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Prague

prague cafe viewCare for some potatoes with your potatoes? Czech food is heavy, and lunch is typically the main meal of the day. It generally starts with a hearty soup (often potato) followed by an entree of meat (often pork) and potatoes or bread dumplings. Popular desserts include apple strudel and small cakes with poppy seeds. As for beverages, plum brandy and locally brewed beer are huge favorites.

Most restaurants accept credit cards, but don't include the tip on it, or it will likely go to the owner. It's best to tip in cash, 10 percent to 15 percent of the check.

Six Tips for Dining Abroad

For an elegant dining experience, the riverside Bellevue Restaurant is well known for its superb cuisine and views of the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. The restaurant is located in Old Town at Smetanovo Nab.18. Among many other selections, Bellevue features a multi-course tasting menu, served with optional wines.

For a big splurge, don't miss La Degustation, which serves a variety of fixed-price multi-course menus. The cuisine is a mix of Czech and Continental, paired with fine wines and excellent service. The experience is worth the steep price tag.

Old Town Square and its environs are filled with festive outdoor cafes and restaurants. Many have menus with photographs that make it easy to order. For lovers of Art Nouveau, lunch in the Kavarna Obecni dum -- the restaurant in the Municipal House, the city's most prominent Nouveau building -- is worth a stop. Light lunch, cakes and desserts are served in an elegant, beautifully appointed room with lofty ceilings, huge windows and period crystal chandeliers. It's open daily, at Namesti Republiky 5.

Czechs love beer -- in fact, there are tours built around pub crawls. Prague has a number of notable brew pubs, including two in New Town: U Fleku, a European-style beer hall and microbrewery at Kremencova 11, and Novomestsky Pivovar, a pub-style restaurant and microbrewery at Vodickova 20. U Fleku has a house specialty that includes one-quarter of a duck, half a sausage and fillet of pork shoulder. Novomestsky Pivovar is known for its goulash, pork knuckle and dumplings. Or stop by for a drink at the old-time U Zlateho Tygra pub on Husova Street, the Old Town venue long popular with the city's intelligentsia.
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