My husband and I recently visited Prague in the Czech Republic. During our visit, we wanted to have some authentic Czech experiences and read about the Czech Kitchen (Ceská Kuchyne) in our trusty Rick Steves Prague book. According to Steve, the restaurant was a Czech Blue Collar kitchen – a cafeteria-style eating establishment where you stand in line for good traditional Czech food.
When we entered the restaurant there was a lady sitting at a desk and she handed us a sheet. We quickly figure out the sheet was used to tally what we ate. As we walked through the restaurant we realized that the majority of the clientele were locals and that nobody working there spoke English. The decor of the restaurant was not fancy, it was clean and there were booths and tables and wooden benches – not uncomfortable but not elegant. People who were already seated shared these facilities with other diners – and there might 2 or 3 separate parties sharing a large table or booth – very much cafeteria style. There were smoking and non-smoking rooms.
No one seats you, so when you go into the restaurant you just grab a seat and then head to a station to pick up your food. My husband decided to stay at the table to hold a place for us and I headed out to get my food.
Let me tell you right now I was nervous, I headed to pick up my tray and stopped at the first station that was soup. All the signs were in Czech and the lady at the station did not speak one word of English – so I decided to skip soup 🙂 I am not an adventurous eater.
I headed to the second station which appeared to be main dishes and again no one spoke any English – I won’t say my service was rude but it was rather indifferent. I decided to use the point method and pointed to food that I could more or less figure out was something I was willing to eat. The food looked very appetizing. The last serving station was for hard and soft drinks and I saw a diet Pepsi and chose that. The meal I ended up with was breaded chicken, mashed potatoes, and a dumpling. Even though I was not sure what I was getting it was delicious.
Next, it was my husband’s turn to get his food and I warned him that no one spoke English and I was not sure of the nature of much of the food. Shortly after he returned with a full tray, it seemed that when the ladies who were working at the various serving stations saw him they were happy to help him find food. A few of them even spoke a few words of English to him. Hmmm.
My husband had the soup which he really enjoyed and his main course was goulash, a traditional Czech dish.
After being so successful with my main course, I decided to try their dessert. This time round I sent my husband, he seemed to have a better way with the all-female serving staff. He brought me back fruit dumplings which were yummy!
The quality of the food was very very high and when we left the restaurant and gave the lady our tally sheet we found the prices were cheap by Prague standards and very cheap by American standards. We actually loved the place and ate there twice – it had an authenticity that allowed us, albeit in a minor way, to experience Prague as it is for Czechs, not for tourists. If you are looking for an authentic Czech food experience this is the restaurant for you.