Prague has been on my dream destination list for a number of years so when friends asked me if I’d like to join them on a two-day stay in the Czech(ia?) capital of course I said ‘YES!’
While the historic museums and stunning architecture offer up a lot to write home about, it was the cheap food and drinks that really garnered my attention on this trip. We ended up planning our days around when and where we were going to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. There was certainly no chance of skipping a meal; in fact we found ourselves stuffing food into our mouths at all hours of the day and night. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, dinner (entree, plat, dessert, bien sur!), you name it, we ate it.
We arrived early on the morning of le 14 juillet after a 6am flight from Paris CDG so as soon as we finished checking into to our amazing apartment we charged across the square, barely stopping to admire the beautiful buildings and made a bee line for Cafe Louvre, reputed to be the best place for breakfast in Prague. With a wide range of choices, including a ‘Czech Breakfast’ complete with apple cake, we feasted on a delicious breakfast to set us up right for a day of sight-seeing.
After a morning of wandering around ancient castles, cathedrals and museums we had worked up an appetite by mid-afternoon so settled upon a traditional-looking pub/restaurant for lunch, Mlejnice Kožná. This was were I had my first beer-goulash experience, served in a bowl made entirely out of bread and of course washed down with a pint of local beer. It was delicious!
The evening meal was again copious, although we all saved room for dessert. Travelling with two Italians, a Frenchman and a Spaniard used to eating dinner late into the night, we found that we had left dinner plans a little late for a week night so settled upon one of the last places we found open. The food was great, service was incredibley friendly (which we found was the norm in Prague) despite the late hour, and the atmosphere seemed a little more upmarket. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the location…
Day two began as we meant to go on with a breakfast fit for kings. We settled on a quirky cafe with industrial pipes and a modern feel. I savoured a more anglo-saxon breakfast of scrambled eggs while my European compatriots chose various pastries and bread-based delicacies. We started the day bright and early to ensure that we had time to wander the old-town, shop for souvenirs, visit the parks, cross the bridges and of course sample the traditional (and touristy) street food.
The Czech inhabitants seem to know thier stuff when it comes to carb-based dishes. We shared potato swirls and a deliciously-filling noodle and dumpling dish: Halušky. We also shared several typical meats and the famous Prague šunka (smoked ham) in the old town square, which of course was more ‘expensive’ than it would have been from other vendors but the view of the exquisite gothic architecture was worth it, despite the crowds. We shared our meal which offset the cost aswell because the prices are shown by weight and we were unfamiliar with the currency exchange. The Czech Republic is still cheap by European standards but the Old Town Staroprazka Sunka is not as much of a bargain as you might think.
Of course we couldn’t leave without also trying the sweet street delights. Trdelník is a kind of spit cake. It is made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar. We had been salvating over the Trdelník for almost two days. I, being a huge chocoholic, opted for the version lined with Nutella.
Although we spent barely more than 48 hours in the Czech capital we ate and drank enough for an entire week. I found the food to be wholesome and tasty. Overall the prices of food and beer were relatively cheap by comparison to Western Europe or Canada. The main staple seemed to be meat and potatoes which is a little heavy for summer weather but that didn’t stop us indulging one last time in a plate full of goulash and three kinds of dumpling!
I’m not sure green vegetables even exist in the Czech Republic to be honest.