A True Taste of the Czech Republic
On a recent trip to the proto-Disneyland that is the city of Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, I set out, as I often try to do, to find real, local, traditional food. I love getting a taste for the local culture by eating the local fare, and I think that there’s few things better at affording you understanding of a new place than by having some local grub.
Prague is hardly an unfamiliar place to the world, but it was my first time there, and thus the city and country were unfamiliar to me. I assumed that, with its similarities in language and close proximity to Slovakia and Poland, the food might bear a resemblance to Slovak and Polish food.
Thanks to some local friends, I was passed a good tip to try the restaurant “Lokál,” a chain of several eateries around Prague, set in a pub style and offering local foods at an unbelievably inexpensive price.
The Lokál location that I tried (and twice, at that) out was the Lokál Dlouhá at Dlouhá 33 (address) in Praha 1 (district 1). Walking in, we passed a small, square bar area, a sunny room where some locals were having afternoon drinks. My friend whom I was traveling with, Joseph, and I wanted to sit down and enjoy a proper meal, so we headed through the small bar area into the long hall behind which served as the restaurant.
The restaurant has quite a modern feel, stretching down almost endlessly, it seems. The white arched and vaulted ceiling meets the wooden paneling on the walls at about chest level – two colors that simply and effectively set the right mood for what’s in store. The first half of this long corridor has about a dozen tables on the left hand side, minimalistically bare, and a few more on the right near the restrooms; the middle of the corridor, the restaurant’s abdomen, has a bar, followed by more seating until the very back.
I found the place quite impressive, aesthetically and architecturally, but the real pleasure was the food. Lokál explains on their website that they serve only traditional foods which are devoid of additives and “unhealthy fats.” We were given a menu, a standard print-sized piece of paper which must be retired each night, as the menu had that day’s date on the top.
The foods are quite inexpensive, yet tasty nonetheless. Each item we tried was full of flavor, save perhaps for the “dumplings” meant to accompany the soups and gravies, which were more like moist, heavy breads; however, these are a staple in Czech diets, especially in the past, as they helped one get their fill in a frugal manner, similar to potatoes and corn products used in other countries as filler.
The food was great and inexpensive, the service was efficient, the atmosphere warm and inviting – what’s there more to say? I highly recommend the Lokál restaurant on your next visit to Prague.
Lokál (several locations) | website