by Amy M. Wicks
If you are a traveler who enjoys sampling the local fare, traditional meals cooked at inviting restaurants, tempting drinks served at neighborhood establishments, during your journeys, then you know that it is easy to spend lots of cash this way during a trip. For both the traveler on a tight budget and for the high-end traveler, eating and drinking out can lead to overspending.
But this doesn't have to be the case in Bratislava—there is redemption for the budget traveler and the deal-seeker alike. Bratislava's Old Town is filled with restaurants and bars of all sizes, cuisines, and prices. The centre of town offers everything from hot, fast-food style sandwiches and kebabs to gourmet, multi-course sit-down meals. With a little patience and a keen eye, you can enjoy all the food and drink that Bratislava has to offer without abandoning your budget or spending an arm and a leg.
One simple way to do this is to prefer lunch over dinner when dining out. Most restaurants in town will offer a "daily menu" or "denne menu" option. This is a pre-set meal that usually includes two to three courses: soup, main dish and (sometimes) a dessert or drink. At a mid-range restaurants, these pre-set menus usually cost |3| to |6|, meaning with a drink added you can have a filling, complete meal for well under |10|. Some restaurants will even offer two or three daily menu options to choose from. At pricier restaurants, these meals will still usually be under |10|. In either case, you'll get a good taste of Slovak cuisine and eating this hearty meal at lunch time can save you a bundle if paired with a lighter dinner like a hearty soup served in a bread bowl at a local pub (also another local specialty). If you're curious to see what kind of menus are offered, you can find a listing at www.obedovat.sk. (check it out in a browser like Google Chrome with an automatic translation), though we recommend just wandering until you find an appealing restaurant and trying whatever they've got!
If it is the city's nightlife that you crave, do not despair. Even after dark there are deals to be found. Many of the local establishments offer various deals on both food and drinks throughout the week. Check out the chalkboard signs out front for more details about various happy hours or specials. Many times you can find deals offering as much as 50% discounts. Here are just a few examples of the current offers you can find around the Old Town:
* All Stars Cafe, Sedlarska 5: half price Slovak and Czech beers.
A new sports bar in the heart of the Old Town, All Stars is a great place to gather with friends to tune into the latest sports. The pub is filled with TVs and subscribes to numerous sports networks, so if there's a sporting event you'd like to see, this place is your best bet. They have plenty of tasty, mostly American style, food to go along with the wide range of beers from around the world on offer.
* Upside Down Steak & Whiskey House, Laurinska 4: half price steak
The name describes it perfectly. Another relatively new addition to Bratislava's Old Town, it is classy place to relax after a long day around town for dinner or drinks—and a good steak is sometimes hard to come by in these parts. In addition to mouthwatering food and delicious drinks, Upside Down has some of the best customer service we've seen around town. You'll feel welcome and well taken care of while you're here.
* Be About Club, Presernova 4 / Vajanskeho nabrezie 10: "Zucchabar Tuesdays." Buy one Get one free Happy Hour 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., burger and a drink for |8.95|.
Like many pubs around the Old Town, Be About Club offers happy hours on Tuesday evening in addition to a menu of tasty food and variety of live music and DJ's. Good food and good atmosphere slightly off the beaten path next to the Danube make this a great place to chill and enjoy an evening out. They also offer a daily dinner menu for |3.95|, served from 5.00 p.m. - 7.00 p.m. They also offer other nightly deals and the music continues throughout the week.
* Slovak Pub, Obchodna 62: |1| glass of wine
Slovak Pub serves the cheapest glass of wine we know of in Bratislava—choose from red or white, and sometimes from multiple varieties (depending on the day). You can enjoy it on Wednesday (and every other day of the week!) at this spacious pub found on Obchodna, a main shopping artery right outside the historical center. They have a decent food menu with affordable prices to go along with your wine. They also have their own house beer known as "Dobre Pifko," or "Good Beer," which is a consumable, affordable option for those who just need a beer. Dobre Pifko is cheaper yet if you order it before 6 p.m.
