With its brightly colored, centuries-old buildings lining the streets and a grand castle overlooking the city center, Prague feels like a fairy tale come to life. The stunning architecture and storied history has long brought tourists to the capital of Czechia (also known as the Czech Republic) and especially to Staré Město (Old Town), where they fill themselves with beer, meat, and root vegetables — and walk away thinking there’s not much more to the city than traditional (often overpriced) dishes.
It’s certainly worth going deep on classic Czech foods like braised pork hock, roast beef, goulash, and bread dumplings, and you should get yourself a mug of Pilsner Urquell while you’re at it. But there is so much to see beyond Old Town and so much more to Czech cuisine. Beyond the confines of the historic center, diners can dig into a food and drink scene more dynamic and varied than the city’s tourist traps might imply. A beautiful multicourse brunch that celebrates Czech ingredients, aromatic pho that hints at the country’s historic connection with Vietnam, Detroit-style pizza that’s guaranteed to cure even the worst of hangovers, and more dishes are what make Prague a real-life fantasy for hungry diners.
Note: The Prague restaurant scene places a huge focus on reservations and restaurants often fully book out their entire dining rooms during peak hours. In general, reservations for lunch, early evening drinks, and dinner are highly recommended.
Dan Clapson is The Globe and Mail’s food columnist for the Prairie region, a judge for various restaurant award systems, and a regular culinary guest expert on Canadian morning television programs and radio. He spends several months every year in Prague and has fallen in love with the city and its vibrant food scene. Clapson’s first cookbook, Prairie, is available for pre-order now and will be officially released on Aug. 29, 2023.Read More