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Prague! Krakow! (And Vienna, too)

I couldn't be more excited that after shuffling and reshuffling ideas for destinations we finally settled on an itinerary that puts us in Prague for about 6 days, Krakow for 5 days and Vienna for 2 days in March and April. (We're flying in and out of Vienna, where we spent 2 weeks eating like crazy last year.) While on the last trip we limited ourselves to seafood and vegetarian this year we've said pretty much anything goes. We're looking for amazing food in both traditional and modern varieties, local out-of-the-way secrets, unique, surprising, etc etc! We're obviously going to be going over old threads as well and asking for updates on old recommendations. I know that some people have said Prague is not a good food destination but I have a feeling that's just hype and that there are amazing things to be found.

As for Vienna, we're there for such a short time that we might just revisit some of our favorites from last time (Wieninger, Restaurant Sperl...) but if someone wants to jump in with a suggestion feel free!

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  1. I second info on Prague, going from the 12-18th Feb so any recommendations would be welcome.
    We are students so something really crazy expensive we wouldnt be able to do - but anything Hole in the Wall, Traditional, Modern or dominiant to any particular large immigrant community would be wonderful.

    Any cool bars/pub recs would be great too! Thanks in advance :-)

    1. I replied to another post on Krakow with this suggestion:

      http://www.wierzynek.com.pl/en/wierzy...

      Right on the main square and although it's a bit fancier it's not a break-the-bank dinner. They have some well-executed traditional dishes in a nice environment. We spent a lot of our time going to the nearby sites (Auschwitz, salt mine) and grabbed meals wherever they were convenient. I can honestly say I didn't have a bad meal, even at a greasy-spoon truck stop on our way to Slovakia (which is very hit-or-miss, food-wise).

      5 Replies
      1. re: ferret

        Thanks ferret! We're definitely looking forward to Krakow. That restaurant looks to be a short walk from our hotel, which is cool.

        1. re: kukubura

          You'll also be a few minutes walk from the open-air market (produce and prepared goods), although having last been there in August I'm not sure what it's like in early Spring. In any case there are enough bakeries and sausage shops along the side streets to keep your interest. Krakow, like most cities in Eastern Europe, seems to be Kebab-Krazy. There were 2 or 3 or Kebab shops on every block (or so it seemed). I made an effort to sample pierogies (primarily the wild mushroom variety) nearly everywhere we went and was not disappointed a single time.

          Krakow was our best surprise in that our expectations were low and it exceeded them on all levels (can't wait to go back). Vienna, on the other hand, was grander but I enjoyed it far less.

          1. re: ferret

            When we were in Vienna last year we noted the 'kebap' obsession. Interesting, especially when you consider the history between the Turks and the Hapsburgs!

            As for the open air market, you don't know how exciting that is to us. We are very market obsessed. I don't know how strong it will be in early April but really whatever they have will be a lot of fun.

            Did you go to the "sausage under the bridge" guy that I've read about on CH? I located the bridge on the map (Grunwaldzki) but don't know much else.

            Also, we'd love to know about any hidden Jewish eateries. I know that there are a lot of inauthentic and touristy ones. Any gems?

            1. re: kukubura

              Our timing was off and we only had a few days (half of one was spent driving). Auschwitz/Birkenau took up nearly a whole day - partly due to road construction. Poland's roads are the worst we've encountered and nearly every major road had some sort of construction project on it. The other day we did Wawel and the Salt Mine. Our planned visit to the Jewish Quarter was deferred to the next trip.

              And, in my book at leat, Budapest is a better time than Vienna.

              1. re: ferret

                We were in Budapest briefly last year and tried really hard to make it fit in again for longer this year but we want to be unhurried in each place and our current itinerary is the best we could come up with. Plus we're visiting family in VIenna (which is a pretty astonishingly wonderful city - both for food and just for life in general.) But thanks for the recs, definitely.

                Anyone else? The more I read about both Prague and Krakow as food and drink destinations the more excited I get!

      2. We're about a month out from the trip and we're sitting down to plan where we want to eat so far. Anyone want to jump in with more recs? We've been immersing ourselves in reading about Prague and Krakow and are getting more ad more excited.

        4 Replies
        1. re: kukubura

          I found this blog invaluable for Prague,

          http://czechoutchannel.blogspot.com/

          and http://www.livingprague.com/index.html

          a couple of the places don't seem to exist anymore but I really enjoyed U Pinkasu (though it is a little pricey for what you can get at most standard Czech places (http://www.upinkasu.cz/)) and we found ourselves going back here:

          Bredovský dvůr
          Politických vězňů 13
          Prague 1
          Tel. (+420)224 215 428

          They did excellent Klobasa in dark beer sauce, and the Pork Knee that comes on a metal spit with mustard and horseradish was well cooked and flavourful.

