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Prague, Czech Republic


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I haven't been in Prague for over 30 years but there are several places that are still there that you should definitely try. (I do have friends who have been there recently.)

U Stare Radnice (in Stare Mesto, near the Castle) has pretty good food and even thought there are lots of tourists, it isn't too expensive.

You should defintely go to Kavarna Slavia, not for the coffee or food, both of which are only ordinary and over priced, but because of the history. This is where Vaclav Havel and other dissidents formented revolution as Prague 77. the rest is history.

U Fleku is probably Prague's oldest and best known beer hall. Napoleon drank here. Again touristy, but good food and good dark (only dark) beer.

Otherwise, just find a nice cafe and sit and watch the people. Also, check out Prague Post, @ praguepost.cz for a good dining guide to Prague.

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I'm envious as I remember my time in Prague very fondly (although I did gain weight quite easily there!!). I was there in 1997 so my recollections won't be all that helpful.

What I will tell you is learn how to say "knedlicky" (dumplings - not the filled kind, delicious), "pivo" (beer) and "pivnice" (PEEV-neet-sa; beer hall). I seem to have misplaced the Czech word for sausage somewhere in the deep dark corners of my mind.

I was in the Czech Republic to visit a friend, Jiri, from Dubi who was living on Vietnamska Street (Praha 6) while playing pro hockey in Beroun. I got to travel around with him a bit, check out local restaurants in two of the aforementioned towns and also try two iterations of Czech home cuisine. In Dubi, it got so that if I saw his non-English speaking mother reach for her massive soup pot, I would groan inwardly. Every meal for her (and many Czechs) begins with soup and is followed by mountains of other stuff. Like I said, I gained weight including five pounds one week.

My favorite meal of the trip was at a pivnice. The menu was entirely in Czech so, pointing, I asked Jiri "what's this?" "Skinny sausage," he said. "What's that?" I asked. "Fat sausage," Jiri answered. When I asked "How about that?" and Jiri said "Fat sausage with sauerkraut," I quit asking and told Jiri to order whatever he thought was best. We ate (and drank) well.

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While Italian is very big in Prague this competes for the title of best local restaurant: http://www.restaurant-david.cz/en/about.php Prague is a truly beautiful, historic city and despite the horrible exchange rate for the US dollar it is still a relative bargain compared to, say, Paris or London. Also, while there, give consideration to crystal. The Czech Republic's (i.e. Moser Glass) is among the finest in the world.

On this page: http://www.restaurant-david.cz/en/index.php Click on "more details" and it will give you a 360 degree panarama of the room.

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U Fleku is probably Prague's oldest and best known beer hall. Napoleon drank here. Again touristy, but good food and good dark (only dark) beer.

Go here. Refuse the shots of random liquor that they will try to foist on you. Believe me. You don't want any. But I remember the beer being quite good. I didn't eat, but here's the menu

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Just go, sit on the old town square all day, and drink (and eat). Start at 11 a.m., and stay until night has fallen, or at least until dusk. Really. It doesn't get much better than that. There is no need to see the prague castle that dates to the 1300s. Pictures are available on the web. If you have time, rent a car and drive to postcard-beautiful cesky krumlov, where you will find good food, friendly people, and beautiful sites.

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Refuse the shots of random liquor that they will try to foist on you. Believe me. You don't want any.

However, you can try real Absinthe while in Prague. Well, at least you could 10 years ago when I was there. You should try it once-- if just for the sheer effort it takes to get the fiery liquid down your throat.

Is the Chapeau Rouge still in operation?

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While Italian is very big in Prague this competes for the title of best local restaurant: http://www.restaurant-david.cz/en/about.php Prague is a truly beautiful, historic city and despite the horrible exchange rate for the US dollar it is still a relative bargain compared to, say, Paris or London. Also, while there, give consideration to crystal. The Czech Republic's (i.e. Moser Glass) is among the finest in the world.

On this page: http://www.restaurant-david.cz/en/index.php Click on "more details" and it will give you a 360 degree panarama of the room.

I'm not sure if I've become spoiled (probably) by my dining elsewhere, but I have to say I wasn't blown away. We ate there last night and our conclusion was, the chef there knows what he's trying to do, but none of his dishes get there. And some just miss entirely. An asparagus "capuccino" was overly sweet and asparagus didn't even seem like the primary vegetable; a millefeuille of crab and crawfish was thick with mayonnaise; quail was overcooked and salty; and a warm chocolate cake was dried out. (Apparently the scallops with balsamic vinegar were good, though...) The room was pretty, and I was impressed with the menu descriptions, but sadly, not as impressed with execution.

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I was there in July and ate at Lokal from that NY times article, definitely worthwhile. Mostly of course, I drank and for that I recommend Hemingway's Bar (make sure you go here), Bugsy Bar and Bar & Books all had great cocktails and bartenders. Also there is a monastery the name of which escapes me on top of the same hill as the Prague castle where they brew their own beer and serve really good traditional Czech food.

We will be in Prague for a few days before Christmas. Any recent recommendations are welcome.

