Everything you NEED to Eat in Prague – Your 2019 Prague Food Guide

Ahhh Prague. The land of classical music, baroque architecture, and wheat in every form imaginable.

Traditional Czech and Prague foods are made up of somewhat unglamorous but undeniably indulgent staple foods. It is a cuisine that is filling for the heart and soul (and sometimes the colon). Although they have access to fruits and vegetables imported from Morocco and southern Europe, you will still find that their response to a salad is a tomato slice.

Here is our foodie guide to Prague that covers everything from traditional dishes to navigating Prague’s unique restaurant scene.


Prague Restaurant Tips

Prague has no regard for you and all of your food intolerances. They will thicken every sauce with flour, stuff every dessert with nuts and cream, and polish everything off with a hardy wheat beer.

I’m not even going to try to advise the gluten intolerant to find ways to pick apart the pastries, goulash, bread dumplings, loaves of rye, and pints of beer. If you ask them if there is wheat in it they will respond “no, made with flour.”  Kale won’t help you stave off the winter.

But you aren’t here to be healthy. You are here to enjoy this magnificent city to its (and your) fullest.

Prague Restaurant Reservations

In most restaurants, especially nicer ones, you can call a day or two ahead and make a reservation, which is highly suggested. Nothing can put a damper on your brunch plans like standing outside on a January morning in a line of stone-faced locals. If they can wait out the Cold War, they can sure wait out a line to Cafe Savoy.

Service

The Czechs are not known for their warm hospitality, but they don’t care either. People frequently say that the service is lacking in “ warmth” “ friendliness”  or “decency” but after living 50+ years under a communist regime maybe you should just be happy you get to eat outside of ration limits.

Just because they aren’t smiling at you doesn’t mean that they are sad or angry, they just weren’t allowed to use those face muscles for 40+ years under the USSR’s watchful eye.

Related Article: Everything you NEED to Know Before Visiting the Prague Castle


Best Prague Breakfast Foods

A traditional breakfast comes in a few different forms. Including yogurt, granola, fruit, and honey is common but a mild attempt when it comes to satisfying the Czech sweet tooth. In contention with the French, the Czechs do their own twist on crepes ( but to a foreigner they are exactly the same).

But here are some of the best breakfast foods in Prague to try and the best restaurants in Prague to taste them at.

Chlebíčky

Chlebíčky, an open-faced sandwich, is a typical first meal of the day. They slice off thick slabs of rye bread or plump yellow rolls and layer on cured meats, cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, pickles, and the occasional cucumber.

Good places have garlic or egg salad to spread on top. You can stop in a local deli and order yourself one, or for a fancier open-faced sandwich Cafe Savoy and Cafe Mysak both have some pretty Instagramable meals.

 

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Palačinkys

Palačinkys, thin pancakes, are filled with jams, fruits, and sprinkled with powdered sugar, then folded and rolled exactly the same as the French… I promise they are different.

Prague Pastries

If you somehow still manage to find room in your stomach, the pastries are just as a decedent as their European counterparts. Some you must pair with a nice coffee is a Kolácek knutý, a Danish filled with poppyseed filling, cream-filled and rippled Venecek or a caramel cream pate de choue Venecek.

Czech Laskonky dessert in Prague

Laskonky

For the gluten-free ( I am trying to ignore you), the laskonky is one thing you can eat!  These painfully sweet meringue sandwiches are stuffed with jams, creams, and nuts. Although your skin and stomach won’t take a hit, there is a high probability that you will get diabetes if you eat too many.

Best Bakeries in Prague

Bakeries to go early to are Artisan Café & Bistrot, Simply Good, and  Bottega bistros. Remember, the locals have a history of rations, so anything good is worth waiting in line for and taking as many as possible.

Related Article: Hidden Gems in Prague


What to Eat in Prague for Lunch & Dinner

Czech food may seem a little stagnant, because how many times can you repurpose meat + bread? Well, it depends on how good your math skills are after 5 beers.

