Czech national cuisine: what and where to try in Prague?
Czech cuisine in Prague

Czech national cuisine: what and where to try in Prague?

The cuisine is a separate attraction of the Czech Republic. People come here just for Czech beer and Bohemian knee, but Czech cuisine is not limited to that. I’ll tell you what to try in Prague and where to go in search of national dishes.

What Czech cuisine consists of

The traditional cuisine of the Czech Republic consists of dishes prepared according to the easiest recipes from simple ingredients. It has been compared to the cuisine of Austria, Germany and Hungary: in this part of Europe, the history of the peoples is so mixed that today they dispute with each other the authorship of similar dishes.

Soups and chowder

The Czech pride is thick and hearty soups (polevka). The thick consistency is important because of the serving. The finished soup is served in a hollow loaf of rye bread. Liquid broth will quickly soften it, even if it is well dried. To achieve the consistency of cream soup, the cook adds flour and boils it until thick.

In Prague cafes, soups can be found on the menu:

  • Česnečka  is a flavorful soup made of garlic and potatoes with smoked meat with croutons and grated cheese;
  • Bramboračka  is a vegetable broth made of potatoes, mushrooms, vegetables with marjoram and garlic;
  • Cibulačka — onion soup with white wine, depending on the recipe it can be sweet or salty;
  • Kulajda is a chowder made of potatoes, cream and flour, with quail eggs, herbs (marjoram or dill), a little vinegar for sour taste and sugar.

A single serving of soup in Prague cafes in the historic part of the city costs from 40 CZK.

Hot dishes

A traditional lunch in the Czech Republic is a dish of fatty meat. The basis is pork or duck. The food is juicy and hearty. A popular combination on the menu is baked pork, cabbage and dumplings. Mustard or several types of sauces are served with the meat.

Meat is cooked on a spit or baked in the oven. There are no complicated recipes, because this is the food of a peasant or a hunter. Portions are impressive, enough for two people. A striking example is «baked vepřové koleno» (pečené vepřové koleno). The soft meat easily peels off the bone, juicy and hearty.

A baked pork leg soaked in beer weighs 1 kg, a knee 700 g. Served in any café in Prague. The cost starts from 150 CZK.

Baked ewe
Baked ewe’s knee

Czech appetizers

Traditional cuisine has an endless number of meat dishes: rolls, sausages, sausages cooked according to a special recipe. Such food is served with pickles (cucumbers, onions), as an appetizer for beer.

Appetizers in traditional Czech cuisine:

  • Pickled sausage «Utopenec» (Utopenec) is a wiener soaked in vinegar. It is cut and pickles are added: cucumbers, onions, peppers.
  • Tlačenkais an appetizer made of different types of meat (pork, duck, beef). Pepper, onions, vinegar are added to the cholodets, resulting in a spicy-spicy flavor. Excellent appetizer with beer.
  • Klobása — hot sausages made of meat, offal, wine and blood, always served hot with sauce or mustard.

Meat snacks are sold by the portion in cafes and on the street. Dumplings and sauce are added to the sausages. The cost of a set is 40—70 CZK.

Czech side dishes

In the Czech Republic, the most common side dish for meat dishes is fried potatoes, braised sauerkraut or dumplings.

A knedlik (knedlík) is an airy and spongy bread made of flour or potatoes and filled with herbs, meat or rice. The dough is boiled or steamed. If there is no filling, they are eaten by dipping them in sauce. The dumplings are usually included in the price of the meal.

Czech sweets

Traditional dumplings are also served for dessert: with syrup, fresh berries or sweet fillings. The cost of such a dessert is CZK 5—20.

Since 1923, a dessert that can be found in Vienna or Budapest has become popular in Prague. It is not a traditional Czech dish, but it is equally loved by locals and tourists.

Trdelnik on the left with ice cream and fresh berries, on the right with ice cream
Trdelnik on the left with ice cream and fresh berries, on the right with ice cream

Trdelník (trdelník) is a pastry made of yeast dough with or without fillings. Popular fillings include ice cream, Nutella, cream and fresh berries.

In the evening, trdelniki are sold everywhere in the Old Town and are inexpensive — CZK 45—60. The queue for them is long, but they are quick to make. The dough is spiraled on a metal rolling pin, fried, then removed and sprinkled with sugar.

Trdelnik can also be unsweetened. It is filled with meat, salami, vegetables, salad. Such a cone can replace a full meal.

This is how you make a trdelnik
This is how you make a trdelnik

Beer and Becherovka

Few nations have managed to make such a global fetish out of their national dish as the Czechs have out of beer. Even if there was absolutely nothing to see in Prague, the tourist flow would remain the same.

