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Overcharging In Restaurants

Regrettably, lots of Prague waiters still believe that their patriotic duties extend to cheating foreign customers. In some lower-end venues, like pubs, waiters will total up your bill on a piece of paper and give it to you. Closer examination will usually show that this bill has been inflated. Always get an idea about what price your bill is before asking for it and, should there be an obvious discrepancy, query it. You might be charged more for side dishes that are actually included in the meal’s overall cost. Often, the quantities involved are trivial, but such attempts to trick people are carried out because lots of tourists won’t challenge any dubious calculations.


Know that there’s no ‘service charge’ in Czech restaurants, although many who cater for foreign customers attempt to rip them off by pretending that there is. The size of these charges is variable and is often as much as twenty percent. Always refuse to pay any charges like this. Instead, give a tip to the waitress or waiter personally, then you’ll be sure that no ‘service charge’ will be pocketed by the owner of the restaurant.


Always bear in mind that Prague restaurants do not offer anything for free – if a waiter suggests you have French fries with your meal, and you agree to it, you will be billed for them.  Mayonnaise,  sauces and bread – in fact, just about anything you can think of has a related charge.  Many restaurants also issue a cover charge (a ‘couvert’), which all diners have to pay even if they don’t eat anything.  This is not a con trick; it is simply the procedure that is conventionally followed. If a menu hasn’t got any prices listed, then always ask for these.  Do not be afraid of any language barriers and make sure you know precisely what it is you are going to be paying for.  If a dish isn’t available and the waiter offers a substitute, ask how much it is. Always return anything you do not want and did not order straight away, like bread and butter or any side dishes.  Do not just leave these to the side and hope that they don’t show up on your bill at the end.  More importantly than anything, though, do not allow paranoia to destroy your dinner.

Most of the overcharging occurs in tourist-focused restaurants across the centre of the city.  So, provided you aren’t dining in Wenceslas Square or Old Town Square, you are unlikely to encounter this.


Lunch for one in a pub – 100 to 150 CZK
Dinner for two in a mid-range restaurant – 500 to 600 CZK
Lunch for one in a sandwich bar around – 70 CZK
Combo meal at KFC or McDonald’s – around 115 CZK
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 35 CZK
Imported Beer (0.33-litre bottle) -60 CZK
A shot of vodka or Whisky – 30 to 50 CZK
Water/Coke/Pepsi – 35 CZK

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  1. I had a pancake at a kiosk next to the astrological clock in the square. Bulgarian “lady” short-changed me and was highly upset when i asked if this was common practice. They seem not to understand english until you confront them with their overt fraud. Just stand your ground and don’t let them spoil your day.
    Cheers from a cloudy Prague.

  2. I went to the pack bar in ocober. i went in for 2 days and twice they added beers on to my bill. when i approached them they said i had drank 17 beers. No chance i was still standing and with my girlfriend who was drinking coffee.

  3. We were not really scammed, but we noticed the huge variation in prices of the beverages in the various restaurants we visited. You cannot judge by the appearance of the establishment. A really luxury place might charge you less than just a lousy pizzeria. So my advise, before entering a restaurant or bar make sure you have checked the price of beer, wine and soft drinks. We paid for beer of the same brand for 0.5 liter between KC 30.00 to KC 99.00 for example. Beside these annoyances the visit of Prague is a wonderful experience. It is indeed one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The behavior of its inhabitants reminded me much to my visits to Kazachstan and Russia. It seems to be difficult to get rid of old Eastern Block mentality within just a few years.


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