When we boarded the plane to Prague, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this yet un-explored capital. I had heard wonderful things about the city itself. All our friends and family who had visited previously gave us glowing reviews so we knew we would be in for a treat.
What we didn’t expect, however, was that we would be absolutely blown away by Czech food. After five days of exploring, I can tell you that we did not put a fork or spoon wrong when it came to eating.
We met Nanna and Aunty Gina early on Saturday morning. This would be their last stop on their 2014 European adventure. We actually weren’t even meant to be in Prague. We ‘splashed out’ I suppose you could say, as we knew we wouldn’t be seeing Nanna for some time. We spent five lovely days walking around admiring the beautiful old buildings. We found the most wonderful shops that offered gorgeous, hand made wooden and ceramic items. Admittedly, we ‘splashed out’ a little bit more, purchasing some of the most beautiful kitchen and household items and even wooden children’s toys (they were too cute to leave behind!)
Yes, the strolling and the shopping were loads of fun, but the best idea we ever had in Prague was booking a food tour with ‘Taste of Prague’. It is run by a lovely, local couple, Jan and Zuzi, who provided us with invaluable ‘Czech Foodie’ knowledge. My parents had done a food tour with them back in January and couldn’t speak more highly of their experience.
We ate at several local places and each was as wonderful as the next. Of course, as the Czech Republic has quite a cool climate, there are not many vegetables in their traditional dishes. Meat, potatoes and bread are staples in Czech cooking, as in many Eastern European countries. Although this sounds rather boring and bland, I can assure you it was anything but. I have included a more detailed description of our food adventures below.
Look, I know I’m food obsessed. I mean, look at all the time I put into writing about food, researching potential eateries...eating! Aunty Gina is one of those people who really does ‘eat to live’ as opposed to moi who, without a doubt, ‘lives to eat’. Because my family are equally as obsessed by food, I sometimes forget that I am a little food crazed. I was dragging poor Aunty Gina all across the city to eat at places that were either recommended by Jan, or restaurants and cafes that I had researched myself. Oh the joy I feel when devouring the perfect meal that accurately represents a country.
Of course, this time around it wasn’t just about food. We wanted to spend as much time with Nanna as possible. I’m not sure when I will see my darling Nanna next so it was so important that we spent as much time together as we could. We couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing or enjoyable few weeks. From London, to Italy to the Czech Republic, we really did have a wonderful time. Being able to travel to stunning destinations with people that you love is something so special.
We were all a little emotional as we said our goodbyes. It’s just amazing how quickly time goes. Nanna gave us a letter and instructed us not to read it until we had left.
We opened Nanna’s letter in the taxi on the way to the airport. We both got a little teary. Nanna’s letters are always so full of love. Thinking about home and not knowing when we will return can be difficult at times. But we feel happy knowing that home is always there waiting for us. Although we miss our families and our ‘regular’ life, we certainly aren’t ready to veer off our European path just yet. We still have many adventures awaiting us and we can’t wait to see what’s in store next!
Nase Maso- Dlouhá 39, 110 00 Praha
The highlight of our food adventures in Prague would have to be at ‘Nase Maso’. This little shop is something special. We first came across this place on our tour with Jan. It is a family run butcher, but they are able to cook whatever you would like on premises. There are two little tables toward the front of the shop where you can sit and eat. All the meat comes from local farms and is of the highest quality. Their pork comes from a breed of pig known as ‘Přeštice pigs’ which produce a very high quality meat (if you are interested, you can read more about it on their website, here).
We returned to Nase Maso for lunch a couple of days after the tour. We all ordered different things so we could try a bit of everything. The sausages, burger and steak were truly delicious, but the meatloaf they served up was something else. I am not usually a big meatloaf fan, but this was ridiculously good. They served it up very simply, with some chunky bread, a dill pickle and smooth, creamy mustard. The owners are so lovely and chatty and were so very helpful so it was really a win all around. A definite must visit if you find yourself in Prague.
Krystal Mozaika Bistro- Sokolovská 101/99, 186 00 Praha 8-Karlín
We went here again, on the recommendation of Jan. After walking up to the VItkov National Memorial we stopped in here for lunch. The restaurant is well presented and very comfortable. And the food is just so delicious. Would highly recommend the beef neck which comes served with bread dumplings and a luscious sauce. For dessert, try the apricot dumpling which is kind of similar to an apricot jam donut. It comes served with a drizzling of apricot jam and is topped with a mild, crumbly cheese (I know it sounds unusual, but trust me, it works!)
Lokal- Misenska 66/12, 118 00 Praha 1
There are a few of the ‘Lokal’ pubs around Prague. The one we went to was right near the Charles Bridge. It is a very relaxed and casual dining with a bit of a ‘pub’ feel about it. The food, however, is nothing like ‘pub food’. Each dish has been put together with effort and thought. The meat is sourced from the same location as ‘Nase Maso’ and you can taste the quality. It certainly won’t break the bank either. The four of us had a delicious meal with ample food, drinks and dessert and it was only about $45AUD.
Čestr- Legerova 75/57, 110 00 Praha 1
We had dinner here with Jan on the tour (I know, he really made it easy for us!) Just incredible. We sampled goodness knows how many dishes. My favourite was the slow-grilled chicken with truffle stuffing served with juice from the grill with black truffles and the beef steak tartare with quail egg (amazzzing!) Our meal was completed with beer ice cream. Surprisingly pleasant. You can taste the caramel tones of the beer, without the really yeasty flavour coming though. It really works!
I Need Coffee- Na Moráni 7, Praha 2
A quaint little coffee shop that was conveniently located just around the corner from our hotel. Their menu is small but the ingredients are fresh and tasty. They offer tasty granola as well as grilled local cheese on toast. Their coffee is wonderful. Great for a quick breakfast.
Vinograf Wine Bar- Senovazne namesti 23, Prague
A really great wine bar where you can sample some Czech wines. Jan informed us that there is a restriction on the amount of land in the Czech Republic that can be used as a vineyard. As a result, Czech wines are rarely exported, as there just isn’t enough. So make sure you try the local drop when you’re in town.
Manufaktura- Melantrichova 970/17, 110 00 Praha 1
I don’t usually offer a ‘shopping guide’ as I’m generally far too busy eating, but this gorgeous little shop deserves a mention. They sell the most beautiful wooden and ceramic items all hand made in the Czech Republic. We really did go a bit nuts in this shop as everything was stunning. They have wooden toys, kitchenware and the most gorgeous Christmas and Easter decorations just to name a few things. The perfect place to buy gifts and souvenirs.