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Was just there a few weeks ago. In the square in front of the Palladium mall they have spit-roasted pork, sausages, cheeses, and sweet dough rings baked over coals. The rings taste great with some of their glogg - very yeasty. They have a similar set up on certain days in the same square as the astrological clock.

ETA: Don't forget to try the Becherovka, and if you can find it there's a red-label Becherovka that you'll struggle to find outside of the Czech Republic.

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The street food in Prague was wonderful. Some sort of porky, lovely, smoked, roasted ham that is served by weight and is yummy. Sausages. Fried spirals of potato. Cinnamon drough on rods cooked on open flame. Go to the big square and follow your nose. I also enjoyed all the Czech beers. You can buy beer in the square.

i found a cool basement level place between the square and the Jewish cemetery. Wish I could remember street names. If you follow a fairly direct tourist route from the square to the cemetery, look for a place just off a main street with rough-hewn tables and benches. The outdoor seating is at street level, and the restaurant is below. It's kid of a ritzy street, and the outdoor rustic setting should be obvious as different from the rest of the places. Order the ribs. You will get a huge pile of tiny pork ribs, simply grilled, with pickles and bread. Heaven.

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I've never been to Prague, but am hoping to visit some time in the next year or so. I expect you can eat very well in Prague, especially if you like central European food, which I do. It's not opera season now, but if you go when it is, Prague has one of the greatest opera seasons in the world, with major productions in three different, very grand opera houses, the oldest of which, the Theatre of the Estates, is where Mozart conducted the world premiere of Don Giovanni, and where I believe they do performances of that opera every year. I'd be surprised if you can't get champagne and caviar during the entr'acte.

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A generation ago, when the ruble was collapsing, you could see an opera in Prague for a dime.

If you like Pisner - or, I should say Plzen - the real, authentic stuff - Prague is the home of Pilsner Urquell and Budvar (the original Budweiser) - I'm not that current on them, but they're supposed to be night-and-day different there than here. Beer in Prague is as much a part of the culture as it is in London or Munich - first day there, get to Wenceslaus Square, grab a table at a cafe, order 1/2 liter, and contemplate how cool it is what you're doing.

Sorry I don't have anything more specific - I *do* have a good tourbook (a bit dated now) that you're welcome to borrow.

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6 hours ago, Mark Dedrick said:

Anyone been recently? 

It's been several years since I was in Prague. However, a friend who is from there and still visits regularly provided some advice last December for another friend who was visiting Prague. It's a fairly long document. I don't know if I should post 2 pages here, or email it to you.

Are you looking for general food advice or tourism advice too? 

 

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I was in Prague in January. I highly recommend the Charles Bridge Palace Hotel if you want to stay in a pretty fancy hotel. Nearby, the even fancier Pachtuv Palace/Smetana Hotel has a wonderful little restaurant called the Café La Crème, where I had probably my best meal in Prague, a dish of grilled veal liver with an oniony-winey sauce and tiny little potatoes with little dollops of house-made mayonnaise for dipping, and a couple of glasses of excellent local red wine. Also a view of the river and the Charles Bridge and the castle across the river, along with a sleek, lovely interior and quietly excellent service provided by handsome waiters.

And yes, go to Kavarna Slavia, which is a charming place in its own right, apart from its history. It's directly across the street from the National Theater, and commands superb views. I had a bowl of very good soup there, which cost next to nothing, and gave me squatting rights for a couple of blissful, peaceful hours. Then if there's opera on, you have merely to totter across the street to claim your place.

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We absolutely loved Prague. What a gorgeous city, and incredibly walkable (although the hike up to the castle is tiring). A few food/drink highlights:

Le Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise - This was our splurge in Prague, and was by far the best meal of our European trip (Iceland, Amsterdam and Prague). I'm doing this off the top of my head, but we went with the six course tasting menu, which was approximately $100, and the wine pairings (about another $50). It was a fantastic experience across the board. The food was interesting and inventive, service was incredible, and we really enjoyed the all Czech wine pairings. It was worth the splurge.

Lokal - This is an enormous beer hall across the street from Le Degustation where we had dinner one evening. We loved it. If I'm remembering correctly we had the pork schnitzel and the pork knuckle accompanied by pilsner, and we both loved our meals. Very cool experience. 

U Hrocha - We ended up here while looking for food on our hike up to the castle, and it was wonderful. I don't think there was a single tourist in the whole joint. We had pilsner, sausage and potato salad, and I think the total for both of us was less than $8. Just a great pub. 

Kavarna Slavia - We were starving when we first arrived in Prague, and ended up here as it was near our hotel. The ambiance is fantastic, and the food is at least decent. It's worth stopping in. 

U Zlateho Tygra (Golden Tiger) - Very cool beer hall in the middle of old town. If your experience is anything like ours you'll enter, look around in a very confused manner (a placard that says "reserved" doesn't appear to mean what I think it does in Prague), eventually sit down and have a very large bald man immediately deposit two gigantic glasses of Pilsner Urquell in front of you. 

