Are you at all familiar with Czech cuisine? Unless you’re from Central Europe, chances are you haven’t really been exposed to yet. The Czech food culture hasn’t spread much beyond its region in Europe.
That’s why a visit to Prague is the perfect opportunity to try some traditional and less-traditional Czech dishes. Prague is a big and modern city, so you’ll have lots of options. If it turns out Czech cookies isn’t really your style, there are many international restaurants to choose from as well.
So what should you expect when it comes to Czech food? Well, lots of hearty dishes like grilled meats, stews and soups. Generally speaking, Czech cuisine is very much meat-based, but there are some dishes suited for vegetarians. Vegans will have a harder time in any of the traditional eateries, but there are a few newer restaurants that offer vegan versions of Czech classics.
Whether you’re new to Czech cuisine or not, I’m sure everyone can find something to enjoy. These are some of the must-try dishes and things to eat in Prague while you’re there.
So, the first food item we’re starting with isn’t actually Czech at all. Tredelnik or Chimney Cakes, originally come from Slovakia. But since the Czech Republic and Slovakia used to be one country, Czechoslovakia, it’s no surprise that the tasty snack has made its way over the border.
You can find Trdelnik on pretty much every street corner in Prague. Pastry dough is rolled on a pin and grilled on coals (hence the name chimney cake), after which it is sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. It can also be filled with ice cream, fudge, chocolate or whipped cream.
Trdelnik is definitely a tourist food and is often overpriced. Make sure you get one that’s made fresh to order, because they’re best enjoyed warm and crispy.
If you want to try more traditional Czech pastries, head to a bakery or confectionary. You’ll find lots of delicious baked goods, cakes, and sweets there.
Gulas or goulash, is the mother of Eastern and Central European cuisine. You can find versions of this dish throughout the region, including in the Czech Republic.
The hearty meat stew is a staple in traditional pubs and restaurants, and a must-try when in Prague. I recommend picking a dingy hole in the wall, they serve the best ones. In the Czech Republic, gulas is served with dumplings, which are slices of a sort of steamed bread. Sounds strange, tastes delicious as the spongy dumpling soaks up all the sauce.
While gulash is made with beef, vegans and vegetarians don’t have to miss out. At Vegan’s Prague in Malá Strana, they serve a delicious plant-based version.
Are you a vegan or vegetarian traveler? Learn all my tricks in this guide to plant-based traveling.
Bramboracky are Czech potato pancakes, often served with sauerkraut. If you are a fan of Eastern European cooking, like me, you will love this.
The potato pancakes are soft and crispy, and the tangy sauerkraut offers a nice balance to the richness. These are sometimes served with sour cream as well.
It’s one of the few vegetarian options in traditional Czech restaurants, although you’ll have to make sure it hasn’t been cooked in lard or bacon fat.
Make sure you don’t miss out on any delicious Czech dishes by booking a food tour!
Another vegetarian option on the traditional pub menu’s is fried cheese. Now, I was very excited when I saw this. We have a dish in the Netherlands called “kaassouffle”, which is breaded and deep-fried cheese, and I hoped it would be something like this.
I was a bit disappointed though when I tried the Czech fried cheese. It reminded me of German baked Camembert. It was somewhat rubbery and bland, not gooey and rich like kaassoufle.
However, if you’re going drinking for the night, this would be a very good base.
Try some Czech goodies at home by ordering a snack box from Etsy
Not technically a food, but who cares. You need something to drink too!
Beer is plenty and tasty in Prague. The Czechs drink more than anyone else in the world, and they have been brewing it since the 6th century. Pils, which was invented in the Czech town Pilsen, is an easy to drink beer. In the Czech Republic, the only pils is Pilsner Urquell, but you might be more familiar with the German brand Becks or the Dutch Heineken.
Did you know that the American brand Budweiser gets its name from the Czech town Budweisen?
But pils is far from the only beer in the Czech Republic. Most beers brewed here are lagers, in pale, amber, dark, and black. But they also make tasty wheat beer. Even traditional beer countries like the Czech Republic aren’t immune to the rise of craft beer. Local microbreweries are getting more adventurous with their beers.
Czech beer is also very affordable! You can get a pint for as little as 35 CZK (about 1.50 USD). To taste the liquid gold, you can go to any bar. But I would recommend trying a beer hall, like Lokal Dlouhaaa. Craft beer enthusiast will love the local beers at T-Anker.
Want to learn more about Czech beer? Book this guided beer culture tour!
Another drink that’s very popular in the Czech Republic is absinthe. The notorious green liquor has a bad reputation and was banned in most countries for a time, but not here. You can enjoy real absinthe in traditional absinthe bars. I personally recommend the Green Devil, one of the strangest bars I’ve ever been in, but the drinks are great and the staff very knowledgeable.
As you can tell, you won’t go hungry in Prague! From street-food snacks to hearty meals, Czech food is filling, tasty, and affordable. Whether you’re a meat-eater or vegetarian, you’ll be able to try traditional and modern dishes in the many restaurants throughout the city. With a Czech beer to wash it all down with of course!
What are you’re favorite Czech dishes and where did you have the best meals in Prague? I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments.
If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like, save, comment, pin, or share on social media 🙂