Best cheap eats in Prague

Where to enjoy delicious and cheap food in Prague (part 1)


Whether you are visiting Prague for a holiday, a trip, a business meeting, or even if you live in Prague, you will likely face the question of where to eat cheaply in the city center without having to sacrifice other experiences or pleasures for a single meal.

Although Prague is still considered cheaper than some Western cities, restaurant meals, especially around the center, can make quite a dent in your wallet. This is especially true if you don’t want to settle for just a quick snack from a stand or fast food. Although, ironically, even that can sometimes cost significantly more than a portion of quality food.

Don't worry, there's a way to enjoy delicious meals without breaking the bank! This guide is here to help you find the best places in Prague to fill your belly without emptying your pockets.

We'll show you hidden gems where locals eat, share our recommendation for the best cheap restaurants in Prague and where to eat typical Czech food on a budget, even in the Old Town. Moreover, we add some tips on how to save money while dining out. So ditch the overpriced tourist traps and get ready to experience the real taste of Prague without blowing your budget.

Best cheap eats in Prague

There are never enough tips on where to eat cheap in Prague, so we decided to prepare two articles on this topic. In the first - this one - we will focus on places where you can eat cheaply in the city center during the day, especially where to go for a cheap lunch and/or you want to taste traditional Czech dishes. We will also share tips that can help you save some money on food. The second part will be dedicated to cheap restaurants in Prague in general, covering where to eat cheaply in Prague for lunch, dinner, or just a snack, at any time of the day, whether it’s Czech food or international cuisine.


Where to eat cheap in Prague 

As mentioned above, in this article we will focus on places where you can eat cheaply in Prague during the day, specifically where to go for a cheap lunch. A great choice in this case are eateries/cafeterias (“jídelny”), which offer a good quality-to-price ratio. To be clear upfront – don't expect high gastronomy or modern interiors. These places typically operate on a self-service principle. But if you want to enjoy traditional Czech food cheaply in the center of Prague, the spots listed below are exactly what you're looking for.
 

How it works in an eatery
For foreigners, visiting a cafeteria can be an experience in itself, while for locals it's a throwback to student days. You walk in, take a tray, choose from a selection of pre-prepared dishes, pay at the till and carry your meal to a table, which you will probably share with other diners. When you have finished eating, you take your tray to a special window for dirty dishes. There are no waiters, everything is self-service, but you get a hearty portion of Czech food for a low price.


Jídelna Světozor

Address: Vodičkova 39, Prague 1
Web: https://jidelnasvetozor.webnode.cz/

Just a stone's throw from Wenceslas Square, you can get soup, a main course, and dessert for around EUR 7. Are we kidding? No. It's no wonder that this cafeteria, where you feel like time stopped a few decades ago, is packed around lunchtime. Every weekday, students, workers, and businessmen flock here for one of the cheapest meals in Prague. Increasingly, tourists come here too to taste authentic, traditional Czech classics at a low price, too. Open daily from 10 AM to 3 PM, vegetarians can find something to eat here as well.
 

Lidová jídelna Těšnov

Address: Těšnov 1163/5, Prague 1
Web: https://lidovajidelna.cz/eng

While Jídelna Světozor is still not that well-known, the same cannot be said about Lidová jídelna Těšnov, which has been written about so much that everyone must have heard of it. It is undoubtedly one of the best places in the center of Prague to eat cheaply and enjoy authentic Czech cuisine at a good price. The lunch menu changes daily and includes local and international dishes, both with and without meat, homemade soups, fresh salads, and desserts. Once you taste it, you'll seriously wonder how such excellent food can be so cheap. If you decide to go, don't be discouraged by the queue stretching out to the street. It moves quickly, and the wait is definitely worth it. Lunch is served until 2:30 PM, but it is open until the evening.

Best cheap eats in Prague: Lidová jídelna Těšnov
Source: facebook.com/jidelnatesnov/


U Rozvařilů

Address: Na Poříčí 1068/23, Prague 1
Web: https://www.urozvarilu.cz/

Just a short distance from Lidová jídelna Těšnov, you will find another tip for cheap food in Prague, located on the 5th floor of the Bílá Labuť department store. A complete lunch menu costs around EUR 9, but for soup, a main course, salad, and a drink, it's still an unbeatable price. If you don't feel like having a menu, the main course, including options like svíčková (beef sirloin), costs up to EUR 7. They are open on weekdays and Saturdays, but by dinner time the doors are already closed.
 

Havelská koruna

Address: Havelská 23, Prague 1
Web: https://www.havelska-koruna.cz/

In the centre of Prague, between Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square, there is a restaurant (or cafeteria, better said) that used to be one of the most popular places to get cheap, hearty Czech food among locals. Why "once"? Because its low prices and location have made it so legendary and frequently mentioned that today, it mainly attracts foreign tourists. Moreover, Havelská koruna specializes in traditional Czech cuisine, with around 40 dishes to choose from every day. It operates on a slightly unusual concept – upon arrival, you receive a consumption card, on which the staff records your selected dishes. You pay for everything at once when you leave. The advantage of this system is not only the ability to mix and match whatever you fancy but also quicker and smoother service, which is quite desirable given that up to a thousand visitors come here daily.

