How to have the best gastronomical experience in Prague

Let your inner foodie loose…

Pick Praha for all incredible prettiness. Pick Praha for its immaculately preserved past. And pick Praha for your palate. Surprise yourself with the diversity of food culture in the Czech capital. Sip a cappuccino in the Old Town Square under the shadow of the Astronomical Clock or experiment with an artisanal kava somewhere in the warren of its cobbled medieval streets. Squeeze into a tiny bistro or perch on the window-sill of a specialty taverna. 

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Experience the sensory explosion of vegan dishes or marvel at centuries-old Bohemian meat-rich recipes. Gratify your taste buds with home-made sweets at a local food market or drown in the buzz of a hip art cafe. Relish the flavours of fusion food at a stylish restaurant under the shadow of impressive Art Nouveau buildings. Or gulp down deeply sweet raspberry lemonades in the charming courtyard of a hidden cafe.   

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czech raspberry lemonade

And the ultimate luxury? Take a food tour. For the love of all things flavorful…do take a food tour! Discover charming cafes and iconic restaurants. Savour traditional and contemporary dishes. Dipped in an exquisite cuisine-culture concoction. Sprinkled with personal contextual anecdotes and food recommendations. Served on a platter of historically significant landmarks. 

Down to favorites, then. With a dollop of history and a swirl of authenticity to add that extra zing. Make sure you Czech out all this food!!!

Try this: Apple strudel (German for ‘whirlpool’)

Trace its ancestry: The Austrians are possessive about the lineage of the strudel (proof of their pudding lies in a 17th-century recipe filed away in the Vienna Town Hall Library). But the origins of this comfort confectionery lie further East. One good look at those filo-like layers and tell me you’re not visualizing Turkish Baklava. A sweet gift of the Ottoman Empire to Central Europe, which possibly flowed into Austria through Hungary. Deeply rooted in the Czech culture since the days of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Omnipresent on menus in restaurants and cafes.

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Taste the goodness: Belies its sturdy appearance. Spoon up the first surprise. Impossibly delicate, fine layers of dough. Baked to burnished golden perfection. Dusted with snowy icing sugar. Sweetest chunks of tart apple in every bite. Every slice will have you craving for more.

Treat it right: Enjoy with a generous dollops of whipped cream or vanilla custard. A strong cup of espresso, to balance the flavours, if your heart desires. Amnesia-wipe the term ‘calorie count’. Just memorise the word ‘indulge’.

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Try this: Medovnik (honey cake)

Trace its ancestry: Want to believe Wikipedia? Then this cake was a successful creation of a Russian chef trying to impress an empress. The Czech legacy though…is pure fact. Kicked off in the mid-nineties with an immigrant Armenian, Gevorg Avetisyan, who made one last-ditch effort to provide for his family by selling honey cakes. Twist in tale. Fallback turned to fame! Today, they produce over 100,000 cakes a month! And Medovnik gives stiff competition to apple strudel as a universally favorite dessert in the Czech Republic. For all the right reasons, too.

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Taste the goodness: Layers of soft, flaky biscuity discs. Sweet, whipped cream filling. Creamy brown icing. Light dusting of fine honey cake crumbs and chopped walnuts. Fair warning…eyebrows will rise, eyes will close, trance-like states will be induced. Consume with care. Can be highly addictive.

Treat it right: Order a hefty slice as the fitting finale to a satisfying meal. Or as a mid-afternoon extravagance with kava (coffee) or tea (caj). And gorge it down to the very last delectable morsel. All of it. Every little scrumptious crumb. Nirvana!

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Try this: Gingerbread (transalated ‘pernik’ or black pepper).

Trace its ancestry: Ancient Greeks and Egyptians used it for ceremonial purposes. Till 11th-century crusaders got expensive ginger to Europe from the Middle East. Gingerbread graced the tables of the rich till ginger became more affordable. Religious and nature themes gave way to decorative motifs like bells, birds, hearts and snowflakes. The multifarious-cookie now dressed up homes on festivals and even became used as a declaration of love. Bohemian gingerbread has been a tradition since the 14th century. In fact, its artistic and intricate patterns are a unique art form!

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Taste the goodness: Spicing it up are ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom and anise and sweetness comes from brown sugar, molasses, light or dark corn syrup or honey. Variations include thin, crisp cookies or dark, spicy cake.

Treat it right: Feel like a child in a candy store. Choices, choices and more choices…so many delightful colors, shapes and sizes. Chomp down sample after sample. Go greedy, packet after packet. Gingerbread stays hard and dry and the spices act as preservatives. Hoard away to your heart’s content.

