Do you know love at first sight? Here, to be clear, I am not referring to the love between two people at first glance. Specifically, I think of the agreement between people who are passionate about the same thing.
It happened just like that when looking for a food tour in Prague. I was contacted by Prague Urban Adventures who offered me a couple of alternatives for interesting food tours. Our choice fell on the Food by Foot Tour and after agreeing via email [with fast response time and truly commendable efficiency and kindness] we received the vouchers.
In no time then we found ourselves at the meeting point on a cool morning in late June. Here we meet our guide, Lukàs, and the group of friends who will participate in the food tour with us: a couple of Canadians who are touring Europe and father and son from Georgia. One of the added values of a food tour is undoubtedly, for me, to get in touch with other travelers, with other people who visit the place that hosts me and thus have the opportunity to exchange views on the city where we are guests and also get ideas for new future travels. All ready to go, Lukàs, our guide, takes us to discover the first place where we taste a mix of typical Prague appetizers.
1st stop – Lokal
Another thing that I always appreciate a lot about Food Tours is the fact that they make us discover places in the city that we probably would not explore on our own.
This is because we usually focus on more historic neighborhoods, with more attractions while the “real” places to eat awhere the locals are. And it is right here, from Lokal, one of the premises of a small chain, that we drink the classic Pivo [as the beer is called in Czech] and we taste Prague Ham with a whipped cream with horseradish [my absolute favorite dish] , the “Italian” salami as the cotechino is called and again the goat cheese in oil with spring onions and chilli pepper.
Here we also discover a detail of Prague cooked ham: it is not cooked on the grill as you might think by buying it [at a high price] in the kiosks around the old square, but steamed and then sometimes smoked with maple wood. The belly no longer grumbles; our stomach is already partially satisfied and we can therefore walk towards the second stop.
Walking in this way, between one place and another, allows us to get to know the areas in a more direct way and, given the time, to discover the customs and habits of the inhabitants of Prague during their lunch break on a weekday.
2nd stop – Eska
In the second stop we find several business men and women intent on eating their meal. We are in a modern restaurant, an old factory converted into a bread and pastry shop on the ground floor and a restaurant on the first floor. Thinking about it, it would certainly not be a place where I would stop for a lunch while visiting the city.
The restaurant is called Eska and offers traditional Czech dishes cooked in a modern, lighter, more appealing and healthier way. Here we taste the potatoes cooked on the grill, a very tender pork cheek that melts in the mouth accompanied by crunchy vegetables and roasted friggitelli with a cream of pumpkin seeds. Apparently simple dishes but cooked in a very healthy and presented in a masterly way.
3rd Stop – Cukrarna Alchymista
Now, not hungry anymore and more close-knit, thanks also to the chatter that makes the meal time always pleasant, we follow Lukàs towards the third stop, which includes a transfer by tram. Transportation by public transport, when provided, is also usually included in the price of a food tour, and the Prague Urban Adventures Food Tour is no exception.
We get off the tram a few stops further on, in an area that seems rather peripheral although it is rather central. We are surrounded by buildings, by the stadium of the most famous football team in the city, Sparta Praha, and by large lawns where dogs happily run accompanied by their owners. We turn around the stadium and enter a café, Cukrarna Alchymista, one of the most famous in Prague outside the historical ones in the center. We cross three small rooms and head to the back garden: an oasis of peace and tranquility between trees, fountains and a small artificial lake. This is the perfect place to sip a coffee or chocolate and taste a slice of cake. The slices that arrive at the table are 6 and to be able to taste them all we arm ourselves with a fork and turn the plates clockwise so that everyone can take a forkful.
4th Stop – Bier garden
Do you want not to end the food tour in a Bier Garden? Here we are again leaving for our last destination, on the hill overlooking the city towards the Vltava.
Although it is a weekday and although the afternoon is not yet late, there are several groups of friends or couples sitting at the tables and on the benches sipping pints of beer.
The bier gardens are usually very relaxed places, you can serve yourself, sit wherever you want and there are no time limits; you can also stay there all afternoon. Beer here has a decidedly low cost, the only thing that I don’t like very much is that it is served in plastic glasses. However, it is an excellent way to spend a moment of relaxation.
After the last toast, the group of the Food Tour Prague Urban Adventures splits up and everyone continues to visit the city independently.
We take the opportunity to go and discover another restaurant in the new area of Prague, not far from the “dancing house”, where you can buy excellent Prague Ham and eat some meat cooked at the moment of truly excellent quality.
This place, Kantyna, has a very modern style in a reconstructed environment like the old butchers shops of the past. In the first room you can buy the cuts of meat to take away or to be grilled in the second room. The choice of the grill also includes large pieces of meat roasted and served by weight on a self-service tray.
In my opinion it is the ideal place to spend a nice evening with friends or to have a quick snack for lunch. The problem is to find a place to sit at one of the beautiful marble tables, but the workers are efficient and willing to fix and rearrange as soon as someone finish eating and leave the restaurant.