Let’s eat! A commonly heard phrase, especially among travelers. Certainly a big part of travelling, especially in foreign lands, is sampling the cuisine while soaking up the culture and maybe a glass of the best local wine.
But what and where?
There is certainly no lack of eating establishments in Bratislava and to the hungry and often overwhelmed traveler, finding that “memorable meal” can be a challenge, especially if you don’t speak the local language. But the rewards of choosing correctly, especially in a sophisticated “foodie” city like Bratislava, can be really rewarding.
Bratislava’s cuisine is difficult to define in one word. This cosmopolitan European capital has been forged from the Hungarian, Austrian, German and Slovak cultures that have, at one time or another, dominated the city. Maybe a little history lesson will help to explain it further.
During the communist era, cultural variations in food took second place to filling hungry bellies. Would-be chefs were given the same recipe book with a standard list of easily-available ingredients and standard food preparation guidelines. Variety was not to be found in the food.
Today, you can still find reminders of this area. With lunch being the main meal of the day, hearty “Daily Menu” meals (denné menu) consisting of a hot soup and a main meal are offered during lunchtime by most restaurants. A “Daily Menu” is used by luxury restaurants to attract diners too, so this might be your chance to fill your belly at bargain price.
With the end of communism and opportunities to travel, the Slovaks put pressure on Bratislava restaurants to go above and beyond what has been “good enough”.
So, what’s available? References to “Pressburg cuisine” generally indicate the spicy Hungarian stews, goulashes, roasted pork, poultry, and fish. Austrian eateries feature deep fried meats – schnitzel – and amazing deserts. Germans influenced our roast – fancy wild boar and deer, sausages, goose or duck? Slovak traditional food consists of mainly different types of roast and grilled meat, grilled fish, fried cheese including the iconic sheep cheese and fresh vegetables.
Roast goose accompanied by lokše is considered a signature dish here. It’s accompanied by a potato pancake and red or white stewed cabbage and the meal is eaten mainly in autumn. You must not forget ‘Bryndzové halušky’, potato dumplings meal with sheep cheese and crispy streaky bacon, which can be found at almost every Bratislava restaurant. Actually potato, cabbage, and sheep or cow cheese are ingredients found in many traditional Slovak meals like ‘zemiakové placky’ (potato fried pancakes) or ‘kapustové halušky’ (potato dumplings with cabbage).
Current Bratislava cuisine distinguishes one dining experience from another with references to quality. While many restaurants still seem to adhere to the old communist-era cookbook, others have discovered the rewards of using fresh, local ingredients and the power of seasonal cooking. The menus have shrunk from the old eight-page books to elegant three-page binders. Spring menus will typically feature asparagus and other vegetables accompanied by light wine-based sauces; summer menus offer light soups and freshly picked garden vegetables; autumn menus boast chestnuts, squash, and pumpkin flavored dishes and berry-flavored sauces. Winter menus lean towards hearty bean and lentil soups, dark meats and root vegetables.
Along with fresh, local ingredients, there is also a new breed of chefs trained abroad emerging in the city. Five-star hotels are hiring experienced international chefs to propel their hotel restaurants into competition with independent restaurants and these hotels today offer some of the best eating experiences in the city.
Restaurant districts have also sprung up in the shopping centres. The most trendy one is the Eurovea Gallery along the river Danube (where young professionals go to be seen) and in Hviezdoslavovo Square in Old Town. The area around the university along Obchodná Street and nearby SNP square features student pubs, traditional restaurants popular among visiting and local diners and trendy microbrewery pubs featuring craft beers.
Come enjoy the exotic flavors of excellent Indian cuisine close to the city center.
Au Café is a restaurant located on Viedenská cesta street in the Petržalka borough of Bratislava, close to Tyršovo nábrežie (Tyrš‘s waterfront) and Sad Janka Kráľa (Janko Kráľ’s Orchard).
BARsKDE can be found “anywhere”, which happens to be the English translation of its name, too.
BeAbout is place for all ‘outcasts of the outcasts’, or simply anyone who feels awkward in any kind of subculture.
