Europe, Prague

Another Gluten-Free Meal in Prague

After such a wonderful experience at Restaurace Na Zlaté křižovatce in Prague, I was sure that I would need to eat every gluten-free meal there. Although I wish I had gone back to the first restaurant, I did find another restaurant that offered a full gluten-free menu right in the heart of Prague.

Švejk Restaurant U Karla
Outside of Švejk Restaurant U Karla

I discovered Švejk Restaurant U Karla as another gluten-free option while searching the Internet. I emailed the restaurant to confirm that they were still serving a bezlepková (gluten-free) menu. The owner emailed me back to tell me that they were still serving a gluten-free menu and that his daughter has Celiac Disease. Immediately, this gave me a sense of relief since the owner clearly understood the need for a safe, gluten-free menu.

Limora and I at dinner

I had arranged to meet a new TravBuddy friend, Limora, on Saturday night for dinner, so I suggested Švejk Restaurant U Karla which happened to be right near her hostel. We were seated promptly as we passed by the accordion player and tables full of big meals and bigger beers. I asked for a gluten-free menu and the waiter quickly brought one over.

I was pleased to see the gluten-free menu at Švejk Restaurant wasn’t much different from the traditional Czech menu my friend had in front of her. I was pleased that I was going to get another traditional meal that was safe for me to eat. On a recommendation from the waiter, I decided on the gluten-free beef goulash with roasted sausage, onions, homemade gluten free dumplings. I also asked for a side of gluten-free bread and the waiter insisted the dumplings were “enough bread!” I ordered a Celia beer as well and then began to explain Celiac to my dining companion.

Beef goulash with gluten-free dumplings

My goulash and dumplings came and I was excited to see a “GLUTEN-FREE” flag right in the middle of my plate. Another happy sigh of relief escaped my mouth. I explained to Limora that is just so comforting to know that your food is safe. The meal was heavy and saucey and bready and exactly what I wanted from this traditional Czech dish. I think I started to realize why Czechs drink so much beer; it is the perfect balance with the salty and thick sauced-meal that I was having that night. It was all so filling that I didn’t even have room for dessert.

Pork schnitzel in cheese gluten free dough with boiled potatoes

I went back to Švejk Restaurant U Karla my last night in Prague because I really wanted to try the Pork schnitzel in cheese gluten free dough. I was excited that my waiter remembered me and he immediately brought me the gluten-free menu. If you don’t know what schnitzel is, the best way I can describe it is breaded and fried meat. Can you say delicious?! This was the first time I ever had a deep-fried anything in a restaurant and I devoured the dish. Of course, I also washed this down with another one (or two!) gluten-free beers. Seriously, I think this was my favorite dish in Prague. Can you go wrong with deep-fried anything? This was the perfect last dinner in the Czech Republic. Check out the picture of the food and the gluten-free flag.

You should definitely add Švejk Restaurant U Karla to your list of gluten-free places to eat in Prague. Make sure you go to the right “U Karla” though, because they seemed to be a chain of restaurants.

Švejk Restaurant U Karla
Křemencova 7
Prague 1
Phone: +420 222 515 889

Europe, Prague

100% Gluten-Free Restaurant in Prague

Update as of January 2014: This restaurant is now closed. This is very sad news!

I was obsessively planning my April vacation to Prague down to the very last minute when I happened across an interesting Facebook posting on the wall of the Mladí Celiaci (Česká Republika) page (loosely translated to Young Celiac) the day I was leaving. I did a quick Google translation of this page and discovered a brand new 100% gluten-free restaurant in Prague. In my weeks of research and freaking out about where I would eat safely and gluten-free in the Czech Republic, this was the first time I read about Restaurace Na Zlaté křižovatce. I was really excited to find this posting and even more excited when the head chef emailed me back (in English) immediately. He confirmed that indeed they opened for business as of April 1, 2011 with a 100% gluten-free menu and open daily from 11.00 to 23.00. I knew this was a definite stop on my Prague itinerary.

No wheat!

On my second day in Prague, I decide to venture slightly away from the main touristy area to find Restaurace Na Zlaté křižovatce for a late lunch/early dinner. I was staying near Old Town Square and this was a 20-minute walk from my hotel. I was a bit nervous as as I wandered down an unassuming street behind the Florenc bus depot, but then I saw one of the best signs a Gluten-Free Globetrotter could see in any country: a big, crossed-out wheat symbol.

