Czech Cuisine : 5 Dishes You Have to Try

I have to admit that before traveling to the Czech Republic, I didn’t exactly think of it as a country capable of flocking in the foodies. I hadn’t really heard of any specifically Czech dishes, and pictured a lot of meat and potatoes being served.

There certainly ended up being a lot of meat and potatoes available, but in the best possible way. Carbs were dressed up in different ways and mixed with other vegetables and spices to give them entirely different flavours. Meats were a variety of choices and styles, along with a seemingly endless choice of sides and snacks.

As a self-admitted picky eater, Czech cuisine definitely exceeded my expectations and my appetite. While the meals were delicious, it was nearly impossible to finish an entire plate because the portions were so enormous.

Here are five Czech dishes that you absolutely have to try when you are in the Czech Republic.


1. Roast Pork with Dumplings and Sauerkraut

Svícková na smetane

This dish is considered to be the Czech national meal. It consists of roast pork meat with stewed red or white sauerkraut and dumplings. The pork meat is hidden beneath the gravy and sauerkraut and topped in a sauce, served beside a side of fan of bread dumplings.

Locals usually enjoy this dish on a Sunday, but visitors can order it on any day of the week. This is the one dish that you absolutely have to order during your time in the Czech Republic.

2. Pork Schnitzel


Any schnitzel for that matter, I personally enjoyed the chicken schnitzel. You can choose from pork, chicken or veal.

The meat is triple breaded (flour, egg and breadcrumbs) and fried to your liking and topped with a slice of lemon. It is served with a choice of potato, but I would recommend the garlic and onion infused mashed potatoes.

Even though it is not a traditional Czech meal, it has always been always extremely popular and eaten very often by visitors and locals alike.

3. Fried Cheese

Smažený sýr

This one is exactly what is says, and a Czech specialty. The cheese is triple breaded (flour, egg and breadcrumbs) , fried and served with tartar sauce, a slice of lemon, and potatoes (boiled, mashed or French).

Fried cheese was a common (and cheap) item on the menu and also highly suggested by all of the locals. It’s a great bar snack, or just something quick to pick up for the road.

4. Garlic Soup

Cesneková polévka

This stuff was EVERYWHERE. I’m pretty sure at least one person had this during every meal. On my first night, I watched the others spooning up their soup, with long strings of cheese dripping back toward their bowls. It was entertaining to watch, and all I could smell was garlic.

The next day, I decided to give it a try. Given that I have a lactose intolerance, I had to avoid the cheese. I pushed it out of the way, and slurped up some of the creamy broth, sans dripping cheese. Delicious. The garlic was definitely a strong aspect of the taste, and you might not want to eat it on a date, but it’s not too over-powering.

You can order this as a starter before just about any meal in the Czech Republic. It is topped with cheese, croutons and apparently the ultimate cure to a hangover ;]

5. Steak Tartare

 Tatarský biftek

Steak tartare is a raw meat dish made from finely chopped or minced raw beef. But, you saw that word, right? Raw. It’s raw meat.

Think about picking up a pack of minced meat at your local grocery store, bringing it home and slapping it down on your plate for dinner. That’s steak tartare. I don’t mean to shy anyone away from trying it, because it’s really not as bad as it sounds.

Clearly, it’s a favourite among Czechs, or it wouldn’t be such a common thing on the menu. I gave it a taste (fit for a mouse, but I still tasted it!), but wasn’t a huge fan. This is one that you definitely have to force yourself to try, even if you don’t really want to.

It might be time to loosen those belts and spend a little time relaxing. Czech portions are nothing to mess with–so I hope that you enjoyed these dishes in moderation ;]

This trip was made possible by Czech Tourism.
All views and opinions are my own.

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10 Responses to “Czech Cuisine : 5 Dishes You Have to Try”

  1. Reena @ Wanderplex
    October 3, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    I had steak tartare when I was in Switzerland and it was utterly delicious, which is completely shocking, because as you say, it’s raw meat. I ate it in a nice restaurant, so it was well prepared and beautifully seasoned. I would definitely be a bit hesitant to walk into a random restaurant and eat it again, though! Anyway, all the rest of the dishes you shared look great – would especially love to try that roast pork and dumplings (I love goulash + dumplings and this seems similar!)

    • Seattle
      October 3, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

      Hmm.. perhaps I’ll have to give it another try. I’m open to trying anything once.. so why not twice? haha

  2. Agness (@Agnesstramp)
    October 7, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

    I had the fried cheese when travelling in Czech Republic and it was lovely! I’m Polish and I find Czech cuisine so similar to Polish. What was your best Czech food ever?

    • Seattle
      October 7, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

      Hey–I’m Polish too! Well.. Canadian with Polish relatives lol
      Hmm, I can answer favourite beer easily: Fenix. Food though…. it actually turned out to be a simple chicken dish in Plzen :]

  3. Agness (@Agnesstramp)
    October 12, 2012 at 12:40 am #

    Hey! That’s cool. I rarely meet Polish travellers when being on the road. Do you speak Polish at all? 🙂 “Canadian with Polish relatives” sounds lie… POLISH to me :)I am going back to Poland in 4 weeks for Christmas and to relax a bit x Will try the chicken dish in Czech if I have the chance x
    Agness (@Agnesstramp) recently posted..Thailand: The Land of Smiles

    • Seattle
      October 12, 2012 at 8:03 am #

      Sadly no, and I’ve actually never been to Poland 🙁 My grandfather was a Polish Gypsy (might explain my travel-obsession lol) so he, my mother and my sister all have super dark skin–but I arrived as a pale little Irish-looking baby :p
      Hope you have an awesome time during Christmas–can’t wait to read about it / see some photos 😀

  4. Agness (@Agnesstramp)
    October 12, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    That’s a pitty you don’t speak any Polish. Hehehe, nice. Thanks a lot.I will make a special post with Polish Christmas food 😀
    Agness (@Agnesstramp) recently posted..Thailand: The Land of Smiles

  5. czechers
    January 11, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

    Hey! Glad to hear you had such a great time in CZ, I love the food there too 🙂
    Just a small translational thing – svickova na smetana is actually a beef dish – it is made with beef fillet, cream and roasted vegetables and the fluffy bread dumplings. Their other famous dish, which you might have seen around is the roast pork with sauerkraut and dumplings – where you have a nice big pile of cooked cabbage on the side and the brown gravy with the lighter coloured pork meat. It is a separate dish, but definitely worth trying as well. 🙂

    • Seattle
      January 12, 2013 at 12:47 am #

      Oh, thanks for clearing that up! It gets a bit difficult trying to figure these things out via the internet once you have returned home, haha. That’ll teach me to take better notes 😀

  6. initram5
    May 25, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    Very nice but apart the first on none is originally from CZ. 🙂

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