In the Czech Republic, where traditional meals feature goulash and roast pork with bread dumplings, vegetarian or vegan travelers may struggle to find a filling and nutritious meal. At many restaurants, the only non-meat dishes are potatoes or a fried cheese sandwich. Fortunately, meatless meals are easier to come by in the City of Spires due to a recent increase in fresh produce markets, health food grocery stores and vegan and vegetarian restaurants. Although vegetarian options at traditional Czech dining venues remain limited, travelers with special dietary needs can still order a healthy, satisfying meal without breaking the bank. In fact, many of these restaurants are near popular tourist attractions and sightseeing spots around town.
Meaning “Our Grunt,” this collaborative farmer’s market displays products from dozens of local Czech farmers. According to Jacy Meyer, local Prague journalist and frequent Grunt shopper, the market serves as a middleman between farmers and consumers, making it easier for farmers to sell their goods to a wider group of people. Grunt also provides local wines, brandy, honey and traditional free-range eggs and meats. Travelers can easily access quality food at the Grunt franchises scattered around the Czech Republic. This particular location is the first established in Prague.
Address: Radhošťská 1942/2 130 00, Zizkov, Prague 3
Hours: Monday-Friday 730-1900, Saturday 800-1330, Closed Sunday
Although Maitrea is around the corner from the packed Old Town Square, you will not find many tourists here. Servers in harem pants and T-shirts lead you to tables with small tea-light candles, and sitar and bass-driven tunes drift in the background. Downstairs, a small bar serves specialty drinks, such as fresh homemade ginger lemonade. Choose tables and chairs or short round tables and cushions by a stone fireplace. Trickling fountain water, accent lighting, greenery and warm colors create a relaxing atmosphere. All menu options are vegetarian or vegan, and the servers answer questions about the restaurant and the menu in clear English. Look for the unique twists on international dishes, including pumpkin chickpea hummus, spinach and eggplant crepes with tomato pesto and kimchi. Portions are plentiful, and meal prices begin around 100 CZK, or $4. An appetizer, meal and mint ice tea cost about $12 with tip. After dinner, enjoy one of the free tours around Prague’s Old Town Square. Famous sights are the Astronomical Clock and the “Church of Our Lady Before Tyn.”
Address: Týnská ulička 6, Prague 1
Hours: Monday- Friday 1130-2330, Saturday and Sunday 1200-2330
Prague’s first-ever health food shop is also an all-vegan cafeteria. The restaurant is located behind the Country Life health food store in a small courtyard with indoor and outdoor seating. On a rainy day, the small restaurant provides warm comfort and delicious food. Arrive an hour before the venue closes to receive the “Happy Hour” price. Country Life features a salad bar, hot meal bar, fresh bread, “bio” (or organic) juices and an assortment of small vegan desserts. A few blocks down is the Museum of Communism, only 150 CZK, or $7, for students and 190 CZK, or $9, for adults. The gift shop is a great place for unique and dark-humored souvenirs.
Address: Melantrichova 15, Old Town, Prague 1
Hours: Monday-Thursday 0830 – 1900, Friday 0800 – 1500, Sun 1100 – 1800, Closed Saturday
1000|Sweet Secret of Raw
“Once you get used to a raw diet, you cannot tell the difference in taste,” says shop owner and chef, Veronika Klamtová. The smiling customers purchasing the new pistachio cheesecake seem to agree. Based on the success of Secret of Raw, the shop’s main restaurant in the Zizkov neighborhood, the company decided to open an all-raw sweet shop dedicated to keeping treats free of flour, milk and eggs. These treats are also chemical free and made of ingredients not cooked or heated over 42 degrees Celsius. The menu changes, though staples include organic wines, milkshakes and smoothies, highlighted by a banana split with salted caramel and coconut sugar. Located in a hip neighborhood near the Namesti Miru metro stop, Sweet Secret is open for breakfast and dessert.
Address: Rumunská 25 120 00 Praha 2
Hours: Monday- Friday 0800-2100, Saturday and Sunday 1000-2100
1200|Naplavka Farmer’s Market
This farmer’s market exhibits mixed cultures and the popularity of fresh and local foods in Prague. Strolling down the cobblestone streets between the booths, you hear a handful of languages. The lines for the booths are long but the people in them seem to patiently enjoy the open riverside air. Most proprietors do not speak English, but many bring their English-speaking children or family members to translate. Similarly, most booths are family and friend-owned. Find cheeses, spices, oils, wine, fruits, vegetables and fragrant bread here. Regulars approach the market with well-worn woven baskets in clutch. Stop here for a mid-morning snack before walking to the “Dancing House,” named for American dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Address: Náplavka (River bank) under Rašínovo nábřeží (near Palackého square), Prague 2
Hours: Every Saturday 0800-1400
Website: www.farmarsketrziste.cz/en and www.farmarsketrziste.cz/en/naplavka-en/what-to-buy-on-naplavka
Loving Hut is the place to go for a quick lunch for vegetarian and vegan travelers on a tight budget. This pay-by-weight all-vegan cafeteria specializes in Asian food, serving tofu-filled spring rolls and various rice and noodles. The colorful salad bar complements all the protein offerings. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating for those who want to sit back and people-watch. If the weather is nice, take a stroll to the benches around the Church of St. Ludmila.
Address: Londýnská 216/35 Vinohrady, Prague 2
Hours: Monday- Saturday: 1100 to 2100 (Last food orders accepted 2045) Closed on Sunday.
Dhaba Beas advertises a no-GMO, no-MSG policy on a sign just inside the restaurant. The North Indian-inspired cuisine contains no meat, fish or eggs. “Beas,” as neighborhood locals call it, is a pay-by-weight cafeteria with a petite outdoor patio setting. Before loading your plate with Indian breads, know that naan bread, spring rolls and vegetable samosas cost extra. The cashiers and cooks, while friendly, do not speak fluent English but are happy to answer any questions about the fresh ingredients. Dishes are about 20 CZK, or $1, per 100g.
Address: Bělehradská 569/90 Prague 2
Hours: Monday – Friday 1100-2100, Saturday 1200-2000, Sunday 1200-1800