If you’re looking for a culinary taste bud explosion, then Prague maybe isn’t the place to go. We certainly didn’t eat badly on our trip, but the local cuisines are pretty limited in their offering, consisting predominantly of cuts of pork, sauerkraut and potatoes. We mainly stuck to traditional Czech food where we could and tried most of the expected dishes.
It wasn’t so much about the food, as the beer is all brewed locally and therefore delicious, and the restaurant scene is very basic and completely free of fuss, so it was interesting to experience that compared to London.
On our first night, we wandered down a street called Dlouha to find some places recommended in our guide book. We soon realised that smoking is still allowed in restaurants and bars, and this quickly limited our options of where to go as neither of us wanted to eat surrounded by cigarette smoke. Luckily we stumbled past a little alleyway lit with fairy lights which housed tiny Café Domeček. I had the beef goulash with potato pancakes; the goulash was served in a heavy gravy and on a plate, rather than in a bowl as I would do at home. The potato pancakes were crispy and a bit like a parsley seasoned rosti, just not as flaky. The best bit of the meal for me though was the beer tasting tray. Equally about two pints, there were tasters of six local beers: Lobkowicz Premium, Patar, Kvasar, Merlin, Demon and Borůvka. My favourite was definitely the Borůvka which is made with blueberries and was light and a little bit sweet.
We followed the theme of traditional Czech food the next night at a little candle filled place called U Dvou Sester (don’t ask me to pronounce it!). I had the pork knuckle with sauerkraut and a side of roast potatoes. I’m generally not a massive fan of pork, but this was cooked until extremely tender and it fell right off the bone. It was juicy and given a bit of spice with the sides of mustard, horseradish and a pickled jalapeno, but the beer helped it go down much more easily otherwise it could have been quite dry.
Lunch on our last day was at a beer hall recommended by our tour guide from the walking tour we went on called U Medvidku. A place of big wooden tables and benches with a bar purely selling beer, this is where you’d expect to go on a traditional eastern European night out. Both me and my friend went for the pork steak in beer sauce with onions, bacon and chips. The sauce was tart but evened out with the sharp onions and salty bacon; the standard carb fest that I’d come to expect from a few days in the Czech Republic.
Cafes and bars
Prague is incredibly cheap, the koruna/pound ratio is ridiculous and meant we could get a really big slice of cake and a coffee for under £5 (unheard of in London). I had a couple of really delicious hot chocolates, the first being hot milk with a block of dark chocolate to melt in the mug, and the second was loaded with whipped cream on the top and a good glug of rum which really helped warm me up!
Cake seems to really be a thing in Prague and there we had some that were mediocre and some that were amazing. The banoffee pie I had in Cafe Cafe was something else, and the chocolate cake my friend had almost reduced her to tears of pure joy!
And when I tell you that Prague is cheap, it’s at its most obvious when you have a proper drink. We went to Bugsy’s Bar on the recommendation of my boyfriend and were not disappointed. It felt a bit like a Russian mafia den with lots of muscly men in polo shirts with beautiful female companions, all of them smoking cigars. I rocked up with hat hair and a baggy jumper, sat at the bar and began ploughing through the menu. There were daiquiris and margaritas and the most delicious rum punch I’ve ever had, made with nutmeg and cherries. The walk back to the hotel was fun!
Head to Prague for meat dishes, carb loaded sides, thick slices of cake and good quality, affordable booze. You’ll need it all to keep warm!