Wanted to know for those that have been in Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Austria. What foods would you recommend: Meals? Treats? Etc?
Czech Republic. What ever goes well with Czech beer. You are on holiday. Beyond the beer, the memorable treat of my Prague visit was a rotisserie barbecued over open flame pastry: Trdelnik.
Austria. What ever goes well with Austrian beer. You are on holiday. That means fatty, salty meat dishes. We enjoyed the Old Fox in Salzburg (Das Alter Fuchs): http://www.alterfuchs.at/de/essen/speisekarte
I should add that Austrian pastries (if it looks good it will likely taste good) go well with an afternoon coffee or hot chocolate stops.
My recent experience here deals with Hungary (only in Budapest), Poland, and Austria where I am now. Food is good in Poland, l liked it and enjoyed the meals, same with Budapest. If you like Schnitzel made from veal, pork, chicken, you'll like food in Austria. This is Central European cuisine which has overlapping similarities. If you like pork, which is featured in meat dishes, and more expensively, veal dishes.
I can speak only to Poland. The traditional dishes are pierogies, which, if you are unfamiliar, is similar to raviolis stuffed with a variety of sweet and savory things including fruits (blueberry is popular), mashed potatoes, cheese, sauerkraut, mushrooms, meat, and other things. Pork cutlets are ubiquitous, and stuffed cabbage. Polish ham is highly regarded, and of course, there are many kinds of Polish sausage (kielbasa) worth trying, but we mostly saw that sold as street food or as a snack. You can find everything else tex-mex, pizza, and Italian all over. There is something sold on the street that they call pizza, but is more like ketchup on bread, that is to be avoided.
For a treat look at bakeries for pączkii (pōnch-key) which are like jelly donuts. Raspberry honey was my favorite discovery.
We found the downloadable guide books "In Your Pocket Guide to (Warsaw, Krakow)" to be a wealth of info on restaurants sights and shops in those cities, and the website (google it up) has an interactive map so you can look around your hotel area. I believe they do other major cities in the countries you're visiting.
I've not been to Poland, so I cannot speak for them.
Two years ago, we went from Budapest to Bratislava to Vienna to Prague. You won't have any problem with food in any of these cities.
We were surprised to find one of the largest modern malls in Europe on the Danube River in downtown Bratislava with a whole row of restaurants overlooking the river. They also had typical "mall foods."
Vienna has all kinds of food, but I would say much of their typical "local" food is like German food.
We were in Venice the other day, and I observed restaurant prices were no higher than they were 15 years ago. Many of the restaurant owners and workers were not Italians, even though they may have been serving Italian food. I would think this is typical as there has been so much influx of people and workers from all over the world into large European cities.
Well I was going to start a list, but when checking spelling on the internet and I found this which is better than anything I can write: https://www.buzzfeed.com/anitabadejo/hungarian-foods-the-world-should-know?utm_term=.vbVpQPBBR#.wddozd00x Many of these have Jewish origins so its always revealing to visit a Jewish restaurant while in town.
Not mentioned is Palinka and all the wonderful Hungarian wines. Hungarians also consume more pate per capita than any other place in the world. Its cheap, excellent and plentiful and goes well with the Tokaji Aszú
What you really need is a list of good restaurants.
Ah, thank you, everyone. This sounds delicious. I am going to try everything.
Stan provided a great description of Polish foods ("Gołąbki" are stuffed cabbage and you should definitely try one, as well as pierogi and even duck or boar in finer restaurants). I would add that you should try any dessert once you're there - they're bound to be delicious. My favorite as a kid was a hazelnut torte type of cake but there are many others. Definitely visit the Wedel cafe in Warsaw (there is also one in Krakow) for desserts - delicious!!!!
While in Hungary in particular and the region in general you will see a lot of duck on the menu. That sort of explains the pate and the feather pillows and comforters.......
You didn't ask, but here are some of my favorites. They all are mostly Hungarian on the menu except for Zing Burger, Café Vian, Lancelots and Hachaupri. And I could make the list 5 times longer. These are all in a particular neighborhood near our home. Its from a list I put together when we have guests. And I have no idea why they are showing up so big and underlined in the forum post. nothing I did.
EXCELLENT HUNG / JEWISH ($$)
1 MACESZ HUSZÁR
District VII, Dob street 26.
+36 1 787 6164 / +36 30 499 5585
ALL YOU CAN EAT HUNGARIAN ($$$)
2 TRÓFEA GRILL
District VI, Kiraly utca. 30-32.
+36 1 878 0522 / +36 20 999 8797
HUNGARIAN FOOD AND IMPORTED USDA STEAKS. 100 YRS OLD ($$$)
3 HAXEN KIRALY
District VI, Király str.100.
