Traditional Czech Food in Prague: What to Have and Where to Have it

Traditional Czech Food in Prague: What to Have and Where to Have it

Let’s be honest here: you did not travel to Prague to eat Italian. You want traditional Czech cuisine in its best form, and you want it right now.

But what are the classic Czech foods and where do you have them? Well, one way to find out is to book our Traditional Czech Food Tour, where we serve Czech classics that are close to achieving the impossible goal of matching the deliciousness that our beloved grandmas used to serve us when we were kids (albeit with a modern twist - don't expect tourist cliches from us).

Cannot join us for a few hours of serious overeating and fun stories about what these foods mean to us? Then there’s the Prague Foodie Map, the next best thing if you want to see Prague and its food and culture through our eyes.

Okay, enough with the shameless plugs. You want free stuff. Here’s a list of classic Czech foods and our favourite Prague restaurants for traditional Czech cuisine that remind us of our childhood. Before you follow these, beware: Czech food is delicious, comforting, very filling and addictive, so make sure you reserve enough time to walk off those calories. Yes, there won’t be many salads - or vegetables for that matter - in the list that follows. But you did not travel to Prague to eat salad, right? What? You did? We pity the fool.


Where to go for Czech pastries in Prague

Where to go for Czech pastries in Prague

When we started our Prague food tours in 2011, the hardest thing was finding a decent place for Czech pastries. Just like the chefs tended to cheat a lot with the ingredients under the Communist rule, pastry chefs were no different, and even the consumers had pretty low standards up until a few years ago (witness the popular “Hera means baking” campaign by a big margarine producer). We would literally have to buy pastries somewhere before the tour and bring them over to the restaurants we were visiting, bribing the wait staff with favors and smiles to let us serve them there, while the chefs and managers were refusing to bake their own on the assumption that Czech pastries were “too common”.

Which is a shame. The Czechs are famed to have been the pastry makers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with a long and proud tradition of baking and French-inspired pastry making. And the fact is that Prague is full of pastry shops frequented by locals. The problem is most of them are not exceptional. Prague still lacks places like Cedric Grolet’s Le Meurice in Paris, and while Prague has its star chefs and star butchers (oh yeah, we like our meat), we are still waiting for star pastry chefs to pop out (with, perhaps, the notable exceptions of Mr Skála and Ms Fabesová).

That said, Prague has some great pastry shops that will make you reasonably happy and quite unreasonably fat. So if you have a sweet tooth and are on the lookout for pastry shops and pastries in Prague, we are here to help. This is our guide to the best pastry shops in Prague. You live only once, right?


Czech Easter Tradition of Pomlázka Explained

Czech Easter Tradition of Pomlázka Explained

The Easter holidays are just behind the corner, so it's about time we talk about the sheer wonder and awkwardness of the Czech Easter holidays and arguably their most shocking aspect to foreign visitors: the famous "pomlázka".

Let’s be honest here: Pomlázka is a godsend if you run food tours in Prague (or any tours) like us. Just saw the waiter drop your entire order on the floor so you know you have 20 minutes to kill? Want to invigorate the group? Want to give a piece of information about the Czechs your guests will DEFINITELY remember? You whip out the good ole’ pomlázka. Works every time. Trust me.

Before I get to explain this old Czech Easter tradition, just bear in mind two things. (1) Tradition. Just like the Fiddler on the friggin’ Roof, you usually don’t mess with it. Until you do. So don’t judge, okay? Most Czechs have just grown up with it and never give it a second though, and only realize how strange and awkward that tradition is when they try to explain it to a non-native. And (2) the Dutch have the Black Peter, and that’s even worse. Yes, we’ll take a low bar if we can comfortably overcome it, and yes, we’re not strangers to diverting people’s attention to somebody else’s dirty laundry.

[Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.]


Prague Michelin star restaurants guide

Prague Michelin star restaurants guide

So the 2019 Michelin guide for Main Cities Europe is out, and the Michelin star restaurants in Prague have been given for the year to come. Which Michelin star restaurant in Prague is the best for you?

Here’s the executive summary:

Prague has two Michelin star restaurants: La Degustation and Field. La Degustation is set menu only, Czech food for foodies with an open mind. Field is a la carte, with international touches. Four Bib Gourmands in Prague: Sansho, a casual Asian-fusion restaurant, Eska, a modern casual Czech restaurant with fairly fancy dinners in a remodeled factory in the gentrified Karlin district, Divinis, an Italian restaurant run by a Czech TV Chef, and Na kopci, a local favorite that serves French-inspired joie de vivre big-portion dishes..

Want to know more? Can’t decide which Prague Michelin star restaurant is the best for you? Read on.


Flying with an infant: how we do it

Flying with an infant: how we do it

So you have a baby and/or a toddler and are afraid to fly with them? Been there, done that. We were really nervous before our first flight with JJ, who was 2 months at the time. But 15 months and some 35 flights later, we think we can spread the gospel of flying with your little ones. While you can’t control everything, you can control something, and below are some of the things we do before, when and after we fly with JJ, our toddler who is about to turn 18 months as we write this.

Obviously, your mileage may vary. We’re not saying what we do is the best or the only way to fly with an infant, and you may find your own way that suits you better. But if you’re maybe concerned or nervous about your first flight (and again, we totally get that), you may find our tips below helpful, or at least inspiring to give it a go. Flying with an infant is honestly not that different from flying without one. You just have a small baby or toddler with you who depends on you with his or her life. So no pressure.


