Prague has many places to eat. Should you go to a restaurace, pivnice, hostinec, hospoda or beer garden? Restaurace is the most upmarket place to eat; table laid with a linen tablecloth, napkins and silver-plated cutlery. This is where you order a three-course meal. Finish your meal with a glass of slivovice, a potent clear spirit usually made from plums.
Pivnice, hostinec, hospoda and beer garden all specialize in Czech beer and meals at a fixed price. Seating is often at long wooden tables for 4 to 10 persons or more, so you are expected to share. Eating at a beer garden does not necessarily mean that you'll have to sit outside. The garden is only open in summer.
Beer garden or restaurant? — Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone
Restaurants are often tucked away in the basements of old buildings. Brick walls, vaulted ceilings and dark wooden furniture give atmosphere to these eateries. It's good to remember that a partial ban on smoking has been introduced; look out for stickers on the entrance doors.
Lunch is served from as early as 11 am; Czechs are early risers. Table sharing is common; simply ask If the seat is taken. As a foreigner, you will be given the menu in English and if this is not available, there is almost always someone around who speaks good English.
Pork, cabbage and dumplings — Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone
Restaurant Ztráty a Nálezy is the perfect spot to grab a meal. Locals are more common than tourists because its location is just far enough away from the main tourist drag, only ten minutes on foot from Wenceslas Square. Order from the poledni menu, the fixed-price menu that you can find on your table. The only snag is that it's in Czech only.
Whatever you order, whether it's soup of the day, a pasta dish, goulash, or pork cabbage and dumplings, the portions are huge. The menu usually features one vegetarian dish for those so inclined. Finish your meal with palacinka se zmrzlinou a ovocem, French crêpes, filled with ice-cream and fresh fruit.