My 4 Favorite Places for Traditional Czech Food in Prague
I recently had the opportunity to spend time in Prague (Praha) in the Czech Republic. Whenever I visit a city, I am immediately drawn to the food culture. You can learn a lot about the history of a people by exploring their cuisine. As you venture away from mainstream tourist areas, the restaurant’s menus reveal information about the people, their history, and cherished traditions. Below are four of my favorite places in Prague to eat traditional Czech cuisine and immerse yourself in the city’s culinary explosion world.
The restaurants are listed in no particular order, each with their own unique and sensational dishes. My suggestion, stay in Prague for several days and try each establishment, you will be sublimated by the city and its gastronomic culture.
Eat like a local in Prague
My favorite places to eat traditional Czech food in Prague were discovered when I met Markéta Podrabská and allowed him to guide me around his beautiful city. It is clear that she enjoys her job.
“We love to show our customers how the culinary scene in Prague has improved over the years, to tell more about the transition from communism to modern democratic society,” she said. “Prague is a very vibrant city that we love and we want to share all the amazing new openings, pop-ups, groups geared towards high quality and perfect delivery both in the food and liquids department. show different neighborhoods, places off the beaten track and the general city vibe because we believe that Prague not only has the looks and the good beer but so many other layers and spend a few hours with the locals can show you at least a little bit about what’s behind the curtain.
Markéta is an amazing tour guide with Taste of Prague. She is charming and funny, loves her city, adores cultural food, and is dedicated to the food explorers she serves. From the moment our group met in a quiet lane on the edge of the old town where she sent us to our varied hotels like a mother hen sending her chicks to bed, our tour of Prague was more than an excursion culinary haphazard, it was deeply personal. We were completely under its spell, ready to taste and discover all the delicacies presented in the different districts that make up this fascinating city.
Their Prague Foodie Map is one of the most comprehensive restaurant guides you’ll find on the planet. It is a must see for visitors who describe restaurants, pubs, cafes and more. Use it in conjunction with one of their food tours and you’ll be well fed.
A brief history of traditional Czech cuisine
The history of traditional Czech cuisine has an unfavorable background, imbued with the “sameness” that characterizes a Communist government. According to Radio Prague International, Czech working families usually only ate once a day. This meant that their meals had to be large and high in calories. Filled with legumes, mashed potatoes and dumplings, and flavored with classic Czech spices like marjoram and lovage, the dinner was satisfying but uneventful. In 1990, the Czech Republic emerged from a communist regime that kept food culture in a bland subsistence state where every home and pub had access to only a limited variety of food options.
As the political realm developed into a republic and restrictions were relaxed or removed, new generations were free to explore the world. This exploration led to a sort of food revolution. Young Czech chefs began to experience global culinary culture with enthusiasm. They returned to their homeland and began to elevate traditional Czech cuisine. This food revolution spawned a booming culinary culture in Prague.
Visitors to Prague must step out of the beautiful but touristy Old Town Square district and explore the wonderful culinary gifts that Prague chefs have to offer.
In the suburb of Karlin, Eska is the place to dine. This restaurant / bakery / cafe is completely at home in its chic, renovated urban factory. The name of the game is a gorgeous bread baked all day. When you’ve got fresh local ingredients, fodder treats, and intriguing fermentation, you’ve got an intriguing menu of Czech inspired dishes.
Foodies looking for those unique dishes that will make your taste buds sing with joy will love Eska’s offerings. Its ash potatoes with smoked carp, dried egg yolk, and kefir is a feast for the eyes and the stomach. The subtle smoky flavor goes wonderfully with the silky kefir; it is a must-have dish.
Bread 66 is sourdough bread made with 66% rye flour for a solid bread with a beautifully crispy crust. Eska adds roasted cumin for a wonderful smoky back note. It’s perfect with creamy butter or your favorite cheese spread. No matter what you order, plan to have it served with bread, it’s divine.
Homemade tonic water with a tangy juniper note makes for a super tasty gin and tonic, perfectly refreshing on a hot summer night. You’ll find some Czech Republic wines on the menu alongside offerings from Germany, Italy and Austria to complement your dinner.
