One of the first things we do when booking a holiday is to read up on the culinary delights our chosen destination has to offer. I must admit, as a non meat-eater I was slightly wary after doing so with Prague, as every speciality seemed to involve meat in some way. The only vegetable that made a regular appearance was the humble potato, inevitably turned into some sort of heavy dumpling, stew or fried dish. But after the long days exploring in the freezing temperatures, this hearty food turned out to be exactly what we needed.
On our first night in Prague we came across this absolute gem, housed high up in a bell tower with pretty views across the city. As we entered the restaurant it instantly felt magical. The ancient Bell of Saint Maria, dating back to the 16th century, dominates the room and is surrounded by oak floors and original walls. The cosy candlelit ambience and the tome-like menus added to the ambience.
To start we ate a traditional bohemian sauerkraut soup, served with baked potato dumplings, roasted mushrooms and soured cream. It was hearty, smoky and incredibly tasty; just perfect for our medieval meal. I had a fillet of river trout for my main course, while my greedy sister tackled half a roast duck, served with chestnuts, red cabbage and more potato dumplings.
We went to Plzenska on our last night in Prague, having walked past the beautiful Obecni Dum where it’s situated every day of our tip. The restaurant is in the basement (a more refined restaurant, Kavarna, can be found on the ground floor). We walked in the restaurant to the sound of traditional live Czech music and the decor was equally authentic. Cold and hungry, we had quite a feast, starting with potato pancakes cooked in dripping and served with a garlic aioli.
Next up, I sampled one of the country’s only vegetarian specialties; deep fried Hermelin cheese (similar to camembert), served with potatoes (of course!) and tartar sauce. My sister opted for beef goulash and bread dumplings, then we had a traditional cucumber salad on the side to freshen things up. The food was absolutely delicious and we practically waddled back to our hotel with very full bellies.
Trdelnik – Czech cinnamon pastries
We stumbled across one of many street vendors selling these sweet pastries just as it started snowing as we left Prague Castle. It was a very welcome sight indeed! These donut-like pastries are a speciality in the city and are typically coated in cinnamon, with the option of chocolate sauce which we clearly couldn’t resist.