Prague Food Guide
Our first trip to Prague and the Czech Republic was years ago. I immediately fell in love with the city, first for its beauty and architecture. Over time we’ve returned to Prague in order to learn more about Prague’s cuisine, to research our ultimate Prague food guide. The Prague food and drink (and of course beer) is what makes the city one of our favorite in Europe.
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What To Eat In Prague
When it comes to eating in Prague, I like to ask people, “what do you expect to eat in Prague?” Most people would assume pork and beer. And, yes, there is a general theme to Prague local food that involves beer and pork. But, there is more to it than that. We share our top tips on what to eat in Prague. Where possible I include both the English and Czech names to help with restaurant menus, although many restaurants are in English. We also make some recommendations on where to eat some of the best Czech food in Prague.
Also, please don’t judge some of the photos. As I said, we’ve been traveling to Prague for years. Some of these photos were taken on earlier trips. Sometimes during later trips, we just enjoyed ourselves and actually ate the food! For any Czechs out there, I did my best with the Czech spellings of these foods to try in Prague. But if you have a correction for me, let me know in the comments below or by sending us an email through our contact page.
What You Will Learn In This Prague Food Blog
- You will learn how to find traditional Czech food in Prague
- You will learn what are our recommended things to eat in Prague and what to eat when traveling in the Czech Republic
- We will share recommendations on how to plan the perfect Prague food and drink vacation
Prague Cuisine Versus Czech Cuisine Versus Czechia Cuisine
An early note. Recently, the Czech Republic started to use the name Czechia. The Czech Republic was once known as Czechoslovakia, when it was joined with what is now known as Slovakia. After the Cold War, Czechoslovakia split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic. For ease, I continue to use the name Czech Republic as that is how the travel community continues to refer to the country. It’s possible in the future I will change the name here, but I might use the names interchangeably. The nomenclature doesn’t affect the names of the Czech Republic or Prague cuisine we include in our list.
I guess that means that this post can now help people find Czechia food. Many of the more traditional Czech dishes could also be referred to as Czechoslovakia cuisine. During the Communist era, though, Prague and the country overall suffered a real dark cloud over its cuisine. It is unclear how some of these traditional dishes survived that era, or evolved into something new.
What Are The Must Eat Foods In Prague
Even if only visiting Prague for a weekend, there’s sufficient time to track down a lot of this typical food in Prague. Most of these dishes can be found in local restaurants in the neighborhoods on either side of the Charles Bridge. This includes Prague 1, 2, and 3, the most center of the Prague neighborhoods.
Street Food And Cheap Eats in Prague
Street food is not as common in Europe as it is in Asia, but there are a handful of dishes that could fall into the category of Prague street food. There are few spots in the city that do have street food stalls, either on a daily basis, or on the weekends or during events. There are a couple of stalls at the edge of the Old Town Square and normally some sausage stalls along Wenceslas Square.
We’ve never sought out street food in the city. It more often is that we are just wandering around in search of cheap food in Prague and just kind of happen upon a row of a few stalls selling pork, most likely with someone selling beer nearby.
Sausage. Sausage. More Sausage.
Much like its German and Polish neighbors, the most typical food in Prague is probably the humble, but incredibly tasty sausages. They can be found everywhere, from bar menus to street-side sausage stalls. In restaurants, sausages are often boiled in a dark Czech beer. On the street, they are grilled and served on a plate perhaps with a slice of bread, or take the form of a hot dog and be served in a bun.
Zelím a Uzeným
As I will discuss below, dumplings are big in the Czech Republic, and one of my favorite Czech traditional foods. Zelím a Uzeným is sort of another version of a dumpling, almost like a German spaetzle. We found these often sold by Prague street food stalls in random squares, particularly over the weekends. The very small potato dumplings are mixed with smoked pork and cabbage. Look for it (or smell it) cooking up street side in large cauldrons. Costing only a few dollars, this dish is one of the best eats in Prague for travelers on a budget.