+36-1-351-6793 / +36-1-342-8193
GYPSY MUSIC & GOOD FOOD ($$$)
4 RÉZKAKAS BISTRO
District V, Sas utca 3
+36 1 318-0038 / +36 1 267-0349
IF CHILI’S OPENED A HUNGARIAN RESTAURANT THIS WOULD BE IT ($$)
5 VAKVARJÚ ÉTTEREM
District VI, Paulay Ede utca 7
+ 36 1 268 08 88
I NEED! A HAMBURGER . BUY THE CATSUP ACROSS THE STREET ($)
6 ZING BURGER
District VI, Kiraly Utca 60
+36 70 639 7917
OLD WORLD HUNGARIAN ($$)
7 PAPRIKA ÉTTEREM
District VII, Dózsa György út 72
NEW IN-PLACE IN TOWN ($$)
8 HUNGARIKUM BISTRO
District V, Steindl Imre u. 13.
+36 30 661 6244
VERY GOOD HUNGARIAN FOOD FOR THE PRICE ($$)
9 BELVÁROSI LUGAS
District VI, Bajcsy Zsilinszky u.15
+36 1 302 5393
MY FAVORITE WINE BAR HAS GREAT FOOD. 150 FEET FROM THE APT ($$)
10 KADARKA BÁR
District VI, Király utca 42
+36 1 266 5094
GOOD BREAKFAST ($$)
11 CAFÉ VIAN
District VII, Király u. 13
+36 1 878 1350
GOOD HUNGARIAN BREAKFAST ($$)
District VII, Király u. 15, www.frappans.com
+36 1 798 5030
SWORD FIGHTS & BELLY
13 SIR LANCELOT
District VI, Podmaniczky u. 14
+36 1 302 4456
GOOD CHEAP TYP. HUNGARIAN ($)
14 FRICI PAPA KIFŐZDÉJE
District VI, Király u. 55
+36 1 351 0197
YOU CAME FOR EXOTIC SO EAT
GEROGIAN VERY GOOD ($$)
District VI, Andrássy út 3
+36 1 317 5479
Given the font size above, the recommended dining options must be superb.
oops need 10 characters for a full posting so here you go
I've been to all the countries except Slovakia, and in each the basic cuisine is heavy on pork, chicken, sausages, cabbage and potatoes--and I love that! There are many variations, and I do tend to focus on the things I know I like rather than try something vastly different. The thing I miss most when travelling is a good green salad. I make a point to eat the regional cuisines but there are times I feel like something else--Italian, or a hamburger, are the 2 cravings I usually have--and figure it's my vacation and just eat whatever appeals. Despite that, since I walk so much I typically end up losing 5-8 lbs.
Hungary is my favorite, though--langos, sausages in a paprika sauce with butter beans, gulyas, csirke paprikas with dumplings (spaetzle), toltott kaposca, Dreher beer, dobos tort...already planning another trip.
Bruce, James, I interpreted that as the portions are huge.
Czech - the beer :). I agree with the posting about the pastry in Prague/Czech over the spindle.
In Czech, we loved the honey cake (Marlenka) but it may be in Bohemian areas only; dumplings - here they have a bit of a different texture than American or Chinese dumplings; Chicken or Pork Schnitzel; potatoes (they put a yummy tartar-like sauce on potatoes and it's delicious); sausage - fun to skewer over the fire at a beer garden or cookout; Goulash is out of this world and like a thick, steak soup; fried cheese; kolaches; and for a refreshing non-alcoholic drink, try all of their waters or lemonades with cucumbers, fruit and other natural additives.
In Poland - pierogies & pastries!!
It's been a while since we've lived in Poland, but we loved the food. The Poles excel in soups and salads. (DH would add: "And desserts! Torts! Babka! Pączki! Ciastki!") Our favorite main dish was bigos, which will usually be described as "hunter's stew." It's an amazing combination of any (or all) of the following: kiełbasa, any bits of leftover beef, pork, or poultry; cabbage, sauerkraut, tomatoes, mushroom (preferably wild), smoked prunes, onions, maybe a bit of garlic. And some red wine. It used to be the cheapest thing you could get, especially in what were then ultra-cheap workers' bars. As a student, I ate (and loved) a lot of bigos. Of the soups, try żurek, a sour rye soup that may or may not have little bits of meat in it; chłodnik, a cold beet soup, and barszcz, which is similar to, but usually much simpler than, Russian or Ukrainian borsch. (An aside: In Bath a couple of weeks ago, at our tour's "final dinner, " I had something called "beet gazpacho." It was chłodnik!)
The bread was also amazing. What they considered simple, everyday bread (zwykły chleb) was a beautiful, crusty, sour dough rye. My student stipend was so small I spent weeks eating nothing but bread and cheese. Wonderful local peasant cheese. (Bigos was a luxury for me then. When we returned some years later, and could afford "better" food, we still loved bigos, bread and cheese, and the wonderful soups and salads.)