* All Stars Cafe, Sedlarska 5: half price hot wings
Served in portions of 6 or 12 and spicy or savory varieties, these are a tasty treat to snack on along with your beer as you enjoy this high-tech sports bar. Beware of the spicy wings—they've really got some kick!
* Rio Grande restaurant, Hviezdoslavovo nam. 15: 10% off bottled and draft beer 15:00 to close. It's not half, but 10% is still something.
Restaurant, pub and club located right on Hviezdoslavovo Namestie, Rio is a large establishment with a dining room upstairs and club downstairs. When the lights go down, the music starts to flow and the dancing begins!
* Upside Down Steak & Whiskey House, Laurinksa 4: half off whiskey and whiskey cocktails
This deal begins on Friday and continues all weekend. Whether you are an experienced whiskey connoisseur or curious ingenue, this is the perfect opportunity to sample whiskey from around the globe. They offer delicious, imaginative, artfully-prepared cocktails as well as an extensive list of whiskey in many varieties—watching the preparation of these drinks can be just as much fun as drinking them in our experience.
* Upside Down Steak & Whiskey House, Laurinksa 4: half off whiskey and whiskey cocktails
This deal begins on Friday and continues all weekend. Whether you are an experienced whiskey connoisseur or curious ingenue, this is the perfect opportunity to sample whiskey from around the globe. They offer delicious, imaginative, artfully-prepared cocktails as well as an extensive list of whiskey in many varieties—watching the preparation of these drinks can be just as much fun as drinking them in our experience. There are also some notable not quite 50% off discounts around town on Saturdays.
* Steam & Coffee, Mytna 1: 40% off all meals and non-alcoholic drinks
Located in the shadow of Slovensky Rozhlas (the Slovak Radio building) the full menu is filled with both tasty Slovak and international dishes. They serve Illy coffee and as well as a wide variety of teas.
* Traja Musketieri/Three Musketeers , Sladkovicova 7: Saturday & Sunday, 30% discount noon - 4:00 p.m.
Located in a beautiful, rustic cellar, Traja Musketieri serves delicious French pub fair with a medieval feel. Beers come served in hefty ceramic steins and the surroundings are straight from another era. This is a perfect spot to grab a tasty late lunch or quiet early dinner before a night out.
* Pizza Mizza, Tobrucka 5: 10% off meals and drinks all day
A local pizza chain with multiple locations throughout the city, Pizza Mizza offers more than your run-of-the-mill margherita and pepperoni pizzas. The menu is full of fresh, quality ingredients topping their pizza and pasta dishes, complemented by a full wine and beer list.
After your night out:
* Burgerland, Zupne nam. 1: Buy one get one half price on burgers
One of Bratislava's newest fast food offerings is found just around the corner from St. Michael's Gate and it looks like they will soon be opening a new store on Obchodna. If you're craving some junk food after a long night out on the town, this is the perfect offer. Choose from over 10 unique burger choices along with fries and chicken wings. A fresh, filling burger will set you back just |3| with this offer. They're even open until 5 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
About the author: Amy Wicks came to Slovakia 5 years ago to work as an English teacher at a local high school. She was pleasantly surprised by how much fun life in Slovakia turned out to be. She continues to live in Bratislava where she teaches, writes, and generally makes use of her degree in English (and explores in her free time).
Other articles you might be interested in:
Another way to save money around town is with the Bratislava City Card. It is especially effective for anyone with an interest in seeing many local attractions in just a few days.
Are you wondering how to leave a tip when the bill comes at the end of dinner? Take a look at this piece on tipping in Bratislava and throughout Slovakia.
Still not sure how to ask for the bill? Take a look at our Slovak language guide – it has phrases as well as recordings of how to properly say each word and phrase.
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Copyright: © 2018, Jakub Zilincan, bratislavaguide.com
Images credit: author