My Czech Cuisine Experience on the Cheap

My winter trip to Prague – the capital city of Czech Republic was, in some way, a culinary journey. I have tasted many different dishes, some more or less known in Europe. I decided to share with you my first impression of Czech cuisine recommending some good places for dining out on the cheap. Here is what I found looking for some original Czech food taste.

The taste of Czech cuisine

Czech cuisine is a real wealth of flavors, especially for fans of traditional dishes prepared according to old recipes. It  is believed that the  real Czech cuisine can be found in smaller towns and local villages only. However, you can find some nice and cozy local restaurants where the real Czech dishes are served based on traditional recipes. Once you try a Czech dish, whether it’s a plate of dumplings or grilled ham, you can see it has been influenced by the cuisines of surrounding countries such as Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia. Its cuisine of today is based on the meat (any kind) and potatoes. Additionally, Czech food tastes best in pubs and taverns, which would be a sin not taste Czech beer.

Halusky food
A small plate of Halusky– potato with cabbage and bacon for 180 Kč  ($9), served at Old Town Square. I shared the portion with a Czech couple. You can take one as long as you can share it with other people. Otherwise, the price is way too high and there is too much food for one person.

Things I have noticed and learnt about Czech food:

  • I found Czech cuisine to be rather heavy, but very tasty like most of Polish dishes.
  • The main course consists of meat, fish or poultry and potatoes or dumplings, Czech cuisine without which you can not imagine. Separately ordered salads and vegetable is usually served stewed red and white cabbage.
Roasted duck, dumplings and sauerkraut
Roasted duck, dumplings and sauerkraut, 149 Kč ($7.6) per plate. Served in Smichovsky Radnicni Sklipek Restaurant.
  • Czechs love the soup called polévky. I saw them eat it every lunchtime.
  • The culinary feast desserts are served in the elegant cafes (part kavárna) and pastry shops. One of them are dumplings made with sweet fruit. Other famous desserts are the national cake, both Czechs and Austrians, namely apple strudel (part jablkový strudel) and scones with jam (part cesky kolac).
Trdelnik, Prague
Trdelník is a traditional Czech cake and sweet pastry. It is made from rolled dough, wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar and walnut mix. It costs Kč 50-60 ($2.5-$3). Bought it at the Old Town Square.
A basket of trdelniks
A basket of trdelniks
  • There are restaurants , bars, taverns and breweries almost on every street in Prague.
  • In addition to elegant dishes offered in restaurants or cellars, equipped with the best Czech beer, try delicacies served at the snack bar at fairs and markets.
Roasted pork ribs marinated in piquant sauce, served with garlic bread
Roasted pork ribs marinated in piquant sauce, served with garlic bread, 144Kč ($7.3) per one portion, served in Smichovsky Radnicni Sklipek Restaurant. This portion was way too big for me, it seemed to be so huge I share it with my Taiwanese host.
  • The are many stalls of the Prague delicious sausages (Part klobásy), which can be enjoyed hot with mustard or ketchup (unfortunately I didn’t manage to have one).
  • When I was strolling down the Old Town Square I could smell the aromatic smoked sausage called Lovecký Salam and smoked Prague ham (part sunk band).
Delicious chocolate and banana pancakes
Delicious chocolate and banana pancakes, served at Old Town Square. Price: 60 Kč ($3)

Best places to dine out on a budget

 #1 Restaurant

Smíchovský Radniční Sklípek

Smíchovský Radniční Sklípek inside the restaurant
Smíchovský Radniční Sklípek inside the restaurant

 

Address: Preslova 4, Praha 5 – Smíchov, 150 00

  •  The food is very delicious and the prices are very low.
  • The restaurant looks amazing like an old traditional place full of awesome gadgets such as radios, wine and beer glasses around the table, pictures on the wall and piano.
  • The staff are quick and friendly.
  • Many expats and locals dine out here so you can meet new people.
  • You need to book a table in advance on Fridays as the place’s extremely busy.
  • The wine’s very cheap- 15 Kč ($0.7) per glass.
  • More info at  www.smichovsky.cz.
My Taiwanese host (first on the right) with her friends. We enjoyed the food a lot.
My Taiwanese host (first on the right) with her friends. We enjoyed the food a lot.

#2 Coffee shops

 Platyz (cafe and bar)

Coffee shop in Prague Platyz
Coffee shop in Prague Platyz

Address: Narodni 37, Praha 1, more info at www.cafebarplatyz.com

  • This coffee shop reminded me of a place from 90’s with some old black and white photos on the wall.
  • Great atmosphere, amazingly friendly staff.
  • Had the best hot chocolate ever, the real melted chocolate with whipped cream on the top- yummy.
  • Cheap prices. Hot chocolate costed me 30 Kč ($1.5).

#3 Eating like a local

Farmer’s market “Farmářské trhy”

Farmer's market
A great selection of wine, jam and cottage cheese

Location: It’s right next to Dejvicka station

  • There is a great selection of natural products being sold on the market: any kind of wine, meat, cheese, vegetables, etc.
  • All products are fresh.
  • You can taste some of them before you buy them.
  • There are many locals and expats around so you can make friends with them.
  • The place looks and smells lovely.
  • It’s a perfect place for both: grabbing something small (bread/bun/cookie) for your breakfast and doing a proper shopping for the whole week.
  • You can taste traditional Czech farmer’s products for a very low price.
Farmer's market
Fresh cheese and meat
Farmer's market
Czech sweet bun, tart and croissant cookies

#4 Dessert places

 Pancake stand at the  Old Town Square

Pancake stand
  • If you stroll down the Old Town Square streets and feel like having something sweet, go get one pancake! It’s fresh, delicious and you can choose the feeling among many offered (any fruits, chocolate, nuts).

 How to eat in Prague on a budget:

  • Dine out in local restaurants hidden in every corner of Prague alleys- go and search for a place where there are not many tourists there. The menu might not be translated, however it gives you an excellent, cheap excuse to be adventurous. The prices are much lower and the food tastes more like traditional.
  • Don’t buy too much food. The Czech meals are served in huge portions. Before you order, make sure you know how big your meal is. You can also share the meal with your friends.
Platyz coffee shop
Me and a Czech couple having a nice hot chocolate and coffee in Platyz cafe
  • Avoid buying food at the Old Town Square as it’s expensive.
  • Make sure you get the right change back. I was about to get a short change from one of the local shops.
  • If your budget is very tight, dine out in restaurants once a day and buy more snacks in local supermarkets.
  • Try to cook something at home with your host if you are Couchsurfing in Prague (as me).
pasta
Me and my Taiwanese host cooked some past for a dinner
Sushi
We also made some delicious Sushi
  • Watch your bill- it happens that restaurant don’t  tell you the service fee is included in the price of a meal. Make sure you know the exact price of your food including the service fee.
  • Go easy on tips- not many Czech workers expect you to leave a tip. If service is horrid, don’t feel bad about not tipping.

Prague offers a lot when it comes to the food. You can discover new dishes every day dining out every day on the cheap. The Czech food isn’t that cheap, but it’s not expensive either. Making sure you know where to go to eat can save you a couple of Kč.

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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