many more restaurants to choose from, these made the cut for my all-time favorites in Prague. But, as with all foreign countries where English is not the first language, it is important to know how to say “I am a vegetarian” and “no meat” in the native language. In Prague, “Jsem vegetarianka” means “I am a vegetarian.” And “ne maso” is a rudimentary way of saying “no meat.” And remember, a quick Google or Happy Cow search can lead to an easier time in any foreign country.