One of the first things I do when I’m scheduled to travel to a new city is to look up “unique” food tours or dining experiences. As I’ve been traveling to more and more cities over the years, I’ve realized that going on a food tour is the best way to (a) meet new people (b) try local and authentic cuisine (c) learn about the history of restaurants and the neighborhoods they’re in, and (d) to familiarize yourself with the cultural landmarks in the city. I’ve done a tour of the markets in the Le Marais district in Paris, sampled the Swedish classic smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm, eaten at a Puerta Cerrada (closed-door) restaurant at a chef’s house in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I’ve got to say that my appetite for new foodie adventures has only intensified further.
Prague is such a magical city rich in history with all it’s old bridges, mysterious alleyways and towering churches existing for centuries; of course, I was intrigued by what all the locals ate! I found “Eating Prague Tours” while researching food tours on Tripadvisor, and booked one for my last day in the city.
I met two Czech natives and one of the company’s lead tour guides – Mirka – a very friendly, personable and delightful local, in the Old Town area of Prague at the café of the art gallery called “Le Court”. I’m pretty sure even the locals don’t know that a cute little garden exists inside this gallery. It’s just the kind of place you would want to drop in for a cup of coffee and take a respite from being on your feet all day while sightseeing. We kicked off the tour with mandatory small talk that turned into fun conversation, a cup of coffee and a delicious apple strudel!
We walked for a bit and entered my favorite little spot of the tour – a bistro called “Sisters“. Now I know I was really looking forward to trying out traditional, hearty food that Czech cuisine is famous for, but this cafe with a modern, gourmet take on open-face sandwiches blew my tastebuds away. We tried three different kinds of bite-sized sandwiches – beets and goat cheese (best one in my opinion), egg salad, and pickled herring with radish and wasabi mayo. All three were flavorful and appetizing, but their appeal relied heavily on mayo and cheese 🙂
You cannot begin to imagine how stuffed I was at this point. But a food tour wouldn’t qualify as a “tour” if it had just two stops, right? So we walked right across from Sisters bistro to the most interesting stop of the tour – a butcher shop called “Naše Maso” or “Our Meat” – whose owners take pride in the fact that the meat they sell comes from animals raised and slaughtered on farms within the Czech Republic, and their production facilities use no additives and preservatives. This place was buzzing in activity with people lining up to buy fresh meat including sausages, ham, burgers, meatloaf, etc. We sampled several different cuts served to us “literally” on a platter. I could easily see myself buying an assortment of meats from this place to create my own elaborate charcuterie board, if I lived anywhere nearby this place that is 🙂
We hoped that the next stop on the tour would be far far away so that we had some time to digest what we’d just consumed. We leisurely walked along past the Powder Tower and the beautiful Municipal House building to arrive in front of this 15th century bell tower called St. Henry’s Tower.
We were in for a big surprise 🙂 We entered the base of the tower, and
walked took an “elevator” up to the 8th floor to be ushered into a cozy restaurant called Zvonice where we tried a delicious Czech soup. Who would have thought that the top of this tower housed a restaurant?! The restaurant’s interior comprises of completely authentic wooden beams and the bell of St. Maria that was cast in 1518. I mean talk about a restaurant with a unique ambiance!
I don’t think a food tour in Prague could be complete without a stop at a brewery, so our next stop was at a restaurant that made their own beer called Novometsky pivovar. Unfortunately, I’m not a beer person at all so I tried to focus on how they made their beer while politely gulping down samples that they offered.
The two stops we made after the brewery were very special! The first one we dined in – Cafe Louvre – has been standing for over a century and was frequented by great minds like Albert Einstein and Franz Kafka! You step inside the entrance, walk up these stairs and can almost hear the whispers of the scientists, professors and literary giants who spent many a evening here.
Since we were at a cafe steeped in such rich history, it was quite fitting that we indulged in a hearty and traditional meal! We tried the queen of Czech dishes – Svíčková or “Braised Beef with Bread Dumplings and Cream”. We were all beyond satiated by this point but the combination of elements in this dish felt like the perfect poem, and we gave in to our gluttonous instincts.
The last stop on our tour was Choco Cafe – every chocolate – addict’s paradise. We ordered Hořické trubičky, or “Horice rolls” – a light paper thin pastry roll filled with cream that is dipped in chocolate for best results 🙂 Utterly delicious! I cannot wait to go back to this place the next time I’m in Prague!
I had such a great experience on this food tour. Eating Prague was launched in the summer of this year, so they’re pretty new at this and from what I’ve seen so far; they’re doing everything right. I know that they offer tours in London, Rome and Amsterdam too! I highly recommend doing this lovely tour at the beginning of your trip because you’ll get to see some great sights, receive excellent restaurant recommendations and perhaps go back to all the places you visited while on the tour! 🙂