Enter the true Beer Palace! Right in the historical heart of Bratislava, a few steps from Hviezdoslav Square, there is the Beer Palace for you. You will enjoy the best beer, the most delicious food from regional and international cuisine, and lots of fun.
15% discount with Bratislava Card
Bratislava has 7 icons that every visitor should see and Bratislava Flag Ship restaurant is one of them.
Any list of the most popular “sweet” street food stands in the centre of Bratislava would certainly include Buchtáreň (“Dumpling Palace”).
A place where your soul will be delighted on the waves of the most delicate tastes, which combines the touch of bitter beer-brewing alchemy and the dainty appetite of Slovak and Czech gourmandise.
The pleasant restaurant with the atmosphere of old Pressburg can be found right in the heart of the historic city centre.
Enjoy excellent Slovak dishes with good beer or home-made wine in our restaurant located in the building from the 18th century.
Visit Mondieu bistro and relax having a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate or having a glass of quality wine.
Don’t be surprised to queue in a line here since the New York style hotdog mania has just arrived in Bratislava.
Orbis Street Food offers food from around the world in the centre of Bratislava, and it is the only street food stand in Slovakia whose fries are made according to the original Belgian recipe of fresh potatoes fried in beef fat.
You would be very much mistaken if you were expecting the crepes in this shop to be rolled up crepes with jam.
Started by a former advertisement industry pro, this underground bar and eatery successfully proves you don‘t need to be trained in hospitality to cook truly brilliant food.
The very name Poľná kuchyňa (Field Kitchen) illustrates this street food business’s intent to provide food and be able to move from place to place as the mobile mess halls used to do to feed military troops.
Some say these guys whip up the best burgers in town. They proudly use natural ingredients: top-notch juicy meat sourced from local farmers, superb chewy buns and secret homemade mayo; all this for a reasonable price.
Enter a world full of passion, flavors and exciting entertainment. The RIO GRANDE RESTAURANT, NIGHT BAR and CAFÉ all offer a special experience. Just go off Hviezdoslavova Námestie to Panská ulica.
SAN MARTEN BAR & RESTAURANT is located in one of Bratislava´s historical buildings in the city center, next to Saint Martin´s Cathedral.
10% discount with Bratislava Card
Combine the tour with a unique dining experience in one of the most visited bars in Bratislava. Enjoy Mediterranean cuisine and internationally awarded Thai cuisine and a wide selection of cocktails and wines with unforgettable panoramic view of the city.
This typical old Slovak pub is a real maze where you can learn a great deal about the history of the Slovak nation.
Slovak people love their soup. There‘s probably no pub or restaurant that wouldn‘t be serving hot chicken broth or tomato soup, sometimes even instant or straight from a can!
After their recent move to much larger premises, St. Germain has lost some of its personality, but there‘s still plenty to love: fabulous burgers with avocado salsa on top, homemade cakes and lemonades, plus decent wine make this charming „café with a French twist“ a place brimming with joie de vivre.
A small café chain carrying the name of an important historical figure Ludovít Štúr. Stur single-handedly jumpstarted the city‘s original coffee shop revolution, and still holds its popularity to this day.
From your first morning coffee and premium quality lunch to a well-deserved dessert and satisfying dinner with a glass of wine at the close of the day – we have many recipes for a joyful life here at Tulip Café & Restaurant.
Strong coffee, wide variety of tasty homemade lemonades, and pretty good food: U Kubistu manages to impress even the pickiest caffeine nerds and foodies amongst us.
A unique observation tower, a bar and a restaurant are located at the very top of the SNP bridge pylon.
Larger (and noisier) sister of the original Gorila named Urban House presents customers with more food options, a lot more comfortable chairs, plus a DJ stand, which makes it a definite addition to a must visit list.
Tucked away at the very end of one of the longest streets in the city centre, Vegan bar is definitely worth the short walk
If you wish to taste the selected specialities from the cuisine of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, look no further. Zylinder is just as traditional as it only goes.