Feature photo by Liber
Prague is a city known for many things—beer, bridges, cobblestones, beer–but I can tell you one thing it does not have: pico de gallo. As a transplant from Corpus Christi, Texas, a tropical city 3 hours from the border of Mexico, I often find myself craving the licuados and taquitos I used to so easily grab on the go.
Having been in Prague for 4 years now, I do allow myself to complain a bit from time to time about the Czech cuisine of fried cheese, pork, and potato this or that. I allow myself to yearn for good Mexican food—okay, at least Tex-Mex. And I have come to discover that Prague is finally starting to learn a little about Latin cuisine—beyond serving you a bottle of Corona for $5 or a burrito that looks like a lasagna roll.
Although there are a few established spots for good Mexican food, I was extremely pleased by the recent opening of Las Adelitas, a small Mexican restaurant and bar actually owned by two Mexican guys. Originally running a delivery and catering service out of their apartment, their business saw such success that it enabled them to move into a proper establishment. In the restaurant’s cozy location in the leafy area of Prague known as Vinohrady, you can revel in all things Mexican, including horchata and experimental cocktails like mango-chili margaritas.
La Casa Blu, located in a fancy section of Prague’s center, has for years been one of the more reliable places to go for a somewhat authentic Latin cuisine experience. The menu offers flavorful nachos (properly cheesy and sometimes spicy), quesadillas, chimichangas, and pretty good renditions of coveted cocktails like daiquiris, margaritas, caipirinhas, etc. The bar, owned by a Chilean expat, is filled with both South American and Czech employees, and the owner of Las Adelitas actually got his start as a bartender here. La Casa Blu also tends to celebrate holidays like Cinco de Mayo or most recently, the Argentinian Bicentennial, with live musical performances and extra special menu offerings.
Another place where expats might shed a happy tear over the guacamole is a restaurant called Zluta Pumpa (Yellow Pump), not far from Las Adelitas. This place has earned a good reputation among expats and locals alike, so there is often a waiting list.
Prague does actually have a tapas bar (La Bodega Flamenca) with monthly flamenco nights, but the dancers, who are usually all Czech, performed at a somewhat amateur or student level. However, the amazing pitchers of sangria will make you stay for hours. This place is also usually quite packed on most nights, mostly by Czechs.
Of course, in the local grocery stores here, mostly the big supermarkets, you can find over-priced ingredients for your taco or fajita nights. I refuse, however, to spend money on canned salsa or terrible tortillas when I can make them myself the proper way and for cheap. Maybe next time I head out to La Casa Blu, I might carry along a container of homemade pico de gallo in my bag–because Prague just isn’t there yet, but it’s certainly on its way.