Cooking and gastronomy
The easiest way to get to know the character of any town or city is through the stomach. Bratislava and its surroundings offer a great number of options and opportunities. Bratislava's traditional cuisine is creative, diverse and sumptuous thanks to the gastronomic influences of the surrounding Slovak and European regions. Before visitors to Bratislava begin to experience its culinary treasures, they should seek a bit of advice and learn something about the local specialities. Traditional Slovak foods can be found on nearly every menu, even if foreign dishes are more typical in many restaurants. Such dishes include soups with halušky (dumplings), Bratislavský guláš (Bratislava-style goulash) and kapor na mlynársky spôsob (breaded and fried carp). The Small Carpathian Region is celebrated for its traditional husacina (roast goose), which are served with lokše (potato crepes) and are incredibly popular in the autumn during goose feasts.
Potatoes are highly prevalent in traditional local meals. A good Slovak lunch should never be without soup, with offerings including kapustnica (spicy sauerkraut soup), cesnačka (garlic soup), fazuľovica s párkom (bean soup with sausage) and hovädzí (beef) or slepačí vývar (chicken broth). Global soft drink brands in Slovakia face stiff competition from local soft drinks and a diverse selection of local table mineral waters.
Bratislava's cuisine is now much more European, with increased meat consumption, while cuisines from other countries well represented in the individual cities and regions as well.
One distillate specific to Slovakia is borovička, which is a brandy distilled from juniper berries. Other favourites in Slovakia include slivovica (plum brandy) and other popular liquors, in particular Demänovka, which is produced using medicinal herbs and forest fruits. In addition to distillates, pivo (beer) is a tremendously popular beverage as well. Slovak beers are known for their high quality with the best brands such as Zlatý bažant, Smädný mních and Topvar comparable in taste to excellent Czech beers. The area around Bratislava produces excellent and quality wine vintages and the wine production and grape growing traditions date back to Roman times.
Most restaurants are open as a rule from 10 AM to 10 PM. Tips are given at the same rate as in neighbouring countries and express satisfaction for good service.