Prague off the beaten path: Letna district

Prague off the beaten path: Letna district

Letna district is arguably one of the best places to live in Prague. It benefits from its location just across the river from the busy historical centre, which means you’re near it all if you want to, but not in the middle of it all if you don’t. Nestled in between two parks, the Letenský park and the Stromovka, the area is great for families: there’s always somewhere to go or something to do, and far from traffic, too. Also, the people of Letna create a lively, healthy community, as witnessed by the mayor of the entire Prague 7 district, who was voted in as an independent candidate of a purely local movement.

The Letna is spread over a hill and the plain at its top has always been a strategic point for military purposes. It was even used by Soviet helicopters that landed here during the 1968 invasion. Today, it is known for its relative affluence, a Bohemian feel with lots of art-related spots, incl. the National Gallery or the Academy of Fine Arts, and a plethora of independent galleries, and for the splendor of the ubiquitous 1930s Constructivist buildings.

It is also a great place to visit if you want to see something outside of the centre and just browse a few streets with the locals. Last but not least, Letna is the neighborhood of our awesome Prague rental apartment (if you’re reading this from the apartment now - because we set this as the load page on the computer's browser - welcome in Prague!).

Now, we have suggested a cool walk from Letna to the Holesovice district a while ago on this blog, but we thought Letna needed a closer look. Here’s our small guide to the neighborhood.


The 2018 Prague Food Scene in Review

The 2018 Prague Food Scene in Review

Confession: we have been bitching about Prague food scene’s development probably for a better portion of 2018. Not enough places are opening, some great places are closing, and where’s the innovation? While Prague lost a Michelin star and a Bib Gourmand award in the spring, the world lost Anthony Bourdain and Jonathan Gold, and generally, the mood here at Taste of Prague was fairly low. (Only to be lifted by the shenanigans of JJ and Lola, the two newest members of the team.)

But looking back at the year, things look a bit more rosy now in hindsight, thanks mostly to what can be described as a strong finish. (And the pills may have finally kicked in too.) 2018 was a year that has solidified some of the trends we have had seen before. People in Prague like to go out. A lot. Booking great restaurants for our Prague food tours has become a game of long-term strategy, and booking for last-minute enquiries nearly impossible. Don’t believe us? Look at Instagram videos from Dva kohouti, which opened in December. It’s been hopelessly full from opening up until Christmas. Whatever the concept, people seem to jump on it, at least for now.

Also, 2018 saw consolidation, as two new groups seem to have emerged to challenge the market-leading, and, in a way, defining behemoth that is the Ambiente group. Czech diners want common sense, quality and transparency if they are to spend top dollar, and seem less prone to jump on hype. So when an all-avocado restaurant opens, the logic of opening a restaurant based on produce that is in no way local and has to travel the world to get here is questioned online, and when a new rotisserie chicken place opens and serves chickens from a large, industrial chicken farm, they are called on that, too. That said, both of these places seem to be prospering at the moment, so we’ll see if this awareness manifests itself only online, and not in… ahem… real life.


Taste of Prague Czech Christmas Gift Tips and Guide

Taste of Prague Czech Christmas Gift Tips and Guide

Gotta love Christmas shopping. If Christmas is the holiday of calm and peace, Christmas gifts are the stuff calm and peace are made of. You can say that gifts don’t matter, but explain that to the eight-year-old when he unwraps the “really, really warm” knitted socks from grandma, when all he wanted was a Nintendo. And grandma ain’t winning the “Grandma of the Year” award this Christmas, either. Yes, a gift can make or break a Christmas celebration.

And that’s where we come in. We have set up a list of our recommended Czech Christmas gift that will satisfy kids and adults alike. Just like Haribo gummy bears. Think about this list as poor man’s Goop. And we’re not selling any weird jade eggs, either.

Here’s Taste of Prague’s Czech Christmas shopping tips and guide.


Prague Christmas Dining Guide 2018, aka Hey dude, where's my Xmas meal?

Prague Christmas Dining Guide 2018, aka Hey dude, where's my Xmas meal?

So you may have heard that everything shuts down on Christmas Eve in Prague and the Czech Republic. Totally true. Christmas Eve is the only day of the year we do not run our Prague Foodie Tour, and the biggest holiday on the Czech calendar: most people stay at home with their families, only for things to revert back to some degree of normality on December 25, and fully on December 27, which is a regular working day.

Which means if you want to eat out on Christmas Eve, options exist, but are limited. And if you don’t have a booking already, you should act now. Okay, don’t panic: restaurants, especially in the historical centre, will be open and cater to tourism, but if you want to be smarter about your Christmas dinner plans, here’s our Prague Christmas dining guide.


Marketa's Five Favorites in Prague

Marketa's Five Favorites in Prague

The story of how Marketa became a member of Taste of Prague is complicated, but ultimately with a happy ending. We eyed her for some time about two years ago, but as we agreed on everything, she gave us the happy news: she was pregnant... and nauseated around food. Great. That's about as bad as health conditions for a food tour guide get. But the best things come to those who wait, so we waited, and ultimately Marketa joined us as a mom of an adorable baby girl Violka.

Anyway, Marketa is awesome. A former HR executive, she is genuinely interested in people. A professional disease? Does she build a secret database of our guests that she will use to kick start her own global HR powerhouse some time in the future? Not sure about that one, but the fact is that she can keep happily chatting with the guests for hours after the tour is over, much to the delight of her husband who's babysitting at home. 

She's also super funny and eager to please, and if it were her way, she would pour everyone a glass of Champagne in every stop we visit. (If you're reading this, Marketa, you can't, okay? We don't have the budget for that. We went through this already.) Anyway, if you're in her group, consider yourself lucky. We know we do consider ourselves lucky having her around. Below are her favorite spots in Prague and her favorite social media accounts.