The food excels at soaking up all of the alcohol you have been consuming, which is why you are there in the first place. It may seem utilitarian but doesn’t lack flavor.

Let’s start with the basics of Prague foods for lunch and dinner.

Plate of Goulash in Prague

Svickova vs. Goulash

At first glance, you might think they are the same dish. Both are chunks of meat stewing in a dark sauce bread dumplings lining the plate like soldiers and dotted with a sour red jam.

However, svickova is made with beef that has been cooked in a carrot broth and (mostly) sour cream, blended together to make that nice orangy color. Add a dollop of cranberry or tangy red jam and you have yourself a knockoff thanksgiving.

Goulash, on the other hand, isn’t technically Czech, but don’t mention that to them ( let them live in their delusions). Like any good cuisine, this is one fighting for originality. This ( Hungarian) meal has the same presentation as svickova. However, the sauce is made of tomato paste, caraway seeds, and- the not so secret ingredient- dark beer.

Both are accompanied by knedliki: bread dumplings. Although the Czech’s do not categorize knedliki as bread, it very much is. They are typically made of a potato or flour dough steamed instead of baked ( but bread is bread, folks).

Both are svickova and goulash are typically eaten for Sunday lunch and marinated the day before.

Best Svickova & Goulash Restaurants in Prague

If you need to have a personal weigh in between svickova and goulash then make reservations at either Café Louvre or Café Imperial. Reservations are highly recommended.

Related Article: 3 Days in Prague Itinerary 

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Pork Knuckle -Vepřove Koleno

Nothing sounds as appetizing as eating the hoof of a pig.

It’s actually not the things you crack on your hand before you sit down to play piano, but it is the knee joint of the pig.  Once you get over the nontraditional slab of meat, you will wake up in the middle of the night in a trance craving it the way Homer Simpson drools over doughnuts. It’s that good.

This tender piece of meat is marinated in- wait take a moment to guess- BEER. It is always served with pickles and mustard and either a side of dumplings + cabbage or roasted Hasselback potatoes and sauerkraut.

Best Pork Knuckle in Prague

Some great joints to chow down on are the brightly lit U Tri jelinku or the medieval vault cellar turned restaurant Vinarna Pushkin.

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Prague’s Pickled Cheese

Ok, hold up. Before you make any assumptions about what I am about to explain, let’s dissect the Czech language real quick.

The word for pickled and marinated are the same, so instead of soaking a Camembert-like cheese in vinegar ( which I know is what you were thinking), it is actually marinated in oil and herbs. That sounds WAY better now doesn’t it.

Getting back, after the cheese is marinated overnight it then turns into a gooey, savory treat with your beer. It is typically served with pickles and as a nice appetizer. Places that are known for their pickled cheese is U Fleků or  Lokal Dlouhaaa.

Best Pickled Cheese in Prague

Related Article: Everything To See & Do In Prague’s Jewish Quarter 


Prague Street Food

Prague has a decent street food scene, but not nearly as intense as Mexico or Thailand. However, morning, noon or anytime after you leave a club, there will be stands serving hearty sausages in a bun with horseradish and mustards.

For the vegetarians ( vegans in Prague you will never win here) you can have a sizzling smažený sýr or fried cheese. Unlike their slender cousin, the mozzarella stick, smažený sýr is a slab of cheese coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried.

This staple street food that can also be ordered in nicer restaurants. They come with potato wedges and the Czech take on tartar sauce. You will feel your arteries clog as you down this delight in seconds.

Best Place To Try Smažený Sýr in Prague

Almost all Czech restaurants in Prague will serve smažený sýr. If you’re wanting to try the street food in Prague head to Wenceslas Square and there will several vendors selling smažený sýr.


Must Try Prague Desserts

Chimney/ Trundle cakes

Chimney cakes or Trundle cakes are classic Prague desserts. You can smell their sweet doughy bodies being cooked over an open flame and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. You can watch them become perfectly golden with this superior toasting technology.

These cakes are typically a street food in Prague or found every other stand during the holidays at Christmas markets in Prague.

