Following page is based on the Paul Zendzian's and Madeline Vadkerty's Guide to 70 of Bratislava's best restaurants. The guide was published in 1996 and is outsold now; a description of particular restaurants is obsolete. But the information regarding the Slovak kitchen and restaurants services is still valid. The same is true about the restaurant language dictionary, which can be useful for you. Have a fun with it.
ABOUT SLOVAK CUISINE
Part of the joy of travelling is sampling the regional cuisine and experiencing local culinary specialities. Here is a brief guide to what you can expect to find in Slovak restaurants. You will find the food hearty and filling.
The best known Slovak soup is kapustnica, a hearty cabbage soup with smoked pork sausage that often contains mushrooms, and sometimes plums, especially at Christmastime. This soup is also served at weddings to revive guests at midnight! It is perfect to take away the chill on a cold day.
Another typical Slovak soup is fazulova polievka, made of beans and root vegetables such as carrots and parsley. Sometimes, smoked pork is added. While in Slovakia, be sure an try cesnakova polievka, a garlic soup usually cooked in chicken broth with parsley and an egg, or croutons.
Drzkova polievka is often seen on menus here - beware if you are not fond of tripe!
The fish soup Halaszle‚ is borrowed from Hungarian cuisine. Usually very spicy, it is a combination of different types of fish in a hot paprika broth.
A very typical Slovak appetizer is the sunkova rolka s chrenovou penou, a slice of ham stuffed with horseradish flavoured cream. Bryndza cheese appetizers in pastry dough or flavored with paprika and served with bread are also typical appetizers. One of our favorites is Ostiepok, a smoked cheese baked with ham (vyprazany ostiepok so sunkou).
Miesany salat (mixed salad) is readily available in Slovakia. Watch for the word sterilizovany, however as it means that the vegetables are canned, not fresh. It is also possible to get salads consisting of one vegetable, with cabbage (kapusta), tomato (paradajka), and cucumber (uhorka) being the most popular.
Side dishes, such as rice or potatoes, are usually not included in the price of your main course (they will be listed with the description if included) and need to be ordered separately. Mashed potatoes (zemiakova kasa), baked potatoes (zapekane zemiaky), French fries (hranolky), boiled potatoes (varene zemiaky), fried potatoes similar to homefries without onions (opekane zemiaky) and potato croquettes (zemiakove krokety) are the most common potato side orders.
Rice is served plain (obycajna) or flavoured with ham (sunka), curry (kari), peas (hrasok), mushrooms (hriby or sampinony). Some restaurants serve dumplings (halusky) as a side dish. Ketchup is found on some restaurant tables, but in most cases, it is necessary to request it and pay a separate charge.
There are a couple of dishes that are typically Slovak that we want to bring to your attention. The first is bryndzove halusky, a serving of dumplings with melted sheep cheese and fried bacon sprinkled on the top. Many refer to this as the national dish and it is usually the least expensive menu item. Sometimes, for some reason, they are listed in the dessert section. Another traditional dish is strapacky s kapustou, dumplings with cabbage and sometimes bacon.
Other than salads (salaty), vegetarians are often limited in terms of their options in Slovak restaurants but this is improving. Often, the only items are cheeses (syry), fried mushrooms (vyprazane sampinony), fried cauliflower (vyprazany karfiol) or omelettes (omelety). Fried cheese (vyprazany syr) is also available if cholesterol is not a concern for you. Vegetable risotto (zeleninove rizoto) or fried skewered cheese (syrovy spiz) is also usually available.
By far, the most popular Slovak dessert is crepes (palacinky). They come filled with jam (s lekvarom), ice cream and chocolate sauce (so zmrzlinou a cokoladou), farmers' cheese and raisins (s tvarohom a hrozienkami), and stuffed with nuts, chocolate sauce and whipped cream ( s orechami, cokoladou a slahackou). In some restaurants they are flamb‚ed with liqueur. Another popular favorite are gule, or parene buchty, steamed rolls filled with jam. Also recommended are makov‚ sulance, noodles with poppy seeds, melted butter and sugar.