Wall of Schär

As if that sign on the front wasn’t enough, the first thing I saw when I entered this bright restaurant was a wall of Schär gluten-free products. I immediately let out a sigh of relief. In the 36 hours I had been in Prague, I was jet-lagged and my meals consisted of gluten-free rolls, cheese, and turkey sandwich that I brought with me from NYC. I was ready for a delicious traditional Czech meal and that was exactly what I got from Chef Martin Vozár and his staff.

I was pleasantly greeted by head waiter Jarda who immediately introduced me to Chef Martin. I was the only patron in the restaurant at the time so Chef Martin graciously agreed to let me look around the kitchen where I also met Chef Viktor. During this brief tour, Chef Martin explained that everything in the kitchen was gluten-free and that the restaurant worked closely with Sdružení celiaků České republiky, the Association of Celiac in the Czech Republic, to learn about gluten-free dietary needs.

Traditional Czech food is very heavy on flour and bread products, so Chef Martin told me the the goal of this restaurant was to provide delicious, gluten-free, and traditional Czech food at a reasonable price. Chef Martin felt the best way for me to experience traditional Czech foods was for him to prepare me a tasting menu. I was thrilled to oblige.

Throughout the next hour and a half, I was treated like a gluten-free princess. Chef Martin prepared five amazing gluten-free plates for me which he came out to discuss as I was enjoying the meal. I also had my very first gluten-free beer on draft! Celia, the gluten-free beer (translation: bezlepkove pivo) produced by Zatec, is the first gluten-free beer from the Czech Republic. If the Czechs know anything at all, they know their beer and this is really one of the best gluten-free beers I ever drank either from a bottle or on draft.

Here is the rundown of my tasting meal with the rough English translations:

  • Amuse Bouche: Homemade gluten-free toast with Italian cheese, onion chutney, and grilled tomatoes
  • Soup: Cabbage soup with slices of sausage
  • Main Course 1: Beef with horseradish sauce and gluten-free dumplings
  • Main Course 2: Chicken on the bone with red cream sauce and spatzle
  • Dessert: Strawberry and Star Anise gazpacho with chocolate mousse

Much to my surprise my favorite dishes were the beef with horseradish sauce, the gluten-free dumplings, and the dessert. Additionally, the gluten-free bread was a pleasant way to start off my meal. The flavor and attention paid to these gluten-free dishes did not go unnoticed. In a culture that is so dependent on gluten thickeners and bread products, it was simply amazing to enjoy a traditional meal that tasted so normal but was entirely gluten-free.

As an added bonus, all diners at Restaurace Na Zlaté křižovatce got 15% off all of the Schär products that were for sale in their restaurant. I loaded up on some of my Schär favorites including breadsticks, cookies, and hazlenut wafers. I was too full from the meal, but these treats were enjoyed back in my hotel room later. My grand total for the meal and the Schär goodies was only about $20 USD.

Chef Martin, Chef Viktor, Jarda, Lenka, and Kristyna all helped me to have a very memorable traditional Czech meal in a very safe environment. My only regret is that I did not make it back to Restaurace Na Zlaté křižovatce for a second meal. I would have loved to try their homemade gnocchi and some potato dumplings with apple marmalade for dessert.

Thank you Restaurace Na Zlaté křižovatce for such a wonderful gluten-free meal in the heart of Prague. I have already suggested your restaurant to two of my blog readers who I think have already visited your restaurant. I will highly recommend you to others traveling to the Czech Republic. You are worth the trip!

1. Inside the kitchen, 2. Restaurace Na Zlaté křižovatce, 3. 100% gluten-free menu, 4. Gluten-free draft beer!, 5. Restaurace Na Zlaté křižovatce, 6. Homemade gluten-free bread, 7. Cabbage Soup with Sausage, 8. Chicken on the bone with Spatzle, 9. Dessert

Restaurace Na Zlaté křižovatce

Za Poříčskou bránou 382/16
Praha – Florenc, 186 00
Telefon: +420 775 110 468