This year has felt like spring was never coming, so I was looking forward to a warm weekend in Bratislava. It was my birthday last weekend, so this seemed like the perfect time to eat and drink as much as possible! Food and drink is my favourite way to learn about a city or country and Taste Bratislava seemed like a great way for me to do this. Taste Bratislava have a few different tour options, but the Food and Beer tour appeared to be the best fit for 3 girls who like to share food and enjoy a refreshing drink. We booked the 3pm tour, so that we still had the morning to explore the city and arrived at the meeting point just before 3pm. We were the only ones booked on this tour and at first, I thought this would hinder our experience, but as the afternoon went on, I was glad we had our own private guide.
Eva was our Slovak food expert for the next 3.5 hours and she really knew what she was talking about. Being born and brought up in Bratislava meant that she knew the history of the food and city well, but also gave us more personal facts that related to her family, which I found fascinating. There were 3 restaurants we visited, and Bratislava is a very walkable city, so it was easy for us to get from one place to another.
First up was Café Škodovka where we started our tour with a glass of Kofola, which became popular in Czechoslovakia during communism. This was very fitting with the design of the café because it replicated an 80’s design. Kofola is similar to Coca-Cola, but was developed as an alternative during the communist regime; it’s still a dark and sweet drink, but not as sweet as Coca-Cola, or as fizzy. Personally, I prefer the taste of Coca-Cola, but it was interesting to try. Here, we sampled treska, which is a cod salad that is similar to potato salad, but with cod instead. There was also a pork paste/dip and plenty of bread for us to scoop up the dips; both of these were tasty, but I enjoyed the cod salad the most.
Our second stop was the Bratislava Flagship Restaurant, where we had a complete feast in store. After a day in Bratislava, we were quickly realising that the food has a huge focus on potatoes and this meal was no exception. Eva informed us that this restaurant used to be a cinema, and this becomes obvious when you are hit with the grandeur of the main room. It’s a very quirky restaurant, which serves traditional Slovak food and beer. We were served a light beer to start our meal, alongside some classic lunchtime dishes, including bryndzove halusky and bryndzové pirohy. It’s no surprise that both of these are made from potato, but bryndza is a cheese I had never had before; it’s a soft sheep’s milk cheese, which had a delicious salty tasty. I was a big fan of these dishes, but they were extremely filling. One of the other items we received was pork in a carrot sauce with some baked bread, but I wasn’t a fan of the traditional bread. To end our Bratislava Flagship experience, we finished with a darker beer, which I enjoyed, but I was now feeling very full!
Luckily, it was about a 10 minute walk to our next destination, so I had a short breather. Our last stop was Staromestianska Pivoteka and was probably my favourite place we visited. It’s a basement style pub, which had a very cosy and more local feel than the vast Flagship restaurant. We sampled 4 different beers here and Eva talked us through each one and helped us understand the different types of beers that we enjoy. We had some chips to nibble on with our beers and they came with the most delicious homemade tomato ketchup.
I thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon on the Taste Bratislava Food and Beer Tour and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves to learn about a culture through its cuisine. Eva was kind enough to recommend places outside of the tour and, through her, we found a little shop beside our apartment selling Tatratea, which has an alcohol percentage of 72 and is a traditional Slovakian spirit.