Taste Bratislava, Slovakia: An Introduction To Delicious Slovak Food

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What is Slovak food, exactly? Perhaps you’re familiar with a few of the country’s national dishes, like bryndzové halušky – a rich potato dumpling and sheep cheese concoction; or maybe you have no idea what Slovak food consists of – other than a whole lot of meat and potatoes.

Like most Central European countries, Slovak food is heavy and hearty: potatoes, cheese, dumplings, and meat are prominent in most dishes, and animal fats and butter are used in lieu of cooking oils.

Cabbage is another staple ingredient, served in the form of sauerkraut alongside main entrees. The cuisine is greatly influenced by neighbouring countries – especially Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Austria – and dishes vary by region.

The following are a few of the best dishes I ate in Bratislava, most of which were introduced to me by Daniela, the lovely guide of a food tour called Taste Bratislava – which I’d highly recommend for any first-time visitors, or anyone looking for a delicious introduction to Slovak cuisine.

Taste Bratislava, Slovakia: An Introduction To Delicious Slovak Food. Sampling Slovak food: Sheep cheese dumplings
Taste Bratislava, Slovakia: An Introduction To Delicious Slovak Food. Sampling Slovak food: Sheep cheese dumplings

Bryndzové halušky – Sheep cheese dumplings

Often touted as the country’s national dish, bryndzové halušky is a hearty dish of small dumplings made from potato dough, mixed with a traditional Slovak sheep cheese (bryndza) and topped with fried bacon.

Bryndza has a uniquely sharp, tangy flavour, and the crispy bacon adds a salty, smoky crunch to the soft dumplings.

It’s the ultimate Slovak comfort food, and it’s also addictively delicious. You’ve been warned!

Sampling a staple Slovak dish: Sheep cheese dumplings
Sampling a staple Slovak dish: Sheep cheese dumplings

Sviečková na smotane  – Beef in cream sauce 

This Czech-influenced dish consists of braised beef in a cream-based sauce made with carrot, celeriac root, parsley root, onion, heavy cream, and spices.

It’s topped with a scoop of whipped cream and cranberries, and served with steamed bread dumplings.

The beef is tender and the sauce is flavourful, characterized by a hint of sweetness.

The bread dumplings are soft and slightly heavier than regular bread, and perfect for soaking up any excess sauce.

Another favourite Slovak dish: Beef in cream sauce
Another favourite Slovak dish: Beef in cream sauce

Zemiakové guľky plnené údeným mäsom – Potato dumplings stuffed with smoked meat 

These round potato dumplings are hollowed in the centre and filled with smoked meat – generally pork –  and served with a heaping portion of sauerkraut.

This particular restaurant also added extra toppings of crispy fried onions and a large dollop of sour cream, which made for a delicious medley of contrasting textures and flavours.

Surprisingly, the sauerkraut in this dish was actually sweet, which, Daniela explained, is a very traditional way to prepare it – as opposed to the typical sour cabbage most people are accustomed to.

A taste of Slovak food: Potato dumplings stuffed with smoked meat
A taste of Slovak food: Potato dumplings stuffed with smoked meat

Cesnaková Polievka – Garlic soup

You’ll find this soup served one of two ways – a clear chicken broth with pieces of toasted bread (and smoked meat and potatoes are also sometimes added), or as a creamy version topped with a large handful of shredded cheese.

I had the creamy garlic soup with thick, melted cheese throughout, served in a hollowed, homemade loaf of bread.

Trying Garlic soup in Bratislava
Trying Garlic soup in Bratislava

Bratislavské rožky – Bratislava rolls

Bratislava rolls are one of Slovakia’s most popular sweet pastries. They’re crescent-shaped, made with sweet dough and filled with poppy seeds or walnuts. The exterior can be browned and glazed, or dusted with powdered sugar.

I opted for the poppy seed filling, although the walnut variety is equally delicious.

They’re light and flaky, and not overly sweet; it’s the perfect type of dessert to accompany a heavy meal.

Sampling Bratislava rolls
Sampling Bratislava rolls

Have you tried Slovak food?
What’s your favourite Slovak dish?

Join the Conversation


  1. We will be heading back to Europe in March of 2017 and Slovenia is one of the countries we will be spending time in. Most of the foods you have on your list would not be high on my list to try except the Garlic soup with Cheese. That one sounds good. I am not a big potato eater so I might be in trouble here.

  2. says: Laurel Rodgers

    You are making my mouth water. I am definitely a meat and potatoes gal. I’ve been traveling with my husband for a couple of years in Southeast Asia. I have reached my limit of rice, noodles, soups and such. However, we did get a much-needed fix of meat in Mongolia. Since we are going to be heading to Eastern Europe early next year, I will definitely be adding Slovakia to our list. Thanks for the heads up on the food tour called Taste Bratislava. Sounds like a great way to get started.

    1. I’m the opposite – as much as I love potato-based foods, I could live off of rice and noodles 😉 But you’ll definitely love the food in Slovakia! And Taste Bratislava is a great introduction to Slovak cuisine!

  3. says: Gagan Chauhan

    Awesome post! I’m so hungry now…gonna dig into the fridge and make myself a cheese and ham sandwich!!!!! Thanks for sharing…you’ve gained me as your ‘foodie’ follower!!! Cheers and enjoy the rest of the week!!!!

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