A recap of my 3 days in Prague – where to eat and what to see, including an awesome Prague Food Tour!Prague was my next stop after Copenhagen — a quick 1.5 hour flight from Denmark to Czech Republic. I stayed right in Old Town Square which was a huuuuuge mistake. I thought it would be a good idea to stay somewhere central given that I was traveling by myself but after being woken up at 2:30am every night to some drunko playing the accordion outside my window, I realized I should’ve stayed somewhere a little more off the beaten path.
When I first arrived to Prague, I was craving very non-traditional Prague food, i.e. a salad. I went to a place my vegetarian friend had recommended called Lehká Hlava, or Clear Head. It’s like this yogi oasis tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Old Town Square. And they have something for everyone, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or eat all the things. I got their salad with warm sundried tomatoes, melty Parmesan, smoked tofu, roasted garlic and capers. It totally hit the spot.I took a free walking tour after lunch to learn all about Prague’s history. It’s crazy to think that the Czech Republic has only been an independent country since 1993!
After the tour, I was hungry for a snack and kept spotting these shops selling this delicious looking treat everywhere all over Old Town. I decided I needed to check it out to see what all the hype was about. Turns out the treat is called trdelnik and it’s basically a traditional Czech pastry made with rolled dough that’s wrapped around a stick, grilled and covered with cinnamon sugar and walnuts. You can then opt to have it filled with your choice of fruit, ice cream, chocolate sauce, caramel, you name it.
I opted for fresh strawberries, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. It was heavenly. Although so freaking hard to eat. I was walking through streets crowded with tourists trying to eat this thing and instead was walking around with whipped cream and chocolate all over my nose and face haha. #WorthItThoAfter my snack, I strolled along the Vltava River and watched the sun set. DAY TWO:
The next day was my Prague Food Tour, which Eating Europe Food Tours so graciously comped for me in exchange for this review (but as always, opinions are my own!). This was the only food tour I took while I was in Europe and I loved it! Also, Eating Europe Food Tours is offering a 10% discount on their tours to TFD readers! They also have tours in Rome, Florence, London and Amsterdam, with more destinations on the way. Enter code EVA at checkout. Our first stop was the cutest little gingerbread shop. They pick this as the first stop to meet at because it’s pretty hard to miss! Owned by two sisters-in-law, Pernickuv sen is single-handedly reviving Prague’s centuries-old gingerbread tradition. Gingerbread has been in Prague for about 700 years. Armenian in origin, gingerbread used to only be for royals and wealthy because it was expensive to get spices from India. We tasted three different traditional cookies, one made with gingerbread, plum paste and walnuts, another with poppy seeds and plum paste called poppy seed kolache, and the last which was basically like a Mexican wedding cake — apparently many heritages have this type of cookie!Our next stop was in Gourmet Passage, an indoor passageway between two streets, which contains two popular culinary shops we tasted samples from, Naše Maso and Sisters. Naše Maso is a local artisan butcher where all the foodies go to buy their meats. You can buy meat to cook at home or you can try some of their menu items like their steak, hamburger, beef tartare, ham sandwich, etc. We got to try the Prague ham, which is brine cured and smoked soft ham and their beef ham which was like corned beef, slightly smoked. We also tried two types of sausages – a bacon sausage with a hint of garlic flavor and a Kielbasa. All of this was paired with their house mustard, delicious rye wheat bread and pickles. And if you’re reading this and like wait, you ate meat?! Then be sure to go back to read my post on why I stopped being vegetarian after 18 years. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the sausages but I did enjoy the Prague and Beef Hams.Across the passageway from Naše Maso is Sisters, owned by Hana Michopulu, aka the “Nigella Lawson of Prague”. The owner started the farmer’s market movement in Prague not too long ago and is known as a culinary icon there. Sisters serves the classic chlebíčky, or open-faced sandwiches with a gourmet twist, using fresh, local ingredients. We tried three different sandwiches – one with Prague Ham, potato salad, egg and mayo. It was reallllly good (this was more of a traditional variety).And then one with beet yogurt puree, goat cheese and caramelized walnuts. And the last with celeriac, homemade mayo, black pepper and tarragon. Both were delicious. Hats off to the Nigella Lawson of Prague!Prague is known as the city of 100 towers and we went up to the top of one of them for our next stop on the tour. Restaurant Zvonice is a well-kept secret of Prague (even for locals), serving up the best Old Bohemian soup in the world. The soup may not look like much but I swear to you it was one of the tastiest (if not the tastiest!) soups of my life. It was made with chanterelles, potatoes, sauerkraut, shallots, beef broth, cream, venison sausage, basil oil and sour cream. Apparently mushroom foraging in the forest is a very popular sport in Prague. I think I need to try and recreate this soup for the blog soon as we approach colder months ahead.
