They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. As it turns out, that’s the way to my heart too and after eating my way around Prague I think this city has finally gotten under my skin for good.
I’ve always liked Prague. Sometimes I’ve loved it, sometimes not so much but it has always left me intrigued. The city is gorgeous of course, some say the most beautiful in Europe, but once you’ve wandered through the old town, the massive castle on the hill and pushed your way through the hordes on Charles Bridge, what more is there to Prague?
One of the reasons Prague left me feeling a little disappointed in the past is the food. If you head a few streets away from a touristy area you can usually find a nicer restaurant with more reasonable prices but that’s not necessarily the case in Prague. You have to really know where to go. You can head outside of Prague 1, the district with all the main sights but it can be a long way to go just for a quiet meal.
When I was invited by Eating Prague to review their food tour I figured this was a great opportunity to discover a different side of the city, to find some local haunts where people are passionate about the food they serve and the quality of the ingredients, not just taking advantage of Prague’s position as a top travel destination.
The quick review; the food, tour and guide are great. This is a food tour I recommend. You can book the tour here via GetYourGuide.
If you still need convincing and what to hear about my experience and the full tour review, read on.
Prague Food Tour
I have mixed feelings about taking food tours. In general, I believe a destination’s cuisine reveals so much about their culture. It’s a great way to learn about the local people, their history and their current situation.
A food tour will introduce you to food and eateries you might never have discovered on your own, especially when you’re only spending a few days in a city. And a food tour isn’t just about the food, a city tour is generally included in the price with sights pointed out as you walk from one food stop to the next.
What I don’t like about food tours is the lack of freedom and lack of choice in what you get to eat. This is especially the case when you’re picky or have food allergies, intolerances or even diseases which limit what you can eat. This doesn’t affect everyone but most people want to have some say in what they get to eat at a restaurant or cafe.
The other limiting factor with food tours is just how much you can eat over a few hours. You normally feel stuffed after a food tour and want to return to your room in a food coma. This is not necessarily a problem if you take a food tour from time to time but you might end up feeling uncomfortable for the rest of the day and it can restrict how much you can do afterwards.
Self-Guided Food Tours
That’s why I have started creating self-guided food tours. You get to enjoy the food and experience the culture of a city yet you can eat what you want at your own pace. Self-guided tours are also considerably cheaper than guided tours, especially if you’re travelling with a partner or in a group. This is the case even when you take into account the cost of the food.
My Prague self-guided food tour is still in the works. I will update here when it’s ready. I do still recommend the Eating Prague food tour if you prefer to have a guide. Our guide was fantastic so it’s still worth it if it’s in your budget.
You can book this tour here: Book the food tour.
Eating Prague Food Tour Review
Eating Prague’s food tour takes you around Prague 1, the historic area around the Old Town Square, the Jewish Quarter and Wenceslas Square. We stopped at seven different spots chosen for their use of local and seasonal ingredients and of course the deliciousness factor. This is a walking food tour which takes 4-5 hours. It’s a long tour but the meals and snack are broken up so you’re not eating the entire time. You also get to drink some Czech beer and a non-traditional Czech dessert.
Discovery number one was open-faced sandwiches. You’ll see open sandwiches in many cafes in Prague but not everywhere has the same quality, some even using the dreaded margarine on the bread! We headed to Sisters cafe where they focus on using top quality ingredients and unusual flavours like wasabi and pickled herring. Try the beetroot and goats cheese sandwich for a more classic flavour profile. This was a great first stop on the food tour and was an excellent indication of what was to come.
Right next door is a meat lovers paradise where you can get the butcher to cook up a steak as you wait or you can watch them skilfully butcher a side of beef as they prepare their popular beef tartare. We didn’t eat here but you could come back on another day if wanted to try it. As it’s a little off the main thoroughfare, you would see mostly locals here. It’s definitely a unique find but not a good one for vegetarians or vegans.
It would be nice if there was an optional vegetarian food tour without stops like this but for now, that’s not the case.
Voted as the most popular dish of the day on our walking food tour was a Bohemian sauerkraut soup eaten at the top of one of Prague’s towers. This wasn’t vegetarian but I was able to substitute with a vegetarian option instead, a tasty goats cheese entree. I don’t think there are any vegan options here but email your tour guide before booking to find out for sure.
Hungary isn’t the only country famous for goulash, Czechia does it well too. This is something you’ll find on many Prague restaurant menus but our local guide took us to one of the best. Again, I chose to skip this as I don’t eat meat but I’m sure an alternative is available. I saved space for dessert instead. Everyone on the tour loved the goulash but commented it was quite heavy which isn’t surprising when you look at it. This wasn’t even a full-size serving, it’s just a sample.
Another dish you might not associate with Czechia is apple strudel. While it may have been Austria that made it famous, Prague has been preparing it for centuries. One the Eating Prague tour, we met at Gallery Le Court where you can eat your strudel in a beautiful hidden away courtyard. This is another location that I wouldn’t have found on my own. You have to take some stairs slightly below street level and then walk through a corridor to the courtyard. These kinds of courtyards are typical in Prague and relaxing spots away from the noise of the busy city.
More dessert! This one is for the chocoholics. We took a few cobblestone backstreets to find this modern chocolate cafe. We all got the same dish, thin rolled wafers stuffed with sweet cream dipped in thick hot chocolate. I was well past feeling full at this point but diligently finished it off. This was the last stop on the tour and where we said our goodbyes to the other guests and our friendly guide. This is not a classic Czech dish but one of the highlights of the tour. We all rated this cafe highly.
