Most people travel to Prague for beer and typical Czech*** foods. But, when travelers stay a little longer, and, even better, explore outside of Prague, a whole new world opens up. Travelers learn that Czech Republic cuisine is not just beer and dumplings. Although, there’s some of that too! Because Czechs and travelers both can enjoy traditional Czech food, and some amazing contemporary options. The food in Czech Republic is full of surprises.
In this posts we will share some Czech traditional dishes, and provide a list of food to try in the Czech Republic. In addition, we will recommend a few places to eat both traditional Czech Republic food, as well as more contemporary takes on typical Czech dishes.
***Recently, the Czech Republic started to use the name Czechia. I guess that means that this post can now help people find Czechia food. The Czech Republic was also once known as Czechoslovakia, when it was joined with what is now Slovakia. So many of the more traditional Czech dishes could also be referred to as Czechoslovakia cuisine or Czechoslovakia food dishes. Some of this is really just nomenclature. That said, many of the Czech meals today are so very different from the traditional Czechoslovakian cuisine from the Communist era.
Find the Best Czech Restaurants in Prague – Updated 2018
Typical Czech Food in Prague
I, like most people, probably think of three things when wondering about Czech Republic local food: meat, potatoes, and beer. Similar to the traditional cuisine in Ireland, this has been the case for Czech foods, or traditional “Czechoslovakia food”. And, when I am in the Czech Republic, particularly when it is only for a week, I want to find Czech Republic traditional food. I want pork, potatoes, and beer. Our first few days in the country, we did just that.
At Pivovar Národní, enjoy a Czech famous food – a humongous roasted pork knee (known as pork knuckle in other countries, including Poland). It doesn’t get more traditional than pork knee in the Czech Republic. Crisp skin on the outside, tender on the inside, and as huge as can be. It’s a favorite typical Czech dish of ours, and one we try to have every time we are in the Czech Republic, or even Germany.
Most pivovar, or breweries, serve a mix of Pilsner Urquell and Kozel, two of the most famous Czech beers. Pivovar Nardoni serves its own local draft beer. Not being a craft beer person, their unfiltered beer was pretty good. I was there more for a peek inside Czech national food. And, Nardoni might not be considered one of the best Czech restaurants in Prague, but it’s popular and consistently good.
In addition to our pork knee, served simply with mustard, sauerkraut, and an enormous knife sticking upright, we tried one of the traditional Czech dishes that I had yet to try in Prague – the Czech version of beef tartare.
Normally, when I have eaten beef tartare it is artfully prepared by a chef and served ready to eat. Traditionally, the Czech version of beef tartare is prepared artfully, tableside, and in this case by our friend, Charlie. A raw piece of garlic is rubbed on warm toast and then spread across the Czech bread. It was more like beef jam than typical beef, and it was fabulous. I only wish I could have had this version of tartare one more time in the Czech Republic. This should be on any must eat in Czech Republic list.
Learn to Cook Czech Recipes at Home: The Ultimate Czech Cookbook
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Typical Czech Food Outside of Prague
In Mikulov, we tasted traditional Jewish cuisine at Chef Marcel Ihnacak’s Boutique Hotel Tanzberg. The Jewish menu suggests they are serving the recipes that were served in that neighborhood, decades before. I tried a traditional shabbat soulet, which from the name of the dish seemed to be a casserole served during the sabbath. It included hearty grains, white beans, tender duck meat, and tangy pickle pieces on top. It was one of the best things I ate in Mikulov.
While tasting Czech wine at Pod Kozim Hradkem in Mikulov, we ate a hearty, giant, stuffed goose, served with tangy red cabbage and soft bread dumplings. I love dumplings, whether they come in the form of Hong Kong dim sum or Italian pasta. But Czech dumplings are a little different, often made from either potato or bread rather than flour. A traditional Czech dumplings recipe has the ultimate goal of turning simple, cheap ingredients into hearty fare. It’s just another version of typical Czech Republic food: meat and potatoes. It’s just these potatoes are in dumpling form! It might be one of the lest famous Czech foods because it comes on the side the meat, but I crave it!
After tasting Czech beer in Plzen, I had one of my favorite traditional Czech dishes, roasted duck, red cabbage, and (more) Czech bread dumplings at Jdelini Listek. Eric can eat Czech sausage until the cows come home, but the simple and elegant duck was something to write home about! I searched for it on other Czech restaurant menus, but it was a little elusive. It is a great food to eat in Czech Republic – if you see it order it!
Yes, most of these dishes included traditional Czech food: meat, potatoes, some cabbage, and a side of beer. And, I loved it all, even if I could feel the kilos added to my mid-section each day. And, I loved learning about the Czech traditions
Book this Czech Food Prague Cooking Class
When Czechs Eat Fancy Food
More recently, though, there has been a renaissance in the Czech food scene. As was explained to us by Jan, of Taste of Prague, creative Czech Republic cuisine was essentially banned during communism in the Czech Republic. Instead, the government issued standardized Czech cookbooks, so that everyone would be cooking the same cuisine. It’s only been recently that Czech cuisine has taken off. Chefs are offering unique interpretations of local Czech foods, or using traditional Czech ingredients in more refined ways.