I actually tried to do a little more research on Zelím a Uzeným. I was curious if the dish is of German origination because of its similarity to spaetzle, but I could only find information in Czech. That must mean that this is a must-eat dish in Prague.
I generally don’t like meatloaf. It’s from a long history of badly made meatloaf at home when I was a kid. Dry, hard, and often covered in ketchup. The meatloaf we ate in Prague, though, was not like that at all. This version served at the famed butcher Naše Maso in Prague 1 is something of a modern day legend. Tender, made with locally sourced meat, and sitting between pieces of fresh artisan bread. A visit to the butcher is definitely worth it as they have a full menu of daily specialities of all things Czech meat. They also make a great stop for lunch in Prague when visiting Old Town. It’s not far away.
When it comes to Prague famous food the trdelnik has to be on the top of every must-eat list. It’s a pastry that originated in Transylvania but is popular in Prague, and can sometimes be found elsewhere in Central Europe. Trdelnik is made by rolling dough over a round wooden or metal mold. It’s then baked over an open fire until crispy on the outside. It’s then covered in sugar and chopped walnuts. When eating, it sort of peels apart, best when warm and fresh.
And, because trdelnik is best eaten warm, I have no decent photos of one despite all of our trips over the years. So, cheers to Dave from Jones Around The World and our friend Katie over at Wandertooth, for capturing these photos for us. They have more self control than I do. I eat first, forget photo, at least when it comes to warm, sugary pastries. Check out Wadertooth’s post on whether it is safe to travel to Prague. There’s some good tips in there.
Czech Dumplings And Dishes With Dumplings
I love all things dumplings, whether Asian or European. It probably goes along with my fascinating with pasta too. In the Czech Republic, dumplings are not generally a dish served on their own. They normally are served as a side dish, predominantly to roasted or stewed meat dishes. This traditional food in Prague is normally made with flour, potato, or sometimes bread. The Czech dumplings are normally steamed or boiled. Look for knedlíky or knödel on Prague restaurant menus. Here are some of our recommendations for the best food in Prague served with dumplings.
Vepřo-knedlo-zelo – Pork, Cabbage, and Dumplings
This is a must-eat for Eric when we visit Prague. It reminds him of his mother’s home cooking. This is also pretty common to find on the menus at many places to eat in Prague. It’s a roast pork loin, normally served with dumplings and cabbage. Total comfort food. Some people claim that vepřo-knedlo-zelo is the national dish of the Czech Republic. That could just be true.
Roast Duck, Red Cabbage, and Dumplings
When eating out in Prague, if I see duck on a menu, I order it. I’m was kind of the same way when we lived in Girona, Spain. I think it’s because it’s not a traditional dish in the US, something more associated with French cuisine, perhaps. We’ve eaten both roast duck and roast goose in Prague, normally paired with dumplings along with a tangy red cabbage that helps to offset the fat of the meat.
Guláš – Czech Goulash
Many people who travel for food associate goulash with Hungarian cuisine, but the version served in the Czech Republic definitely deserves its own mention. The Czech version tends to be more meat-heavy, with fewer vegetables. It’s also more soupy, which means more sauce to sop up with those tasty bread dumplings. To top it off, the dish is normally served with shredded fresh horseradish. We ate this version at one of our favorite Czech restaurants in Prague, Lokal Restaurant Prague.
FAQs – Prague Food Guide
Prague is a cosmopolitan city with influences from around the World. The typical food in Prague consists of hearty, meat-based dishes. Sausages, stews, and large pork knuckles are on nearly every menu.
Some of the most popular dishes to eat in Prague include guláš (goulash), vepřo knedlo zelo (roast pork), and česnečka (garlic soup). These are all traditional dishes from Czech cooking.
Like many other European countries, breakfast in Prague is fairly simple and light. Juice, coffee or tea is served alongside bread and other baked goods. You can also find yogurt, cheese, and occasionally a hard boiled egg.