The Czech Republic is a leader in beer production. Light, dark, red — there is plenty of it here, it costs less than water, it is easy to drink, and it has a pleasant aftertaste. The cost of beer in Prague cafes is 20—70 CZK per glass. The price is influenced by the location of the cafe and the presence of its own brewery. In the Old Town there are breweries where rare varieties are brewed according to ancient recipes. The standard for each establishment is Pilsner Urquell, Kozel, Krusovice, Velvet and Staropramen.

Czech Kozel and Pilsner beer
Czech Kozel and Pilsner beer

The second popular alcoholic drink in Prague is Becherovka. The herbal liqueur originating from Karlovy Vary is available in different variants: in its pure form, with tonic (be-tonic is on the menu) and with lemon juice.

What you need to know about tipping in Prague cafes

In order not to spoil the impression of traditional cuisine, it is better to find out in advance how the issue of tipping is handled. In Prague, there is often confusion about tipping in cafes. In some cafes, tips are written in the menu (5—10% of the order), while in others they are written in the receipt or left to the guest’s discretion.

In cafes where tipping is not prescribed, waiters hope for a service bonus. It is a tradition in the Czech Republic to round up the amount. For example, if the check came to 376 crowns, you can ask for 400 crowns on the bill.

Where to try Czech cuisine in Prague?

As the locals say, any food in the Czech Republic is an appetizer to beer, even thick soup. The best places with traditional cuisine in Prague are beer halls in the city center (Old and New Place, Hradčany). Here you can combine tasting Czech food and drinks. Often menus and prices are posted near the entrance to the establishments.

Among the many beer halls and restaurants in Prague, I chose a few options. These establishments are popular, so there may not be seats available 20 minutes after opening.

Where to try Czech cuisine in Prague

Restaurace Blatnice

In the morning in Prague it is difficult to find a café that opens exactly on time. Only hotel buffets are available to tourists, and the price of breakfast is high (from 10 €). While other establishments are slowly opening, Blatnice is already preparing traditional dishes.

I recommend Blatnice for several reasons:

  • open early;
  • low prices;
  • never overcrowded;
  • a large selection of traditional dishes and drinks.

It is not a brewery, so there are no rare and unique beer recipes. The standard set: Pilsner, Kozel, Krušovice.

Kozlovna Apropos

An ancient cafe in the traditions of the Czech Republic. Convenient location, pleasant interior, extensive menu, large selection of beer and reasonable prices. I liked everything — the ambience, fresh food (e.g. epe’s knee), fast service and the waiter’s touching attempts to communicate in Russian.

The menu at Kozlovna Apropos features traditional Czech dishes. On request, a small portion of boar’s knee can be served. Beer is only from Velkopopovický Kozel brewery — all fresh and tasty. There is enough space during the day, but you should book a table for the evening.

  • Where is it located: Křížovnická 4, 110 00 Staré Město.
  • Open: 11:00—23:30.
  • Restaurant website with menu and prices.


This tiny cafe in the very center of the Old Town has a small hall and a veranda. I found it by chance: after sunset there are almost no vacancies in the center. In Caravelle, the Russian-speaking owner found a table for us and recommended items from the menu.

  • Where is it located: Michalská 438/15, 110 00 Staré Město.
  • Open: 11:00—23:00.
  • Restaurant website with menu and prices.

Bredovský dvůr

Bredovský dvůr, a cult institution where the Czechs themselves relax, is located in a large room. The atmosphere inside is medieval: you feel like you are in an old castle. In this café, the service charge is not included in the bill and is left to your discretion.

The menu features all traditional Czech cuisine in an original presentation. For example, a knife will be stuck into a Bohemian knee or pork ribs (Pečená vepřová žebírka v medu) and served on an ordinary board. The beer list is decent: classic and rare brews. Prices are average, service is excellent.

  • Where is it located: Politických vězňů 935/13, 110 00 Nové Město
  • Open: 11:00—23:00.
  • Restaurant website with menu and prices.


Rare beers combined with traditional Czech cuisine can be found in miniature beer halls. At the foot of Prague Castle, Ferdinanda is one of the best places in the city with an entourage and low prices.

The menu at Ferdinanda is varied, especially praised are the knuckle (weighing 1.9 kg) and beer appetizers. The Czech portions are impressive, everything is tasty, and the service is fast. Waiters speak Russian. In the past, the pub sold a popular beer — 7 Bullets (Sedm Kulí), which has been replaced by Lobkowicz Světlé speciální.

  • Where is it located: Karmelitská 379/18, 118 00 Malá Strana.
  • Open: 11:00—23:00.
  • beer hall website with menus and prices.