Celebrating Thanksgiving in Prague
Best places to enjoy roasted turkey, gravy and stuffing
Only a few more days to go till the autumn holiday that Americans associate with family, friends and American football, it’s time to decide where your family will eat this year’s Thanksgiving meal. Whether you live in Prague or are just passing through, you’ll find plenty of options for how to celebrate Thanksgiving, or as the Czechs say, “den díkuvzdání” in the city.
On Thursday, November 26, Thanksgiving will be celebrated American style in various Prague restaurants. You can also find restaurants with take-away options for Thanksgiving weekend meals and butcher shops or catering that will supply an already-cooked turkey to make Thanksgiving preparations at home a little easier.
Times have changed since I ate my first Thanksgiving meal at the American-owned Red Hot and Blues restaurant in November of 2002. Back then, it was a novelty to find a pumpkin (fresh or canned) in Prague, much less a restaurant serving the full American holiday meal. Since none of my fellow English teachers nor I had an oven large enough to roast a turkey or a flat big enough to hold our accumulated group, we were delighted to partake of the RHB Thanksgiving offer. That year, our meal included roasted turkey, gravy and stuffing, plus pumpkin pie for dessert.
This year my family will celebrate Thanksgiving with close friends in a Czech-American-Slovak-Polish multicultural tradition that has grown throughout our years in Prague. Each year, a different family hosts the meal. Since Thanksgiving falls during the Czech working week, we wait to enjoy the meal on the weekend in a relaxed atmosphere. The host family provides the turkey and gravy while the visiting families are responsible for sides and dessert. As our children grow, fitting everyone around the table has become a challenge. But, sharing a meal with friends who’ve become as close as family is as sure a sign of Thanksgiving as I know.
Spending Thanksgiving outside of the US for so many years has helped me appreciate different styles of Thanksgiving meals – from well-stocked buffets in a casual setting to a multicourse dinner in an upscale restaurant. Whether you plan a pot-luck dinner with friends or treat your family to a restaurant celebration, may this year’s Thanksgiving be filled with delicious food and your table shared with friends.
Best Places to Eat Thanksgiving Dinner in Prague
With a record of twenty-one years serving Thanksgiving in Prague, the restaurant Jama is the place to go if you’re looking for a three-course Thanksgiving dinner in a celebratory atmosphere. Expect white tablecloths, candles and traditional Thanksgiving table decorations. Both of their locations, Jama and Jama’s Steakhouse, will be serving dinner from 18:00 to 22:00. For football fans, the first two NFL games will be played on big screen television. Ask for a table with a view of the screen if you are a die-hard fanatic.
This year’s Thanksgiving menu at Jama’s will include corn chowder, dark and white turkey, honey-glazed ham, homemade sage stuffing with brown gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon and a ginger pumpkin pie for dessert. The price is 390 CZK. Due to the popularity of the meal, reservations are recommended. To make a reservation go to www.jamapub.cz.
For a more upscale Thanksgiving meal, visit the Hilton Hotel’s stylish Zinc Restaurant located in the heart of Prague’s Old Town for a full Thanksgiving buffet accompanied by live music. Highlights of the meal include a roast turkey carving station, pumpkin soup, Waldorf salad and pumpkin and pecan pies. The price for the buffet is 895 CZK which includes a glass of Prosecco and wine or beer as well as non-alcoholic beverages. Reservations are recommended. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you prefer to do Thanksgiving at home, but you don’t have the time or desire to prepare the meal, take advantage of the Hilton’s take-away offer, which includes a roast turkey with stuffing and two sides of your choice. The take-away meal serves four people and the price is 2 950 CZK. The order must be placed 4 days in advance.
If you’d like to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal in a cozy bookstore café known for its down home cooking, make a reservation at Prague’s Globe Bookstore and Café. The Globe has a long history of keeping Prague’s English-speaking community well-read and well-fed, and the café’s Thanksgiving meal has become a local tradition. This year’s menu includes pumpkin cream soup, turkey with apple sage stuffing, sauteed green beans, mashed potatoes with gravy and a choice of pumpkin chiffon or apple pie for dessert. Wine, beer, coffee and tea are included. The price is 525 CZK. The Globe will be serving Thanksgiving from noon until 23:00 on November 26. Call +420 224 934 203 for reservations.
Another favorite with Prague’s expat community is Bohemia Bagel, traditionally a place to enjoy NY style bagel sandwiches as well as quiches, salads and bottomless coffee. For Thanksgiving, however, Bohemia Bagel’s Bar and Grill in Holešovice is offering a plated Thanksgiving dinner with seating at either 17:00 or 20:00. In addition to the usual turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, the meal includes specialty items such as roasted root vegetables, corn, sweet potatoes baked with a marshmallow topping (if you haven’t tried it – here’s your chance), cranberry sauce, roasted chestnuts and pumpkin cheesecake. Ask for extras of anything you like... even vegetarians should be satisfied. The cost is 490 CZK for advance payment, 550 CZK at the door and 290 CZK for children up to 12. Children under 3 eat free. Reservations are recommended and can be made online at email@example.com.
If your taste runs more toward well-known chains, try TGI Fridays or the Hard Rock Café, both of which are advertising Thanksgiving night specials. The Hard Rock Café promises turkey with all the trimmings and pumpkin pie. Both restaurants are located in Prague 1 and TGI Fridays has a second Anděl location. For more information on menus, pricing and reservations, check their Facebook events pages.
For an intimate Thanksgiving at home or with friends, Culinaria’s Gourmet-to-Go catering in downtown Prague offers take-away, delivery and full-service catering for Thanksgiving meals from November 26-29. Their Thanksgiving menu includes specialty appetizers like deviled eggs, corn fritters with blue cheese dip and cranberry brie as well as gourmet sides like a maple pecan carrot salad or bacon and chestnut stuffing. Desserts include a pumpkin chocolate cheesecake and a cranberry apple pie. Culinaria recommends ordering catering at least 7 days in advance, particularly when requesting a whole turkey. Their online order form lists prices/quantity.
Robertson’s Deli is a British deli that sells fresh whole turkeys and already roasted turkeys to Prague residents who want to create their family’s Thanksgiving meals at home. A 7kg fresh turkey at Robertson’s costs 833 CZK while turkey crown sells for 497 CZK. The deli also stocks turkey breast, turkey rolls, American bacon and sausages in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday. Order their meat and cheese products online and pick them up in four locations around the city. They also prepare cheese and ham party platters. Since the deli’s products and services are in high-demand around the holidays, place your order in advance to avoid disappointment. Robertson’s even stocks Christmas hams.
Although whole turkeys can be purchased from some Czech butcher shops, it’s best to do your homework and check out the situation in advance. When it was our turn to host Thanksgiving at home a few years ago, my husband found a butcher who sold him a whole turkey as well as turkey liver and gizzards for homemade gravy. But, the bird was larger than we’d anticipated and barely fit into our oven. On the bright side, at least we had enough leftovers for all our guests.
Whether you spend Thanksgiving at home or in one of Prague’s restaurants, remember to show your appreciation for family, friends and your adopted city this year.
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