Hemingway Bar - At some point in Prague we grew slightly tired of beer, and went looking for cocktails. This was a very cool spot, with an interesting menu and good cocktails. 

Cash Only Bar - This is the sister establishment to the Hemingway Bar, and is located just around the corner. Also great cocktails, and also worth visiting. 

Bonvivant's - This place was located just a couple of doors down from our hotel (Unitas). They had fantastic cocktails, although the place was essentially empty every time we walked by. But worth stopping in. 

Aloha - We were curious what a Hawaiian Tiki bar in Prague might look like so we stopped in. It was fun, but nothing special. 

 

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In Prague, we had dinner at Milada, a quick lunch at Kantyna, a bite to eat at Cafe Lounge, and a tour with Taste of Prague.  We considered Field and Le Degustation, but thought the menu at Milada looked the best. 

Milada was just wonderful - beautiful, tranquil, amazing food, good service, all at less than $100 including tip for a 9 course dinner for two with a few non-alcoholic drinks.  It's easily better (as an overall experience) than 3 of the 4 Viennese 2-stars that we ate at.

I really enjoyed our Taste of Prague tour.  Our guide Martin (his day job is a butcher at artisanal butchery Nase Maso, before that he was a psychiatrist in Vienna) was friendly and personable and thoughtful, very enthused and knowledgeable about food, and we had a lovely small group of 7 people.  The food and drinks were very delicious and left us plenty full and happily buzzed.  Their website and guide book is smart and their recommendations were spot on for us.  I very highly recommend this tour for anyone finding themselves in Prague.  

Kantyna served generous portions of excellent carpaccio and steak tartare for less than $10.  The steak tartare portion alone is enough for a normal size lunch.  They also served cooked meats and let's you pick meats from the butcher case to cook to order.

Cafe Lounge is a nice space and we liked the dishes we had there.  It seems like a good place for a midday or afternoon break.  

 

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On 11/9/2018 at 8:20 AM, astrid said:

Kantyna served generous portions of excellent carpaccio and steak tartare for less than $10.  The steak tartare portion alone is enough for a normal size lunch.  They also served cooked meats and let's you pick meats from the butcher case to cook to order

 

Recently returned from a short visit to Prague and Kantyna is still a great spot for meat lovers. It is a butcher shop in front where you can pick out chartucherie or a steak for them to cook to order for you, then you head back and order food from a hot food counter with huge, good steak tartare, popular carpaccio (we didn't get it but saw lots of orders), brisket slices (really good), chopped beef (only ok), and a bunch of pork options I didn't try. Also key is here you can get a platter of roast vegetables that are very tasty. It is hard to find non-cabbage vegetables at traditional Czech places. They of course also have a good beer menu which you can order at the beer section or go sit and a waiter will bring you drinks. At the end after you are stuffed, you take your ticket which has been stamped for every order, and pay as you leave.

Kantyna is one of over a dozen restaurants owned by the Ambiente group which have their own foodie map of all their places in Prague. We went to several and all were very good. You could easily stick solely to this map and eat/drink great the whole time in the city. We went to their micro-brewery for good beers, their coffee shop for nice coffee and tea plus good apricot cake by the slice, and got good strudel and pastries from Cafe Savoy their very popular breakfast sit down restaurant (which we did take away since we didn't know reservations were needed for weekend brunch).

We also had really good but oddly described dinner at Cafe Imperial Next Door. I think the odd descriptions were less than perfect English translations. This is the more modern Cafe Imperial across the street from the famous original but with a more upscale vibe. My brother's roast duck was delicious and sliced beef in creamy sauce with bread dumplings (sounds boring but it was hearty and great with a thick brown sauce). Slices of cake were good too but I would say the savories were better than the sweets.

We stayed in Mala Strana/Lesser Town and the front desk of our hotel told me to check out Beseda around the corner for my first meal in town. This bar restaurant was cheap and has interesting beer options - you pick your amount of foam from zero, quarter, half, or all foam and I had a great roast duck with sweet cabbage and both regular bread dumplings and the even better carlsbad-style bread dumplings. Also upstairs is an old school jazz club that has all different kinds of music now. I ended up at a pretty good blues rock show for $10 after i saw all of these people streaming in. 

In the Karlin neighborhood, we went to Bistro Nejen for drinks and appetizers. Great smallish wine bar with a small foodie menu. The smoked eggs and mushrooms were good and the potatos swimming in a cream sauce were excellent.

The main tourist dessert here is the Treldnick - bready doughnut-like chimney cake. They are ok but make sure you get a fresh made one that is still steaming, much better than the stale-ish one we first tried at the bottom of the castle in a tourist carryout.

We also went to the great outdoor farmer's market on Saturday morning along the river, south of the Old Town. It was huge with all kinds of produce, baked goods, some crafts, drinks, etc. We didn't get any but very interesting to see the homemade booze and wine being sold in reused soda bottles or growler-like refill your own. We ate some good strudels and excellent hot, spiced apple cider that was pressed onsite at the farmer's market.

 

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