Strudla or jablkovy zavin made of flaky pastry dough and apples is also popular here, not to mention all kinds of cakes (torta) and cookies (zakusky). Ice cream sundaes (zmrzlinove pohare), fruit cups (ovocne‚ pohare) and stewed fruit (kompoty) are on virtually every menu here.
Alcohol is an integral part of dining in Slovakia. The most popular before dinner drink in Slovakia is slivovica, a brandy made of plums. Many like to start their dinner with borovicka, a juniper berry brandy. To the uninitiated, these drinks will appear quite strong, but experienced drinkers can throw back their heads and down a shot without even flinching. Wine (vino) is grown almost all over southern Slovakia, resulting in good white (biele) and red (cervene) table wines.
In winter, try the mulled wine (varene vino). Young wine (burciak), is available in the first half of September, and is usually the subject of harvest festivals. Cloudy in appearance, it is apparently rich in vitamins (especially vitamin B) and legend has it that if you drink seven liters of it, you will replace all of your blood. Also, let's not forget about some of the best beer (pivo) in the world - served in bottles (flase) or on tap (capovane) in most restaurants.
Most Slovak restaurants have well stocked bars including alcoholic spirits from around the world in case you want your usual favorite.
You will find that each menu will list the weight of the meal, in grams, generally to the left of the meal. This wonderful feature allows you to determine the size of the portion. All menus are in Slovak, however, we have indicated if the menu is available in English and other languages.
Free Slovak Cookbook
A small culinary dictionary
|Cold Appetizers||studene predjedlo||stoodenay predyedlo|
|Warm Appetizers||teple predjedlo||teplay predyedlow|
|Quick Foods||hotove jedlo||hotovay jedlo|
|Foods made to order||jedlo na objednavku||yedlo na obyednavku|
|NAMES OF COMMON FOODS|
|Fish/seafood||ryba, morske jedlo||reebah, morskay, yedlo|
|Vegetarian dishes||vegetarianske jedlo||veghetarian-skee yedlo|
|Fresh Salad||cerstvy salat||cherstvee shalat|
|Canned Salad||sterilizovany salat||sterilizovan-ee salat|
Useful Slovak phrases for dining out
Tip: Most Slovak words have the accent on the first syllable.
|Hello||Dobry den||dobree den|
|Good evening||Dobry vecer||dobree vecher|
|Do you speak English?||Hovorite po anglicky?||hovoreetay po anglitski|
Do you have a table for one, two three, four, five, six?
Mate stol pre jedneho, dvoch, troch, styroch, piatich, siestich?
Matyea stwol pray yeddenho, dvok, trok, shtirok, piateek, sheshtik
I need a reservation for two, three, four, five, six at seven - eight o'clock
Potrebujem urobit rezervaciu pre dvoch, troch, styroch, piatich, siestich a devätnastu - dvadsiatu hodinu
Potreebooyem oorobeet reservatseeou pray dvok, trok, shtirok, piateek, sheshtik nah devaatnastoo - dvadseeatoo hodeen
May I have a menu, please?
Prosim si, menu/jedalny listok?
Proseem see menoo/yedalny listok
I would like to order...
Man: Rad by som si objednal ..
Woman: Rada by som si objednala
Rad bee somm see obyednal...
Rada bee somm see obyednala...
Please bring me the bill
Prosim, prineste mi ucet
Proseem, preenneste mee oochet
May I pay with a credit card?
Mozem platit kreditnou kartou?
Mowzehem plateet kreditnow kartow
Please give me a receipt
Prosim si potvrdenku
Proseem see, potverdienku
Where is the ladies/mens room?
Kde je WC pre zeny/muzov?
Gdye yeh Vaysteh pray zhenee/moozhow
Please call me a taxi
Prosim, zavolajte mi taxi
Proseem, zavolaytye mee taxi
A word about tipping in restaurants and taxis
In Slovakia, it is not customary to tip ten or fifteen percent to waiters and taxi drivers. It is best to round up to the nearest ten. If your payment already includes the tip, hand your money to the waiter/waitress and say thank you (D'akujem, pronounced dyakooyem). If you thank them when you hand them the money, they will not bring you any change. If you want change, say nothing to the waiter/waitress when you pay and change will be brought back to you. You should then tip the amount you wish. Tips are not usually left on the table, they are usually handed directly to the waiter/waitress.