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Try this: Svíčková (marinated tenderloin served with dumplings)

Trace its ancestry: Czech’s national dish is dowsed in history and pride. Every family has a highly-guarded secret recipe. Every notable restaurant offers one variation of svíčková on its menus. The sauce even has its own Wikipedia page!

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Taste the goodness: Thick, rich, smooth cream gravy cooked with an assortment of root vegetables, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, few herbs and spices. Accompanied with big fluffy dumplings. Served with whipped cream and tart cranberry sauce. Substantial, savoury and flavorful.

Treat it right: Smother and lather the dumplings in the sauce before you dive in. Squashy, squidgy? Meant to be. Slice the beef with your fork. Melts in your mouth? Full marks. This is comfort food. Chances are you will be reminded of your mother’s or grandmother’s kitchen. Big meal. Bigger smile.

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Try this: Chlebíčky (open-faced sandwiches)

Trace its ancestry: In the early 20th century, a painter commissioned Prague deli owner Jan Paukert to create a bite-sized snack. He created the Chlebíčky and it took the country by storm. Open-faced sandwiches make a delicious, versatile, quick and filling meal, any time of the day. Finger foods loaded with fatty ingredients to get you through the country’s cold weather. Think mayonnaise, herring paste, ham, red salami and cheese.

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Taste the goodness: Paukert’s famous shop is not in business any more, but the open sandwich has become a Czech legend, crowding counters at delis, delicatessens and butcher shops all over the city. Toppings are as endless as your imagination…beetroot, egg, ham, salami, pickles, capers, olives, cucumber. Classic or with a gourmet twist.

Treat it right: Order two or three snack-sized sandwiches. Crunch and munch through the fresh, wholesome, finger-licking, standing lunch. Keep a few extra paper napkins handy. You’ll be going back for more!

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Try this: Kyselica (sauerkraut soup)

Trace its ancestry: Romania shepherds must have cooked up this mouth-watering cabbage soup sometime between the 14th-17th centuries. The hearty breakfast that once fuelled the stomach of men who laboured in the woods of the Wallachian Kingdom in Moravia, has become a much-loved staple of authentic Czech cuisine. Its Slovakian cousin ‘Kapustnica’ is made with fresh grated cabbage and flavoured with red paprika.

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Taste the goodness: Kyselica sports chunks of potatoes, shredded sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) and cubes of smoked meat or bratwurst in a thick beef broth. Optionals include mushrooms, bacon, onions, sausage. One big steaming bowl can leave you satiated. Lunch sorted already?

Treat it right: Sip it slow, let it trickle down your throat as you identify the individual flavours of the fermented cabbage, potatoes and meat. Maybe a warm, crusty bread roll on the side. Oodles of nutrition. Ready to chop some wood now?

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We sampled most of the above culinary delights as guests of Eating Prague Food Tours as part of an unforgettable, four-hour long glorious gastronomy tour, with guide Eva Brejlova, ex-journo, food enthusiast, passionate patriot, mushroom hunter and raspberry lover. All opinions are my own.


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Glorious gastronomy in Prague

82 thoughts on “How to have the best gastronomical experience in Prague

  1. Looks like you had a great time eating in Prague. I missed all this as I was trying to see as much as possible in the small time that I had there.

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  2. Oh wow, I’m a massive foodie (with a huge sweet tooth) so I think the apple strudel and gingerbread look awesome! And I’ve not heard of honey cake before – I’m off to look at recipes now. Sounds like a place I would love, thank you for sharing.

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  3. Wow! Simply loved the way this post covers the History part of these delicacies. The tour seems absolutely fantastic, I have always loved Strudel, but am yet to taste it in the Austrian-Czech-German part Europe. The Kyselica looks so warm and inviting.

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  4. Prague’s food scene looks really awesome! Love the cakes and all those yummy dessert! I’d really would love to try food tours like this soon.. All the flavors and the history of each dish will make a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful post. Reminds me a lot of my German roots – gingerbread hearts, apple strudel, sauerkraut soup… can all be found in German cuisine too. I visited Prague many years ago before it became famous. I now feel I need to come back sooner rather than later. There is a lot of new things to be explored, and this fantastic cuisine will be a great accompaniment to my next visit! Thanks for sharing in a fun and educational way 🙂

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  6. Wow, so many of these dishes look absolutely delicious! I haven’t made it to Prague yet but it’s very high on my list. And I’d love to go on a food tour there. Seems like there’s so many different foods to try in this area!

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  7. We visited Prague in 2012 and loved it. It’s such a vibrant medieval-style city. And the food there was incredible. We were eating constantly from when we entered till we left. I was surprised how good the sauerkraut soup was.