The dessert is amazing, it’s a bakery after all. The chocolate cake, Likérová špička, with vanilla, is a variation of the traditional Czech likérová špička. It’s divine, sweet and a perfect ending to your dinner.
The Prague metro is friendly, you can easily get to the Karlin suburb on the yellow line for a delicious meal in Eska. The area is lively and will show you a local side of Prague that you won’t see in the Old Town.
Čestr in the city center is a beautifully designed upscale steakhouse near the equestrian statue of St. Wenceslas. It focuses on Czech heritage breeds including Fleckvieh (Čestr) cattle and Přeštík pig. The restaurant is a masterpiece of contemporary decoration and modern cuisine. The trendy urban design with an open kitchen makes diners feel like guests in a friend’s chic and chic apartment.
OK, the mashed potatoes served with the three smoked tips and the mushroom sauce is heavenly. It’s like grandma’s best traditional Czech dish raised to a higher vocation. The braised beef is succulent and cooked to absolute perfection. I’m not sure how they made the mashed potatoes exactly, but it is the best mashed potato I have ever tasted. The chanterelle sauce was the crowning glory of the dish and we were all arguing over who would get the very last drop.
The brioche dumplings and the cumin stew go perfectly with their dark draft beer, nefiltrovaný Kozel (unfiltered Kozel), for a smoky, salty, creamy bite. Each absolutely delicious dish is delivered on its beautiful, in-house porcelain as the staff details the highlights of the offerings.
The extensive wine list of Čestr goes wonderfully with the expertly prepared dishes. You will love to eat in Čestr. This restaurant must be on your menu when you visit Prague.
Sometimes you just want to get out of the house and enjoy some food with friends. Lokal is a chain of neighborhood pubs spread across the city. It offers its customers excellent Pilsner Urquell, easy-to-share small plates and a lively place to meet. Classic Czech bar food often served in breweries is just what you crave when you go out for the evening with good friends. Lokal’s version of traditional pub food is delicious and satisfying, just what you want when planning a night out of pint lifting.
Ham served with whipped horseradish, classic Frankfurters with mustard, fried cheese (oh, yeah) and onion-coated carp go perfectly with classic Czech beer, Pilsner Urquell. These traditional dishes are served by simply letting the beer and the conversation take center stage.
When visiting Prague, a stop at one of the Lokal pubs is a must. If you are visiting in the afternoon it will be quiet and you should be able to get a table quickly. If you choose to come later in the evening be prepared to wait, the tables are not reversed at the same rate as here in the United States. When locals go to the pub, they plan to stay for the evening.
Kantýna, the canteen, is not only the best butcher’s shop in Prague, it’s the premier venue for high-end meetings and shared dinners. Located in a converted bank, Kantýna is a popular hip place that focuses on meat. You can order your steak at your starter, then have it prepared by experts while enjoying a nice glass of regional wine and an aperitif. The beef tartare made from dry aged beef on glorious garlic coated crisp toast was the freshest and tastiest piece of tartar ever. Add the sweet and sour veg on the side to cut up the rich beef and you have an absolutely delicious appetizer.
Kantýna’s wonderful dishes to discover include ground pork cutlet, succulent pork belly and, of course, a fabulous rib eye steak. Sharing a meal with old friends or new acquaintances is the best way to enjoy the delicious cuisine you will find in this converted bank. There is a charming comfort that you wouldn’t expect when surrounded by all the marble and stainless steel. It must be the constant buzz of conversation of happy customers enjoying magnificent plates that give Kantýna its desirable cachet.
Pro tip: When traveling to a new city, look for a popular food tour, preferably a walking tour so you can work out all the amazing food. You’ll learn about the region’s culinary traditions, take an impromptu tour of the region, meet wonderful foodie friends, and taste a variety of dishes instead of having to choose just one dish for your lunch or dinner.
When you are in Prague and want to experience traditional Czech cuisine served in a modern presentation, check out one or more of these fabulous restaurants. Prague is a charming city and easy to explore; visit our Prague destinations guide to plan your visit.
Some other things to consider before visiting Prague: