The Basics of Food and Drink in Prague
You need not fear going hungry in the Czech Republic, as the national dishes are exceptionally rich and filling. They are also heavily meat-based, which is bad news for vegetarians. Restaurants in the major hotels, of course, offer a wide range of dishes and you will find the food here more nutritious, with fresh salads and more fruit and vegetables than you’re likely to encounter in the average Czech establishment. However, you will have to pay a lot more, too.
Besides Czech and Slovak delicacies, you can sample Chinese, French, Italian, Russian and other dishes in the various national restaurants, although the quality won’t always live up to what you might expect in the West. If you are not too partial to meat, there are a number of fish restaurants in Praguet.
Czech starters can be a meal in themselves. Prague ham (praska Sunka) is a local favourite, sometimes served with horseradish (s kienem) or pickle (se okurkou), or you might try mushrooms and eggs (zampiony s vejci). The soups (polevky) are tasty. We particularly recommend a vegetable soup called kulajda if it is on the menu; alternatively, try potato soup with mushrooms (bramborova polevka s houbami) – delicious! If you prefer a consommé, look out for hneda or hoyez1
Of the main courses, omelettes (omeleta) are a good bet, served with asparagus (zapeoene sunka s chfestem) is another menu regular. For something more substantial, breaded veal cutlet, known to the Austrians as Wiener schnitzel’ and to the Czechs as smeenk lizek, should fill you up, especially if you order dumplings (knedliky) as a side dish. These appear in a variety of forms, sometimes rounded, sometimes sliced, sometimes flecked with bread or bacon-always fattening! Other standard main courses include roast pork with sauerkraut (veptove se zelfm), roast loin of beef with cream sauce (svfokova na smetane’), steak and eggs (biftek s vejcem) and goulash (gulag). If you are eating in a fish restaurant, you might find boiled carp with melted butter (kapr valenk s maslem) on the menu. Alternatively, roast pike (peeena gtika) or trout in melted butter (pstruh na masle). Main courses are generally served with potatoes (brambory) and you will probably feel the need for a salad of some kind. Bread is often available as a matter of course. Otherwise, ask for chleba.
For dessert – if you still have room – try apple strudel (jablkovY zayin), pancakes (palao inky), jam omelette (omeleta se zavaieninou) or plum dumplings (gvestkove knedliky). The ice-cream (zmrzlina) is also good. If you would rather end your meal with cheese, point to skry on the menu.