The Best Meals We Ate in Prague

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Confession time: Czech food didn’t knock my socks off. That’s not to say we didn’t have some tasty meals in Prague, because we did. I’m just not planning a return trip specifically to enjoy any of the dishes again, like I am with the smoked cheese soup in Tallinn. Maybe we didn’t make the best menu choices or dine at the right restaurants, but after several days of stodgy local specialties, we were seeking out a little more variety. Here’s the very best of what we found, Czech and otherwise:

The Golden Pear

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Our final meal in Prague turned out to be the most outstanding of the bunch, as these things usually seem to go for us. We wanted to give Czech cuisine one last time to impress our palates and the result was a resounding success. The Golden Pear (U Zlate Hrusky) is tucked into a quiet corner of the Hradcany neighborhood and reminded us of a cross between a classic American steakhouse and a French bistro. The dishes were expertly prepared and elegantly presented, and worth every penny we paid.

My appetizer of baked goat cheese with marinated beets, arugula and pine nuts was the most vibrant dish of the night, though the creamy pear soup with cinnamon gnocchi was the most inventive. Several menu items featured the restaurant’s namesake pear, including the mouthwatering strudel we had for dessert. As for the main courses, the duck breast with port wine reduction was succulent and well-paired with an earthy barley risotto and roasted mushrooms, while the venison leg with bready Karlsbad dumplings and marinated cranberries was reminiscent of an American Thanksgiving feast. We left stuffed and more favorably inclined towards the national cuisine.

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Delicious, but very beige.

Les Moules

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We didn’t expect to find excellent seafood in landlocked Czech Republic, but I guess stranger things have happened. Eager for something other than a hunk of roasted meat, we headed to Les Moules, a Belgian bistro serving up some truly spectacular mussels. As a jolt to my culinary senses, I opted for the spicy broth with lemon and cilantro and slurped up every last drop. Pommes frites and a glass of Stella were ideal accompaniments. The finishing touch? Chocolate truffles handcrafted on the premises and a frosty glass of Belgian fruit beer. By the time we finished, I was ready to plan a trip to Brussels!

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Lobkowicz Palace Cafe

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We enjoyed lunch at the Lobkowicz Palace Cafe on two separate occasions, once to take advantage of the 10% discount coupon that came with our museum tickets and again because the food was delicious. Of the dishes we tried, the chicken schnitzel was the standout, the meat light and juicy thanks to a crisp panko crust. Schnitzel originates in Austria and is perhaps a nod to the Lobkowiczs’ ties to the Hapsburg monarchy. Meals can be enjoyed on the terrace overlooking the Palace Gardens Below Prague Castle or in the brightly lit cafe. It should also be noted that the Lobkowiczs brew their own beer.

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The beef goulash at Lobkowicz Palace Cafe was the best version we enjoyed during our trip to Prague.

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This is the view from the Cafe terrace.

Kolkovna Olympia

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When I started planning our trip to Prague, I reached out to the Twitterverse for restaurant recommendations. Several people responded that I simply had to visit Kolkovna Olympia for some excellent Czech food, specifically heaping platters of meat. We’d had our fill of massive pork legs and half ducks by this time, though, so I decided to try the “forest robber’s delicacy.” This turned out to be a delightful foil packet filled with tender pieces of roast pork (there’s no escaping it), onions, carrots, potatoes, thyme and lots of buttery sheep’s cheese. Potato pancakes and a Czech pilsner rounded out the meal. It was good, though the foil packet of yak, chilies and cilantro I enjoyed in Shangri-la, China was more memorable.

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Kreperie U Kajetana

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Just about every morning, we walked past this creperie on our way to explore Prague’s wealth of attractions, so of course I had to stop in for a bite. While I was initially most excited by the idea of crepes for breakfast, the trdelnik turned out to be the star. These traditional pastries are rolled and roasted on a spit until golden brown and crisp on the outside, while still soft on the inside. Dusted with cinnamon and sugar, they are as delicious as they are fun to eat!

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 Which of these dishes would you most like to taste? Are there any Czech specialties or Prague restaurants I need to try next time?

