Eating Like a Local at Prague’s Lokál
We entered a loud, crowded, male-filled beer hall. I had just reunited with my good friend Mary Kate, from whom I had been separated for almost two weeks. Having chosen Lokál because of a recommendation from the people at her hostel, we had no clue what to expect. Were we supposed to seat ourselves? Or wait for a table by the nonexistent host stand? Or grab two chairs with some of the guys who were watching us look around confused with amusement? We did the best thing a pair can do in a situation like that: order a couple of beers at the bar.
Our next move was to strike up conversation with a member of the waitstaff to get his input on how best to get a table as soon as possible. The waiter, Michael, sent us what felt like the distance of a football field down to the opposite end of the restaurant where he said his friend would take care of us. We added our name to the list and stood behind the bored, impatient people who had clearly been waiting a long time.
Ten short minutes later, Michael reappeared before our eyes, smiling and excited to tell us that he had a table available for us. We exchanged glances and looked back at the long line of people,still waiting, and skipped to catch up to him. Scooting our chairs in and taking generous gulps of Czech elixir of life (beer), we told him that we had no idea what we were supposed to order or what kind of food is traditional in Prague. Michael snatched our menus away and told us he would take care of everything.
To this day I’m still not entirely sure what we ate that night, something with chicken and maybe something schnitzel. I truly don’t know. The writer in me is shaking my head at myself for not writing it down to be able to reference right here, but that’s part of the adventure in being swept away in a city as magical as Prague. Genuinely kind men named Michael will make sure that all you have to do is sit back and enjoy your meal. After bringing over our dessert (which I do remember), a traditional Czech biscuit with whipped cream, Michael told us that he is actually the restaurant’s manager! I won’t ever forget the night I reunited with my good friend to explore, take chances, and say yes to mysterious food in Prague.
You can see clips of Lokál in the video Seven Weeks in Europe