As a Cuban girl from Miami living in Prague, almost nothing makes me feel more at home than Las Adelitas. I discovered Prague’s popular Mexican restaurant last year, and immediately knew it was legit because everyone spoke to me in Spanish. Evidently, there’s a significant Mexican population in Prague, many of whom are first generation immigrants. And thankfully, they’ve brought their culinary talents to my adopted home.
I honestly didn’t really care for Mexican food until I moved her. I love tequila, but tacos and fajitas were always my second least favorite food. (Last is Vietnamese. Sorry, but pho is just a cloudy soup that tastes like socks.) But when I moved here and had the steak nachos at Las Adelitas, I was hooked. And as much as I find frozen margaritas to be kind of sacrilegious, these guys really do it right. I don’t think I’ve ever had a better margarita than the chili mango margarita at Las Adelitas, complete with a fresh slice of mango.
When their restaurant on Americká street closed for renovation, they came up with a hilarious marketing campaign to “Make Americká Great Again.” They sold hats and everything. On top of making outrageously delicious and authentic Mexican food, these guys are also hilarious.
El Dia de los Muertos
Perhaps in part because of how much they love the food, Czechs here love Mexican culture. Every year, Las Adelitas sponsors a street festival called “La Calle Mexicana” which brings out all the locals to sample a variety of Hispanic foods. And come the beginning of November, the normally reserved Czechs aren’t shy about putting on La Catrina makeup to celebrate El Dia de los Muertos. So when my Czech friend recommended Las Adelitas’ annual party for it, I had to check it out.
I don’t need an excuse to paint my face and look ridiculous (see Halloween), but I was surprised at how many locals came out in their best sugar skull and flowers look. And for those that didn’t, Las Adelitas had professionals doing traditional face paint at the entrance to the party. And some even braver souls let me do their makeup when FOMO set in after a few drinks.
But this wasn’t just a shitshow party; it was a cultural event. The mariachis, who provided music along with a DJ, rounded everyone up in the restaurant for a procession of the dead through Old Town Square. They handed out candles to everyone, and we sang songs as we made our way around the square. The procession was led by La Llorona, a crying ghost of Mexican folklore. I was impressed that everyone could sing along to “Cielito Lindo (Canta y no llores).” Even moreso that when the Mariachis cheered “Viva los muertos!” a Czech replied with “Al carajo con los vivos!”
By the time we got back inside, you could barely walk in the restaurant. This is an event that you definitely want to get a reservation for so you can have your own space. Surprisingly, the amazing servers were still bringing out food until late, even when they could barely walk through the crowd. Though they also got to dance a bit with the revelers, because who can resist when Celia Cruz sings “La Vida es un Carnaval.” Later in the night, they awarded a margarita pitcher to the girl with the best makeup. And by the wee hours, if you had enough shots of tequila, you’d think you were in Tijuana.
For all the Cinco de Mayos and tacos I’ve had back in the US, I had never experienced this kind of event with altars to the dead and all. And I can’t believe I had to come all the way to the Czech Republic to enjoy my Mexican neighbors’ fantastic holiday.
Even though it’s hard to come by anything Cuban here in Prague, I can live with that. Because when I want a taste of home, I can grab a burrito at Las Adelitas and chat with mi gente. Besides, I’ll take mezcal over Havana Club any day.
Check out the official video of the event here.