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  8. Experiencing local food cultures is my absolute favourite thing to do in a new city! I don’t think I managed the best of it when I travelled to Prague though – I wish I had this guide back then! I did however manage to get into the local authentic beer scene though so all is not lost.

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  9. I could not agree less on your list of things to eat although I am not a great foodie 🙂 . I would add one more item here which is the Trdelník. It is a sweet hollow cyllindrical pastry kind of a thing , often filled with icecream 🙂 🙂 The best about Prague (and most of East Europe) is it is not expensive at all most of the time.

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  10. When I went to Prague in the late 1980s, the food scene was really not very good at all, so I’d love to go back now and try all the wonderful places you’ve suggested. Now that tourism is a big thing here, I can see that there are many wonderful places catering for visitors, offering delicious treats. I think the bakery goods and the meaty Bohemian recipes like the Svíčková definitely appeal. And I am salivating over that honey cake.

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  11. Prague has been on our travel list for years, although more of the site seeing. However, after reading your blog it has changed to be more about the food now! Who knew Prague would have such a rich history with local cuisine. Thanks for sharing

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  12. Cultural experience + nationa food = unique memories, just my favorite part! I’m going to visit Prague next year and I’m already excited. This post already gave me some ideas to my bucket list! Thank you!

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  13. Wow.. each dish looks so delicious. I am sure you must have had over-stuffed your stomach seeing all of this. Food Walks and Tours are really awesome and when h=guided by a local, it is icing on the cake. Loved the way you added a historical part to each dish.

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  14. So I used to live about an hour outside of Prague in a town called Pardubice, the food was traditional Czech food, some great others not so much. However on regular visits to Prague we would indulge ourselves in so much of the cuisine this amazing city has to offer. Medovnik was one of my favorite deserts and now you have me wanting to taste it again haha.

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  15. I don’t really think of Prague as being a place of “food” necessarily, but you’ve convinced me otherwise! I actually ate quite well while I was there, but you don’t necessarily think of Czech food as being a country with premier cuisine.

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  16. I so love seeing all your food photos and the food looks so good. Prague has been on my list forever and I would love to taste my way around. I appreciate that you included tidbits about the history of the food. Makes for an interesting read.

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  17. The beer! Don’t forget the beer! Yes, I live in Germany, but I can honestly say that the Czechs sure know how to make beer – especially rich, malty one… similar to porter-beer. Yes, Prague has to offer lots of delicious dishes, and it seems you discover something new everytime you go there. Ps: Have you tried Trdelnik? I think you can get it during every season in Prague, but in Germany just during Winter (also called Baumstriezel).

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  18. I loved Prague! But as an 18 year old on a boozy Eurotrip my gastronomical experience consisted mainly of absinthe 😀 I would love to get back and try some proper cuisine (and perhaps remember the trip!!) A food tour does sound like a great way to kick start a Prague food experience – would die to try Czech Apple strudel!

    I might put aside my love for apple strudel though if their honey cake is as delicious as you say!

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  19. Wonderful, is it dinner time yet? I know that this was a food tour, but I kept wondering where the beer was. It’s practically a food group in Czechia, and every one of the dishes mentioned (and all the others, except maybe dessert) gets washed town with a half-liter.

    As a Slovak, I can assure you that the kapustnica soup is made with sauekraut, not fresh cabbage 🙂

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  20. Just by looking at all your pictures, you have sold me Prague! It looks like confectionary paradise. And you can count me for the food tour as who wouldn’t love to taste the local delicacies!

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  21. Prague is a place that is known for its beautiful building and enchanting streets. I was never associating Prague with food. But after reading your tour de force post on the food scene in Prague, my perspectives have changed. Would love to explore all the vegan options out there. What I loved about this post was that it is written in your usual lyrical style which gives the food an elegant twist.

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  22. Some amazing recommendations in there! The good thing about Prague is that you can get amazing food for very decent prices! One of my favourite places in Prague is Plný Pekáč, you should check it out next time if you want to try some traditional food!

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  23. although all the food you photographed looks delicious. I would have to go to the candy shop first. The gingerbread sounds delicious as well. I would definitely take a guided food tour and start on an empty stomach.

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  24. We found lots of wonderful food in Prague as well. We had so much vegan food there, we were amazed at how many restaurants there were. I like how you traced the ancestry of the different foods to show the different cultural influences there. Prague is such a beautiful city to explore and the food there makes it even better.

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  25. Looks like the city to visit for food! Awesome, especially that Medovnik cake – I need to try that. I haven’t been to Prague and definitely didn’t know too much about its foodie offering so that’s super useful, thanks!

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  26. I have good memories of food in Prague. Even though they aren’t traditional foods, I had beef tartar for the first time there, and a giant meringue. It may have helped that it was a big trip with my dad that was really memorable. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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