Most Prague locals will swear that good food ends at the city limits, but then again, they would be wrong. Now, it would be a mistake to expect a Michelin star-worthy dining experience outside of the capital; these eateries are all about comfort food and beer in the fresh air of a calm village. Isn’t that what we all crave on a fall weekend?
There’s only one way to leave Na Pekárně: stuffed. And probably drunk. Václav Frič, a former chef at Alcron opened Na Pekárně in his hometown, a twenty-minute drive from the D5 highway on the way to Dresden. And the drive is worth it, because we have yet to taste proper Czech cuisine prepared better than by Mr. Frič, a Czech chef straight from Josef Lada’s drawings. The pate, the svickova and the wild boar with rosehip sauce are out of this world and the plum jam “tasticky” are the stuff dreams, and cholesterol problems, are made of.
The great thing about the Únětický pivovar brewery and the U Lasíků inn is accessibility: a fairly short train ride or bus ride will get you to the serene village of Unetice. Your visit can even turn into an educational event if you join one of the weekend tours they organize for visitors. When it comes to eating, we’d stick to the classics, like goulash or roasted duck, because they go really well with the local beer.
After you’ve had your share of beer and food, a 10-minute walk will build an appetite for one of the legendary kolaches over at U Lasíků, a picturesque inn in the very same village. (Going back for more beers is purely optional.)
There’s one word that comes to mind when you finally descend to the small village of Lisnice and sit down at Slowpec: comfort. The place is undeniably cosy and has a feel that we can’t help but call “grand-motherly”. And so is the food. Pure Czech comfort food in its best forms. The beef shank slow-cooked in red wine for 16 hours, their signature dish, just warms you all over. This is a tiny place, so make sure you make a reservation: they can get fully booked quite easily.
The Zájezd restaurant made some waves last year when they announced they received a Michelin star on social media. It was a joke. No, Michelin stars really don’t come with a delivery of Michelin tires. Anyway, Zájezd is a fun place to eat if you like your meat from traceable sources in the setting of a lively local pub. The interior is a bit rough around the edges but the fun atmosphere complements the pubby fare. Classic Bernard beer is served, along with a special tap from St. Norbert brewery.
If Slowpec has the “feel” of grandma’s place, Babiččina zahrada definitely has the look: lots of checkered linen and probably the biggest number of small pillows we’ve seen in a restaurant decorate the wooden benches and window panes. The big tiled oven in the center of the room drives that metaphor home. The cooking is classic Czech, if a bit lighter and with a modern touch: the chef, who used to work at La Veranda restaurant in the Old Town, has his finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the world, while staying deeply in the realms of classic Czech cuisine.
The local theater in this town, about a 30-minute bus ride from Dejvicka, is where Karel Gott used to break the hearts of our moms and grandmas back in the day. But that’s not its only shot at glory: its Antoš brewery is known by most people in Prague as the beer that flows out of the wall in the Naše maso butcher shop. Five different beers and a small pub serving Czech slow-cooked classics (goulash, svickova, duck, pork belly and other fatty things) make it worth the trip.
When Black Dog Cantina opened a few years ago, the juxtaposition of burgers, tacos and Beroun in one sentence raised eyebrows. Today, the place has moved (while still remaining in Beroun) and the concept has evolved more into a steakhouse-meets-taqueria-meets-burger-joint kinda place, and while the menu is extensive, the concept is well defined. And who does not like burgers, steaks and carnitas on a fall day? Just a short train ride or drive from Prague, Beroun, with its own brewery, is an easy place to spend an afternoon.
For when you want to feel like Kate and William pulling up to a countryside manor in their Bentley (or in your case a Fiesta), Chateau Mcely hotel, spa and restaurant can be a night to remember in a fairytale setting, and well worth the trip. The food itself is all about tradition: local trout, venison and deer from the forests nearby, with foie gras and caviar intermezzos, served on vintage tableware with real silverware.