The Czech Republic (or Czechia as it’s slowly becoming known as) isn’t particularly renowned for its food scene. Many visitors tend to go expecting to go from one bowl of goulash to the next with an occasional plate of dumplings thrown in for good measure. Indeed, head to the Czech capital, Prague and you’d be forgiven for thinking soup and dumplings is all Czech people eat. Thanks a bunch supply and demand!
While of course I’m exaggerating and there are just as many food options across the Czech Republic as there in any other European country (including plenty for veggies), there are particular Czech towns and cities that go a bit further than others in providing a wide-ranging choice of food.
One such city is Brno. Found in the south-east of the country, Brno is Czechia’s second largest city and one that is mystifyingly untouched by tourists, despite there being plenty for them to see and do. Brno can almost certainly thank its culinary prowess on its large student population, the likes of whom wouldn’t be satisfied by run-of-the-mill establishments.
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Our Favourite Veggie-Friendly Places to Eat & Drink in Brno
We visited several of Brno’s cafes, restaurants and bars to find out just how good the food and drink scene is in the city. In this post, we’ve listed our favourites, focusing on those that have a good offering for vegetarians.
4pokoje (4rooms): for trendy, bespoke cocktails
A welcoming, unpretentious bar with friendly staff and a comfortable, cosy interior. Not satisfied with just running a trendy bar, the team at 4rooms have seemingly endeavoured to reinvent HOW to run a trendy bar. Their main move in this regard was to do away with fixed food menus altogether. Instead, their conceptual food offering changes throughout the day. When we visited, they seemed to be providing more for meat-eaters, but staff were keen to cater to our vegetarianism when we spoke to them. Cocktails are on a menu, but if you don’t see anything you fancy, you only need to speak to staff about the kind of thing you want and they’ll make a bespoke cocktail for you there and then. Truth be told, while the cocktails were fantastic, the food was a little bit underwhelming. Perhaps go for drinks and snacks rather than a main meal. 4rooms is open almost 24 hours a day and caters to breakfast and lunch patrons as well as nighttime revelry.
V/Ve: Vegetarian options can be prepared on request
Skøg Urban Hub: for artisan coffee and hipster bites
Nothing epitomises the hipster movement more than drinking artisan coffee and working on a Macbook in a space akin to an formerly abandoned, now upcycled warehouse. This is Skøg in a nutshell. The interior is an appealing combo of distressed wooden tabletops, exposed brickwork and large unshaded zig-zag filament light bulbs hanging from thick cords. Simple, comfortable and finely-tuned. Drinks are the primary offering, though there is also a small food menu of veggie soups, quiches and a handful of mains (some of which are also vegan). We enjoyed a thick hot chocolate and some cake. Prices were a bit steep for Brno but fair considering the quality. It can get rather busy, so be prepared to wait for a table.
V/Ve: Everything is vegetarian, with some vegan options
Cafe Placzek: for an honest & hearty brunch
A Czech cafe, popular with Brno’s student population for its great value, modern slant on traditional Czech dishes. We went in for brunch and ordered a tasty & satisfying omelette with dutch cheese & rocket and a stack of traditional Czech pancakes served with a thick, fruit compote. Service was friendly & quick and prices were very reasonable indeed.
V/Ve: Plenty of vegetarian options
DobroKáva: for free coffee & good karma
Zelný trh, 602 00 Brno-střed | View Website
This coffee stand in Cabbage Square Market (Zelném trhu) perhaps wouldn’t have made the list if it wasn’t for the fact that the coffee is free of charge. Instead of exchanging money for your hot drink, you are encouraged to perform a good deed for somebody. The owners don’t check to ensure you follow through with your pledge, therefore you receive karma not only for completing your good deed, but also for being trustworthy. We love this for so many reasons, so make sure you head to the market square, get your coffee and spread the positivity.
Ugo: for tasty veggie lunches
Ugo is a chain of healthy eating cafeterias that can be found all over the Czech Republic. They’re mostly known for their soups, salads, hearty mains and fresh juices & smoothies. The branch we visited was right in the centre of town overlooking Freedom Square (náměstí Svobody). The interior isn’t particularly exciting, but we found a table by the window upstairs and we enjoyed our delicious soups whilst we watched people go about their business below. Even if you only pop into Ugo for a quick drink, we recommend heading upstairs. Not only do you get the view, but you can opt to get back to the ground floor via a slide which runs alongside the staircase. Fun!
V/Ve: Lots of vegetarian options, with some vegan options
Soul Bistro: for thoughtful, tasty goodness
A simple, cafeteria-style interior tells us a lot of where the priorities lie with the team behind Soul Bistro. Why waste time perfecting interior decor when you could be perfecting the food you serve? We were delighted by our smoked salmon bagel and loved our roasted pumpkin, feta and pecan salad. Both has been lovingly-crafted using top notch ingredients with some lovely, thoughtful touches included. Even our homemade lemonades hadn’t escaped some careful thought, both served with fragrant sprigs of fresh rosemary. Locals clearly love this place, taking their time to appreciate the simplicity and freshness of each dish whilst appreciating one another’s company. Prices are very reasonable and service is warm and friendly.
V/Ve: Plenty of vegetarian options
Bar that does not exist: for an unpretentious night out
Don’t take the name too literally. We can confirm that this super-cool and totally unpretentious bar does in fact exist. We can also conclusively state that its huge, signature, illuminated display of liquor bottles behind the bar is precariously real and the long menu of inventive and inexpensive cocktails is not an illusion. Think otherwise and you’ll miss a fabulous night out. The bar that does not exist is very, very popular and it may not seem like there’s enough room for you at first glance. Linger by the door long enough though and staff will attend to you and help you find somewhere to sit. If you can, a seat at the bar is best.
Do you have any favourite places to eat and drink in Brno? Share them with us using the comments box below.