Prague Food Top Picks – It’s Filling
Remember that Czech food like Goulash, Beef Sirloin and Braised pork as well as beer tasting are included in the Czech Food and Beer Tasting walking tour which includes the Old Town and Jewish Quarter.
Coming to Prague for a few days and want to know what Prague food is like? Want to know which you absolutely have to include as part of your trip? then my top 6 Prague food meat classics (and one dessert) are below. This is just a quick run-through. Eventually I’ll go into all of these meals in greater detail but this is just to whet your appetite.
There will not be a Prague food menu in the city that does not have some reference to Goulash. Just note that we have several kinds but they can be broken down into Beef Goulash or Pork Goulash (Pork is more popular with Czechs). Goulash is usually served only with sliced bread dumplings but a restaurant can offer different types of dumplings including Karlovarsky (Herb dumplings) or Bramborovy (potato dumplings) or Bramboracky (potato pancakes). The goulash itself can be cooked and presented in different ways but personally I prefer the dark goulash served with raw onions. You can also find “goulash in bread” where a round loaf of bread is hollowed out to hold the goulash.
Beef Sirloin (in Czech – Svickova na Smetane)
I’m not giving any secrets away by saying this will be two or three slices of baked beef sirloin. No vegetables though. This Prague food will be served with sliced bread dumplings, the meat will be covered in a creamy thick sauce and on the meat will usually be a slice of lemon. On the lemon will be cream and on the cream will be Cranberry jam. If you want to say it in Czech it sounds like “Svitchkova na smettan-eay”.
Moravian Sparrow (in Czech – Moravsky Vrabec)
For this Prague food you must like Pork and you must like a bit of fat on the meat. It’s my personal favourite and I expect it to be served in a certain way. Pork baked until it’s falling to pieces served with sliced potato or bread dumplings, red or white sweet cabbage. Remember that there is no gravy or sauce with this meal so the cabbage (zeli) provides the moisture and it’s ideally accompanied by a large beer.
Pork Knuckle (in Czech – Veprove Koleno)
There’s a bit of variety when it comes to Pork Knuckle and especially when it comes to price. In Czech the “koleno” is the knee joint but some places seem to think they can get away with the ankle. It’s a question of the amount of meat because the true Czech Koleno will have at leas 400g of meat on it. The other variant is how it is presented. The tourist “koleno” will be spiked at both ends above a board and you’ll be expected to cut bits of meat off onto the board where they’ll be condiments like ketchup, horseradish and mustard waiting. Czechs will go for the “pulled” version i.e. boneless on a plate. You’ll need to order vegetables separately and in my experience with this kind of Prague food, roast potatoes/vegetables goes well with it.
Ribs (in Czech – Žebrák)
If I had a pound for each time I’ve heard people say that there is “zebra” on the menu then I would have eaten for free these last 10 years. Czechs like Pork Ribs, usually marinated (smoked or with a pepper marinade) and cooked to the point that it’s falling from the bone so it’s not expected that you will eat it with your hands. There is no recognised side dish with this meal. You may have potatoes or possibly grilled vegetables or a salad. For a little bit more detail read the We Don’t Eat Zebra post.
Again it’s a pork dish but with a difference. Uzená is smoked pork that can be served in slices but more usually pieces. The side dish is Spinach which has been reduced to a mass of green on the plate and also some fried onions in most cases. It’s one of the only classic Prague Food dishes that does not come with dumplings.
For the pork knuckle and a nice “beer hall experience” I recommend U Vejvodu in the Old Town. I could recommend separate places to try but to be honest, many of the others above can be found at my favourite local restaurants called U Pivrnec or Cafe Domecek. If you are looking for a few other places to try Prague food then look at my Recommended Czech Restaurants page. And if you are intending to take a beer or two with your meal then take a look at the Czech Beer page.
Let’s not forget my dessert tip. My favourite Czech dessert is Livanec which are small thick pancakes (as opposed to regular pancakes called palacinky). Livanec is always served in a portion of 3 or 4, surrounded by a sea of fruit sauce (usually raspberry) and a serious serving of double cream. It’s a real diet buster but if you are walking around the city then you’ll burn it off.
Look for this at the Cafe Louvre on my Favourite Cafes page.
Czech Food Cooking Classes
If the above list has got your appetite going and you fancy learning how to cook some of these meals then now you have a way. These guys offer an experience of preparing and cooking your own Czech lunch. I’ll admit it’s not the cheapest but with a professional chef looking after to you and all the ingredients included it’s definitely worth it for people who want a great food-related memory of the city. Take a look at the Czech Food Cooking Classes post.