When friends come visiting the city or my walking tour clients express a wish to “go off the beaten path and experience the real Prague” then the Světozor Jidelna will be on my list of places to go. Světozor translates as “World View” and is pronounced like svee-et-oh-zor.
The Jidelna Rules
Why do I like Jidelnas? They are great value, quick to serve and generous in their portions. You don’t need extensive language skills so if you are prepared just to point at something then you’ll survive here. If you read my post about the Gastro-Karlin Jidelna then the rules are the same in that you are going into a largely Czech language environment and there will be multiple food options to choose from. You then collect your meal, pay and find yourself a place to sit. In the case of Světozor you sit in a large open plan basement hall that looks like it could quickly be converted into a dancehall or cinema should that be needed. You’ll find a mixed crowd of local workers, students and retired people.
Can a Tourist Come Here?
When you first enter the Světozor Jidelna it’s a bit intimidating as you have limited time to scan the menu. In the picture above is the main serving area and there’s a lot going on here. Czechs may have looked online at the menu so they know what they want but if you just walk in off the street these boards are what you will first see. It looks complicated but really it’s the same main food like roast pork or goulash or meat loaf but served in different ways.
Now to make it easier for non-Czech speakers at Světozor they have the “Foreign Board” which is shown above that lists the available meals in English and Ukrainian (the Czech bit at the top is for when you point to what you want, the serving ladies will understand). In the previous picture you’ll see the board is on the ledge behind the lady with the white jacket. You’ll get the standard meal but the only drawback of the board is that it ties you in to the presentation i.e. if you speak Czech you could ask for a different side dish or fewer dumplings etc.
At the time of writing the Světozor Jidelna did not accept cards but if you allow CZK200 per person that should be enough to cover the main meal, any salad and a drink. In my experience the ladies who work on the cash till have a working knowledge of English.
Take your tray/cutlery/napkin before you order your main meal either direct from the menu or using the board. You add any salad and get a drink where you pay. If it’s full (very rare) then it’s acceptable to ask a person already at a table if they can share (they will always say yes although confusingly the Czech word for yes actually sounds like no so just look at the body language). When you finish your meal you take your tray back to the kitchen, separate your used napkins into the bin first. There are decent toilets and you might find it strange to see the cloakroom outside the WC. Like I said earlier, Světozor can be converted into an entertainment venue. I would expect this whole process of ordering, paying and eating to take no longer than 30 minutes.
Preparing for a Visit
The Světozor Jidelna is in the Světozor passage just 50 metres from Wenceslas Square in the street called Vodičkova. In the passage it’s the door behind the Pizza Hut. Go down one floor. If you are preparing in advance then first make sure you’ve got the Google Translate add-on in your web browser. Then go to the Světozor website https://jidelnasvetozor.webnode.cz/ and the daily menu should automatically translate into English (or your default language). This will give you an idea what’s on the menu. Now refresh the page but this time select the option to display the page in Czech. This will now show you what your desired meal would look like in Czech language. Have fun.