Brno might be small in some ways, but the restaurant scene here definitely isn’t one of them. Instead of convincing you myself, I’ll let others do the talking: here’s what The Guardian thinks about Brno’s restaurants and bars – ‘Czech out Brno for a cheaper, calmer city break’; and this is what The New York Times had to say about the drinking/eating scene here – ‘In Brno, Drinks for Morning, Noon and Night‘.
Best recent guide published by the Brno municipality is the Gourmet guide available online and in print.
Eating out can be very cheap. A meal in a mid-range restaurant costs under 6 EUR and a glass of beer (0.5l) about 1.5 EUR. (You can find more prices at numbeo.com). People can afford to eat out often, going to restaurants for lunches and dinners on a regular basis, to cafés and bistros for breakfast and coffee breaks. High demand causes the restaurant scene to bloom. With the competition getting tough, venues have to try their best to make people keep coming back.
Browse through food reviews written by expats in our blog to find places worth trying: Brno Expat Centre: Food Corner; or have a look at Gourmet – a guide through the best of Brno’s gastronomy scene (you can also pick up a hard copy at our office)
A Czech traditional meal can be quite delicious, and also quite heavy. If you want to try some Czech quisine, a place to start might be Stopkova or Lokál, both with Pilsner beer on tap. For the local beer brand, Starobrno, served with Czech traditional meals, visit Zlatá loď or Starobrno brewery restaurant.
Many Czechs and expats like to taste different cuisines. There is a wide range of international restaurants: from Italian (for example, the pasta heaven Cattani or authentic Castellana trattoria), through Greek (starting with a taverna-like Ellas or Cosmopolis grill) and Middle Eastern (Travellers Club is not only a restaurant), to Indian (for example Satyam or Buddha right in the centre) or Vietnamese cuisine (bistro Go, Vietnamese/Thai/Sushi restaurant Umami).
Have a look at the Gourmet brochure and its 10 suggestions for the best dining experience in Brno.
For most Czechs, the main meal of the day is actually lunch instead of dinner. Coming noon, people rush out of their offices and head to their favourite restaurant nearby. The restaurants are ready for them: during work days between 11 am to 2 pm, they serve a lunch menu (“denní menu”) of pre-prepared meals: they are cheap (4-5 EUR for a soup and a main dish) and they are ready in a couple of minutes so you have enough time of your lunch break left to eat in peace.
To check out lunch menus, go to this website: zomato.com or download their app. Most restaurants upload their lunch menus every day.
Ordering from home
There’s also pizza delivery. Your pizza won’t probably be the best one you’ve ever had, but it will surely deal with your empty belly. You can easily google several reliable delivery companies.
Brno can feel very young with university students and young professionals filling its streets. And all of these often find a time to have a drink or two with their friends. Brno offers excellent venues for that. Some of the best ones were described in the articles mentioned above (The New York Times, The Guardian). We only second their recommendations.
Have a look at the Gourmet brochure and its 10 suggestions for some of the best bars in Brno, as well.
It is not much of an exaggeration to say that every street has a café in it. Or two cafés, if you talk about the city centre. Brno is the coffee capital of the Czech Republic. Czechs love to take a coffee break, meet their friends over a cake, or just read a book or study. Many cafés now offer breakfast (some even all day long!), or brunch.
The Czech Republic has the highest concentration of tearooms in the world. Really. Chinese, Indian and Japanese tea masters come to check out this unusual phenomenon. For many Czechs, a tearoom is a place to hang out with friends in a lounge with dimmed lights, rugs and cushions where one sips flavourful tea and perhaps smokes a hookah. A tranquil conversation is appropriate; spiritual topics are allowed. A tearoom is a space midway between a pub and a church. There are about fifty tearooms in Brno. The well-established ones are Dobrá čajovna or Chajovna.
Remember, Moravians do not drink wine, they taste it. Use this sentence to break the ice with the wine makers and watch what happens next 😉
On the night out
People get hungry when they drink. Brno accommodates this with various fast food places – some of them are open 24/7, and they are sometimes as small as a single window with a long queue of hungry people waiting in front of it. You can order the famous smažák (fried cheese) over there – which is exactly what the name describes: a fried cheese in breadcrumbs/egg coating. Some Czech people swear by it, some find it the dullest dish ever.
Vegetarian and vegan
Vegetarian food is getting popular and fashionable in Brno. They are new solely vegetarian/vegan venues opening every year. Every restaurant now has a vegetarian section of their menu, and there usually is at least one vegetarian option on the lunch menu, too.
Probably the best known vegan place is Forky’s. Located in the center in a beautiful historical building, it offers an attractive mixture of simple fast-food, elegant style and young spirit.
Tesco is also the shop with the most labels in English. It is also the place to find the biggest range of frozen pre-cooked meals. Pre-cooked meals are not very popular in the Czech Republic, so you don’t find that many of them in the more traditional shops.
One of the squares in the centre – Zelný trh – houses a vegetable market throughout the whole year – with local farmers selling their vegetables, fruit, herbs and plants every day. During winter, the market changes in the Christmas markets, and the farmers move their stalls into the City Market Hall located on the same square.
Brno also holds several food and drink festivals every year: keep your eyes open for them.
When looking for more exotic food, particularly for Asian products, pay a visit to the Vietnamese market Vinamo on Olomoucká 1193 with authentic bistros serving lunch to local Vietnamese shopkeepers and all visitors. A grocery shop with Asian seasoning, preserved food, fresh herbs etc. is right in the bistro aisle.