Little Argentina comes to Letná with the opening of Cruz Panadería

Argentinian expat and Prague restaurateur Juan Cruz is bringing a bit of Buenos Aires to a bustling corner of Prague 7.

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas Published on 20.06.2023 15:51:00 (updated on 21.06.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

While Prague boasts a variety of croissants, its Argentinian cousin – the medialuna – has been missing until now. This smaller, stickier, and sweeter pastry is the flagship item at the newly opened Cruz Panadería, which spent four months perfecting its recipe.

The ambassador to Argentina, Roberto Alejandro Salafia, provided invaluable feedback as a high-profile taster during the medialuna's development phase.

“During my time here, I hadn't eaten any until [Cruz Panadería owner] Juan Cruz brought me one to taste. It was like coming back to my childhood. It made me feel a sense of Argentinian identity.”

Cruz, who is also the owner of Prague’s Gran Fierro steak restaurant, and the ambassador are just two of the roughly 400-500 Argentinians who call the Czech lands home. Czech-Argentinian ties go back to the 19th century when a significant wave of immigrants arrived in search of work opportunities.


“We have around 60,000-80,000 Argentians who descend from Moravia or Bohemia. They are part of our melting pot,” said Ambassador Salafia. “We had active policies to attract immigrants, which led to a great wave of immigration to our country. In 1910 Buenos Aires, for every four people who lived there, three were foreigners. This influx of immigrants changed the demographics of the country.”

It also changed the culinary landscape, particularly pastries. While Argentinian cuisine has influences from Scandinavia, Spain, and Britain, its pastry tradition predominantly stems from Italian roots. 

"When Italians go to a new country, they are the first to promote their culture through their cuisine. In Argentina, we had similar flour because of our wheat production, so when Italians arrived, they found all of these new ingredients to use in their traditional pastries. That generated a shift in the recipes, and today we have pastries that originally came from Italy but with a twist of Argentina, using our unique ingredients."

-Juan Cruz, Prague restaurateur and owner of Cruz Panadería

The Argentinian pastries at Cruz Panadería incorporate traditional ingredients like dulce de leche and quince  – try alfajores cookies filled with dulce de leche and dulce de membrillo, a lattice-work pastry filled with quince paste. On the savory side, focaccia, chipa cheese buns made from tapioca flour (naturally gluten-free), sandwich de miga, and pintxos round out the menu.

Sandwich de miga and pastries with quince paste and fresh fruit
Sandwich de miga and pastries with quince paste and fresh fruit

A surprising addition to the menu is a Danish pastry filled with cheese and mushrooms. For Czech customers seeking a taste of home, the sourdough bread with its soft and chewy texture and oatmeal crust rivals the offerings of the best bakeries in Prague.

Cruz seems intent on turning Letná into a "Little Argentina." In addition to Cruz Panadería, he will open a neighboring rotisserie in the same space once occupied by the non-stop potraviny chicken joint on the corner of Čechova and Milady Horákové. He also plans to add Argentinian helado (ice cream) to his culinary portfolio.

"I have been living in the Czech Republic continuously since 2008 and I like this country very much. At the same time, I like traditional Argentinian cuisine. I want to represent my country here among the Czech Republic's fine cuisine, that's why I opened Gran Fierro in 2015 and now Cruz Panadería,” Cruz said.

The new bakery, which operates in a bustling open kitchen, offers a tempting selection of about a dozen sweet and savory pastries; the menu will continue to expand in the future. Pastry sizes are intentionally small to encourage sampling.

Cruz Panadería's open kitchen
Cruz Panadería's open kitchen

For Ambassador Salafia, Cruz Panadería serves as more than just a bakery; it exemplifies the way in which food unites cultures. “People often associate diplomacy with other things like politics. Nowadays, diplomacy has expanded, and having a coffee shop like this is important for us. It serves as a way to fully showcase our products and support our projects."

He suggests visitors come for a true Argentian breakfast of café con leche and at least two medialunas. Never just one. Both Cruz and the ambassador agree that this isn't an option. "Argentinians order them by the dozen," laughs Cruz.

Cruz Panadería
Milady Horákové 70, Prague 7
Open Monday to Sunday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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