Be open to new taste combinations. I hope the food is still as good as it was the last time I was there. Happy travels, and happy eating!
Our guide suggested the Milk Bars in Kraków! Delicious, many choices, this is where the locals eat!
Again, I don't know why it posted that way. maybe the webmaster can fix it.
Debbie, the milk bars (bar mleczny) are what I was referring to when I mentioned cheap workers' bars. I'm delighted to know they're still around, and still good.
I figured it out. inadvertently stumbled onto a formatting code.
Yes to the pierogis in Poland.
We found the food in all the all the listed above were meat centric , lots of duck, goose, pork often cooked with fruit added to the dishes. Apple based desserts were excellent such as apple struedel. One meal in Kraków I had a baked apple as a side on my dinner plate which I enjoyed.
In any of these countries you can have all different meals if you are in a big city and sometimes even in smaller towns. Italian, French. Mediterranean, Asian etc. I assume you want to hear about typical local meals:
In C.R.: the most typical would be vepro knedlo zelo (roast pork with dumplings and cabbage) another one so called svickova (which I prefer); you will find even recipe on google. Bakery departments of supermarkets or even better specialized stores called Pecivo (Bakery) it's like heaven - all these different breads, rolls, vanocka (sometimes called challah bread or egg bread here) all different kinds of cakes, pies etc. There are specialized stores called cukrarna (sweets), in Austria called conditerei (now I am not sure if it spells with "c" or "k'). They sell excellent cakes, pies, ice creams etc. Generally they are less sweet than here which I like.
National drink in C.R. - beer. Have it in a Prague classical pub from the tap. No competition.
Poland: pierogi, borshch and many others similar like in neighboring countries.
National drink: vodka. Of course they have other drinks, too.
Slovakia: bryndzove halusky. Google will explain what it is. And other foods like neighboring countries. Easy to understand when we realize that 23 years ago it was one country with the C.R. called Czechoslovakia and 98 years ago it was together with Austria, Hungary and part of Poland called Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
National drink: slivovica (homemade plum brandy).
Hungary: their cuisine is somewhat different, more spicy (differences are among others thank to Turkish influences; Budapest was occupied by Ottoman Empire well over hundred years. At that time Bratislava then called Pressburg or Poszony was a capital of Hungary). Typical meal: Hungarian goulash. I had it once in European restaurant (unfortunately no more in existence) in Seattle. I like it better in Budapest.
National drink: barackovica - excellent hard liquor from apricots or peaches. Also Tokay wine.
Austria: typical meal - Wiener schnitzel with potato salad. Otherwise almost everything what I wrote about C.R. is valid for Austria too.
National drink: wine especially excellent Gruenerveltliner and of course beer and so called schnapps.
@ Ilja...totally agree with your food assessment above, except for the beer in CR. I'll dissent from your view on that.
The word (in question) is spelled with a "K." The roast pork or roast veal is good and recommendable, mainly depends on the sauce and the texture.
Fred, of course, taste of beer is subjective. Especially in my case when I was nursed on it. Nevertheless I know many people who were not and share my opinion. Also one contributor on this Forum who is from Edinburgh and is a fan of Czech beer.
In Vienna, have dinner at a heuriger (not one in Grinzing, try Nussdorf or Neustift Am Walde); work up your appetite by taking the 38A bus to Kahlenberg from the U4 subway station and follow the #1 trail down to Nussdorf. Stop at Mayer am Nussberg half way down for a glass of wine while sitting in the vineyards.
Of course in Austria, the standards are schnitzel, sausages, and strudel. All superficially fine, but so heavy and you can have really good versions of these, or really bad versions. I'd suggest diving a bit deeper, having dinner at the Palmenhaus or Glacis Beisl.
Vienna is famous for its cakes and tortes. Me, I'd rather have ice cream (as would most Viennese). Try Eis Greissler, Zanoni & Zanoni, or Tuchlauben - the local favorites. If you insist on cake, then go to Cafe Diglas, Cafe Sperl, Cafe Prueckel or Demel Cafe where you will get the best atmosphere as well as the best selection of cakes. Gerstner Cafe has the best strudel.
... taste of beer is subjective.....
A good craft beer doesn't have to have maximum IBU or ABV numbers. With summer heat one of my new favorites is Caldera Brewing Company's "Lawnmower Larger":
Hops: Willamette ABV 3.9 % IBU 16 SRM 3
Perfect after mowing the lawn or a long bike ride.
That said, when traveling, I enjoy the local brew as part of the cultural experience. Herb Caen (SF Chronicle) had a "three dot" story about the American in Japan who ordered foreign when given a choice of domestic or foreign beer in Japan. He was served a Bud at foreign import prices. An American Bud, not a Czech Budweiser.
Isn't the standard Austrian dish Tafelspitz? (Boiled beef, usually served with both a bearnaise-type sauce and with apple-and-horseradish sauce)