You’re in the heart of Prague’s Old Town. The cobblestone streets lined with pastel colored buildings lead you into neighborhoods with over 1,000 years of stories to tell and it’s as if the pages of a Disney fairytale have come to life.
But then! Your tummy growls. You’re surrounded by tourists, no Czech person in sight and all of the menus are overpriced and translated in English, German and French…
I’ve scoped out some of Prague’s best Czech food, off-the-beaten-path restaurants and coolest bars. Ready to ditch those tourist traps and get local?
U Marianského Obrazu: traditional Czech cuisine
So, you want to try real, authentic Czech food and you want to eat it surrounded by Czechs? About a 20-minute walk outside of the tourist center, this mom and pop restaurant serves up the real Czech deal at local prices. It’s located in a quiet little corner of a residential neighborhood, no hotels or kitschy souvenir shops in sight. SCORE! Anything you pick off the menu is going to be of the highest quality, made with momma’s love, and authentically Czech.
What to get: As a Prague visitor, one of your must-eat dishes is Pork Knuckle, or in Czech, Koleno. But do NOT order one per person unless you wanna go into porkiac arrest. Also, tell the waiter you want Koleno because you might have trouble finding it on the Czech menu. Oh, and I also recommend the fried jalapeños stuffed with blue cheese!
Price: CHEAP. My total for 2 people was 19 euros (474 crowns). That includes 2 beers, a bottle of water, stuffed jalapeños, garlic soup and a 700g pork knuckle. Not baddddd.
Find it: Kubelíkova 1089/22
Guga: for when you’re “Czeched” out
Czech food is hella heavy. And meaty. And ya’ just can’t eat it for every meal. So, while in Eastern Europe, why not try other Eastern European food?! I tried Georgian food for the first time, in an adorable little restaurant hidden right in an alley of the Old Town. And you know what I discovered? GEORGIAN FOOD IS THE BOMB. It’s got a middle eastern flair, with flatbread and saucy, flavorful dishes, not to mention they have a fabulously extensive list of Georgian wines.
What to get: Chicken stewed in garlic & tomato sauce and roasted eggplant in a walnut sauce, garnished with pomegranate and cilantro (seen above). And wine, of course.
Price: My total for 2 people was 21 euros (504 crowns). That includes 2 drinks (1 beer and 1 glass of wine), 2 main dishes and bread. Did I mention Prague was cheap?
Find it: Karoliny Světlé 277/30
Donuterie: Your Breakfast Boost
Donut ya just love ’em?! I stumbled across this adorable little donut shop, conveniently located right next to my lovely hostel. It’s the perfect place to start your day with a little sugar boost and a coffee made with love! Step inside, and you’ll feel like you’re at a tea party in a life-size vintage Czech dollhouse, complete with a sofa made of an old bathtub and every detail perfectly pretty. Opened just 2 years ago by two sisters with a sweet tooth and a dream, these donuts are constantly coming fresh out of the fryer, each flavor unique and perfectly sweet.
What to get: The salted caramel donut is my personal favorite. But they’re all finger lickin’ donutlicious!
Price: 1.50 euros (35 crowns) per donut.
Find it: Náprstkova 215/9
T-Anker: Rooftop bar
On top of on old communist shopping mall, this rooftop bar might have the downright coolest views of anywhere in the city. With a long list of beers and an in-house beer sommelier, you’ll be drinking some of the finest Czech craft beer while admiring some of Prague’s finest views.
What to get: Well, whatever you like! Tell the beer sommelier what you like, and he’ll match you with your perfect beer.
Price: 1.50 – 3 euros (35 – 75 crowns) depending on size and beer
Find it: OD Kotva, nám. Republiky 656/8
Riegrovy Sady Beer Garden: Beer Garden in a park
Just a few minutes’ walk outside of the Old Town, there’s a beautiful green park where you’re sure to find locals young and old picnicking, playing with their dogs, napping…you name it! However, the coolest part is that inside this park there’s a hidden Beer Garden! Mark my words: this is the place you want to be on a sunny summer day in Prague.
What to get: Uh…beer!
Price: 1 -2 euros (24 – 48 crowns)
Vzorkovna: COOLEST BAR EVER.
Like, really. THE COOLEST. The experience goes like this: You’re greeted by a frightening, muscular, non-smiling, HUGE Czech dude at the door. Don’t even try joking with him. You give him as much money as you want to put on your “key fab” and with that key fab, you buy drinks. You walk inside…and pass a horse-dog (yes, that means a dog the size of a HORSE). Then, you enter into the maze. Every room you walk into has a new piece of eye candy, something weird an unexplainable, whether it’s swinging chairs chained to the ceiling, jail bars, a tree house-like ledge you can climb on top of, or a rockin’ rock band.
Price: Around 1.50 (35 crowns) per drink
Find it: Národní 339/11
Where to stay?
As a traveler who is on the verge of being “over” the whole hostel scene, I 150% endorse Ahoy! Hostel! In fact, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect place to stay while in Prague. The location is amazing, in the heart of the Old Town but away from the main tourist streets. The staff was knowledgeable, helpful and delightful! The decor is sophisticated with a vintage charm, fused with young fun details, and the atmosphere is social without being a party-until-the-sun-comes-up-hostel. Oh, and you’ll notice funky paintings along the walls…those are characters from Czech legends through time!