Of course, you can’t get to know a country without sampling the local brew and Czechia is famous for its beer. One stop at a brewery is included in the Prague food tour where you can see how the beer is made and enjoy a sample.
Below is one of the first ever videos I made so it’s a little embarrassing but you can watch the video below to see how I found the tour and drinking Czech beer (I don’t love beer).
Eating Prague Video Review
I’ve never taken a food tour before and am now regretting the missed opportunities as this is a fantastic way to discover a city and get an insight into the people and their culture. It was so sweet to see the owners talk to us with such enthusiasm and passion for what they do. You get to do a lot of sightseeing on this walking tour so the 4-hours is justified and you will feel full at the end of it. Definitely skip breakfast before you go.
If you would like to book or get more information, see what is on offer on the Eating Prague food tour (now called Eating Europe).
More Prague Food Tours
Eating Europe isn’t the only food tour operator in Prague. There are other options if that tour doesn’t take your fancy. These are some of the most popular food tours in Prague which can easily be booked online:
- Prague Food by Foot – A 4-5 hour walking food tour including 8 food and 5 drink tastings. The tour covers three Prague neighbourhoods where you can try both traditional Czech food and modern inventive dishes.
- Evening Czech Food Tour – A 4 hour evening tour with a focus on traditional Czech dishes but with a few modern twists. This is great if you want to discover the best Czech bistros, traditional restaurants, wine bars and drink some Czech beer.
- Story of Prague: Architecture and Food – A very different food tour curated with the New York Times. Discover Prague’s Art Nouveau, Gothic and Brutalist architecture, stop at the famous Italian restaurant La Bottega Linka, explore one of Prague’s less known neighbourhoods, and learn about the international influences on Czechia’s food culture.
- Czech Beer and Tapas Tour – This food tour focuses on Czech beer with visits to some of Prague’s famous beer halls and a microbrewery. Enjoy Czech ‘tapas’ with your beer as part of Prague’s beer drinking culture.
- Bohemian Prague – An alternative food tour through central and alternative Prague neighbourhoods with a mix of classic and modern Czech snacks.
- Prague Christmas Market Tour – If you’re visiting Prague during the Christmas season, this food and market tour introduces you to three different Christmas markets and all kinds of different Czech specialty dishes.
Specialty Coffee and Modern Cafes
If you haven’t been to Prague, these snapshots of Prague might tempt you to visit. As I mentioned, I’ve had my ups and downs with Prague but I had a fantastic time on my last visit 18 months ago. I was surprised how much to food scene has changed since I did the food tour.
In my Snapshots of Prague post, I mention a few of my favourite places in Prague including some hipster cafes and specialty coffee shops. You can use this list as a starting point for a self-guided Prague food tour or just enjoy the great coffee. These are my favourite cafes in Prague:
Hands down the best specialty coffee in Prague and there are many specialty coffee shops in Prague. The place is small and adorable and the baristas particularly friendly. Try their flat white for the perfect proportion of coffee to milk.
Stare Mesto, Prague 1
A Japanese inspired coffee, tea and brunch spot with a love of matcha and a touch of Middle Eastern cuisine. This place surpassed all expectations. Try the Japanese breakfast if you’re looking for something different and delicious.
Vinohrady, Prague 2
Muj Salek Kavy
One of the best breakfast/brunch cafes in Karlin. They specialise in filter coffee. Try the rice pudding with red berries for a sweet breakfast.
Karlin, Prague 8
Delicious specialty coffee in hipster Holesovice. They have fun swings as chairs for something a little out of the ordinary. Try the cortado or drip coffee.
Milady Horakove 600/38
Holesovice, Prague 7
Central Prague and the gentrified inner city neighbourhoods are not surprisingly where you’ll find the best places to eat out. You can get delicious traditional meals further out from the centre but as someone on a short stay you’re not likely to visit there.
Here’s a quick rundown of Prague’s neighbourhoods to give you an idea of where to look out for cafes and restaurants if you want to do some of your own research.
- Stare Mesto – Prague’s old town. This is the busiest part of Prague. There is loads going on here and of course, it’s where you’ll find most of the sights but if you randomly stop you’re likely to find yourself in a tourist restaurant. The food might not be bad here but you’ll find the prices high and service low. This is where a food tour is great, it helps you to find good food in the crowded centre.
- Karlin – This is one of the most popular foodie neighbourhoods in Prague. It’s walking distance from the centre but the quality of cafes and restaurants is vastly improved. Many expats live here so you’ll find English speaking staff and menus everywhere in Karlin.
- Vinohrady – Another district popular with expats. It’s a beautiful area to walk around in but it’s quite residential. It’s a nice area to stay and you’ll find some great cafes and bars if you know where to go in advance.
- Holesovice – A bit further out on the other side of the river is Holesovice. This neighbourhood has only recently become gentrified and it’s continuing to change rapidly. There are great coffee shops and bars here, mostly attracting a bohemian and backpacker type crowd.
That’s an example of where to start your food research. I suggest checking Google maps in those neighbourhoods, reading the reviews and seeing what takes your fancy. Going on the Eating Prague food tour will take a lot of the guesswork out of where to go and if you’re new to Prague, this can be a great introduction to the city.
Many thanks to Eating Prague for gifting me the food tour. This post includes affiliate links to GetYourGuide and Urban Adventures.