There’s not a lot of genuine ‘Czech’ street food to be had, so here’s a run-through of the best options we’ve found for food-on-the-go in the Czech capital.
The open-faced sandwich, or chlebíček, is a classic Czech snack. Coming in many different varieties and qualities. Possibly the worst will be found at supermarket deli counters but we want nothing but the best and that’s where Sisters, on Dlouha, comes in. This darling of the Prague Foodie Tour routes makes us of quality ingredients and serves interesting combinations that are less reliant than most on potato salad as a topping.
Started by the company that supplies the majority of gas stations and convenience stores with their cellophane wrapped sandwiches and baguettes, the big surprise is just how different the offering at these places is. Dotted around Prague and with a growing presence in the city center, they more than give the foreign invader Subway a run for their money. Freshly baked baguettes, all made to order with a choice of hot and cold fillings. Salads and soups are on offer too. Some branches are open past midnight on weekends. A highlight here is the seasonal Chef Menu which is created in collaboration with a Czech or foreign chef (the winter 2014 one was by a Michelin-starred French chef). Technically this would be the most Czech of all the options; Czech owned, exclusively Czech staffed, most Chef Menus created by Czech chefs.
Owned by the long-term American Expat businessman behind Bohemia Bagel, Museum of Communism and various other enterprises, Burrito Loco runs several 24 hour shops where you pick up a burrito to go. Recommended by our sales manager, this is his go-to snack when in Prague. Good quality ingredients, freshly made burritos and quesadillas, round the clock (including breakfast burritos should you need). What more could you want?
Decent pizza-by the slice joint located not far from Old Town Square just behind Tyn courtyard on Jakubska. A hit with the regulars of next door drinking den Chapeau (Rouge). There are arguably much better pizza places in Prague (though they managed 5th place in a recent Expats.cz Best Pizza vote) but if pizza by the slice is what you crave, this is probably your best bet.
Naplavka Farmer’s Market
You’ve got to get up early (by 2pm anyway) on a Saturday from April to October (or as long as the weather allows) to catch this one but the Vltava river’s right bank, just south of the centre, comes alive with fresh produce and as such draws a foodie crowd. Because of this there are plenty of stalls set up to feed these hungry masses. A good opportunity to try a range of things including some of Prague’s very best meat from English butcher/chef Paul Day’s The Real Meat Society, when his grilling Land Rover parks up and cooks up a storm. If you miss the Saturday morning option, most evenings throughout the summer there’s usually something interesting happening down at Naplavka anyway and at least a couple of places to get a bite to eat.
Ryby & Chips
A cute intermingling of Czech (ryby is Czech for fish) and English, with a London Underground style logo. This is Prague’s second fish & chip bar to open in the past few years, following on from the more upscale Fish & Chips on Dlouha close to Old Town Square. This one has more the feel of a standard UK ‘chippy’ and from my experiences does better on overall product too.
And the rest?
It wouldn’t be a street food article without mentioning some of the most prevalent expressions of the genre found in Prague that you will undoubtedly happen upon.
Wenceslas Square Klobasa Stands
Prague 1 City Hall has been working hard to restrict these kiosks on Wenceslas Square allegedly in an effort to clean up the square. A few remain and while we can’t vouch for any particular one, this is about as authentic as it gets when it comes to Czech street food: a fatty sausage served with a slice of dark bread and dollop of mustard. You could opt for a Czech-style hot dog – a frankfurter sausage in a hollowed-out bread roll (parek v rohliku)
The old-world styling and usually folksy dress of the staff at these places would have you believe that this sweet pastry made on a cylinder is a tradition as old as the hills. It is, but it belongs to another country’s culinary history: Hungary, though its true origins lie in Transylvania in modern-day Romania. As with many foods in this region it spread around hundreds of years ago and morphed into slightly different versions.
A straight transplant of the Hungarian dish, Langos a deep fried flat bread topped with anything from cheese, ketchup, garlic sauce and various other things.