Thanksgiving 2021: The beginner's guide to eating turkey in Czechia

Where to go for turkey and all the trimmings in the Czech capital? Plus advice from a Louisiana chef in Prague on how to fake your favorites.

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas Published on 16.11.2021 15:08 (updated on 16.11.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

With restaurants being shuttered last year due to Covid numbers, 2020 became the year of the takeaway turkey. Interest in partaking of the Thanksgiving meal in Prague didn't necessarily wane: the American owners of Cali Brothers restaurant in Holešovice reported filling some 300 to-go orders last year, while other purveyors of turkey and sides reached capacity for orders quicker than you can say cranberry sauce.

This year sees a return to sit-down options in Prague but many eateries will continue offering pick up and delivery for those who seek a taste of homecooked tradition at home, no cooking required. Scroll down to see where you can eat or order Thanksgiving in Prague but first read how an American chef and a Czech food blogger perceive this most pants-busting of U.S. traditions.

A Louisiana chef in the Czech kitchen

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue -- that’s Prague-based chef Will Powell describing his first Thanksgiving dinner in the Czech Republic. It seems the ages-old recipe for the bridal ensemble also applies to the spirit of improvisation required to do turkey and the trimmings in the Czech Republic.

Powell, who runs the kitchen at Coffee Corner, a cozy ray of California sunshine in Vinohrady, moved to the Czech Republic from Seattle in 2018. He recalled using a number of culinary hacks to make his way through that first Thanksgiving dinner with his Czech girlfriend.

“Honestly, nothing is 100 percent our own in American cuisine. Even though there are things that are entirely American they kind of aren’t,” says the New Orleans native whose experimentations with Czech ingredients have led him down some interesting paths in the kitchen.

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Early on, for instance, Powell discovered that sauteeing sweet potatoes with soy sauce, sugar, and Chinese five-spice could approximate the smoky-caramelized sensation of sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and brown sugar.

Or that adding paprika to a bag of Druid Bylinková sůl from Albert approximates Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning, the quintessential Louisiana ingredient.

Powell believes that some Czech ingredients even take Thanksgiving dishes to the next level: “Czech bread is great for stuffing,” he says. “It dries wonderfully, crumbles perfectly and it’s got that heartier, wheatier flavor.” He describes polohrubá mouka as a wonder ingredient that stirs beautifully into gravy and sauces with no lumps.

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Hailing as he does from a state that likes its Muscovy duck and pioneered the Turducken, Powell even prefers the more readily available local options of duck (kachna) or goose (husa) to turkey. “Plus Turkey is too big for most Czech ovens,” he says.

Powell has never met a batáty he doesn’t like, preferring the starchy tuber (or even a butternut squash) to Hokkaido pumpkin for the Thanksgiving pie. And cranberry sauce? “You can find it on any plate of Czech svíčková next to the lemon,” he says.

Powell's advice to Americans making the Thanksgiving meal in the Czech Republic for the first time? Embrace Czech techniques and flavors. “Use what’s available and make it your own like our ancestors did.”

A Czech perspective: 'I was shocked by the size of the turkey'

While Powell says that his Czech girlfriend's favorite thing about the Thanksgiving holiday was the potluck-style setting, Kristýna Koutná, creator of the Czech Cookbook website was wowed by the sheer size of Thanksgiving dinner when she lived in the U.S.

"My first Thanksgiving was with my host family and I loved it. I was shocked by the size of the turkey and when the family served me a giant turkey leg on my plate," recalls the cookbook author who has made a name for herself helping Americans cook Czech classics using locally available ingredients.

Kristýna, who lived in the U.S. for 16 years and has since returned to Brno, found one dish in particular to be a complete novelty: sweet potato casserole with marshmallows. "The food was delicious and all the flavors work amazingly together. I liked the savory and sweet dishes together on one plate," she says.

Thanksgiving 2021 in Prague

A sneak peek of the offerings at Cali Brothers / photo Cali Brothers
A sneak peek of the offerings at Cali Brothers / photo Cali Brothers

Bad Jeff’s barbecue

Bad Jeff's is taking orders for its Thanksgiving Boxes filled with all the flavors of the season now through Nov. 23. Order via Wolt or pick up in the restaurant. See the menu here.

Cali Brothers

Run by long-time Americans in Prague, Cali Brothers is welcoming guests back to its restaurant for a sit-down meal this year. They'll do two seating on Nov. 25 at 5 pm and 7:30 pm and are also accepting pre-orders/reservations at info@calibrothers.cz. Pickup is available Saturday, 12:00-10:00 PM. See the menu here.

Culinaria

Catering company Culinaria offers turkey and a number of traditional sides and desserts for delivery from November 25-28. Order online for delivery here.

Dirty Dog Food Truck

Dirty Dog Barbecue will serve Thanksgiving at both of its Manifesto Market Florenc and Anděl locations from Thursday, Nov. 25-Nov. 27. Dirty Dog is also taking orders via Wolt, or pre-orders for pick up until Nov. 23. (info@ddstreetfood.cz). See the menu here.

The Globe Bookstore and Cafe

The traditional sit-down dinner at the Globe returns this year. The Thanksgiving meal will be served from 12 pm to 11 pm on Nov. 25. Reservations are strongly encouraged as seatings tend to fill up fast. See the menu here.

Kohoutek Restaurace

Kohoutek Restaurace, a Vinohrady kitchen specializing in Italian cockerel will launch its inaugural Thanksgiving feast (featuring a more traditional bird) this year. Their takeaway menu is available for pick up on Nov. 25. Order via their in-store kiosk or via telephone.

Max’s Steakhouse

Max Munson established one of Prague's first Thanksgiving dinners in 1994. The annual feast is a favorite with Czechs and Americans alike. This year Max’s Steakhouse will be offering a sit-down Thanksgiving dinner from Nov. 25-26. Seats should be reserved by Nov. 23 at info@jamasteak.cz. See the menu here.

Take Eat EZ American Barbecue and Delicatessen

Take Eat EZ American Barbecue is offering a citrus-brined whole smoked turkey (7-9 kg) to go. Orders will be taken until Nov. 17 for pick up from Nov. 25-Nov. 27. See more here

See our previous coverage for where to buy ingredients for making Thanksgiving dinner in Prague.

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