Famous Czech Dishes Shine in Mala Strana

Prague has no shortage of restaurants. They are tucked away in winding streets that make up the maze of Stare Mesto, the Old Town. You can find them along Wenceslas Square in Nove Mesto, the New Town. Few tourists hop on a tram or walk or all the way to Mala Strana or lesser quarter, across the Vltava River. It is in the Mala Strana quarter that you will find exquisite, simple and authentic restaurants. 

Czech cuisine is famous for large portions of meat. Duck is also considered a true delicacy. One of the best eateries to sample Duck a la Czech is Restaurant U Modre Kacknicky. Be seduced by their duck in slivovice, a potent eau de vie from Moravia. The poledni menu, or lunch menu at a fixed price, is the best kept secret in town. Tourists are not automatically given this list. Simply ask for it and you will be surprised at the prices. Ferdinanda is one of these typical lunch time restaurants that has always interesting dishes featuring on the lunch menu. If it is just coffee and pastry you are craving, Curakavalimonada is the best place to sample fluffy merengue, crispy outside and gooey inside.

Here are ten eateries in the Mala Strana district that will tickle your taste buds and make your trip to Prague one to remember.



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 cafe latte 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 Mala Strana's Best Restaurants because: Cukrakavalimonada is wine bar, patisserie and restaurant. You will like this spot off the tourist trail; a truly well-kept secret.

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

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Tucked away in a Gothic cellar close to Petrin Hill, Pivnice Pod Petrinem is a typical lunch time restaurant that transforms itself into a beer hall in the evening. With only nine tables seating six persons each, Pod Petrinem is quite small. This means that you usually share your table with the locals. The lunch menu features five dishes of which one is vegetarian. The only snag is that it is in Czech only. Be sure to arrive before 2 pm, because after this time it is a la carte, also very tasty but more expensive.

Recommended for Mala Strana's Best Restaurants because: Pod Petrinem is one of these eateries favored by Czech office workers working in the neighborhood. This means that portions are huge and prices are 'non-tourist'.

Local Expert tip: Sample cevapcici, kebab served with raw onions and boiled potatoes, not typical for Czech cuisne, but very tasty.

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U Tri Zlatych Hvezd
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U Tri Zlatych Hvezd, The Three Golden Stars, is situated in a three-hundred year old building under the arches of St Nicolas Church in the Mala Strana district. It's No 8, but you will find the restaurant quicker if you look out for a house sign showing three stars. Be sure to try roast duck with red cabbage and knedliky, Czech type dumplings and ideal to mop up the rich sauce. The menu is available in six languages, meaning that you won't be the only tourist. On the other hand it makes ordering a meal quite easy.

Recommended for Mala Strana's Best Restaurants because: The best seats are in the vaulted cellar decorated with exquisite wall murals and dripping with old-time atmosphere.

Local Expert tip: This is an excellent place to savor a typical Czech dessert of dumplings filled with fruit and gingerbread topped with butter and whipped cream. Wash it down with big mug of frothy pilsner, because beer with your meal is what a cherry is on a pie.

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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 Mala Strana's Best Restaurants because: Ferdinanda's lunch menu offers no-nonsense dishes, all typical of Czech cuisine.

Local Expert tip: Sample Ferdinand beer brewed in their own micro-brewery

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Located in a little back street in the Mala Strana quarter, U Modre Kachnicky is a gourmet paradise for meat eaters and in particular for lovers of duck. Classic furniture, damask upholstered chairs and graceful drapes make you feel as if you step back into the 1920s or 1930s. Oriental rugs are scattered on the tile floors, framed prints and mirrors make U Modre Kachnicky into one of the most intimate and stylish restaurants in Prague. Most of the main courses feature duck; roasted with walnut stuffing, glazed with honey or flambéed with slivovice, which is no surprise as U Modre Kachnicky is Czech for In the Blue Duck.

Recommended for Mala Strana's Best Restaurants because: U Modre Kachnicky, in the Blue Duck, specializes in duck dishes. Sample another Czech classic; roast pork with dumplings if duck is not your favourite.

Local Expert tip: With only room for 45 persons, booking a table for dinner at U Modre Kachnicky is essential,at lunchtime there are usually places left.

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U Maltezskych Ryteru is located in a medieval building that once served as a hospice for the Knights of Malta. Candlelit tables are tucked away in stone and brick Gothic vaults. This is a place only possible in Prague. The short menu lists cold and hot starters and about five or six main courses which always include fresh fish, salads and two vegetarian dishes. U Maltezskych Ryteru is famous for its mouthwatering local cuisine and excels in venison chateaubriand served with a prune, cranberry, walnut sauce. Finish your meal with home-made apple strudel with generous scoop of vanilla ice-cream and doused in eggnog.

Recommended for Mala Strana's Best Restaurants because: U Maltezskych Ryteru means dining in style in a medieval vaulted cellar. Be sure to leave enough space to sample the crispy home-made apple struddle.

Local Expert tip: U Maltezskych Ryteru is tiny and extremely popular, so book well ahead.

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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 Mala Strana's Best Restaurants because: Klasterni Pivovar is one of the best places to taste home-brewed seasonal beers. Sample a wheat lager in spring and a potent Christmas ale in December.

Local 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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Sit in the Baroque dining room or on the summer terrace with a corner view of Prague Castle. The candle lit dining room is the perfect setting for a romantic meal. Crystal chandeliers, bowls of shining fruit and colorful flowers in elegant vases set the tone. Classical elegance combines with tantalizing dishes prepared by Martin Blazek, Chef de cuisine. The two- or three-course lunch menu is different for each day of the week and might include creamy carrot soup followed by beef medallions in peppercorn sauce or vegetable risotto for vegetarians. Sunday brunch features English style breakfast but also tapas, Caesar salad and vegetable skewers. Be sure to taste the apple strudel, one of the best in Prague. Palffy Palace is always full of happy eaters who know good value.

Recommended for Mala Strana's Best Restaurants because: Soft classical music fills the candelight dining room. There is no better place than Palffy Palace to experience a romantic evening and a gourmet meal.

Local Expert tip: Come to Palffy Palace for the fixed-price lunch on weekdays or for the brunch buffet on Sunday.

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Dine in style in the dining room, the winter garden or sit on the riverside terrace with views of Charles Bridge. No matter where you sit, Kampa Park Restaurant is one of the best places to spot celebrities. The menu features fresh fish and seafood and also traditional Czech meat dishes. Be sure to leave room for one of the tantalizing dessert. Who can resists dulce chocolate timbale with raspberries or chocolate fondant with ice cream and orange sauce? Even better still sample the Degustation 7-course Meal, or 5-course if you a small eater. Wash it down with a Sauvignon Blanc, followed by Côtes-du-Rhône, and you will find yourself in gourmet paradise.

Recommended for Mala Strana's Best Restaurants because: Sit on the Venetian balcony overlooking the Certovka, the Devil's Stream, for intimate dining at Kampa Park Restaurant.

Local Expert tip: Popular with visiting dignitaries and the business community, book your table at least a day ahead. Without a reservation, you will not have a table in the heated conservatory with a view of Charles Bridge.

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Nebozizek Restaurant surrounded by woodland is half-way up Petrin Hill. Sit for the best panoramic views in the glass conservatory, heated in winter, or retreat to the main building where the pianist plays most nights. Some of the Czech specialties are worth the climb up. Start with Becherovka, a traditional herbal bitters made in Karlovy Vary. The venison goulash served with crusty homemade bread is feast for the eyes and palate. Duck breast with sage is an all-time favorite. Czech cuisine is heavy on meat but Nebozizek surprises vegetarians with a choice of three delightful dishes. The restaurant is popular with tourists and locals who come here for wedding receptions.

Recommended for Mala Strana's Best Restaurants because: Nebozizek Restaurant is the only restaurant where you can watch the sunset against Prague Castle and sample Czech cuisine at the same time.

Local Expert tip: Hop on the funicular railway to get to Nebozizek. After your meal, stroll down along romantically moon-lit winding paths

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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