The Chef's Vault: A gourmet lunch gets down to business in Prague

An occasional chef’s table when it opened in 2021, Marek Fichtner's restaurant has become a delicious fixture in the restored bank vault of Červený Jelen.

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas Published on 20.02.2024 16:26:00 (updated on 21.02.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

In the business world, a lunch meeting transcends mere sustenance; it’s an occasion to forge partnerships, make pivotal decisions, and cement deals. In the gourmet paradise that is Prague, a business lunch is also a chance to discover the city’s culinary treasures without spending a fortune. 

The Chef’s Vault (Trezor Špork), hidden within Prague’s largest restaurant, stands out among them. If the setting – a restaurant in a restaurant nestled inside a former bank vault – doesn’t seal the deal, the food by Marek Fichtner, František Hrdina, and their talented team will surely garner your repeat business.

An occasional chef’s table when it opened in Sept. 2021 in the restored bank vault in the sprawling Baroque-era Špork Palace that’s home to Červený Jelen (Red Stag) pub, The Chef’s Vault is now permanently open for dinner and business lunch from Tuesday to Friday.

The venue's ambiance is unparalleled, an intimate 40-seat space that's ideal for lunchtime – or evening, for that matter – lingering. 

No matter what time of day you visit, the menu manages to convey both simple comfort food and special occasion fare. Quality ingredients of freshwater and sea fish, game, mushrooms, and root vegetables are the common denominator, yet there's nothing formulaic about the presentation.

The Vault is open for business lunch every Tuesday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Make a reservation here.

The Vault's menu seems to get bolder and more inventive by the season: from a main of octopus combined with spicy fried chicken and kimchi to an elegant yellow tuna in a beurre blanc sauce, the range of ingredients nods to many influences while remaining rooted in a broader Central European sensibility.

A recent three-course business lunch menu (CZK 650) started with fish fumet over cod gnocchi or a mille fuelle of beetroot, goat cheese, and walnuts. Each course offers wine pairings, from a house riesling to a French Châteauneuf-du-Pape with the pork tenderloin and kale terrine main.

Dessert might be a reimagined Czech sweet bun, chestnut mousse, or a cheese plate with tomato relish, sourced from the Czech Krasolesí dairy farm.

Sourcing local, seasonal ingredients isn’t a marketing gimmick for the team behind Červený Jelen; the restaurant and its management – including Fichtner, a former MasterChef Česko judge who is devoted to mentoring young culinary talent – support an entire ecosystem of food businesses, ventures, and events that aim to draw attention to Czech farmers, producers, and winemakers.

Fichtner is also a champion of the Czech culinary arts who is on a mission to see the country recognized globally for its culinary achievements. Presiding over the national round of the Bocuse d’Or, known internationally as the "culinary Oscars" last year, he also regularly brings Michelin-starred friends to cook for guests: On March 7, Trezor Špork will host Michelin-starred chef and Bocuse d'Or winner Lea Linster who will create a tasting menu for guests.

In the grand tapestry of Prague's culinary scene, Trezor Spork at Červený Jelen stands out as more than just a restaurant. The 2,600-square-meter space is part cozy gastropub, part chic bistro, where you can choose your dining adventure: Business lunch? Michelin-tasting menu? Intimate dinner for two? For fans of the Czech culinary arts, all of the above is the only answer.

This article was written as part of a partnership with Červený Jelen. Read more about our partner content policies here.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more