While on a train in Europe, I was once told: “everyone says Paris is the most beautiful city, but Edinburgh, Bucharest, and Prague are all just as beautiful.” These cities all vary a lot, and I’ve been lucky to visit them all – in part inspired by this friendly tip.
I agree that Prague is beautiful, with plenty of incredible tourist sights and experiences… but it doesn’t have the greatest reputation as a culinary destination. So when watching Anthony Bourdain in Prague during that episode of No Reservations, I was excited to see that he proves this is changing – making me want to plan another trip back to the Czech Republic!
Bourdain visits Prague in season 6, episode 4 of No Reservations; this is the only time he visits Prague during any of his shows Like many of the greatest episodes of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain’s visit to Prague is a lovely combination of local dining experiences and restaurants/bars we can visit too.
Tony starts by exploring Prague, especially the Old Town. There he eats his way through a number of delicious dishes – mostly made with pork – and washes it all down with healthy glasses of Czech beer (which is truly as delicious as the show suggests!). His local guides, including chef Oldřich Sahajdák, artist David Černý, and chef Zdenek Pohlreich, show how Czech cuisine is recovering from decades under Soviet rule.
Meals range from a high-end tasting menu to sausage stands and a fried cheese sandwich – again, a combination that only Bourdain could make sense of. Then, Tony heads out of the city to explore other culinary experiences: Czech beer in an old brewery, a backyard pig slaughter and buffet of pork dishes, and a traditional brunch with a local chef and her family.
In all, the Prague episode showcases the best food (and beer) the Czech Republic has to offer. If it doesn’t whet your appetite for a visit, nothing will!
Where Anthony Bourdain Ate in Prague
1. Restaurant & Hotel U Medvídků
After getting oriented, Tony’s first meal in Prague is at Pivovar U Medvídků. Here, he tries traditional introductory dishes, including beer cheese on bread, slow-roasted pigtails, marinated rib of dark beef in beer, beef with rosehip sauce with chef Oldřich Sahajdák.
2. La Dégustation
The pair then head to Sahajdák’s own restaurant, La Degustation. As the name suggests, the chef brings a French sensibility to the kitchen while still sticking to traditional Czech foods. Bourdain samples parts of the tasting menu, including fried carp and potato salad; tripe soup; beef tartare with crispy chips; aspic of Prague ham with poached egg and homemade lard on toast; rabbit three-way; and smoked beef tongue with chanterelle mushrooms.
3. Pivovar Kout na Sumave
Tony then sets out with travel writer Evan Rail to explore Pivovar Kout na Sumave. This historic brewery may now be permanently closed (the internet is undecided on this), but based on the slightly treacherous environment the two explore in the mouldering ruins of the brewery buildings this might be for the best.
4. Pivovarsky Klub
Opting for a safer place to continue drinking Czech beer, Rail and Bourdain head back into town to visit Pivovarsky Klub. This beer bar also serves Koleno (pork knuckle or shank) with red cabbage and horseradish – a super traditional Czech meal.
5. Sausage Stands in Wenceslas Square
After meeting up with chef Zdenek Pohlreich, Bourdain sets out into Wenceslas Square – the tourist heart of Prague’s Old Town. The two head for sausage vendors; we can always count on Tony to showcase street food. In Prague, street food is sausages with mustard – yum – and a delicious, heart-stopping fried cheese and mayonnaise sandwich. Tony describes it as good drunk food, but I’d eat it in any state of mind.
6. Cafe Savoy
Next, Bourdain meets up with a woman named Tina at Savoy Cafe for coffee. Here, we learn a bit about how North Vietnamese immigrants settled in the Czech Republic during the Soviet Era.
7. Sapa (Prague’s “Little Hanoi”)
They then set out for Sapa, Prague’s “Little Hanoi.” The initial goal is to find Hanoi Style Phở at a restaurant Phở Quýnh Anh. However some strange politics take place and after being denied service, Tony and Tina tuck into Bún ốc (vermicelli snail soup) at a different shop instead.
For the rest of the episode, Tony dines local. He attends a backyard pig slaughter and enjoys the pig snout to tail including goulash, belly/cheek/jowl with salt & mustard, fried skin, sausage, blood sausage, blood soup & loads of beer – all washed down with local spirits and beer. He also visits a fellow chef’s home for a traditional Czech brunch, which includes stuffed yeast buns (white poppy, pork, cheese, and plum marmalade), slow-roast goose with Carroway, red cabbage with cinnamon, and dumplings. All around, the episode proves that Czech food has come a long way – and will continue to improve!
Prague Food Tours You Might Enjoy
If you’re planning to visit Prague and want more guidance in sampling Czech food beyond the places Bourdain ate, here are some good options:
As you can tell, traditional Czech food and beer are an important part of any culinary experience in Prague.
Have other questions about what happened to Anthony Bourdain in Prague? Comment below!