          1. re: ShekhaV

            Those sound like great tips. Thanks! We've started compiling lists of restaurants (oh yeah, and other things to see too) and even made a reservation... Just a few more weeks.

            1. re: kukubura

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/764231

              Prague Guy, recced this Vietnamese place too. I went back twice whilst in Prague and really enjoyed the food!

              1. re: ShekhaV

                We're considering hitting the VIetnamese area for a meal. Vietnamese cuisine is actually one thing we have a lot of access to, being right between Washington DC and Philadelphia, both of which have large communities. But since the US VIetnamese community came from the south and the Czech community came from the north it might be interesting to compare...

        2. In Prague try Stoleti (www.stoleti.cz) for moderately priced modern Czech fare. It's near Old Town Square and a few blocks from the river. For brewpub fans there's Pivovarsky Dum with Czech pubfare, excellent pivo (beer) and owned by American expats; a hangout for locals after work.

          1 Reply
          1. Was in Prague two years ago and what stands out in my mind was the cream pea soup at Cafe Louvre (hraskovy krem polevka) that came with a mound of mashed potatoes and bacon in the centre. Also, the beef in saurbraten sauce (svickova) at Vikarka, surprisingly in the castle itself.

            3 Replies
            1. re: currycue

              Actually svickova is beef in a cream sauce, about as far from sauerbraten as it can get. Also the "national" dish of the Czech Republic.

              1. re: Mayor of Melonville

                Mayor, what are your thoughts on the restaurants currycue mentioned?

                1. re: Mayor of Melonville

                  It's what my local Czech deli calls it in English. I suppose it doesn't really translate.

              2. Between 8pm and 3am (monday through saturday/sunday morning) near Hala Targowa in Krakow there is a blue van with a line in front. Bring 7 zloty, eat the kielbasa standing up outside.

                1 Reply
                1. re: fatmeezy

                  Ooh yeah, is that the stand that used to be under the bridge? I might have to bring 14 zloty!

                2. Just five more days until we leave. Any more suggestions?!? Can't wait!

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: kukubura

                    Hope you will be posting as you eat. I am leaving for Krakow on March 29 and will be there a few days and then back again on April 13. Any ideas for jazz clubs?

                    1. re: suzieq4

                      Not sure if we'll be live posting but will definitely do a detailed trip report afterwards as well as photo-heavy posts on my wife's food blog. As for jazz clubs, no idea but I did discover a polish blue duo on WWOZ: Przytula & Kruk. Don't know if they'll be playing there during your/our trip but they are cool. I was lucky enough to have the DJ from 'OZ send me their CD. Polish blues!

                      1. re: kukubura

                        Thanks - any suggestions on blues or any kind of clubs?
                        Where have you decided to get reservations? I am going to get a reservation at the restaurant at Hotel Grodek (formerly Cul-due-sac). They have modern polish food but I am open for other suggestions in addition to the blue van by the bridge.

                        1. re: suzieq4

                          Haven't gotten any reservations for Krakow. The only res we have for the trip is chef's table at Le Degustation in Prague. As for any other tips... I'll be a lot more helpful after the trip!

                            1. re: suzieq4

                              You too! We're leaving tonight. Whoop whoop! Supposedly we'll be able to get online on my wife's Blackberry so maybe we'll check in on CH now and then...

                  2. Just checking in midway through the Prague portion of the trip. This place is extraordinary. We've been eating and drinking a storm. I'll write it up in detail when we get back and we're photographing every morsel for my wife's blog. Well, off for some lunch!

                    1. First time at a real computer during this trip so time for an update. Prague was incredible. (Full trip report coming later.) I think we beat the tourists for the most part because the day we left (April 1) it seemed like they were all arriving. There were a lot of groups of screaming teens while we were there but I have a feeling all hell is breaking loose now.

                      Instead we're in Krakow where the tourist scene is much more reasonable. Our initial impression (from one evening) is that this is yet another fantastic city, with a bit of a harder edge. We already had one lovely meal and look forward to many more over the next four days.The legendary sausage guy is definitely on the itinerary. For those who know: Is he near Hala Targowa? And is he there seven days a week? I have a feeling last night would have been a good night to go but we are getting sick and needed to rest. We're stayign just a block off the main square so a lot of things are easy for us to get to. Spotted some milk bars last night, the zapienkankas scene at Plac Nowy and lots of other tasty things.

                      1. Well, the trip is nearly over. We've eaten countless meals and photographed every one. We've had the finest service of our lives and we've eaten sausage one street corners in the middle of the night. I can't wait to write up the trip report. Now we're in Vienna revisiting favorites from last time. One more day, but it'll be a doozy! Wieninger tonight!

                        3 Replies
                            1. re: kukubura

                              lol, thanks. I realised that after and couldn't delete.