Czech Republic - Prague & Cesky Krumlov
I'm going to the Czech Republic for the first time over Christmas - approx. the 22nd-26th of December, and am looking for great places to eat (high-end and low-end) in Prague and Cesky Krumlov. Would love to have traditional Czech cooking, but also other local foods - I hear there's great Vietnamese food in little Hanoi, for example.
Thanks very much!
As others have mentioned, Prague restaurants mostly shut down 24-26 December for Christmas, although most of the more tourist-oriented places will still be open.
The last two years, I ate at Rybi Trh (http://www.rybitrh.cz/index_en.html) just off Old Town Square, for Christmas eve. They have a special Christmas menu (http://www.rybitrh.cz/en/vanoce10.php), and if you wish, you can enjoy the traditional Czech Christmas fish soup followed by fried carp with potato salad (also traditional for Christmas Eve). If you finish early enough, you can get to Old Town Square for the live outdoor performance of Ryba's Czech Christmas Mass at 9 PM.
Some of my other Prague favorites were Aromi (Prague 2, upscale Italian seafood, www.aromi.cz), U Basnika Panve (Prague 2, more or less traditional Czech food - I always liked their Moravian sour soup and venison goulash, and they do a tasty svíčková - beef tenderloin in a vegetable-cream sauce - http://www.ubasnikapanve.cz/) and U Male Velryby (another seafood restaurant, this one in Mala Strana, Prague 1, http://www.umalevelryby.cz/en/restaurace/)
When I was living in Prague, I relied heavily on Czech Please, http://czechoutchannel.blogspot.com/ for dining ideas.
this is my experience in both Prague and Cesky Krumlov at chrismas and new year...
25th is tricky. the day before i got air dried sausages, other snacks, and Czech wine for a little picnic in my room. glad i did, nowhere was opened.
24th everything is closed early as it's the most spectacular evening of eating and drinking in the country.
i ate mostly at cozy local (brew)pubs where traditional, unpretentious, reasonably priced Czech food is served and delicious beer never stopped flowing. note that around this time carp is king, otherwise it's pork pork pork.
Cesky Krumlov is an absolutely delightful little town! enjoy your trip!
Christmas in Czech Republic is celebrated on the 24th in the evening. And 25th and 26th are public holidays as well. It might be quite difficult to find a restaurant which would be open especially on the 24th and 25th. Typically, a restaurant would serve a set menu (probably with some options) on these days. Also, lots of people would reserve their tables well in advance for this occasion.
You can try fine dining on these nights, you might have a better chance. First of all, I would try V Zatisi (they have traditional Czech food done very nicely) and then places from the Ambiente group (Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise, Lokal - the latter is very informal and more of a brewery style and serves very traditional Czech pub fare). You might also try Cafe Imperial, which is a very decorative Art Nouveau place with Czech / French cooking and is quite big. Another good choice would be the Alcron restaurant in the hotel Radisson, or if everything fails, they have good food in their other, bigger, restaurant La Rotonde as well. I've heard good things also of the CzecHouse restaurant in hotel Hilton, but I've never eaten there personally. Finally, there is an OK restaurant in the hotel InterContinental - the food is good, but it's not absolutely excellent; on the other hand, you have probably the best view in Prague directly from your table. The rest of the big hotels have either non-descript or international cuisine which is probably not what you want to eat for Christmas...
Good luck and happy travels!
re: Mayor of Melonville
Dont go to Stoleti, their cuisine is sort of "international with Czech errors". It was "new and innovative" about 10 years ago. You might call their dishes innovative if there is nothing more innovative in town than McDonalds. The restaurant might be better than that on certain days but generally I would prefer McDonalds. I've been ill couple of times from their food.
re: Mayor of Melonville
If you like international, you can try Aromi & La Finestra for Italian or Celeste Bistro for French style or even SaSaZu for Thai and generally South-East Asian. There is also the Celeste restaurant at the top of the Dancing House, which could be pretty, but I'm not sure about the prices or the quality to price ratio.
I also remembered that there is a very good chef at the Mandarin Oriental hotel now and he's probably going to have a nice Christmas menu with Czech flavors.
Prague indeed has some great food. Had two wonderfully rich meals at Cafe Louvre. What stands out in my head is the thick, split pea soup served with a scoop of mashed potatoes with bacon. I believe it is called "Hraskovy Krem Polevka" super winter food.
Also was very impressed with a restaurant up in the castle called Vikarka. The Svickova (beef in saurbraten sauce with bread dumplings) was outstanding.