The sausage stands at Wenceslas Square are an institution. They are greasy, they are noisy but above all they serve food people crave for. Spicy sausages and Frankfurters sizzle on the griddle. With a hunk of brown bread they are meal in itself. A big plop of mustard and a plastic glass of premium Czech beer complete your culinary masterpiece. Hot dogs are also very popular and if you are not the meaty type try a cheese sandwich with oozing mozzarella cheese. At Christmas time the sausage stands are an excellent place to sip mulled wine. Pay first, get your food and wedge yourself a spot at one of the stand-up tables.
Tucked away in a small side street in the Mala Strana district, Cukrakavalimonada is a combination of restaurant, wine bar and patisserie. The painted wooden ceiling blends well with contemporary furniture. This is the ideal place to refuel before you climb up to Prague Castle. Sit outside and discover that a caf�atte goes fabulously with fluffy meringue kisses. The hot chocolate with cherry cake tastes heavenly and is almost a meal in itself. The mint-lemon-elderberry drink is deliciously refreshing. If you drop in at lunchtime, homemade pasta, salads and pancakes will seduce you.
The Strahov Monastic Brewery, Klastarni Pivovar, occupies a platinum location right next to Strahov Monastry and close to Prague Castle. Sample unfiltered amber or dark St. Norbert beer in the brewery pub. In summer join the locals and tourists and sit in the courtyard at long wooden tables with a liter mug of home-brewed beer or pivo in Czech. Come back in the evening for a traditional Czech meal and indulge in brewery goulash with onion and dumplings or pork hock marinated in beer and served with mustard and horseradish sauce. Finish your meal with Sumavska kava, coffee with an alcolhol surprise.
If you want to experience Prague before the revolution, come for a meal to Restaurace U Rozvarilu on the top floor of Bila Labut Shopping Center. The restaurant is a time capsule of Socialist Prague, when orange, red and dark brown were the colors of choice and prices were aimed at the proletariat. Grab a tray and join the queue. That's the easy bit. Read the menu posted on the wall. That's the tricky bit. It's in Czech. The lady ladling out big portions of sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and breaded deep fried chunks of difficult-to-see-what-it-is doesn't speak English. The only way out is pointing at food you may or may not recognize. You will be amazed at the size of the portions you get for your crowns.
Restaurant-cum-patisserie Na Star�are, In the Old Vicarage, is a place that everyone loves. Make yourself comfortable under shady umbrellas in the garden. Enjoy your coffee with Sachertorte, Austrian of origin but Czechs have used the recipe for this tantalizing chocolate cake for centuries. It is easy to see that Na Star�are is not a purpose-built restaurant. The old lay-out of different rooms is clearly recognizable and makes the restaurant very intimate and homely. The menu features an old time Czech favorite smazen� This is a thick slice of cheese, usually Edam or the Czech variety of Camembert, coated in bread crumb fried and served with tartar sauce. Rich and filling.
Ztr� a N�zy is only a short walk away from bustling Wenceslas Square. This atmospheric restaurant is strewn with Ztr� a N�zy, which is Czech for lost and found. Boxer gloves, a robust bicycle, ancient set of skis, a vintage tennis racket and all sorts of sport related bric-a-brac. The walls are adorned with enamel advertising signs promoting a certain brand of bicycle tire and all sorts of other enviable products but unreadable for tourists because they are in Czech. The menu offers everything grandma would be proud of; from chicken oozing with mushroom cream sauce to potato pancakes and sauerkraut. Complete your meal with a sturdy tankard of Kozel, clear golden beer with light hoppiness and slight bitterness.
Do you fancy ice cream for breakfast? Ovocn�ozor is one of the best places in Prague to satisfy your wish. Ovocny Svetozor is famous for its fruit cakes, cheesecakes, cream cakes, pancakes, waffles and ice-cream. But also for its tasty sandwiches, croissants and freshly brewed coffee. They have several outlets scattered about Prague and there is always one right where you are. A very special shop is the one in Sokolovkska street near Florenc metro station. The interior is decked out in a London-theme in fiery red colours. The walls are decorated with London street scenes, red double decker buses and phone booths as entrance to the toilets. Does your strawberry tart or honey cream cake taste like the one you had in the coffee bar of your hotel? Ovocny Svetozor supplies cakes and ice-cream to various hotels, pastry shops and restaurants throughout Prague.
If you are looking for authentic Czech cuisine, head for Ceska Hospoda Na Vinohradech. It is a popular place and often packed for lunch especially on weekdays. You will find a place because it is quite usual to share a table. Most young Czechs speak very good English. They can also help you reading the Czech menu which features two choices and changes every day. It sounds simple but their schnitzels big like doormats and served with crispy French fries are a true delicacy. Be sure to come between 11:00 and 15:00. Outside these hours you will have to order a la carte. The disadvantage of not ordering the fixed lunch menu is that dishes are more expensive and take longer to prepare.
The J� Bar & Grill, near Palladium Shopping Center, is a pub with extraordinary cuisine and Czech beers on tap; Pilsner Urquell, Jihlava, Lobkowicz, Cerna Hora, Kla?t?r or Rychtar. Choose from the daily lunch specials chalked on the wall or come back in the evening for the a la carte menu. Great place for sports lovers who can watch football matches on the big screen. Besides Tex-Mex specialties and great burgers, you can also sample Czech staples such as goulash with dumplings or potato pancakes. But you can ignore all this and go straight for the palacinka se zmrzlinou a ovocem, the Czech version of French crêpes, filled with ice-cream and fresh fruit.
Locals are common and tourists are rare at Ferdinanda, thanks to its location just far enough from action, but still close enough to one of Prague's secret tourist's sights; Infant Jesus of Prague in the Church of Our Lady of Victory. As you enter the basement of Ferdinanda a mannequin wearing a Ferdinanda T-shirts greets you. Next to her you will see a black chest with Frozen Cats. Seating is around bare wooden tables and benches. Choose from Ferdinanda's lunch menu. If you can't read Czech, the staff will explain in almost perfect English. Whatever you order; Schnitzel, Prague sausages or goulash, the portions are huge.