Writing about the beauty I found in Prague was a hard task. Describing its culinary traditions is not any easier. Eating in Prague is a feast. It is extreme foodporn. The region of Bohemia has a tradition of strong taste and intense flavors. What’s more…
If you’re anything like us and do not follow any gourmet trail.
If all you need is just to grab a tasty sandwich on the go, without taking time from your sightseeing (maybe later you can enjoy a decent dinner).
If you prefer to go local, have what locals have even when that means waiting in line.
If can happily sip a coffee for breakfast just standing on a bridge, if all of the above apply, read along.
Even when we rent a flat (and this time our flat had one hell of a kitchen!), I do not cook. I always carry a with a few teabags as I enjoy a late cup of tea, but that’s it. Unless someone in the family is not feeling in great shape, time out for kitchens.
This means we have breakfast on the street with whatever is traditional in the place. Trdlo or Trdelík in Prague. A big piece of pastry, served hot, made from rolled dough wrapped around a wood or metal stick, grilled and then covered with a mixture of sugar scented with cinnamon. There is a version with a layer of chocolate inside.
These are amazing (notice the plural?). The first day I had one just for breakfast; as days went by, I bought them when I could. Any time was fine to have a Trdelník!
When I am on short breaks, taking one hour to sit down at a restaurant for lunch is a waste of time. Unless I am in town to see friends and so we get together for lunch, I see lunch more as a way to calm my stomach roaring. When I traveled solo I used to get a sandwich on the go and keep walking. Now, with the kids, things slowed a bit, but not that much.
I made an exception on my last day because I wanted to try a dish you could only eat sitting down: it was a soup served inside a whole piece of bread. It was worth it, even if it was a hot soup and the weather was Summer-like. Fortunately we could sit in a nice garden, so no matter how spicy my soup was, trees in the shadows and cold beer were really restoring.
All in all, The Jazz (Zlaty Dvur in the Old Town) can be forgotten, it reminded us of why it’s better not to sit down at lunchtime to eat: many hidden expenses!
Earlier we had had better food in the Old Town Square, in the traditional stalls with local dishes: long sticks of fried potatoes, smoked Prague ham, stewed potatoes with cabbage and bacon, different varieties of sausages… The smell of burning wood was truly penetrating, really strong. And beer… well beer is the national drink, so the only problem is deciding which one to taste.
Becoming parents, in a way meant abandoning a few night pleasures: no discos, not so many pubs, no parties, few late walks (they’re too tired due to all the daytime walking). Therefore, our number one, enormous, big, inevitable evening pleasure is dinner. Prague has limitless possibilities. We had arrived with a list of restaurants to visit but, God bless my son’s tiredness for once, when that first evening he didn’t feel like walking much as we had already wandered a lot!
We found the right place: a little restaurant close to our apartment. Their food was so, so good we never bothered going anywhere else!
Next day for dinner, who doubted? We knew were going back to La Bastille. Two wonderful women run this very comfortable restaurant, which also offers outside tables, with room both for smokers and non smokers. Boasting wide and spacious tables, inviting chairs and dishes which are tasty and generous.
My kids shared a dish of pasta on the first day, but each of them had their own choice of meat and fries on the second night. One of my children is really picky with food, but he was very happy: Happy son, happy mom!
Us, adults: Spicy goulash again! Oh-My-God! If there is a Paradise up there, they must be serving this dish every day! A sweet smell of caramelized onions, soft and delicate, a tender while spicy meat. A dark hot sauce with tender white bread dumplings… Gosh, I had to live this experience twice: I had it again on the next day while my husband wanted to try some other kind of goulash, not spicy. Their cooking is unforgettable.
La Bastille (Újezd 26/426 Praha 1, Malá Strana), please visit this place, try their food, drink their beer, breathe the atmosphere of the place. You’ll love it.
Update: Some Instagram friends paid a visit to this restaurant, had dinner and confirmed my version. And no, this is not sponsored, I paid for all my dinners and I would happily pay for such dishes again!
Another phenomenal place to visit is a brewery called Pivovar Národní (Národní 8, Praha 1 PROVOZNÍ DOBA). We took a pause here one afternoon before going to the theater. As we knew dinner was going to be late, our children had a hamburger and homemade iced tea with strawberries.
We tasted the lager and the dark beer. We also ate pickled sausages, bread with lard and yogurt-like sauces, typical Eastern relish… pungent though delicate at the same time, I would have eaten tons of those sausages with sauerkraut!
STREET FOOD and SPIRITS
Walking down the streets of the Old Town, I once came across a street market, where what really caught my attention were the baskets of fresh fruit. Inviting strawberries and cherries, plums and apricots so colorful. They smelled like honey. Big and orange… they proved tremendously juicy and very sweet.
And spirits? you might be asking… We tried Becherovka at La Bastille, an herbal bitter with a cinnamon flavor and an alcohol content of 38 %.
Another discovery, as far as taste, was Absinthe, the bohemian spirit, the green fairy, with a higher alcohol content. It was merciless served to us completely pure in the heat of the afternoon after that spicy soup. Like Becherovka, it also derives from herbs but it’s far more controversial and surrounded by myth.
I prefer the Czech beer, there are lots of breweries available. Home-made beers with different taste, graduation, color and aroma. Pilsner comes in different versions – always a safe choice. Darker unfiltered is better for my taste. Thicker, with a more consistent froth and memory on the palate.
Anyway, what I love the most is when Czech waiters, with their irresistible smile, and a bit of an accent, come asap seeing you have already finished your glass, and happily ask you whether you care for more… how dare you say no?
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