We signed up for The Taste of Prague, the #1 food tour in Prague according to TripAdvisor.com. It’s not exactly cheap so we came with really high expectations.
We were warmly greeted by Karolina, a 39-year old mother of two who has been food’ng with The Taste of Prague for awhile. Apparently, the group consisted of 8 employees and run foodie tours simultaneously.
Karolina explained to us that the Czech Republic was part of Chekoslovakia before halfing in 1918.
In 1938, they were occupied by the Nazis, and in 1940, the communists.
The Communist made businesses state owned and locked the borders down. Consequently, there was limited importation and basic needs. That’s why food the was bland and boring as everyone had to follow a single cookbook for all.
So over 41 years, the Czechs ate the same food, sharing same tastes and had the same pub interiors. Nobody was free to be creative because of practicalities.
However, when they were liberated, it was then they were free to explore, including food. So the Czechs opened the easiest restaurants there is, Italian restaurant with the usual pizza and pasta.
Our first stop: Lokal
We started with Pilsner Urquell beers, pickled cheese, beef goulash, selection of sausages, Prague ham with creamed horseradish in Lokal pub over at Dlouha 33. Lokal had a retro Russian interior and now boasts around 6 branches.
The beer in Lokal is out of this world and fresh from Pilsner Urquell. They bring it fresh at 6am everyday and pump them into these beauties.
Inside, it was very busy popular place. “The ambiance here is always fun,” shared Karolina.
It is only in Czech Republic that you can call Pilsner a Pilster. This beer is a pale lager and Pilsner Urquell brings it in everyday at 6am. Fresh, non-pasteurized and healthyc Pilsner Urquell beer is made using natural fermentation and with probitiocs.
Becausw they are fresh and non pasteurized, Pilsner Urquell have to sell what they made within 20 days. The last tip of the beer is 4 degrees.
Lokal serves 3,000 portions of 1,500 liters per night. That’s a LOT of beer.
Fun fact: The Czechs drink the most beer per capita in the world, beating the Germans, Belgians and Russians, among all other nationalities.
Here in Lokal, you can buy Pilsners with three types of foam as follows:
The Czechs love their foam so the Mliko is mostly foam and you drink until you are full to drink. Here’s the difference of the two beers — Mliko (Left) and Hladinka (Right):
In Czech Republic, beer is cheaper than water and other non-alcoholic beverage. The Czechs can drink the entire day, boasting zero turntables. This means that unlike other countries, Czech Republic restaurants do not shoo guests away. It remains your decidion to be there for hours and most people can start drinking in lunch time. So they can consume a lot of beer per day.
Lokal enjoys family style dining. The most delicious dishes here are beer food — Salty, greasy and awesome, and here were a few of what was ordered.
Hermelin cheese is a type of Czech cheese that’s filled with garlic and pickled pearl onions in vinegar brine. The pepper is not spicy and you eat the cheese from top to bottom and best served with rye bread.
Prague ham with whipped horseradish cream
To make the ham, it’s soaked in 5 weeks of salt brine, smoked for 4 hours of smoking, and cooked for 10 hours. The ham tastes light and airy and the creamed horseradish is the same. It’s a great palaman for any sandwich snack.
Beef goulash tastes like any beef stew back home. It’s not as spicy and can be eaten with dumplings and bread.
They key to a lovelt beef goulash is to cook it slowly for hours. The sauce is thick and juicy and perfect for cold days.
Czech Sausages with Amazing Homemade Mustard
They taste as good as it looks. The whipped horseradish is really nice.
Karonila shared that in Czech Republic, their state universities are usually better than the private universities. People who usually go to private universities in the Czech Republic are usually those who cannot get admitted to state schools, so that’s something different.
Healthcare is also reasonable in the Czech Republic. Citizens only need to pay around USD 60-80 per month for healthcare, and you are covered medically. And while waiting to see a doctor takes 30 minutes to 1 hour, definitely waiting for a doctor is more efficient than in Manila. Karolina recommended that weekdays are better to go to see doctors if it’s not an emergency. Waiting for a hip replacement takes 3 months and cancer treatment is free and you don’t have to wait.
