Prague review: 48 hours discovering the best food and drink offerings in the historic Czech capital

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I'd always been told there was something special about Prague that sets it apart from the other big cities of Europe.

Whether it's the Gothic cathedrals and Baroque palaces or its 200-plus gardens, iconic castle or world famous Charles Bridge, for architecture and history buffs, it's frequently listed as a must-visit.

And it really is true, as my wife and I discovered on our first-ever visit to the Czech capital, marveling at the beautiful buildings and historic landmarks, but also acutely aware there was much more to pack in over our two-night stay before leaving the city to embark on a week-long river cruise.

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Like eating and drinking, for example. Staying at a hotel in a superb central location, we knew that some of the finest restaurants and watering holes were just a short walk away, so off we set on the hunt to discover the city's finest food and drink offerings...

The Art Deco Imperial Hotel in the heart of Prague provides a perfect base for a luxury city break. Image: Art Deco Imperial HotelThe Art Deco Imperial Hotel in the heart of Prague provides a perfect base for a luxury city break. Image: Art Deco Imperial Hotel
The Art Deco Imperial Hotel in the heart of Prague provides a perfect base for a luxury city break. Image: Art Deco Imperial Hotel

WHERE TO STAY

Oozing elegance thanks to a stunning interior embellished by precious late Art-Nouveau mosaic, the historic Art Deco Imperial Hotel in the heart of Prague provides a perfect base for a luxury city break.

Soaking up 1920s charm, you are wowed as you walk through the doors, greeted inside a beautiful entrance hall with colourfully-tiled walls and ceilings, and garnished by a scattering of floral decorations and figures inspired by Egyptian and Mediterranean cultures.

Leading up to our weekend abode on one of the higher floors was the grand marble staircase with its seemingly endless upward wind from the lobby, which was great for increasing the daily step count.

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A Junior Suite at the Art Deco Imperial Hotel in Prague. Image: Jiri LizlerA Junior Suite at the Art Deco Imperial Hotel in Prague. Image: Jiri Lizler
A Junior Suite at the Art Deco Imperial Hotel in Prague. Image: Jiri Lizler

Our stylish corner room, one of the newly-renovated Junior Suites, provided all the comfort and perks of a five-star establishment, such as a king-size bed, modern technology hook-ups, free mini-bar and an elegant bathroom with heated floor and large mirrors, all surrounded by the hotel's sumptuous art deco interior.

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Not to mention the stunning street views we had from the corner window, where in the distance we could see the beautiful Obecni Dum (Municipal House), Prague's celebrated concert venue.

The hotel is also home to Cafe Imperial, one of the city's renowned dining haunts with its breathtaking ceramic wall tiling and mosaic ceiling, where we fuelled up each day with a buffet breakfast, enjoying numerous breads, cold meats, cheeses and eggs, along with the more Czech-authentic kolaches, a yeast, doughy round pastry filled with fruit.

- Prices for a deluxe double room at Art Deco Imperial Hotel start at approx. £102 a night. Book direct at hotel-imperial.cz for the best rates and use the promo code WELCOME for an additional 10 per cent off.

Lining up the beer flight during a brewery tour with Beer Prague. Image: Beer PragueLining up the beer flight during a brewery tour with Beer Prague. Image: Beer Prague
Lining up the beer flight during a brewery tour with Beer Prague. Image: Beer Prague

WHAT TO DO

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You can't go to Prague without knocking back a pint or two as the city is renowned for having some of the best beer known to man.

And what better way to sample its greatest offerings than with a guided brewery tour with Beer Prague, on which we would capture the spirit of the city while tasting nine varieties of Czech beer from three of its 'hidden gem' micro-breweries.

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Forgetting about the well-known brands, this three-hour-plus experience was about the beauty of small beer production and I was in my element, with my 'non-beer-drinking' wife also getting a taste for the unique 'hoppy' blends. There was an educational element too as we learned about the various brewing processes of the beer and its history.

One of the delightful cocktails at CottoCrudo Bar. Image: Four Seasons HotelOne of the delightful cocktails at CottoCrudo Bar. Image: Four Seasons Hotel
One of the delightful cocktails at CottoCrudo Bar. Image: Four Seasons Hotel

It's just as well there was food included as the tour's final stop offers unlimited drinking, with the welcome sight of two deliciously hearty 'beer-inspired' Czech dishes soaking up the excesses.

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- The Beer Prague brewery tour costs approx. £70 per person. Website: beerprague.com

WHERE TO DRINK

You're not short of options when it comes to watering holes in the Czech capital, but after enjoying the informality of a beer tour the night before it was time to get our glad rags on for a more sophisticated drinking experience.

And where better to start than the Four Seasons Hotel's CottoCrudo Bar, where the cocktail menu is built on traditional Czech ingredients mixed with a dose of Italian charm.

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It would have been rude not to accept the obligatory glass of champagne offered as we perused the extensive list of concoctions, which included a number of signature cocktails such as the 'U R Delicious & Sour' (apple brandy, pineapple, citrus, egg white), 'Negroni' (gin, campari, sweet vermouth) and the 'Poppy Seed Tini' (poppy seed liqueur, Havana rum, coffee), which was my favourite.

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The informal and relaxed setting inside Field restaurant. Image: FieldThe informal and relaxed setting inside Field restaurant. Image: Field
The informal and relaxed setting inside Field restaurant. Image: Field

We were glad of bartender Patrick's knowledge when it came to choice of drinks as he helped us select the cocktails that matched our tastes, with a number of small plates also ordered to satisfy any lingering hunger, including the delicious Praha hot dog, a selection of cheeses and the totally moreish truffle fries.

- Alcoholic cocktail prices at CottoCrudo start at approx. £10. Website: fourseasons.com/prague

WHERE TO DINE

As self-confessed 'foodies', we decided we wouldn't be leaving Prague without a memorable high-end dining experience and our choice of venue for this occasion would be Michelin-starred restaurant Field, nestled on the corner of a quiet street in the Old Town.

Keen to sample the full range of Chef Radek Kasparek's unique talents, we opted for the 10-course degustation, or 'tasting', menu with wine pairings, which would take us on a gastronomic journey of seasonal dishes celebrating their natural origin.

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What I loved about this menu is that final preparations for many of the dishes were done tableside, which provided a bit of theatre and numerous 'wow' moments that only the finest restaurants can showcase.

It was hard to pick a favourite course, but if were to choose three standouts it would be the 'Zucchini (courgette), Caviar, Cheese in Ash and Almond', mouthwatering 'Sturgeon, Cauliflower Mushroom, Lovage and Hazelnut' and the delightful 'Apricots, Blackberries, White Chocolate and Linden'.

With immaculate presentation and strong, but surprising flavours, every mouthful danced on the palate, with the various red, white and dessert wines matched perfectly with each dish.

- Prices for Field's 10-course 'Degustation Menu start at approx. £140 per person. Website: fieldrestaurant.cz

PRE-FLIGHT HOTEL, CAR PARKING AND AIRPORT LOUNGES

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Before our flight to Prague we booked an airport hotel with parking and an airport lounge at London Heathrow through Holiday Extras.

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One night’s accommodation at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow, with 11 days’ parking at the hotel is available for £260.10 based on arrival on 18th June 2024. Entry to the No1. Lounge at Terminal 3 is available for £39.60 per person.

Last year, Holiday Extras customers saved an average of £191 per trip by booking their airport parking in advance. Plus with Flextras, if you need to cancel or amend your booking, you can do without charge.

For more information and to book, visit HolidayExtras.com or call 0800 316 5678.

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