When asking for the best local dishes in Prague, you’ll likely be served meaty dishes, savoury soups, and sweet desserts. More often than not, vepřo knedlo zelo, the national dish of the Czech Republic, will be on the menu. This dish made of pork roast, knedliky, and sauerkraut is one of the top favourites with its traditional flavours. Then there’s also the Instagrammable chimney cake, trdelnik – a sweet dessert that’s fun to eat and look at.

    Aside from these, Prague has a lot more to offer our taste buds. Here are some of the famous food locals love to eat in Prague that you can enjoy best with a glass of Moravian wine or a bottle of Pilsner Urquell.


    Tatarák s topinkami

    For quick dinners or tasty pairings with beer and wine

    Tatarák s topinkami is simply steak tartare with toast. What makes it distinctly Czech is the way it is served.

    Minced meat is shaped into a thick round disk and a raw egg is placed in the middle. Salt, pepper, minced onions, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, ground sweet peppers, and other spices are placed around the meat. You can mix everything or add only the ones you like according to your personal preference. Spread the mixture on toast and enjoy it with beer or wine.


    Bramboračka s bramboráky

    Dishes that would make you drop everything like a hot potato

    “Potayto”, “potahto” – Bramboračka s Bramboráky will have you arguing which is the rightful national potato dish. The good thing is you can always just have them together. Bramboračka is a hearty potato soup with chunky bits of mushrooms, onions, and root vegetables. It is usually served in a bread bowl. Sometimes, smoked meat is added to it.

    While it is also made from potatoes, Bramboráky still makes a great pair with the soup. These fried potato pancakes flavoured with traditional spices have a delightfully crispy crust that adds texture to your meal. When made without any meat, this combination becomes a delicious vegetarian treat.



    Goulash with Hungarian influence but all-Czech flavours

    Czech guláš is a slow-cooked meat stew with vegetables inspired by the Hungarian goulash. Compared with Hungary’s national dish, guláš is milder and has fewer vegetables but more meat.

    Every family has their own version of guláš, but the main ingredients are typically the same: beef chuck or shank, onions, and sweet paprika. Other Czech spices are added, and different types of meat can be used. It is traditionally served with houskové knedlíky, which are Czech dumplings made from flour or potatoes. But it can also be served in a bread bowl. With the many different ways guláš can be cooked and served, you’ll find that each pub’s stew tastes distinctly different from the others.



    Pretty little sandwiches that are big on taste

    Obložené chlebíčky are open-faced sandwiches that can be eaten in 3 to 4 bites. If you’ve ever been invited to a party in Prague, chances are you’ve already had a taste of chlebíčky.

    The original chlebíčky served by deli owner Jan Paukert consisted of a slice of veka (white bread) topped with potato salad. A slice each of Prague ham, Hungarian salami, Emmental cheese, tomato, and hardboiled egg are arranged beautifully on top. Today, it is made with a variety of bread types, spreads, and toppings. You can easily grab a piece or 2 of chlebíčky from snack kiosks, cafés, bistros, and restaurants. They’re not just popular as appetisers but are on-the-go faves, too.



    Bread dumplings that go well with almost every meal

    Knedlíky may be called a dumpling, but it is markedly different from its Asian counterparts. It is made of bread or potato and looks more like a small oblate bun.

    A staple in Czech homes, knedlíky can be a side dish, appetiser, or dessert. It is commonly served in a set of 4 to 6 slices alongside saucy dishes. When made with savoury ingredients like bacon and cheese, it makes an excellent appetiser. Stuffed with fruits or nuts and drizzled with syrup, it turns into a sweet dessert.


    Smažený Sýr

    Deep-fried cheese for when you need to indulge in guilty pleasures

    Like a super-sized mozzarella stick, smažený sýr is a sinfully rich cheese dish served not as an appetiser but as the main course. This deep-fried breaded cheese takes the spotlight on your plate with salad and fries on the side.

    Traditional smažený sýr is made with a block of Edam cheese coated in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. It is fried until it has formed a crisp outer layer and is served with cabbage, potatoes, and tartar sauce. Today, other types of cheese such as Olomouc are also used, and the dish is served with salad, fries, and other side dishes. A more contemporary version of it has the fried cheese served on a bun, burger style.


    Pečené vepřové koleno

    Slow-roasted bone-in meat that surpasses other Czech pub grub

    A common dish in Czech pubs, pečené vepřové koleno or roast pork knuckle is a favourite option while drinking beer with friends. This chunk of meat is big enough for sharing.

    The pork knuckle is marinated and slow-roasted in dark beer and herbs for several hours. It is then broiled to make the skin crisp. The cooking process is long, but the incredibly tender meat and crispy skin are worth the wait. Pečené vepřové koleno is typically served on a wooden cutting board with a serrated knife. Horseradish, bread, pickled vegetables, and other side dishes are served along with it.



    An aromatic creamy soup

    Kulajda is a thick creamy soup and comfort food for many Czechs. Once you taste it, it will likely be what you’ll be craving for during rainy days and cold winters.

    The mushroom and potato soup is served with quail or chicken eggs, sour cream, and parsley garnish. Dill gives it a delightful aroma and vinegar adds a tangy kick. The taste and consistency of kulajda vary depending on what types of mushrooms are used and whether milk or cream is added.



    A hearty meat dish for cold winters

    Svíčková na smetaně is a hearty dish of roast sirloin or tenderloin served with rich gravy, a dollop of cranberry sauce, and a slice of lemon. Knedlíky (traditional bread dumplings) are also served on the side to soak up all the delicious flavours of the creamy sauce.

    The beef, or sometimes veal, is marinated for a couple of days then slow-cooked with vegetables and spices for several hours. This makes the meat tender and flavourful. The gravy is made from the meat broth thickened with milk, cream, or sour cream.



    A nutritious sauerkraut soup, best eaten the next day

    Zelňačka is Czech’s traditional sauerkraut soup. It is a thick and rich soup with a sour taste from its main ingredient – fermented cabbage. This soup is packed with nutrients and is eaten a lot during the winter season.

    The sauerkraut is cooked in a broth along with potatoes and spices. Cream and flour are used to thicken the soup and sugar are used to balance the acidity. Smoked sausage or bacon can also be added for a heartier dish. It is served with fresh bread or in a bread bowl.

    Geri Mileva | Contributing Writer

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