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*NOT* free in Prague Restaurants

You might expect that when you order fries with your ‘řízek’ (schnitzel), the waiter will bring a bottle of ketchup to the table. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen. If you want ketchup, you need to ask for it and pay for it. It’s not that the restaurant is trying to squeeze every dime out of you; it’s just that ketchup is considered an extra.

Here are a few other things that you might think are free but are not:

  • Water. If you want water, you need to pay for it. They are not going to bring an ice-filled jug of water with glasses. When you ask for water, they are going to ask ‘Neparliva nebo parlivá?’ (‘Without bubbles or with bubbles?’—non-carbonated or carbonated.) If you want normal water, say ‘neparlivá’. The waiter will bring you a little bottle of water and a glass. He will open the bottle in front of you and pour the glass half-full. Refills are not free, and it is also more expensive than a half liter of beer.
  • Ketchup. There are no ketchup bottles on the tables. Remember, if you want ketchup, you need to ask for it—even when you order fries. The ketchup is served in a little dish. Do not be gluttonous with the ketchup. If you run out and you still have a few fries left, you will have to order another little dish of ketchup.
  • Coffee Refills. I have never been to a restaurant in Prague that served brewed coffee. It is always an espresso in the little dollhouse cup that you hold with your index finger and thumb. It’s not coffee; it’s more like a strong shot of caffeine. Refills are not free, and it is also more expensive than a half liter of beer.
  • Buns. When you order soup, it will arrive with a basket full of fresh buns. Go ahead—eat all the buns you want. But when it’s time for the bill, be prepared to answer the waiter’s question: ‘Kolik hosky?’ (‘How many buns?’) You can try lying and say that you had two buns when you really had three, but because they cost only a few korunas each, it is probably not worth the sleepless nights of guilt.
  • Tartar Sauce. It is a mandatory condiment for a few popular Czech dishes—fried cheese (‘smažený sýr’) and fried cauliflower (‘smažený kvetak’), for example. Were you to be offered these dishes at a Czech’s house, it would come with tartar sauce automatically. But at a restaurant you need to ask and pay for it.
  • Salt and Pepper. Just in case you were wondering—they are free.

Did I bring you pleasure? :)

I hope you find this website helpful. I created the website because I love Prague, I enjoy writing about it, and I get a weird kick out of helping you make your trip to Prague more enjoyable.

I wrote a book about local travel in Prague. The book is my pride, my joy, my unbiological offspring. It was written with a passionate heart. If you find this website helpful consider getting my book full of useful tips that will instil in you the confidence to wander the local streets of Prague. The book is included in the popular (proud to say over 1000 sold) Prague Local Explore Kit.

Thank you,
Roman : Prague 2023

Prague Local Travel Kit