You can then fill trundle cakes with Nutella, fruits + cream, or balance with some cold and stuff it with ice cream. Vanilla is typically the only flavor because Communism has still eroded away the idea of options.

You will smell them on the streets, so follow your nose to the best one. Like all the other streets in Prague, Wenceslas Square will have the most street food vendors in Prague.

Honey cake – Medovnik

A dessert you would find more in a restaurant than on the street is a honey cake. Envision you took all the layers of a Mille crepe cake but instead of cream, you stuffed it with caramel.  A good one is soft and sweet.

Best Place to Try Honey Cake in Prague

The cakes you must try are in Coffee Lovers, the art deco coffee house, Grand Cafe Orient, and a traditional Czech coffee shop Kaficko.


Things to do in Prague - Czech Republic - Original Pilsner Urquell Tasting Room Church-1

Traditional Prague Drinks

You already know what beverages of choice I’m going to recommend here. Arsenic! No, just kidding. But, seriously, the beer here is out of this world, literally; they have won as many beer competitions as Daniel Day Louise has won Oscars.

It’s just a given at this point. You can get a better beer for 50 cents in a Czech convenience store than any highfalutin, locally made, organic ingredients brew back in the States.

A few things before we take our first sip.

It is cheap enough to help you forget your trip entirely, ranging from 30-40 CZK, about $1.5-2 US dollars. To be able to remember any Prague experience means you didn’t live it enough (or you care about your health like a weirdo).

The Czech beer culture is longer and more intense than most modern countries existence.

Hops were so prized in the 13th century that it was a criminal offense for stealing it. The punishment WAS DEATH. Maybe because King Václav II was too insufferable to deal with sober.

City planners clearly took their countries everlong passion ( addiction is such a strong word, yah know?)  into account when it came to zoning Prague because there are fewer places you can’t drink it than where you can. You can drink in parks, in libraries, medieval dungeons, and movie theaters. But most of them just drink beer in pubs. We love drinking in all the Prague beer gardens.

If you happen to make friends with a Czech local, don’t try to compete with their consumption.  They drink with an ease as if beer is a light tomato bisque as you drink yourself under the table.

Another “badge of honor” is that they are to date the world’s highest consumer of beer. The Czech’s average drinking 142 liters of beer a year. They have held this record for close to 22 years, and I can’t imagine their acceptance speech is particularly eloquent.

Related Article: Best Day Trips From Prague

The Largest Breweries you Should Czech (ugh sorry) Check Out are

The best Czech beers to try while drinking your way around the Prague nightlife scene:

  • Pilsner Urquell
  • Gambrinus
  • Velkopopovický Kozel
  • Radegast
  • Staropramen
  • Budweiser Budvar

It is a liable offense if you order an American PBR in their presence. Violators are hereby banned 100 miles within the city limits.

Fun facts: the Czechs use their own rating system- the Balling scale- that measures the density of sucrose or maltiness in their beers. They use degrees, and it is not to be confused with alcoholic content.

  • lehké – “light” beer brewed below 8° Balling and with less than 130 Kj per 100ml
  • výčepní – “tap” beer, though it can be bottled, brewed between 8° and 10°
  • ležák – “lager” beer, brewed between 11° and 12.99°
  • speciál – “special” beer, brewed above 13°

Ok, enough of the facts, let’s get this party started! Hold on now, pubs are not typically bumpin’ spots. They are ideal for an after-work drink or getting together with friends. They aren’t spots to get sloppy and dance on tables; that is left for the expat bars of which they look at with disdain.

If you are someone who can down any beer that is placed in front of you, here is a list of some of the best traditional and more unique experiences in Prague.

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Traditional Pubs in Prague

Tip: Traditional Czech pubs serve only one kind of beer, so if you are searching for a specific type ask ahead of time.

As decorative and indulgent the Czechs are with their architecture, their food options are cut and dry ( actually no, it’s always soaked in beer and lard). Pivo a párek does just that. It Literally translates to Beer and Sausage and is no way a misnomer.