Second Stop: Nase Maso
We than headed into Pragues Gourmand passage to grab some awesome meatloaf and steak tartare from Nase Maso butcher shop over at Dlouhá 39.
Nase Maso is a celebrity bucher for years and is known for their greatest quality and service. The owners serve their customers and prepare the meats themselves so people love the personal touch.
Karolina serves us two of Nase Maso’s bestsellers: their steak tartarte and meat loaf. She gave each of us a shot to complement the taste. The Czech brandy is made of plums and the shot is smooth to taste.
The cows in Nase Maso are slow-growing cows. They are grass fed and air dried for 72 days. Nase Maso is open daily until 10pm everyday except Sunday.
There is a neighborly wine bar that opens at 5pm. You can order a steak from Nase Maso and ask them to bring steak there to eat in the wine bar.
The meatloaf is made out of 20% pork, 80% beef and 40% fat.
The meatloaf has no chemicals or preservatives so it’s relatively healthy.
The greatest thing about being part of a foodie tour is when a local takes you around. Karolina took us to try the subway for the first time and we headed to our next stop, Eska, a more fine dining type of restaurant.
Third Stop: Eska
We followed to Karlin district to have some refreshing Gin (Little Urban distillery) and Tonics, potatoes in ash with creamy potato espuma, Josper grill chicken breast with grilled cabbage and goose berries, 2017 Gruner Veltliner white wine by Ota Sevcik at the Eska restaurant (Pernerova 49).
Inside, the interiors were impressive and pretty modern. It’s a good start to our third meal for the afternoon.
Eska has operated over the last 4 years and has earned a Michelin star. We started with their freshly baked bread that’s made out of 30% rye and 70% potato. The bread is served with lightly salted freshly churned butter.
For amuse bouche, we had the Jerusalem artichokes filled with bean paste and dribbled with oil on top.
For our next dish, Karolina ordered Eska’s best seller: roasted potato in cream base. However you imagine it to taste, that’s it. It’s good but it’s not Michelin star good.
Karolina shared with us that Prague has 1.2 million people in Prague and a total of 10 million people in the Czech Republic. In 2016, there were 31 million tourists that visited the country, which means there are more tourists than there are locals.
She also shared with us that Czech wine is primarily made and drunk within the Czech Republic because the European Union hs banned it from manufacturing wine for export to the other countries to protect the more popular wine makinf countries like Austria and Northern France. 70% of Czech wines are whites and light reds and can only be found within the country.
Lastly, we had chicken that was roasted from Jasper, the rolls royce of ovens. It’s tender and served with seared cabbage.
Fourth Stop: Kantyna
We continued to Kantyna over at Politických Vězňů 5 for pork neck schnitzel, pulled beef and pickled vegetables and Kozel beers, Gotberg Pinot noir, Cert schnapps.
The place does not accept any reservations and we were served at the standing room table. Kantyna is a fancy self-service place and we had two tastings for this stop — the juicy Pork Schnietzel and the Pulled Beef.
Fifth and Last Stop: Mysak Patisserie
We ended the tour at Cukrarna Myšak with selection of the most traditional deserts vetrnik, Prazska koule, venecek, Indianek and laskonka. You will find all this on Vodickova 31.
A plate of mini dessert sells for 210 CZR and is made of:
- Vanilla cream and sugar glaze
- Chocolate dough with farmer’s cheese filling
- Salted caramel vanilla
- Meringue dipoed in chocolate
- Salted caramel in dough with hazel nuts on top
Karolina served us a choice of coffee and hot chocolate. By this time, I was already too full and merely took a bite of each to just get a taste. Chocoholics would love this place!
We ended the tour with Karolina giving us two gifts, this lovely book and bubble gum.
Personally, a lot of these restaurants are accessible once you know their names and addresses, but it’s still worthwhile to hire the Taste of Prague team to take you around and show you the good stuff.
People in Czech don’t normally speak English unless once spoken to, so it’s not easy just to drop by and order food right off the bat. As these places are also very popular, you may have to fall in line and it’s not that easy to get a seat.
What’s more, if you have limited time, just leave the dirty and legwork to the experts, and enjoy the show. I know we did. 🙂