Best cheap eats in Prague: Havelská koruna
Source: facebook.com/havelskakoruna/


Jídelna Marjánka

Address: Na Bělidle 38, Prague 5
Web: https://www.jidelnanamarjance.cz/

At first glance, an ordinary cafeteria, another place where you take your food on a tray to the table yourself. However, what sets it apart from other cheap eateries in Prague is its opening hours. Marjánka is open 24/7. So, if you get a craving for svíčková, goulash, or fried cheese even at 3 AM, head to Smíchov.
 

Jídlovice

Address: Rohanské nábřeží 671/15, Prague 8, Wuchterlova 1608/10 & Generála Píky 430/26, Prague 6
Web: https://www.jidlovice.cz/

Jídlovice is also somewhat of a cafeteria but different. This chain of eateries has recently made its mark among Prague establishments and has quickly risen to the top of the cheap lunch spots in Prague. Proof of their popularity is the rapid expansion from their first location in Dejvice to another in Karlín and a third, again in Dejvice. And why do we say it's a different kind of cafeteria? While you will find Czech classics here, there is also a wide range of international cuisine, including gluten-free and lactose-free options. Simply put, the menu is a bit more modern than in traditional cafeterias, the price is also a bit higher but still very reasonable.

Best cheap eats in Prague: Jídlovice
Source: Google / Jídlovice


Country Life Restaurant

Address: Melantrichova 15, Prague 1, Čs. armády 30, Prague 6
Web: https://www.countrylife.cz/restaurace

If you are vegan, vegetarian or prefer healthier, lighter meals - which is not usually the case with typical Czech cuisine - you can find good, cheap food in Prague at Country Life restaurants. They offer a self-service counter with hot meals, soups, a salad bar, healthy desserts and freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juices. The price is fixed per 100g, whatever you choose, with a happy hour discount in the late afternoon. And if you want some healthy goodness to go, you can either load a meal in your box or buy a snack from the organic shop next door to the restaurant.

Best cheap eats in Prague: Country Life Restaurant
Source: countrylife.cz


Eating on a Budget in Prague: Savvy Tips for Tasty and Cheap Food in Prague

With a little planning, you can eat like a king (or queen) in Prague without spending a fortune. How? Just follow these tips:

     Avoid Tourist Hotspots
To find the best value for money, venture away from the main tourist hotspots. The closer you get to major sights, the pricier things get. So if possible, skip the crowded city center and head to side streets or neighbourhoods like Holešovice, Žižkov, Karlín or Smíchov. These areas usually offer reasonable prices and are within a walking distance from the centre.

     Take Advantage of Lunch Specials
If you can't do otherwise and you still want to have a cheap lunch in the centre of Prague, then lunch specials ("polední nabídka") or daily menu (“denní nabídka”) are your best friend. During weekdays, most restaurants offer discounted menus from around 11 am to 3 pm, with a main course, soup, and sometimes a drink or salad for a fraction of the dinner price. It's a perfect way to enjoy a substantial meal without spending too much.

     Eat in Eateries and Self-Service Restaurants
As already mentioned, traditional Czech Eateries, known as “jídelna”, are great places to enjoy cheap Czech food even in the Prague centre. They vary in quality, but if you choose any of the spots mentioned above, you're sure to leave satisfied and more than well-fed.

     Chase thirst from the tap
Skip buying expensive bottled water. Prague's tap water is perfectly safe to drink, so bring a reusable bottle, refill it throughout the day and save some cash. And if you want to have a drink in a restaurant, ironically, beer is often cheaper than water. Not that we're trying to encourage you... 

     Check the prices and ratings
Before dining out, take a moment to check online reviews and menu prices to ensure you’re getting value for money. This helps avoid overpriced tourist traps and find hidden gems where you can eat cheaply in Prague. Google Reviews, for example, is a great source of information for this.

     Explore local markets
Visit markets such as Holešovice Market for fresh and affordable food from local producers. They're perfect for a quick bite and usually offer a great atmosphere and a sight to behold. For a complete list of markets in Prague, check out this article.

     Give supermarket food a chance
Grab groceries from supermarkets like Lidl, Billa or Albert and have a picnic in one of Prague's beautiful parks like Kampa Island, Letná Gardens or Rieger Park, from where you can also enjoy a magnificent view of Prague.
 

How to eat cheap in Prague - common myths

Myth 1: Traditional Czech food is cheaper than international cuisine
Some guidebooks may suggest that if you want to save money on food in Prague, you should opt for local dishes rather than international cuisine. However, this advice doesn't always hold true. Yes, if you go to a cafeteria, you can enjoy traditional Czech food for a low price. But most restaurants, especially in the centre, take advantage of the fact that foreign tourists want to try Czech classics and are willing to pay for them. As a result, the prices of these dishes tend to be higher.

Myth 2: Street food is a budget-friendly option
The same goes for street food, which is sometimes associated with lower prices. However, the opposite is true. For a trdelnik, bramborák, sausage, or Prague ham from a stand in Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, or similar locations, you will pay significantly more than for a full meal at a restaurant off the main tourist trails.


By following these tips, you can enjoy the flavors of Prague without spending excessively on food, leaving more room in your budget to explore this beautiful city. And one last tip: Don't be afraid to ask around. The staff at your hotel, hostel, or even locals on the street will be happy to share their favorite budget-friendly places where to eat cheap in Prague. They can point you to great spots you might otherwise miss. Also, be sure to follow us and keep reading our guide at Praguehere.com, where we regularly share tips on the best places to eat in Prague.
 

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