Special, but casual dinner in Prague
My husband and I will be spending 3 nights in Prague in about 10 days, and I'd love some recommendations for places for dinner - especially for a week from Saturday which will be my birthday. We love food - good food - but we're only bringing casual clothes, so we need somplace that's not super formal. I'd also love to know if there are any great restaurants in Prague that are non-smoking. I really don't think I could enjoy my food in a smoke-filled room. We're staying in Mala Strana, if that makes a difference. One other question - my husband loves beer, so we'll no doubt visit some beer-halls or pubs, but I don't drink beer. Will your typical Prague pub also serve wine? Thanks for any Prague wisdom out there.
You'll find a lot of recommendations here for casual in Prague if you dig a little, but Lokal is still the best in my mind. There is a location in Mala Strana, although I can never find the address but it is close to Shakespeare and Son's book store at U Luzickeho seminare 10.
I've not been successful in finding a purely non-smoking place in Prague, someone else may be able to recommend one but generally I look for those with a non-smoking section (like Lokal) and then make a reservation.
You will find wine at most pubs especially if you're in the main tourist areas. If you like reds watch for the Moravian Frankovka or a dry (suche) Rieslings (Ryzlink rýnský).
Thanks for the recommendation. Is the Lokal you recommend the Lokal Inn (hotel and restaurant)? I can't find a menu online, but I'll put it on my list based on your recommendation. By the way, I found a review online of the Lokal in Old Town (I assume they're related), and the review said that they didn't have a menu in English. Given that my Czech is a little rusty (i.e. non-existent), is that true of this Lokal in Mala Strana? Thanks again.
I've never had an issue getting an English menu at either Lokal location. I do prefer the Old Town location as the atmosphere is better in the non-smoking section... right in the main action of the pub and big, at Mala Strana it's tucked off to the side, small and dull. But the food is equally good at both, especially the beef tartar if you like your beef raw.
Also in the Old Town not far from Lokal is another up market pub chain called Kolkova (V Kolkovně 8, 110 00 Praha 1) owned by Pilsner Urquel. The non-smoking section is in the basement but the atmosphere is quite good. I haven't eaten at this location in Prague but their Stopkova pub in Brno has the best pub food in town (IMO).
I would definitelly not say that Lokal is a special place. It's a pub. If you go, make sure you reserve (or get a seat) in the non-smoking section. I don't know if Lokal serves wine but I would definitelly not drink wine in any pub (except maybe Lokal but maybe not even there) if you know anything about wine, yuck. Ask for a Kofola - interesting non-alcoholic local drink made originally out of beer waste (not anymore) or Vinea - a vine based non-alcoholic fizzy drink. Lokal serves Kofola and a home made orange lemonade. Lokal is a restaurant only, there is no inn there.
Your clothes - are you taking anything that could be considered smart casual? Some nice shirts and blouses with your jeans and some non-smeakers shoes go a long way here. We usually dress in jeans when we go out.
A pretty special place food-wise might be Sansho. It is one of the best restaurants in Prague, it is very informal (sweaters, t-shirts and jeans are the right attire here) and it serves pan-Asian cuisine. For dinner it is degustation menu only and it takes a few hours. Go with cocktails or beer here, and tap water. Definitelly celebration restaurant, very expensive for Prague.
U Zlateho Tygra will serve you a glass of white wine while your husband drinks beer--and the wine might even earn you an extra sneer from the ornery server!
If you want a lovely wine experience, the Wenceslas winery has an outdoor serve-yourself patio with an amazing view where you can share a carafe of Moravian wine (or just get a glass)