Rich, hearty and succulent best describes the traditional foods of the Czech Republic and in Prague, you can try all of the country’s best-loved dishes. From warming soups in cozy cellars to world-famous goulash, beef tartare (if you’re brave enough) and of course all washed down with a big mug of ice-cold beer. Don’t miss Prague’s beer houses, as much for the food and drink as the lively atmosphere. There are hundreds of excellent restaurants to choose from in Prague, but these are some of our favourite places to try classic dishes;
Svíčková (braised beef) with dumplings
A marinated, succulent sirloin beef steak is cooked in a creamy sauce made with root vegetables and served with big portions of bread dumplings. This is a staple of Czech family Sunday lunches and a must-try on any visit to the capital. It’s pronounced sveech-covah, so you can practice before trying to order it.
Our Pick: Café Louvre: This stalwart of Prague’s culinary scene has been serving patrons for over 100 years. Even Albert Einstein has eaten here. This grand dining hall, with its high ceilings, offers genuine Czech hospitality, with a menu filled with mouth-watering traditional dishes. Their Svíčková is legendary and approved by Czech grandmothers all over the city.
Steak tartare is essentially raw, uncooked minced beef served with a range of condiments and an egg on top. While it may sound daunting to those who haven’t tried, one taste and you’ll be a steak tartare convert. It’s usually eaten with toasted bread rubbed with garlic, which provides a flavourful crunch to balance the tender meat. Try this authentic dish…we guarantee you it will be a big surprise.
Our Pick: Kantyna: Housed in a former bank building in the New Town, Kantyna is both restaurant and butcher, which means the steak tartare here is as fresh as it comes. Meat-lovers will rejoice in Kantyna’s menu, and all dishes are best washed down with a large Pilsner beer.
Speaking of beer, there are few cities who are as proud of their beer as Prague. Pilsner is the local brew, and it is served in huge great handled glasses. Expert waitresses can carry several in their hands at once as they serve noisy patrons in the lively beer halls which can be found all over the city. Pilsner might be the most famous, but you’ll find a range of local breweries and imported beers too.
Our Pick: U Medvidku: This legendary beer hall is a Prague institution, serving up gallons of strong beer and local Czech specialties on long communal tables. It has been in business for over 550 years, so they must be doing something right!
A hearty, stomach-warming soup is the best thing on a cold Prague day, and you’ll find many different types of traditional soups on the menu. Out of them all, kulajda (pronounced ku-lay-dah) is the most famous, a creamy potato soup made with mushrooms, dill, vinegar and served with sour cream or a poached egg on the top.
Our Pick: Café Imperial: Kulajda served in the traditional Café Imperial comes in vast bowls, easily enough to share between two people. The restaurant’s architecture is as much a treat as the food it serves – high ceilings and ornate ceramics adorn this city stalwart which has been serving Prague residents since 1914.
Goulash is a rich stew made with pork, beef or game, lots of onions and served with big fluffy dumplings. It is popular throughout central Europe, and in Prague is eaten on cold winter days as one of the country’s best-loved comfort foods. Simple, affordable and downright delicious, no trip to Prague is complete without at least one goulash.
Our Pick: Mlejnice: Tucked away in the Old Town Square this is the perfect place to try home-made goulash. Locals crowd in to this rustic eatery whose décor is warming, traditional and unpretentious – delightful old farm equipment hangs from the ceilings giving it an authentic vibe.