We ate at three lovely restaurants while in Brno, each unique from one another, but each also demonstrates the future of Czech cuisine. First, Chef Lukas Necas, of Simplé Family Restaurant, offered dishes that look more like artwork than Czech food, with a focus on traditional ingredients, like rabbit and offal. Unfortunately, Chef Lukas closed down Simple shortly after we dined there.
The highlight of our meal was a molecular gastronomy cucumber panna cotta. I’ve eaten meals with a focus on molecular gastronomy, including some of the tasty bites we tried at Can Roca in Girona. But, it was truly a unique experience to see it prepared in the center of the restaurant.
At Chef Jan Kaplan’s Pavillon, we had some of the most sophisticated cuisine during our Czech food tour, loaded with decadent ingredients. One of my favorite dishes was a wild “bear” garlic Czech soup. It’s simplicity leant some credibility to its flavor.
Another great meal in Brno, and the farthest thing from traditional Czech food we ate, was a high end sushi and Japanese inspired meal at Koishi. Just watching the sushi chef prepare a platter for us made me feel I was light years away from the Czech Republic, even though the meal was paired with Czech wines.
Back in Prague, we tried an amazingly creamy foie gras at Manes Restaurant, with a view over the Vlatva River. They also served a duck crown, or essentially, an entire duck, carved table side, on a wheeled cart. This could be one of the most elaborate dishes and some of the best Czech food in Prague. Even if it is not an every day Czech dish.
Although not at the level of London, New York, or San Francisco, the Czech chefs we met are making great strides, and offering high end international and Czech cuisine at very reasonable prices. It’s definitely worth it to step away from the traditional Czech food and indulge in a tasting menu or two when traveling and eating in the Czech Republic.
Learn how to cook Czech desserts and Czech pastry: Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés
Where to Eat Traditional Czech Food in Prague
Pivovar Národní (Národní 8, Prague 1): Just a few blocks off the Vlatva River, and near the opera house, is the Národní brewery, with one of the best pork knees in the city, and a large beer garden in the rear.
Kozlovna U Paukerta (Národní 981/17, Prague 1): Almost directly across the street from Pivovar Národní, and popular during sporting events. They serve Kozel, the Czech beer with the goat mascot. They serve dishes inspired by traditional Czech food recipes, as well as western ones, with some amazing (and giant) ribs.
Lokál: Our go-to-place for good beer, a great environment, and reliable traditional Czech food. Lokál is owned by the Ambiente group, a local Czech restaurant company. There are Lokál locations all over Prague, and even one in Brno. But, our favorite is Lokál Dlouhááá, in Prague 1, Stare Mesto, Old Town. Find the non-smoking section in the rear. It’s probably one of the most famous Czech food restaurants in Prague.
To whet your appetite even more, check out our YouTube Video on Czech Food – What Czechs Eat:
Looking For Unique Food, Beer and Wine Tours in the Czech Republic?
Looking for a unique way to learn about traditional Czech food in Prague, or farther afield in the rest of the country? What about an interesting beer tour, or even a Czech wine tour? Here are our recommendations for Czech food tours to learn more about local Czech food and traditions. Most of these focus more on the traditional food of Czech Republic than the more contemporary Czech cuisine.
|Tour||Duration||City||Price From||Book It|
|Private Prague Bike Tour - Up to 15 People||1.5 Hours||Prague||$438|
|Bohemian Wine Tasting 4x4 Day Trip||7 Hours||Prague||$211|
|Prague Cooking Class & Market Tour||4 Hours||Prague||$157|
|Prague Food Tour With Local Foodies||4 Hours||Prague||$118|
|Mixology Bar Tour||3 Hours||Prague||$118|
|South Moravia Wine Trip From Brno||Flexible||Brno||$148|
|Pilsner Brewery Tour & Beer Tasting||5.5 Hours||Pilsen||$62|
Hopefully, this post and the recommended tours above can help you answer the question “What is typical Czech food” so that you can enjoy your trip to Prague and the Czech Republic.
*This post contains compensated links. Find more info in my DISCLAIMER.
Where to Stay in Prague
FAQs: Traveling to Taste to Food of the Czech Republic?
Where to Stay in Prague: Get more hotel recommendations here.
What to do in the Czech Republic: Drink Czech wine (yes, that’s a thing)
Find more Czech Republic posts here.
How much is food in Czech Republic? Prices in the Czech Republic, particularly in Prague are increasing regularly. It’s possible to order a Czech meal for about €10. But, the beer is so cheap it makes up for any prices over that!
We were supported by Visit Czech Republic, South Moravia, and JayWay Travel, who offers customized tours of the Czech Republic and all of Central and Eastern Europe. Of course, all opinions, and yummy sounds, are my own. While in Prague eating Czech Republic typical food, we stayed at the lovely and contemporary Emblem Hotel, just steps from Old Town.
PIN IT! What is Czech Food
You can also learn about Traditional Czech food by listening to our culinary travel podcast: Talking a Taste of Prague – Czech Republic Foods. Or, check out our video on Taste of Prague:
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new food and drink destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together they have traveled to over 70 countries.