Hearty Slovak cuisine, with its emphasis on meat and potatoes, is not represented around the world in many fine-dining establishments. Typical dishes include pork and dumplings with a thick sauce and the national dish is bryndzové halušky, gnocchi-style potato dumplings with sheep cheese and bacon. Soup, like the favoruite kapustnica, is a national institution in Slovakia – nearly every meal starts off with a bowl. Here we discover ten of the best cultural restaurants in Bratislava.
Tucked in a quiet courtyard off Michalská gate is Prašná Bašta, an elegant, low-key restaurant loved by locals.For years, this was a meeting place of artists and writers; that avant-garde spirit is still very much palpable. Both Slovak and international flavours grace the menu. Prašná Bašta does a number of lighter dishes well, like salads and fish, but for an unhealthy indulgence, the traditional fried cheese served with chips is a popular favorite. Live jazz and classical music is often played, while the outdoor terrace offers one of the best vistas in the city.
Prašná Bašta, Zámočnícka 11, Bratislava, Slovakia, +421 254 434 957
Modrá Hviezda not only has a cosy location under Bratislava Castle – it also offers a solid range of Slovak dishes, and shares a bit about their history. The brick-lined, candlelit cellars are a mix of rustic and romantic, while the brighter front room is pure Slovak country, with garlic and chilli peppers hanging from the ceiling. A summertime bonus is the lovely terrace with views down to the Danube. While the menu features many delicacies, especially worth recommending is the baked duck with red cabbage and potato pancakes or the roasted rabbit with mushrooms.
Modrá Hviezda, Beblavého 14, Bratislava, Slovakia, +421 948 703 070
This could be your most beautiful dining experience in Bratislava. While the dishes are certainly well-prepared and beautifully presented, the Tempus Fugit experience will be highlighted by dining in one of the three beautiful spaces – a 15th century vault, a covered atrium or the balcony. You will find some Slovak dishes on the menu but the cuisine is more French with a touch of Asian. Special detail paid to the quality and freshness of the ingredients, and the wide variety of the chef’s regional tastes make this an intriguing restaurant.
Tempus Fugit, Sedlarska 5, Bratislava, Slovakia, +421 2 5441 4357
PRO.Laika Gallery Restaurant
The PRO.Laika restaurant cum photo gallery has a good menu – and great vision. The owners are ‘battling’ against the spread of online media and have decorated their restaurant with large-format ‘real’ photographs. They supplement this with exhibitions, screenings and discussions, hoping to offer a place for guests to recharge and relax while enjoying stimulating conversation. Their menu is fairly international with the likes of English breakfast, pork tenderloin stuffed with plums or penne pomodoro on offer. A great place for lunch, thanks to their daily menu, or a coffee and cake break mid-afternoon.
PRO.Laika Gallery Restaurant, Palackého 14, Bratislava, Slovakia, +421 911 645 214
Located right next to Bratislava castle, the Hrad’s best assets are its fabulous terrace and unparalleled views over the whole city, and the opportunity to escape the summertime crush of castle visitors. Slovak specialties such as duck or beef stew are the usual choices, but the menu extends to more international options such as hamburgers and pasta. Hrad is perfect for an afternoon break in the summer, to enjoy a cold beer, fresh Slovak wine or freshly squeezed lemonade.
Reštaurácia Hrad, Námestie A. Dubčeka 1, Bratislava, Slovakia, +421911132929
1st Slovak Pub
1st Slovak Pub is a self-confessed institution. And while it can be considered somewhat touristy, it is a fun place to go for those looking to enjoy a few Slovak beers, a small snack and a loud, jolly atmosphere. The restaurant’s 14 rooms each represent a different period of history with original decorations and furniture, making 1st Slovak Pub a kind of time-capsule; especially so, as most weeknights, guests can enjoy traditional, live accordion music. The Slovak cuisine prepared here is more basic, but fresh, with ingredients sourced from a local farm – enjoy a lovely bryndzové halušky or their čiernohorský bravčový rezeň, a pork schnitzel with cheese.
1st Slovak Pub, Obchodná 62, Bratislava, Slovakia, +421 2 5292 6367
Bratislavský Meštiansky Pivovar
The city brewery is obviously one of the best places to try a Slovak beer. The menu boasts various home-brewed specialties: lagers and wheat beers, as well as a number of other Slovak drinks such as slivovica, a typical Slovak spirit most often made from plums. Apricot, juniper and other flavourings can be sampled as well. To go along with the drinks, the brewery serves up cold and warm appetisers – traditional favourites include pivný syr (beer cheese), utopenec s feferónkami, cibuľkou a s cesnakom (pickled sausage with peppers, onion and garlic) as well as tatársky biftek (steak tartar). The interior is modern but atmospheric with dark tables, brewing vats and arched ceilings.
Bratislavský Meštiansky Pivovar, Drevená 8, Bratislava, Slovakia, +421 944 512 265
We noted at the beginning how much Slovaks love their soup, so it is hardly surprising to find a restaurant dedicated to this warm and filling delicacy. A perfect lunch stop, Soupa Bistro cooks up generous bowls of steaming soup and buzzing ambience where conversation flows freely in the charming, country-themed dining room. Four different soups are offered daily – inventive, international ones from chefs who
truly love their soup and a bit of kitchen experimentation.
Soupa Bistro, Kozia 11, Bratislava, Slovakia, +421 905 188 228