Six useful tips for restaurants

What surprises can you expect? How much should you tip?

  1. When ordering drinks, remember that Slovaks count beginning with the thumb (1), then the thumb and index finger (2), and so on. If you raise your index finger to signify one beer, you may end up with a confused waiter bringing two.
  2. ‘Na zdravie’ is equivalent to the English ‘cheers’, literally meaning ‘to health’. Before the first round, you are expected to clink glasses (štrngnúť) – at which point remember to make eye contact with your fellow clinker, and don’t cross the path of two other clinkers. After the first round, it’s no longer necessary to štrngnúť.
  3. On weekdays between about 11:00 and 14:00 many restaurants offer a daily menu (denné menu) with two or three alternative dishes (soup and main course). The price is usually between €3 and €5.
  4. If you’re a vegetarian be careful what you order. Even apparently innocuous dishes like cabbage soup tend to come with chunks of pork sausage bobbing around in them.
  5. It’s not always service with a smile. Don’t take offence if your waiter or waitress fails to smile; it’s not personal.
  6. There is no strict rule about tipping in Slovakia. Ten percent of the total is enough; 20 percent is too much. Some Slovaks only round up the bill; others calculate tips as 10 percent of the total.