The next stop on the tour was a hidden courtyard cafe with a secret garden. Styl & Interier is a haven of calm in Prague’s New Town. It’s also a home decor shop so you can have your cake and buy a table too. Tastings here change seasonally, but they always serve delicious appetizers typically with a Czech tipple!
Black currants were in-season while we were there so we got to taste their black currant wine shipped from Slovakia. It was sweet and tart at the same time, comparable to cassis in France. It’s served chilled and is 11% alcohol. Of course, we couldn’t just drink at this stop.We were served one of my favorite dishes on the tour (besides that soup!). It was lamb shoulder slowly cooked with red wine, carrots and parsnips. Served alongside some creamy mashed potatoes. Talk about a comfort food meal to serve on a cold winter’s night! Our last stop on the tour (like 4 1/2 hours later lol) was Cafe Louvre. Bearing the name of the world famous gallery, Cafe Louvre has been in business since 1902. We tasted svíčková, which is a traditional Sunday evening meal consisting of Czech (bread) dumplings, braised beef and cranberry compote. The sauce is made of pureed carrots and parsnips, with cream of course. And yes, that’s fresh whipped cream on top of the lemon slice there, with the cranberry compote underneath.And of course, we couldn’t complete a food tour without dessert! We had a slice of jablečny závin or apple strudel.Needless to say I was ready for a nap after this food tour so I went back to my room to rest for a bit before heading out to walk around and explore more. I went to visit the John Lennon Wall, which was across the Charles Bridge. After Lennon was murdered in 1980, an image of him was painted on a wall across from the French embassy along with Beatles lyrics. Despite the police painting over it several times, they couldn’t manage to keep it clean for very long. Today, it’s covered with graffiti from tourists and very little of Lennon remains on it.I walked across the less touristy bridge (not the Charles, which was always swarmed!) and just stood there for a while taking in the sunset and the views.Then I headed over to Marina Restaurant, right on the river for an aperol spritz and the rest of the sunset.I wasn’t too hungry after the food tour so I got a salad with some shrimp and avocado for dinner and hit the spot.After dinner I went to meet up with some people I met on my walking tour. We had both heard about Anonymous Bar (where the servers dress up with masks like V for Vendetta). You have to call ahead for a table but when we got there and walked inside we realized it was a SAUNA because most places in Prague, especially the bars do not have air conditioning and it was really hot while we were there so we decided to leave and go somewhere else. Also, no one was wearing masks because it was too damn hot! Hemingway Bar is supposed to be nice for cocktails but they had a waiting list for a table so we walked down the street to their sister bar called Cash Only, aptly named because you guessed it they only accept cash.
On my last day, I walked across the bridge to have breakfast at a cafe that was recommended by a couple different people. Cafe Savoy is known for its classic atmosphere and decor, resembling cafes of the First Czechoslovakian Republic.
I had yogurt with granola and fruit and breads with butter and jam…on a fancy silver platter, of course.After breakfast, I walked up the hill to Prague Castle. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Prague Castle is the largest castle complex in the world. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it consists of palaces, cathedrals and buildings from various architectural styles. I probably spent about three hours total here (including 1/2 hour waiting in line). Pro tip: Try to go early in the morning or later in the evening if you can to avoid the crowds.I purchased the audio guide and wandered around, getting lost in the history of this place.After Prague Castle, I set off further up the hill to find this brewery in a monastery I was told about. When I got to the monastery, there was a sign that said “Monastery Beer” pointing in one direction. I followed the sign and came upon a beer garden, which I assumed had to be it because how many monastery beers can one place have? The answer: apparently more than one. I didn’t end up at the OG monastery brewery and actually saw it on my way back down the hill. I guess it would’ve helped to look at pictures beforehand :). It’s called Strahov Monastery Brewery. Further up the hill past the posing “monastery beer garden”, is Prague Tower or “Petrin Hill and Observatory Tower”. It was built in 1891 as a mini version of Paris’s Eiffel Tower for the Jubilee Exhibition. You can climb up to the top (for a fee) to see views of Prague below. That night for dinner I tried to get into Lokal, which was recommended by our food tour guide. They cook up classic Czech cuisine but using ingredients only from regional producers, like the butcher Nase Maso! Unfortunately, they were fully booked for the evening so make sure you make a reservation for there the day before!
I did a quick Google search for the best goulash in Prague because I didn’t want to leave without trying it and found Mlejnice Restaurant. I tried beef goulash and a potato dish baked with broccoli mushrooms and lots of butter and cheese :).
The next morning before I caught the train to Berlin, I got some breakfast and snacks at Bakeshop in Old Town, only a few minute walk from my hotel in Old Town Square. I wanted one of everything – it all looked so delicious.
That’s a wrap for my 3 days in Prague. Stay tuned for recaps of Berlin, Munich and Salzburg!
Tell me, have you ever been to Prague? What was your favorite part?