Right off the bat, let me clarify: I’m not a Prague local. But I did ask a lot of locals for their advice on the best traditional dishes to try in Prague, and the best places to get them. Here’s a checklist of everything you need to try. If you don’t feel like reading, this is the video I made visiting all these places.
Chlebíčky. Pronounced “kle-bish-ki”, these are open-faced sandwiches, usually topped with cold meat, cheese, eggs, or a spread. You can find them in delicatessens all around the city, just look for the signs that say “lahůdky” or “lahůdkářství”. I got some from a little hole in the wall called Ovocný Světozor, which were delish, and offer three for 100ckz. There’s a little park just around the corner that was the perfect place to sit and eat. I’ve also heard great things about Sisters, but didn’t get a chance to go myself.
Goulash. This meaty, vegetable-y stew is famous in most of Central and Eastern Europe, and the Czech Republic is no exception. You can get an authentic bowl of this steaming meal at restaurants like Repre and Lokal.
Svíčková. Probably the most iconic Czech dish, this is sirloin steak, boiled with veggies, pepper, thyme, and bayleaves, with a dash of cream added at the end. It’s served with bread-like “dumplings” and topped with sweet, cranberry sauce. It’s an odd mix but it’s certainly worth trying. I got mine at Lokal, a chain of restaurants around the city that have a pretty authentic Czech menu.
Trdelnik. If you’re in the touristy areas of the city, you’ll be able to spot at least five outlets selling these no matter where you’re standing. It’s a classic pastry, wrapped around a pole and cooked over a fire, then rolled in cinnamon and sugar. You can eat it on its own, or get one filled with melted Nutella, or fruit and cream, or ice cream. It mightn’t be traditional but it’s one of those things that you have to do at least once in Prague.
Fried cheese. I mean, do you need more of an explanation than that? Called Smažený Sýr in Czech, you’ll find it in pubs and street food stands. It’s literally just a block of cheese, coated and fried, sometimes in butter. I didn’t try it myself, but apparently Doba is one of the best places in the city to try it, and Lokal serves up a pretty good one too. Some food stands, especially in touristy areas, serve it in between bread as a sandwich.
Deli food. I mentioned the chlebíčky which you can pick up from any deli, but while you’re there, there are other delicacies on offer you should check out. A bramborak is a potato pancake, cooked with garlic, onion, and spices and is damn delicious. Another common meal or snack a particular type of “salad”, which is usually fish, potato, veggies, or egg, held together with mayo or a similar sauce. If you walk into any deli you’ll see a huge array of different ones to choose from, that you can buy by 100g. Walk through any city park around lunch time and I guarantee you’ll see Czech locals dipping bread rolls into these little pots of salad.