Foodie or not, we all gotta eat right? Luckily, Prague is well-equipped for all palates, fussy eaters, gourmets, veggies and home-cooking enthusiasts. The city has changed a lot in this aspect in the last few years as food trends and influences of other cultures made it all the way to our international capital city. However, Prague still holds on to a very significant presence of Czech culinary traditions. Here’s our summary of Prague’s food culture:
Traditional Czech Cuisine
Czech food can be described by two words, hearty and comforting. When you think Czech food, you can imagine warm, filling sauces, potatoes, dumplings and some type of meat. If traditional, the portion size will ensure a “food coma” afterwards. Should this be the kind of tradition that you’d like to keep, Lidova Jidelna Tesnov at the Florenc metro stop is the place for you. An affordable and delicious selection of all the traditional dishes. Be sure to arrive hungry! Two of the locals’ favourites are Kantyna and its’ sister restaurant Nase Maso. Both famous for their steak tartar, made with authentic Czech beef. Their menus feature several upscale traditional dishes. If sauces are not your thing, try a roast duck, duck confit or a schnitzel. One of our favourite spots for schnitzels is Ossegg and for a delicious duck, we’d go to Next Door or The Blue Duckling, which is quite popular with tourists.
Czech beer is likely more famous than Czech food, however, drinking beer can make you peckish. Most pubs, bars and even restaurants in Prague have solved this by having a special section of the menu for “snacks that go with beer “. In this section, you will likely find a piece of meat and a condiment, such as sausages and horseradish, marinated or pickled cheese or fried bread with a delicious tomato and meat topping, called “topinka“. A great spot to go to, to try an extensive selection of yummy beer snacks, is called Lokal. Located in Vinohrady, which despite its’ central location, keeps a very traditional Czech pub atmosphere. A little more modern but just as authentic.
Czech cuisine should be famous for its’ bakeries and cold foods. Most bakeries that you’ll walk into will have a selection of not only freshly baked sweet goodies but also some elaborate creations of the traditional “chlebicek”. Simply an open-face sandwich with some mouth-watering toppings. Bakeries in Prague often operate as delis as well. A perfect stop for a quick lunch or a snack. Two of our favourites are Prima Chlebicek in Vinohrady and Chlebicky Letna. Although, you can easily find your own favourite because each district has at least one or two bakeries. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, definitely try a “kolac” with poppy seed or a fruity filling! During Christmas time, you’ll also find “cukrovi” in each bakery. These are the Christmas cookies that you wait for the entire year and then eat too many of during the winter holidays.
Czech food not your thing? Not to worry! How about Spanish, Italian, Indian or Vietnamese? These are only a few out of the vast selection that you can find in Prague. For piquant and flavoursome Mexican food, you can visit Las Adelitas in multiple locations around the city. For Vietnamese food, take a trip to Sapa, “Prague’s Little Hanoi” (according to Wikipedia). Italian is not to be forgotten, so you will find countless recommendations for Italian restaurants on Tripadvisor but our local favourite is Olive Point, located a few metres from our school. Here you will find the most delicious Focaccia bread and mouth-watering seafood dishes. If you can’t decide which cuisine you’d like to eat on any given night or you know that it would take some serious convincing of your company, why not visit a place that has it all? Manifesto market in Florenc and Smichov is a culinary paradise, offering multiple cuisines in a cosy dim-lit setting but with an over-head cover in case of rain. A fantastic place to meet for a cold one in the summer or a Christmas punch in the winter. For venturing out of your comfort zone and experiencing authentic international food, keep an eye out for events like the Spanish Week, where farmers market spots like JZP welcome small Spanish businesses and celebrate their culture with the country’s foodie staples and their personal signature dishes.
Fine Dining Gourmets
If fine dining is your cup of tea, you’re looking for a place for a special occasion, or you just like to treat yourself with new gourmet experiences – there are countless options for you in Prague. Got an open mind and like to try multiple intriguing creations in one night? Then La Degustation is the spot for you. A Michelin star restaurant with a strong Czech and Central European culinary influence. Here you will “only” find an eight-course tasting set menu, no regular á-la-carte menu. Not for the fussy eaters. The food may be fancy, artistic and unique, but the atmosphere is warm, welcoming and casual. Visiting fine dining restaurants can be pricey. If your gourmet appetite attracts you to this kind of food, but you don’t like to break the bank, check out the Bib Gourmand restaurants in the city. Highly recommended by tasteofprague.com, come; Sansho, in Sapa, the Vietnamese district on the outskirts of the city; Eska, a modern and hip degustation restaurant in Karlin; and Na Kopci, a French-cuisine-inspired restaurant in Smichov, west of the Vltava river. Last but definitely not least, if you like to walk past restaurants before you decide where feels best to settle in for the evening, Dlouha Street, just off the Old Town Square, is the place for you. Here you will find the Gurmet Pasaz (Arcade), featuring multiple restaurants with various cuisines to choose from.
Do you prefer cooking over eating out? Great! One of Prague’s foodie trends is buying fresh produce from local farms. How do we get that in a city this size? Markets! Farmer’s markets everywhere! Two of our favourites are located very close to our school, one is at Jiriho z Podebrad (JZP) and the second is at Tylovo Namesti, right by the I.P. Pavlova metro stop. Both are open throughout the week. Naplavka, the Vltava waterfront and some other locations like Dejvice often hold various weekend farmers markets which can be a fun morning weekend activity. Besides fresh fruit and veg, you will find home-made pastries and other baked goods, liquors and even honey and sauces at these markets. Often times there will be fresh food made for you to taste on the spot! If you prefer a vegan diet, keep an eye out for vegan markets at Naplavka! The options of tasty vegan treats and produce are endless.