If, like me, you come from a country where the serving staff at a restaurant fall all over themselves in insincere pleasantries in hopes of a bigger tip, then the typical Czech restaurant experience may be a bit of a shock to the system.
Generally, the waiter or waitress will take your order, bring your food and maybe come around once during your meal to make sure everything is OK. Beyond that, they leave you to dine in peace until you tell them you’re ready to pay.
If the menu you’re given is not multilingual, it is worth asking if they have a menu in another language; English and German menus are not unusual in my experience of restaurants here.
With regards to tipping, it’s a pleasantly straightforward process of rounding up to the next reasonable whole number from your bill. For example, if your bill was for 132 Crowns then tipping to 140 wouldn’t be out of line. For a bill of 135, rounding to 150 wouldn’t be unusual.
If you’re more comfortable dealing in tips by percent, a tip of 10% to 15% is generally considered acceptable.
Czech cuisine can be quite heavy; with pork, chicken, potatoes and dumplings figuring prominently in many dishes. Many restaurants will also give quite generous portions. As such, I don’t advise planning any high energy activities immediately after a Czech meal.
Many Czech restaurants feature daily or weekly lunch menus, usually advertised prominently outside. These can be a very good deal indeed, it’s not unusual to find places where you can get a bowl of soup and a hearty lunch for around 100 Crowns or a bit more. There’s really no excuse to take fast food when better can be found easily for less.
Etiquette in Czech restaurants is not a complicated thing. This article, while written from a Prague perspective, will give you some good insights of what to expect and what’s expected of you in the average Czech dining establishment:
Dining Smoke Free
As many foreigners who come to the Czech Republic from countries with stronger smoking laws quickly find out, finding a smoke free dining environment here can pose a serious challenge.
Happily, for those who visit Brno, the “Brno – Healthy City” initiative has created a network of smoke free cafes, diners and restaurants in the city for you to choose from.
This list, while currently only in Czech, has over 100 establishments in Brno which are smoke free and links to their websites: