Savoring the Best Czech Food in Prague on the Taste of Prague Food Tour
When you think of Prague you probably think of the medieval charm of Prague Castle and Old Town, the long and sometimes tragic history, or the breathtaking scenery along the Vltava River. But did you also know that Prague is known to have some of the best food in the Czech Republic? Certainly beer lovers will know of the excellent Czech beer. The original Budweiser beer, Budvar, is made in Cesky Budjovice after all, not far from Prague. But we wanted to dig deep into Czech cuisine and find those places that locals love, learn about the culture that surrounds the food, and any farm-to-table scene there might be. And taking a Prague food tour was the perfect way to do it.
There are plenty of excellent restaurants in Prague, many of which cater strictly to tourists, but we needed to get off the beaten path away from the heavily touristed areas if we were going to find the best Czech food in Prague. The growing season here is very short so there aren’t a lot of vegetables grown, making Bohemian-style cuisine heavy in meat and potato dishes. But there had to be more than just roast pork with potato dumplings and cabbage. Can you say braised pork knuckle? It’s one of their faves!
Traditional Food in Prague
There were only 6 of us in the tour group, including two people we’d met earlier in Austria the week before — small world! We always prefer small group tours, don’t you? Thankfully, Taste of Prague likes that too which we and our new friends in the group appreciated. Our guide and fellow foodie, Kristian, was right on time and gave us some interesting history about dining out in Prague. There were four classes of restaurants while the Czech Republic was under Communist rule (from around February, 1948 to the Velvet Revolution in 1989). The best restaurants were degustation-style serving small dishes of an assortment of foods. The second class was reserved for special parties like anniversaries, weddings, and birthdays. Third were the working class cafeterias where people would stand to eat whatever happened to be being served. Lastly, and at the bottom of these classes, were cafeteria-type places that were very dirty and the food not much better. It’s taken years to get here but times have certainly changed the food scene in Prague.
Then we were off on the tour. The Taste of Prague’s Foodie Tour has a uniquely simple concept — you follow a local foodie, eat the best dishes in Prague’s best restaurants frequented by the locals, and talk about what you eat and why, and how the food, wine and beer reflects the local culture, the country and its history and present. The tour lasts an impressive 4 hours, and is an easy 1.2 miles walk. We love taking food tours wherever we go, and loved the food tours we took in Bologna, New Orleans, and just weeks earlier in Graz, and the concept behind this tour was definitely speaking our language. We couldn’t wait to get started and try some traditional Czech food.
Taste of PRague Food Tour
Lokal Dlouhá Pub
A pub with a throwback design to the Communist era, this is not a fancy place, but it is comfortable and friendly. They tout that the beer is tapped to the glass directly from the tank making it fresher and tastier. We tried the Kozel dark lager — similar to the Glokner dark lager we tasted at Svachovka in Cesky Krumlov — and really enjoyed it. Even if you’re not necessarily a beer drinker give this one a try. This is a tasty and very smooth Czech beer that paired really well with the Prague ham and creamed horseradish, beef shin goulash, and fried cheese with tartar sauce. The vegetarian in our group received her own unique tasting which looked delicious - a huge pickled pepper atop 2 slices of stuffed cheese. All very yummy. We were offered a taste of Kofola, the Czech version of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. We rarely drink either of those at home without some rum and a lime wedge, but it was nice and sweet.
Dlouhá 33, Old Town, Prague
Nase Maso Butcher Shop
Meat eaters look no farther. Nase Maso is an impeccably clean and modern butcher shop. The display case is well lit and the guys behind the counter answered our questions with a smile. They serve only all natural local meats and are a great example of farm to table. We sampled their Meatloaf topped with hearty mustard and pickle, and Steak tartare on toast, both full of flavor and delicious. Beef Tartare is uncooked beef, and may not be for you, but we’ve enjoyed it in Europe and the US and have never had an issue. We would have loved to try one of their sandwiches served on crusty rolls. Next time for sure.
Dlouhá 39, Old Town, Prague
This fun little bistro is also located in the Dlouha gourmet arcade. Their specialty is chlebicek, small open-faced sandwiches served with a variety of toppings and garnishes, and one of the most popular Czech snacks. Traditionally these are made using veka, a kind of bread that’s similar to a French baguette. The slices are then garnished simply with butter or mayonnaise or topped with something more substantial. Our samples were mayonnaise versions topped with Prague ham and hard boiled eggs. We also tried their Roast Beef with celeriac remoulade and a classic Czech potato salad. Our vegetarian friend tried the Smoked Salmon with fresh chopped chives. Everything was as delicious as it was beautifully prepared. We also appreciate the way the Czech choose to snack — a much healthier fast food.
Dlouhá 39, Old Town, Prague
Vinoteka U Mourenina
This warm and cozy wine bar is also in the Dlouha which is so convenient if you’re noshing on all these yummy snacks as they have a mind boggling selection of wines. They’ll pair a nice selection of cheeses with your choice of wine, but for our tour we had the Chlebicek sandwiches with a crisp Czech wine already chosen for us, a 2016 Gurdau Gruner Veltliner by Mr. Gala. It was wonderful, light bodied, and a bit spicy with a very pleasing aroma. We would definitely return to this vinoteka for a full tasting of their other Czech wines.
Dlouhá 39, Old Town, Prague
You’re in the Czech Republic, in Prague, and they eat meat… a lot of meat. If you’re a carnivore, Kantyna is probably your dream restaurant. They don’t take reservations and serve locally sourced meats and freshly made sides which can vary a bit from day to day. Want a fresh cut or aged cut of meat? You pick out the cut of meat you’d like on the butcher side of the restaurant. Then it’s taken and grilled to your liking over charcoal. Or you can order directly from the menu for something already made. We sampled Pulled beef and Pork schnitzel. Both were done to perfection and we washed it all down with unfiltered Pilsner Urquell lager. Our vegetarian in our group got an amazing tasting too — Cold Grated Cucumber soup with a seasoned potato pancake and house made pickles on the side. The wine and beer list is extensive and we loved the pub atmosphere, a fun and friendly place. If you had any doubts carnivores will love it here, their table numbers and schematic of a cow should convince you!
Politických vězňů 5, New Town, Prague
Relaxed, creative, and excellent are a few of the words that describe Eska Prague, a top notch restaurant like nowhere else we’d been on the tour. The modern industrial decor, attentive service along with a bustling open kitchen all added to make this a great farm-to-table restaurant experience. We were given the choice of the OMG Gin and Tonic (with homemade OMG gin) or a 2016 Hibernal by Ota Sevcik. They were both crazy good. And the food? This was a feast, Burnt Potato in ash with potato espuma (a potato/onion foam), and Grilled Chicken with gooseberries, demi glace, and grilled cabbage. And the multigrain bread was incredible. For dessert we actually tasted three. The first was a delectable and artfully presented Zemlovka, bread pudding with plum jam and espuma of vanilla and rum. On top of that came two traditional Czech desserts — Kremrole, a traditional crispy puff pastry tube filled with meringue, similar to the Trdelník we’d had in Cesky Krumlov. The second was a Moravian Kolache, a very light sweet role filled with a sweetened soft cheese filling and topped with plum jam and a sweet streusel. All three were unique and delicious. We were glad Eska was our last stop. It was truly the cherry on top!
Pernerova 49, Karlin District, Prague
What We Loved About the Taste of Prague
Our guide Kristian was a foodie himself, which made the entire tour that much more fun. You can tell when someone is having a good time and enjoys what they’re doing. With a guide like Kristian, it definitely shows. He was knowledgable and as a local Pražan (native of Prague), he was a wealth of information.
To go even further, Kristian seamlessly weaved together how the food, wines and beers of Prague reflect the country, the local culture, and Prague’s history and present — exactly as this food tour was billed. Foodies will especially enjoy the addition of background stories to the food, and we felt he struck the perfect balance of food tour and Czech Republic history.
There were just the right amount of food stops and plenty of interesting stories and history between stops
Tastings were generous at each stop, and reflected the traditional Czech foods and snacks we were looking for, right down to the bubble gum at the very end.
Though we’re not vegetarians, we were pleasantly surprised at how well they accommodated the lone vegetarian on our tour. She wasn’t Vegan and did eat seafood, however given the fact it was a foodie tour in Prague, she seemed to appreciate the tour just as much as the rest of us. The veggie versions of tastings were equally generous, creative, and looked delicious.
Thankfully we had great weather for the tour, but you could still enjoy this tour if you had inclement weather in Prague, or even in winter, one of the prettiest seasons in Prague. All the food stops were indoors, and it’s a great time for a hearty food tour!
What We Didn’t Love About Our Tour
The only notable downside to our tour — at least on this particular day — was being left by Kristian to find our own way back to our hotel from Eska, the last stop on the tour. About halfway through the tour, Kristian said he wouldn’t be taking us back to our starting point — instead, we’d find our own way back from the last stop so he could get to his afternoon class on time. I don’t remember him telling us that in the beginning or I would have paid more attention to our location. Though he showed us where and how to buy tram tickets, and which line to take, we still ended up getting lost. Under normal circumstances we would have rolled with it and eventually found our way back to our hotel. But we didn’t have “correct change” at the ticket booth during rush hour, or know where to find correct change, or speak the language, and ended up on the wrong line. Thankfully an American student on her way home took us under her wing and let us ride with her to the stop nearest the Prague Castle. Lesson learned: Just when you think a walking tour would begin and end in the same place, it sometimes doesn’t. Ask first!
Overall, despite the transportation confusion at the end, the Taste of Prague food tour was everything they described and honestly, it was really one of the best food tours we’ve ever taken. And we’ve taken many food tours. It was a tour crafted by foodies, for foodies — an excellent tour, given by a passionate and entertaining tour guide, and was a very good value. The tour seems best suited for adults, though we know some families with kids who would love it. If you’re doing Prague with your kids and they’re foodies too — go for it.
If you love trying the local traditional foods when you travel, and in this case amazing Czech cuisine and especially Czech beer, you should absolutely take this tour. We loved it! Just ask ahead of time if you’ll be left to find your own way back. ;-)
IF YOU GO
Taste of Prague Food Tour
The Taste of Prague Foodie Tour is 4 hours, and covers 1.5 miles. Max group size is 10 people.
Cost: CZK 2,700 (around $120 USD).
They also run a Traditional Czech Food Tour which includes a Taste of Prague foodie map, and presumably more meat and potatoes!
We were guests of Czech Tourism and the Taste of Prague on this food tour. This review is our unbiased opinion, based on our firsthand experience.