Authentic Dishes as Your Czech Grandmother Would Prepare Them

Prague's Old Town district is dotted with restaurants serving traditional food. Come with a big appetite because portion are huge. The flavor of the dishes is authentic, as if prepared by your Czech grandmother, if you had one. An all time favorite is vepro-knedlo-zela in other words pork, dumplings and sauerkraut. Most restaurants have this on the menu. Ceska Hospoda Na Vinohradech is paradise for meat lovers who want to try traditional Czech cuisine, their pork and dumplings are second to none.

If you haven't eaten pork knuckle, you haven't been to Prague. Enjoy this at the Strahov Monastic Brewery right on top Petrin Hill. Be warned: the horseradish sauce is very strong. Wash it down with St Norbert Beer, brewed on the premises. This restaurant fills up quickly and be prepared to share your table with others. Homestyle roast duck is what every visitor to Prague should eat at least once. It is always on the menu in Ferdinanda in the Mala Strana district. Include before or after your meal a visit to the Infant Jesus of Prague in the Church of Our lady of Victory just across the road. The sausage stands at Wenceslas Square are the ideal spot for a quick lunch. Their speciality in the winter months is mulled wine.




Sausage Stands
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

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.

Recommended for Homestyle because: If you like spicy food, ask for Prague sausage,served with a big heap of sauerkraut.

Marianne's expert tip: Klobasy is a Czech sausage similar to the German Bratwurst, a culinary delicacy every tourist should at least try it once.

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Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

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.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Does palacinka se zmrzlinou a ovocem sound like music in your ears? Tasting these Czech style pancakes is heaven on earth.

Marianne's expert tip: Non coffee lovers should try the mint-lemon-elderberry drink, deliciously refreshing. Cukrakavalimonada, meaning sugar coffee lemonade, is the perfect spot to relax after a sightseeing tour through Prague's cobbled streets.

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Strahov Monastic Brewery
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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.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Their pork knuckle is the prefect mix of crunchy crackling tender meat served with red cabbage, exactly as your Czech grandmother would have prepared it.

Marianne's expert tip: Hop on tram 22, get off at Pohorlec stop, do the tour of Prague Castle include the Miniature Museum and Strahov Monastry and Library,then wind down in Klasterni Pivovar with a large mug of beer.

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Restaurace U Rozvarilu
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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.

Recommended for Homestyle because: This is what soup kitchen Communist style must have been like.

Marianne's expert tip: Forget about cholesterol and calories

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Prague 06 Dejvice
Na Stare Fare
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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.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Chlebicky, open sandwiches, garnished with potato salad, ham, cheese , sliced boiled egg and a pickled cucumber is the best light lunch.

Marianne's expert tip: Braised beef with dumplings, chantilly cream, cranberry compote, and a slice of lemon is Czech cuisine at its best. Finish your meal with palacinky, French type crepe, filled with fresh fruit crowned with a big dollop of whipped cream.

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Prague 02 Vinohrady
Ztráty a Nálezy
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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.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Try Bohemian platter if you are really hungry; roast duck, roast pork, smoked meat, red and white cabbage, bread and potato dumplings.

Marianne's expert tip: Share your table with the locals who come here especially to sample Grandma's Cuisine. Everyone likes the way Chef prepares trout that melts in the mouth.

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Ovocny Svetozor Sokolovska
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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.

Recommended for Homestyle because: If you haven't eaten fruit dumplings, ovocny knedliky, you haven't been in Prague.

Marianne's expert tip: Ask any Prague resident where you can eat the best breakfast and the answer will invariably be Ovocny Svetozor. Not only is this the perfect spot for breakfast, their banana-strawberry flavored ice-cream tastes heavenly.

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Prague 02 Vinohrady
Ceska Hospoda Na Vinohradech
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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.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Be sure to savor vepro-knedlo-zela in other words pork, dumplings and sauerkraut

Marianne's expert tip: In the land of carnivores, Ceska Hospoda Na Vinohradech is a little paradise because of the vegetarian dishes that grace the menu. You won't find tourist prices in this restaurant. The only snag is that the menu is in Czech.

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Jama Bar & Grill
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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.

Recommended for Homestyle because: The fried cheese with tartar sauce, smazeny syr, and potato pancakes will also make vegetarians smile.

Marianne's expert tip: No free seats left? Share a table with the locals.

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Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

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.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Spicy goulash soup served in a bread bowl is irresistible and will give you enough energy to continue your sightseeing; the portion is huge.

Marianne's expert tip: Once you have sampled Ferdinand beer brewed in their own micro-brewery, you will never want to drink any other brand.

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Meet Marianne Crone

Marianne Crone divides her time between her home in the Netherlands and an apartment in Prague, the city where her son, daughter-in-law and grandson live.

Now retired, Marianne is still an...  More About Marianne