Prague is in the grip of a burger craze right now, and it seems like there’s a new burger restaurant opening announced every other week. Unfortunately for them, though, few of these places are anywhere near as good as The Tavern in Prague 3, a tiny place serving burgers and cocktails by Riegrovy Sady park.
It needs no introduction to anyone living here, but it’s one place I always take regular visitors to Prague who’ve already had their fill of goulash and dumplings. If you feel like trying something a little different I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a fan of “real American” BBQ-style food.
It’s not even two years old, but it’s gained an almost cult following – which isn’t really surprising. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve visited since they opened, and the quality of the food has been consistent, and service has always been good even when the place gets chaotic, which seems to be often. The crowd is a mix of mostly young Czechs and expats, the atmosphere is lively and warm, and it’s the kind of place where you get talking to people – which is a rarity in Prague.
The menu is short, but the emphasis is on quality ingredients, and the owners care a lot about what they’re doing. If you want to know more about how the restaurant came about here’s an interview I did with the owners last year.
Their Lokal burger is the star of the whole show. It’s a 100% free-range beef burger with lettuce, tomato, melted Gouda cheese, and their “secret sauce”, which seems to be a ketchup and mayo mix, on a toasted brioche-style butter bun. Like all their burgers, it’s big and it’s messy, but so far it’s never fallen apart – last time I had it the bun was a bit soggy on the bottom, but it still held together. If you’re really hungry there’s also the Tower of Power burger, which is a double (and doubly messy) Lokal burger.
Veggie burgers aren’t an afterthought here. There’s the Urban Garden Burger with lentils, brown rice and mushrooms – I like this mainly for the toppings, though; caramelized onions, grilled tomatoes and a slightly sweet sundried tomato mayo. The Spinach Bean Bomb is spinach, white beans and walnuts, with the same toppings as the Lokal burger. The addition of crispy bacon transforms it into the Gateway Burger. Some of the veggies come from the Tavern’s own urban garden, not far from the restaurant.
On my first visit, I asked the waiter what the “Tav mix” fries were. He just smiled and said “You’ll see”. It turned out to be a basketful of french fries, waffle-cut fries and curly fries, which I find addictive, especially with their garlicky ranch dressing.
The prices are very reasonable, too. The Lokal burger is 129kc, and the most expensive menu item is the Classic Bacon-Cheddar burger at 189kc (which comes with pancetta bacon and plenty of cheddar cheese).
Make sure you try at least one of their cocktails. I like the tangy Ginger Citrus Spritz with house-infused ginger spiced vodka, or their classic Margarita with lemon and lime.
They’re also doing hangover-soothing brunches now, which I haven’t tried yet, and a couple of special lunchtime burgers including the Gateway.
The place is always packed, so if you’re planning a visit you’ll need to book a table through their website.
The Tavern looks set to continue being one of Prague’s most popular burger joints, and for good reason. In their case, you really should believe the hype.
Chopinova 1521/26, Prague 2