When I planned my the trip to Prague, Czech Republic I would go on with my mom, there was one thing that worried me a little: the food. Traditional Czech food is known to be heavy, greasy and void of vegetables, three elements that are opposite to how we both usually eat. And so I’d searched the web for the best restaurants in Prague that didn’t just serve Czech food, but I still wanted to learn about Czech cuisine as food is such a huge part of a place’s culture.
Given the great experience I had with their food tours in London and Rome, I knew the Eating Europe Prague food tour would be the best option to not only learn about traditional Czech food but also about the history of the city.
Trying traditional Czech food with Eating Prague
And so one noon in Prague, my mom and I headed to the cutest gingerbread store ever to meet with our guide for the afternoon. Upon our arrival, we learned we didn’t just get two guides for the price of one, but we were also the only ones taking the tour that day. Score!
Eating Europe food tours are usually booked full well in advance, but for some reason, it was a really slow week in terms of visitors for the whole of Prague when we were there. And the reason we got two guides was that Rob, an American who’d fallen in love with a Czech woman, was actually a guide-to-be and was still learning the tricks of the food tour trade from our “head guide” Jan.
Anyways, back to the gingerbread store! It’s called “Pernickuv Sen” (with a bunch of funny accents I can’t find on my keyboard), can be found on Hastalska 21 and is owned by two sisters-in-law. When we were there, one of them was decorating gingerbread men with the steadiest hand while we were chatting about – and tasting! – cookies.
We tried a poppyseed kolache, a delicious kind of gingerbread cookie (my favorite) and a more dry, crumbly kind of cookie with vanilla (mom’s favorite).
2. Open-faced sandwiches
Apparently, Czech people claim to have invented open-faced sandwiches. Our guide >didn’t want to go as far as claiming that, but it has to be said that Sisters (Dlouha 39) makes some mean sandwiches! The cafe is a concept by Czech celebrity cook Hana Michopulu and serves open-faced sandwiches with a gourmet twist, prepared on the spot and great for lunch or as an in-between snack. We tried half-sized sandwiches with ham, with cabbage and one with beetroot. They were all very good, but if I’d have to choose just one, I’d go for the beetroot one.
We already thought those three half sandwiches were filling but then Jan and Rob told us that people serve whole-sized ones at parties as an appetizer. What!? Yup. They’re an essential part of Czech cuisine and a party isn’t complete without them.
Across from Sisters, butcher shop Nase Maso (Dlouha 39) was filled with people. Jan told us this was nothing and that after work hours, there’s often a meters-long line outside the shop with people waiting to order.
That’s because Nase Maso isn’t a regular butcher. Everything happens in the traditional way here, without hurrying up any preparation processes or manipulating the meat before selling it. The quality here is ten times better than what you can find in supermarkets (or so I was told) and people are willing to pay for it. That being said, the meat at Nase Maso is still much cheaper than that sold by butchers in Belgium.
Meat takes up an important place in Czech cuisine and you’ll find plenty of meat dishes on the menus of traditional Czech restaurants in Prague. It’s not unusual at all to have a big piece of meat for lunch which is, by the way, the main meal of the day for Czechs.
Those who want, can choose a steak at the store and have it baked for them on the spot. There’s a beer tap present in the shop, so you can basically stop at Nase Maso for a quick but meaty meal. In the evenings, the butcher becomes a restaurant serving just one table for seven. Needless to say, they’re fully booked weeks in advance.
Another cool thing about Nase Maso is that you can actually see the butchers at work. The outer wall of the store is fully covered in windows and so you can see the meat age, being cut off of carcasses and being prepared for the next customer.
We tried two types of sausages and two types of ham. You could easily tell love was the only thing poured into these meats, as they tasted so rich.
4. Old bohemian soup
Up next was the start of every traditional Czech meal: a bowl of hearty soup. We had ours at Restaurant Zvonice (Jindrisska Vez), located high up in one of Prague’s old towers, offering a view of the Moldau river. Special feature: the old tower bell that has it’s own place right inside the restaurant, hovering over one of the tables a floor down.
The soup we had was based on sauerkraut and enriched with sausage, potato and cream. It was very filling and more a dish I would have in winter. Jan told us, however, that Czechs don’t really have summer and winter dishes. Now, in Belgium, we don’t have them “officially” either, but you’re much more likely to have salads in summer and hearty soups or things like sausages in winter.
5. Pork pate with Czech fruit wine
After a walk along all kinds of sights, we ended up at Styl & Interier (Vodickova 35). Funny enough, this was one of the places I’d found while I was researching where to eat in Prague and I’d taken mom there for lunch on our first day in the city. It probably has the nicest cafe garden in all of Prague and inside, every design element you see is for sale as Styl & Interier is – indeed – also a design store.
We went there to try their pork belly paté with a glass of cherry wine for mom and some kind of fruit juice for me. Having a husband (my dad, just to be sure), who runs a wine store, my mom knows a thing or two about wines and is also quite clear about what she likes and doesn’t like. She didn’t say anything, but I think the cherry wine was a bit too sweet for her. I, on the other hand, was very happy with my juice.
We both liked the pate smeared on top of a thick slice of tasty bread, but at this point in the afternoon, we couldn’t finish it all anymore. If we’d been wearing pants, we would have had to open them up. Luckily, our flowing dresses covered up our now clearly full bellies.
6. The main course
But we weren’t done yet! We still had one stop to check off: the Café Louvre (Narodni 22). There we had what might be the most traditional Czech dish of the day: bread dumplings with braised beef and cranberry compote in a creamy sauce, mixed with unsweetened whipped cream.
Yes, that’s as heavy and filling as it sounds.
My mom and I watched bedazzled as Jan and Rob emptied their plates in no time and had to acknowledge defeat. Even with all the walking we’d done in between the food stops, we couldn’t finish it all. Especially not as we knew we’d still have dessert as well!
7. The dessert
You might think that dessert would be some kind of local cake, but it was actually something we all know: apple strudel! That’s right, it’s everywhere on the menus in of restaurants in Prague and I can tell you, those Czechs now how to make a good apple strudel. Thin dough, lots of delicious apple bits, a mountain of whipped cream… I was delicious and definitely a good ending to our food-filled afternoon.
8. The non-food stops
What I love about Eating Europe Food Tours is that they’re not just food tours. I’ve focused on the food we had in this post, but we spent a lot of time walking around the city as well, taking in the sights and learning about its history, the evolution of Czech cuisine and the place of Czech food in Czech society.
I can’t emphasize enough how knowledgeable and passionate our guides Jan and Rob were. We bombarded them with questions and not only did they answer them all, they also often added in some fun facts. You could tell these two men are passionate about Czech food, culture and history and more than eager to share that passion with us.
This was my third tour with Eating Europe Food Tours and a third success. I highly recommend booking a tour with them if you’re visiting one of the cities they operate in.
Where to stay in Prague
We spent three nights at the Hotel Prague Inn, a small hotel in the heart of the city, right by the famous Wenceslas Square. We had a very spacious room, an elaborate breakfast included and good working wi-fi. It actually was an ideal base for our trip.
Other things to do in Prague
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We were a guest of Eating Europe Food Tours on our Prague Food Tour, yet independently decided to enjoy it, soak up the stories told to us and indulge in the foods. You’ll only read what I really think of stuff on here. The links to Booking.com and TripAdvisor are affiliate links. If you book a stay through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting the site!