Czech Republic Food and Drink
Traditional Czech food is best described as hearty. It's dominated by meat, served with either bread, potatoes, or bread and potato dumplings, and slathered in sauce. The influences from neighbouring Austria and Hungary (and to a lesser extent Poland, Germany and Russia) are plain to see.
Czech cuisine is also delicious and filling, and a new wave of Prague chefs are offering up increasingly light and creative takes on Bohemian classics. When it comes to drink, beer is the accompaniment of choice, and it’s one of the few places in the world where it’s not frowned upon to sip a frothy Pilsner over breakfast.
Vepřo-knedlo-zelo: This omnipresent Czech classic consists of roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut.
Goulash: A thick beef stew with a rich onion base, usually served with bread dumplings.
Svíčková na smetaně: This strangely-satisfying sweet-savoury mash-up consists of pot-roasted beef tenderloin and vegetables with a sweet cream sauce, topped with cranberries.
Smažený sýr: Edam-style cheese covered in breadcrumbs, deep-fried, then served with a side of French fries and tangy tartar sauce.
Česneková polévka: A water-based garlic soup with melted cheese and croutons.
Bramborák: Pancake of grated potato with egg, breadcrumbs and garlic.
Tatarský biftek: A Czech take on steak tartare, this dish is made with seasoned raw beef and egg yolk.
Budweiser Budvar: A world-famous Czech beer, the fight for naming rights with the US brand is still brewing, but this is the victor where taste is concerned.
Vánoční kapr: Slices of carp covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried – a Christmas staple.
Ovocné knedlíky: A sweet dumpling filled with fresh strawberries, plum, apricot or fruit preserves, typically topped with melting butter and a dusting of sugar.
Pilsner Urquell: This popular beer brand spawned a beer style named after it (pilsner), and is still served in most Czech drinking establishments.
Wine: Moravian wine available in white (such as Mopr, Pálava and Hibernal) red (Cabernet Moravia and Neronet) as well as rose and sparkling.
Becherovka: A herbal bitters spirit with a cinnamon-like taste from Karlovy Vary.
Slivovice: A potent plum brandy, though other fruit varieties are also available.
Fernet: A bitter and aromatic, liquorice-like spirit usually served as a digestif.
Things to know
If you only have a small appetite, and don't need anything warm, head to a bar. Almost every drinking establishment within the Czech Republic, even those with no food menu, will serve either pickled sausage or cheese.
It is customary to tip 10% for good service in a restaurant, though up to 15% may be added to your bill in the touristy areas of Prague.