Goulash. Dumplings. Beer (oh, the beer!). Rich sauces thickened with bread. I loved my first experiences with Czech cuisine. But it’s not the most approachable for visitors with a limited grasp of the Czech language who suffer from Celiac disease.
As I planned this trip with my wife who needs to eat a strict gluten free diet, we honed in on a couple of places to ensure she got a taste of authentic Czech food rather than spending two weeks watching me chow down in restaurants while she ate a salad. In the heart of Prague, we ate at two great places with dedicated gluten-free menus
Švejk Restaurant U Karla
Not to be confused with other Švejk restaurants around Prague, this one at Křemencova 7 has a separate gluten free menu. In fact, when you order from that menu, your food arrives at the table with little gluten free flags. This is a great place with a pub feel and we enjoyed the food the two times we visited.
One of the truly great dishes: beer cheese, wrapped in bacon served with a braided bun (similar to a pretzel). This was amazing gluten free pub food. I’ve sampled a lot of gluten free bread products and very, very few I’d order unless I needed to. This one was mind blowing! I would have had no idea it was gluten free:
On our two visits we tried gluten free pork knee (amazing!), schniztel (pretty solid), and the dishes below – roast duck with dumplings and goulash with dumplings. A great experience, and I was so glad my wife got to experience some authentic Czech pub food:
Na Zlaté Křižovatce
Near the Florenc metro and bus station (only about a 10-15 minute walk or 1-2 metro stops away from most hotels in the Old Town area) is Prague’s only completely gluten free restaurant. This was another place we made a repeat visit to. The food is incredible. Take it from someone who doesn’t need to eat gluten free – you’d never know you were here.
At the start of the meals, they bring out what I think is the best gluten free bread I’ve ever had. There’s a lighter and darker bread served with tapenade and butter:
Wild boar goulash with potato pancakes? Don’t mind if I do. I couldn’t resist ordering this on my first visit. As good a goulash as I had in the Czech Republic (and I had a few!):
The star dish – pork schnitzel with mashed potatoes. So good, my wife ordered this on both visits:
This place even has gluten free beer on tap. Now, first a confession. I really enjoy beer and have sampled endless varieties from all corners of the earth. I have tried most of the major gluten free beers available and they are all pretty bad. Bad enough that if I needed to be on a gluten free diet, I wouldn’t ever drink them again.
Na Zlaté Křižovatce has something special – a Czech gluten free beer, Celia, on tap. My expectations were low (really, lower than low), but this beer was a revelation. It tastes like beer. If you hadn’t told me what was in the glass I would have said it was an American lager – somewhere between Miller Lite and a Coors. Hands down, the best gluten free beer I’ve ever had:
And gluten-free deserts? Yes! The apple strudel was outstanding:
Gluten free supplies
We found a couple of places to pick up a variety of gluten free staples for our temporary Prague kitchen. Europe trips always see my wife picking up some Schär products. Wish we had these back here in Canada:
We found good selections of gluten free food products at DM (dm drogerie markt, a chain of drugstores located throughout Prague) and at a store called BIO Point in the main train station in Prague where the big find there was packaged pastries that were as good as anything I’ve sampled before. All in all, it wasn’t too hard to support an interesting gluten free diet for the better part of two weeks in Prague.