The Golden Pear (U Zlate Hrusky)
Address: Novy Svet 3, Prague, Czech Republic (in Hradcany)
Pricing: Dishes range from CZK 95-490 (US$4-22)

 

Les Moules
Address: Parizska 19, Prague, Czech Republic (in Josefov)
Pricing: CZK 299 (US$13.50) for 900 grams of mussels

 

Lobkowicz Palace Cafe
Address: Jirska 3, Prague, Czech Republic (in Prague Castle complex)
Pricing: Dishes range from CZK 95-285 (US$4-13)

 

Kolkovna Olympia
Address: Vitezna 7, Prague, Czech Republic (in Mala Strana)
Pricing: Main dishes range from CZK 159-399 (US$7-18)

 

Kreperie U Kajetana 
Address: Nerudova 17, Prague, Czech Republic (in Mala Strana)
Pricing: Trdelniks are CZK 60 (US$2.70)

 

21 thoughts on “The Best Meals We Ate in Prague

  1. The photos of Prague are beautiful and everything looks so clean
    and neat. The city looks great with really nice views from the hillsides.
    I would like to try some of those deserts as they looked pretty good.

    • Thanks Dad! Prague is remarkably clean considering how many tourists it gets. I think you would have enjoyed that warm pear strudel 🙂

  2. Quite frankly they all sound good to me. I’ll be heading to Prague next weekend. I’ll have to see if we have time to fit one of these in. Timely.
    Corinne recently posted…Rainy Day in BorneoMy Profile

    • If you have time for only one, make it the Golden Pear! I’ll be interested to hear if you discover any other treats while you’re there. Enjoy!

  3. That baked goat cheese and beet salad is right up my alley, and I love that you can order crepes for breakfast everywhere! And I totally understand being underwhelmed by a country’s cuisine…quite honestly, we were not all that blown away by the dishes in Southeast Asia (and we really did try! everything from local street food to the higher end places!)…it was ok, just nothing we would rave about.
    Jess @UsedYorkCity recently posted…Three YearsMy Profile

    • We’re just not going to fall in love with every cuisine we try, and that’s okay. We all have different palates and like different things. That’s what makes life interesting! What I find amazing is that the European countries are so close geographically, and yet so different culturally. Hungary has some of the best food we’ve tried and it couldn’t be more different from its Czech cousin!

  4. I remember my meals in Prague being very heavy in general, and pork being pretty much inescapable: even the McDonald’s in the Czech Republic had a special sandwich called the “McCountry” which featured a pork patty instead of beef! I do love pork, but it did get to be a bit much and, yes, the food can be quite stodgy at times. I didn’t have extremely high expectations going into the Czech Republic and I have to say as my first exposure to “eastern European” cuisine, I think it was better than I would have thought. I’d certainly be up for trying other countries’ cuisines, if you think Czech food is some of the most uninspiring!

    Also, I love that final photo of you with the pastry! Adorable! (And awesome manicure!)
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted…Mini Budget Breakdown: Paris Travel CostsMy Profile

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who found the Czech food stodgy. I love pork, too, but in smaller doses. We much preferred the vibrant Hungarian cuisine and the more refined dishes of Austria. Even the Baltic cuisine is more interesting thanks to Scandinavian influences. We’re going to Tallinn and Helsinki soon and I can’t wait to delve even deeper into the local specialties.

      And gel polish is my new favorite indulgence – it lasts a month so it’s actually quite a bargain!

  5. I kind of hit a travel wall when I got to Prague and because I had my own little apartment, I ate most dinners at home with some good, comforting spag bol! That said, I really liked being able to dine in some really nice palace-y type places, but kind of on a splurge… sigh.
    James recently posted…Nothing Hidden, Everything SacredMy Profile

    • We really developed a taste for Hungarian cuisine and its liberal use of paprika. The flavors are so complex and unlike any we’ve tasted elsewhere. And I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the food in the Baltic countries, thanks to its unique blend of Nordic, Russian and German influences. Happy eating!

  6. Czech food definitely has a reputation for stodgy but there are a few places that are working on changing that. The Lokal chain of pubs are reliable and inexpensive. They place a huge emphasis on the quality of ingredients and are aiming for a “grandma’s cooking” style. There’s one on Dlouha street, just off Old Town Square and another in Mala Strana, a short walk from Charles Bridge. 3 tram stops from the center, one of my favorite places in the whole city is Krystal Bistro. International dished and some reimagined Czech classics. The sous vide beef neck svickova and the duck confit with dumplings are perfect examples of updated Czech recipes.
    Charlie recently posted…Architect’s Choice – 10 Prague Architectural StylesMy Profile

    • If only I could have chatted with you before our trip! I will definitely be filing this away for my next visit to Prague – that you for the tips!!

  7. The trdelník is originally a Hungarian (Szekler, more precisely) pastry, from Transylvania. Just FYI. 🙂

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trdeln%C3%ADk

    But it’s not a big surprise you found it in Prague, too, during the Austro-Hungarian Empire the 3 countries’ kitchens affected each other.

    • Thanks for the information, Gabor! I somehow made two trips to Budapest and missed this unique treat. But I’ll now be on the lookout when I’m next exploring the region!

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