Home Kitchen & EMA Espresso, Prague
Prague does not have a reputation for fine dining and well-defined food culture, instead praised for the never-ending display of Baroque architecture, street sculpture and a fractured history. Emerging out of the bubble however is a vast culinary opportunity focused on rejuvenating traditional Czech food in a contemporary setting. From the emerging hipster district of Holešovice and the more established Karlín to the tourist and central area of the city Staré Mêsto, modern cafes, restaurants and fine dining restaurants are populating city streets.
With the Koruna so cheap compared to many other European currencies (1 Koruna is 0.037 Euro) eating out is extremely affordable and offers serious value for money. With the development of this new movement, new cafes and restaurants are opening more and more each year and so to are the improvements in existing kitchens across the city. Keeping a focus on traditional fare, the variety and opportunity in many Prague restaurants allows for an innovative take on local cuisine.
Here are my favourites:
Taking over the city Home Kitchen, an open plan café-restaurant has a clear slow, local food mission. With no set menu, the kitchen produces three soups, one to three main meat courses and several sandwiches and seasonal salads from just what is fresh at the market everyday as well as daily homemade bread. The café-restaurant currently supports three locations and with a forth on the way in early 2016.
The home-style atmosphere and menu, sources many recipes from the staff and owners own childhood and family memories and combines well with the bohemian style of the space. With a nod to Scandinavian design, homely let highly sophisticated interiors with high ceilings, polished floors and a viewing kitchen most dishes are available for around 90 – 180 Kč.
Paired back, high interior design yet simple, EMA Espresso Bar is one of the best speciality coffee houses in town. Matched with hearty, simple and rustic toasted and fresh sandwiches, soups, salads and sweet bits – cake, slice and cookies, everything is served on clean lined, thin wooden boards calling yet again on a distinctive Scandinavian feel.
Despite such a large space, seating at this popular espresso stop is a premium and the line for take away coffee is consistent throughout the day. Delivering quality coffee from around Europe including Collective Espresso and the Barn, the espresso, milk based and filters options are well-balanced, carefully crafted and not as light and many other cafes in Prague.
Degustation and wine paring is becoming increasingly popular in Prague. I suggest booking ahead – weeks in fact – to ensure a table at the following three restaurants.
Photography by Benjamin Johnston.