A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to go and visit my boyfriend Parker in Prague for my Spring Break! He’s studying at a European film school for the semester, and he couldn’t have picked a more beautiful place to live for five months. I stayed for a little over a week and we did all the touristy things: Visit to the Prague Castle, walk down Charles Bridge, photos in front of the Lennon Wall, and a hilarious evening at the St. Matthew’s Fair. We also went out a few nights with his friends, one night of which was at a night club called Lucerna that plays 80s and 90s music with the music videos projected onto the wall. WHY is this BRILLIANCE not in the United States?! I may or may not have completely lost my cool when 90s Brittney Spears came on, it’s casual.
As nice it was to go sight-seeing, let’s be real. I like food. Like, a lot. So I challenged Parker to take me to the best places he’s eaten at in Prague so far. And while I appreciated the irony and hilarity of our first meal at Prague being at a TGI Friday’s (it’s turned into an odd tradition: Almost every trip we’ve been on we’ve managed to eat at TGI Friday’s…), I was obviously looking for something a little more local. Typical broke college student responded with: “There’s this epic Chinese take-out place down the street. And an Italian place by my apartment that has the world’s best pizza!” While we did go to these places (two times for Chinese food and three times for the pizza… He wasn’t kidding, it was amazing), I wanted to try food from the Czech Republic. Parker’s Czech roommate kindly pointed us to a place called Lokal – THIS is exactly what we were looking for!
According to their website, Lokal is known for their homemade Czech cuisine and carefully handled beer. The Pilsner Urquell (the beer that’s cheaper than water) is supervisted by an international master bartender. If I learned anything in Prague, it’s that they take their beer very, very seriously! This is also the same reason my boyfriend may never come back to America haha, someone’s gonna be in for a reality check when he comes back and beer costs him more than $2.00. Anyways! The first night we got there, the restaurant was packed. Praise Jesus, the wait staff spoke English, though I have to give Parker some credit – his Czech was good enough to order food at everyone restaurant we went to and to get us from point A to point B. I was pretty impressed. That language is not user friendly (I could barely say “hello” properly by the time I left). Since the restaurant was so crowded, they shuffled us to the back of the restaurant and we had a beer (or two) while we waited for a table. This restaurant had the most hilarious and genius way of keeping track of how many beers each table had: They had a sheet with about 50 small beer mugs printed on it. Every time they delivered a beer to your table, they’d cross off a beer mug on your sheet. Like I said, HILARIOUS and GENIUS.
We sat down and they handed us the menu, which also was luckily in English. Parker ordered Krejcars’ hot dog sausages with homemade mustard and creamy whipped horseradish for an appetizer while I looked through the menu some more in an effort to make a decision. For the record, that appetizer in Czech is “Párky od Krejcarů s domácí hořčicí a smetanovým křenem.” WHAT. I couldn’t even guess as to what that is supposed to sound like… Fortunately, we didn’t have to be able to pronounce it to eat it! And they were delicious. It reminded me of when my family and I were in Germany when I was 10 years old. We were staying in the hotel and my Dad ordered three hot dogs, makes sense right? Two kids, one for my Mom or Dad, perfectly logical. What showed up instead was three TRAYS of 10 small sausages each. For those who don’t like math, that means my Dad ordered 30 sausages through room service. The look of happiness on my little sister’s face is something I will never ever forget! This sausage appetizer was on par with our German hotdog smorgasbord, and that’s saying somethingfolks.
I eventually caved and asked Parker what an infamous Czech dish was because I figured that’s what I should order because when it comes to choosing what to eat I’m really bad at making decisions, especially with so many good options. His response: Svíčková. No, I couldn’t pronounce it. Yes, I tried repeatedly. Yes, Parker laughed at my several butchered attempts. Basically, Svíčková is braised beef served with a thick gravy/sauce. I ordered mine with a side of potato dumplings (or in the hardest language ever, “bramborové knedlíky”). HOLY AMAZEBALLS PRAISE ALL THAT IS HOLY AND GLORIOUS – This stuff was amazing! The beef literally fell apart in your mouth, and the potato dumplings were fluffy and wonderful and great and I might be drooling just thinking about it. I don’t know how they made it, but you can bet I’m going to try and find a way to duplicate this in the future.
In conclusion, if you ever find yourself in Prague I highly, highly recommend you give Lokal a try. Parker and I ended up going back there my last night in town because it was conveniently located right next door to the concert venue we were going to later that night. One of my favorite bands – Daughtry – just happened to be playing in Prague while I was there, talk about the best coincidence ever! Such a wonderful way to end the trip. Great food, awesome music, and an amazing night with my best friend boyfriend. No wonder it was so hard to leave! Hope y’all enjoyed hearing about my trip! I’ll go back to posting recipes on Thursday – it’s a good one too!! Until then, happy eating!