Our first stop is yumma, yumma Jama (V Jame 7, Prague 1, Tel: +420 2422 2383, fax: +420 2422 1783, Metro: Mustek, Tram: 3, 9, 14, 24, 52, 53, 55, 56, 58, www.praguepivo.com). Who knew your favorite ex-pat hangout was home to Prague’s best burrito? It’s hard to believe any reader would have to question the validity of that statement, but, just in case there is any doubt about the overwhelming consensus on this burrito issue, let me devote the next few sentences to the mouthwatering details of this mother of Mexican creations.
Picture a steaming plate filled with generous portions of beans, rice and salsa surrounding a virtual burrito island nestled in among the toppings. Yet, the reason why this burrito takes the cake is the cheese factor. Cheese is a key Mexican ingredient that no other place in Prague seems to be aware of. The tortillas are soft and the beans are definitely tasty. Did I mention the sour cream? It’s like the nectar of the gods. My winner for The best burrito in Prague is Jama, so treat yourself to a Mexican special and get on over there. Come on, you know where it is.
For late night partiers, and day tour walkers, if you’re down in Dlouhá area, hop on over to Burrito Loco (Masná 2110 00 Prague 1, Staré Město, www.burritoloco.cz, for some fresca goodness any time of day or night. Owned by the the same folk who brought the bagel to Prague, (located right next door), this is the spot that hits the spot. For just a little more than 120Kc, you can get a fat burrito laden with bueno goodness; black beans or brown, chicken or beef, and a ton of mixin’s guaranteed to satisfy! They also have tacos, nachos and more… Highly recommended.
Across the river in Malostrana, Azteca (Říční 9, Praha 1, Malá Strana) Tel: +420 2 5732 7389, www.azteca.cz, Open daily: 11am – midnight) is still the Speedy Gonzales of Czech-Mex, offering chop licking Tapas that will take you back to that summer you spent as a mercenary for the Basque separatist army. Andulusian mushrooms and fresh-from-the-box gazpacho (65Kc), and a vast salad menu ranging 80-130Kc are the perfect set ups for the wide range of sizzling fajitas, quesidillas, steaks, and party platters on offer. Deserts are good and cheap, and the tequila menu is the biggest in the country with everything from Pepe Lopez (50Kc) to Tenoch (290Kc). Dees eez a bueno f*ckeeng place mang. Highly recommended.
. . .and what about that ever elusive super Mexican restaurant? Prague is not exactly known for its abundance of South of the Border cuisine. Or, so you thought. A nice Mex joint, the Barracuda Cafe (Krymská 2, Praha 10, Tel: +420 271 74 05 99 Website: www.barracuda-cafe.cz, Open daily: 11:30-23:30 except: Saturday: 17:00-23:30, Sunday: 17:00-23:30, Metro: Namesti miru, Trams: 04, 22, 23 Stop: Krymska), about four blocks from Namesti Miru. Probably the most authentic Mexican food in Prague, this place also boasts a very wallet friendly menu. Most of the dishes are under 100 Kc and come in ample proportions. The 79 Kc burritos and the 99 Kc fajitas are righteous enough to make your taste buds do the mambo, and are highly recommended.
Its basement level, softly lit dining area offers the perfect somber ambience for its spicy dishes. While the Barracuda prepares its own excellent house salsa, some of the dishes come with some non-mexicky fixings. Iceberg lettuce, for example, may be difficult to come by in Prague, but cabbage ain’t, so don’t fret, the food still tastes superb. And while it may not taste exactly like it was prepared in ol’ Tijuana, it’s probably a lot safer for your bowels.
And now for the The Bad, as in the bad meaning good, like the big bad hood of the neighborhood… up to no good.
O’Che’s Cuban Bar
At first glance O’Che’s Cuban Bar (Liliova 14, Prague 1, Metro: Narodni Trida) appears to be another Irish Bar brandishing it’s Guinness sign like a shield at the door, (hence the name), but at second glance this place could pass for Casa Blu in another life. That is, if it was actually run by Latinos. The first thing that bites you are the prices. You may want to bring your booty chest of Aztec gold bullion. Or you could opt for Gulas, at an ever so humble 190Kc. It is a Czech specialty you are paying for after all.
The drinks are properly stiff for a good Irish bar, but at 350Kc for a round of three they’d better be! O’Che’s is the perfect place to head to when you’re close to the Charles bridge and need to grab a beverage and gather your thoughts. But for the traveler on a budget, a glance at the prices will have you running back to your usual hovel. But if you’re in the mood, stay and have a drink with the sportsmen entombed at the back tables, where you’ll find a round of laughs equalled in few Prague establishments. The ambience will grow on you, as will the beers – just remember to eat before you come again.
Mexická Restaurace Cantina
When it comes to accessible Mexican food in Prague, expect American prices and less than Mexicano quality. If you simply don’t care and are hankering to eat anything even spelt Spanish, then Cantina (Újezd 430/38, 118 00 Praha 1, Malá Strana www.restauracecantina.cz. Tel: +420 257 317 173, Tram 9, 12, 22) might be for you. But be warned; Jimmy Buffet wouldn’t even serve these margaritas to his slaves.
The Mexican beer selection is quite impressive however, but skip the quickie-mart-quality chips and salsa and order the fajitas. Management is apparently stockpiling tortillas for the apocalypse, so you are only allowed two, but what the hell, you have a steaming plate of sizzling meat in front of your face and a dirty Mexican beer in the same line of sight. Who knew Mala Strana was Czech for barrio? Sitting at a nearby table I glimpsed a Samotari star. Wisely, she only sipped a glass of wine. After those exceedingly dark beans, I’m beginning to wish I had stuck with liquids as well.
…and finally, a place you should absolutely avoid; the Ugly…
It used to be said in Prague, and rightfully so, that "If you want to have authentic Mexican food, go to Mexico”, but in this day and age, that kind of thinking no longer flies. This place, (named after Amores perros, a 2000 Mexican drama) in terms of environment (seriously turn the TV off staff), presentation (can you even possibly get ONE order right?) and taste (yuck), this place is best kept off your bucket list, unless you’re looking for a bucket to throw up in.
This restaurant should not be allowed to call itself Mexican. From the sugary Czech ketchup to the past it’s expiration date grocery store chips, from the horrible cheeses to the cold entrees, they add insult to injury by adding a 15% service charge to your bill after the most unauthentic Mexican meal ever.
Case in point: YOU DON’T MAKE QUESADILLAS WITH EDAM CHEESE! No bueno… avoid.