But that is why you are here right?

Not to make decisions, but to enjoy what the Czechs have perfected for hundreds of years. They have gluten-free buns as well ( just kidding, they never will).

Brevnov Monastery Brewery is the oldest brewery in Prague. It originally opened in 993 AD. Pious monks were allowed to make beer for travelers and people passing through and believed it was God’s duty to make quality beer. It was probably Jesus in their beer bubbles that told them to be more diligent as they kept countless records and perfected recipes.

Only in Prague would they believe that any subpar beer is not only a national but a spiritual sin. The monastery is still open, and you can take a tour of it and walk through the church next door.

However, if you are looking for the variety Czech breweries have to offer, head over to Bad Flash Bar. They brew their own beer, have 12 beers on tap, and over 300 different types of beer from bottles from around the world.

If you are tired with the apathetic, at worst gruff, waiters at some of these places, the PUB takes the wait out of wait staff where you get to pour your own beer! Each table is built around a spigot which allows you and your friends to choose which beer you want to drink and consume as much as your belly desires.

Best Pubs & Breweries in Prague


Unique Experiences in Prague

1. Prague Beer Spa

For those who can’t make the tough decision between going to the spa or having a nice drink with friends, you can have it all at a Beer Spa in Prague. (I did not mistype).

You get to soak in a pool of hops, yeast, and other natural ingredients in warm wooden baths styled after beer barrels. You are in arm’s reach of a spigot that allows you to pour unlimited amounts of beer as you gossip with three of your girlfriends. You will come out glo….probably more flushed than glowing, but you will FEEL GREAT.

  • Address: Žitná 658/9, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia
  • Hours: Open daily 10 am – 10 pm
  • Prague Beer Spa Admission
    • 1-hour beer spa 1 person 1 beer tub 2,200 CZK
    • 1-hour beer spa 2 people 1 beer tub 2,700 CZK
    • 1-hour beer spa & Czech Beer Land hop sauna  2 people 1 tub 3,400 CZK

2. Stay at the Beer Hotel in Prague

In Old Town, you can sleep in a U Medvidku Beer Hotel and wake up smelling the hops. At U Medvidku you can stay the night and be within walking distance from your bed to your brews.

You can have a hearty breakfast, go on brewery tours, brew your own beer, and never have to deal with the anxiety of stumbling home late at night. Just try not to pass out in someone else’s room.

Pinterest pin for best beer gardens in

3. Check out the Beer Gardens in Prague

The Czechs bring the party outside for the few days of nice weather during the summer. A classic Prague beer garden is Letna Park. Atop a hill and overlooking the entire city, you can enjoy a whole section of picnic tables and other people enjoying the good weather and beer.

It is wafting with uninhibited beer belches and cooked meat. But the beer and snacks selection is limited, because again, in Communist Russia options were for the indulgent aristocracy. The stands serve classic Pilzner, sausage, and other Bavarian meats.

The space is great for groups or an intimate date as you all gather and stare out at the glory of the city. It is a wonderful place to watch the sunset but make sure you are sober enough to find the tram station once it gets dark out.

Terasa U Prince is located right in the heart of Old Town and has a panoramic rooftop view at the top. You are so high up that you can watch the arms on the clock slowly move. They have a great beer selection and traditional meals.

4. If you dare, try Absinthe

BTW, absinthe is legal here, but the locals don’t touch it. You will find teenage Americans on a study abroad chugging it down because of the novelty and freedom of being able to drink. They won’t remember they even had some if they make it home.

If you are equally as curious, you can venture towards the  Absintherie where you can have the stuff straight or blended into ice cream. Because… YOLO.

Absinthe Bars in Prague

There are several places to purchase a bottle of Absinthe in Prague or just sample one Absinthe drink (trust us you won’t get to two).


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What are some of your favorite Prague foods? One of the best things about traveling is trying new food and drinks. The restaurants in Prague’s Old Town are some of our favorites in the world. We always leave full and sad to go.

 

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