Lettuce have a light lunch
Convenience and freshness are plusses at Chop'd, but the décor and ambiance need work
Posted: September 25, 2013
Most people at least occasionally have days when their stomachs say "no" to heavy meat-and potato-lunches and instead crave something lighter.
We were feeling this way recently when I decided to step into Chop'd, a new salad-only spot that just opened in Prague's working-class Karlín district. Their slogan "Salad Your Life!" pretty much hit the nail on the head. At Chop'd, you can choose either one of the pre-set options, or put together your own salad, starting at a base price of 88 Kč for a large salad, or 69 Kč for a small.
Chop'd is part of an international chain that began in London in 2003, and this is its first outlet in Prague. The chain promises healthy and balanced fast food - or, as they put it, "Real good food fast."
While it's not typical to review fast-food chains, we thought we'd make an exception since this is the first entry here and it seems to be the first assembly-line salad place in Prague, though the concept has become relatively commonplace in some other countries.
Open Monday-Friday 10a.m. to 5:30p.m.
Sokolovská 79 Karlín, Prague 8
Italian Salad (romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, olives with sun dried tomato pesto 95 Kč)
No. 1 Chicken Salad (mesclun salad, spicy chicken breast, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, with lime vinaigrette with coriander and mint) 79 Kč
Turkey Salad (romaine lettuce, sliced turkey, Granny Smith apples, mozzarella, whole-grain croutons, raisins, with blue cheese dressing and walnuts) 94 Kč
There are multiple ways either option can be customized, including the type of lettuce, for example, mesclun salad, arugula or romaine lettuce. There are also choices of fresh vegetable, meat, cheese and special toppings, which include sun-dried tomatoes, turkey breast, mozzarella or spicy croutons. Dressing options are balsamic vinaigrette, Caesar, and yoghurt wasabi and ginger. The addition of toppings or special types of lettuce comes at an extra cost of 12-40 Kč per item, which is reasonable.
The menu, which is also on their website, is written in Czech only, but all ingredients are on display, so pointing is always an option for non-Czech speakers.
Once the ingredients are decided upon, they are piled up together on a cutting board, and "chop'd" up into a well-mixed mass before being put into a plastic container, either small or large in size. The employees behind the bar are friendly and seem to know what they're doing, which is important when wielding a chopping tool for a living.
Chop'd wins points for even just bringing this customizable, convenient and light lunch option to Prague. Yet does the experience live up to our hopes?
To start with the salad, there are some definite plus points, besides the obvious speed of preparation and convenience that comes with all fast food. Because the salad is chopped, there is no need to awkwardly maneuver large leaves of lettuce or vegetable pieces into your mouth, and the flavors blend nicely. The ingredients tasted fresh and the portion size of a large salad was filling while also being affordable.
On this trip the goat cheese salad (93 Kč), Mexican salad (64 Kč) and Mediterranean salad (71 Kč) were tested. The first two were delicious and full of flavor. The goat cheese salad included beets, which because they were chopped up and somewhat blended with the cheese, enhanced the flavor of the salad with a light sweetness rather than overtaking it. Highlights of the Mexican salad were chopped up bits of tortilla chips as well as a slightly spicy flavor.
Unfortunately the Mediterranean salad was a bit bland and overwhelmed by a huge number of raw red onions. Without the onions and with the addition of some feta cheese (notably absent from the menu), it would be much more palatable.
Chop'd also offers potato, broccoli or tomato soup to warm you up while you munch on your greens, which could be a welcome plus on a chilly winter's day.
When it comes to the atmosphere, the locale loses some points. Though there is ample seating for those who want to dine in, plus even some tables outside, the cafeteria-style decor with lime green highlights is too basic. What could be a cozy or chic place to savor a healthy lunch looks too much like a Subway joint. If the chain wants to break the fast-food mold it could also rethink the interior design. Some creative lighting, decorations or artwork on the walls could help greatly with this problem.
The atmosphere problem is further compounded by the loud pop music, which is distracting and does the ambiance no favors. Taking a salad to-go may therefore be a better option, unless you don't mind the bland surroundings
The restaurant is open weekdays only, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Despite its shortcomings, it's still a decent lunch or even take-out dinner option for anyone who can get themselves to Karlín during the week. For those who live a little further away but still want to salad their life, Chop'd also offers a delivery and pre-order services, which can be done through their website.
Jennifer Day can be reached at
Tags: Chop'd, salad, fast food.
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