Tirana has plenty of excellent restaurants that offer international cuisine as well as typical delicacies. Once in town you have to try both these kinds of restaurants, but to be sure you find the best places to eat, read our list of the top 10 restaurants in Tirana that locals love.
Restaurant, Restaurant with Rooms, European, Mediterranean, $$$
A plate of the Padam Restaurant | Image Courtesy of Padam Tirana
Padam, part of the Padam Boutique Hotel & Restaurant, is the most elegant restaurant in Tirana. It is located inside an old villa from the 1930s, near the Pyramid, and within five minutes from the Blloku district, and offers a high-class culinary experience. The chef, Fundim Gjepali, who is also the chef of one of the most famous restaurants in Rome, creates culinary masterpieces with the freshest seasonal ingredients. The menu has a great variety of wines, from all over the world. We suggest you come early to sip a pre-dinner cocktail on the veranda before you dine.
If you want to taste authentic Albanian cuisine, there is only one place to go – Oda. This traditional restaurant, located near the beautiful Pazari I Ri market, has recently been renovated and is one of the last places in town where you can eat typical Albanian delicacies, such as fërgesë (cottage cheese with peppers), patëllxhanë te mbushur (eggplants cooked with spices), kukurec (lamb entrails) and more. The space is small and usually frequented by locals who come here to enjoy traditional flavours.
One of the best places in town to eat meat is Serenata Korçare, located near the Engineering University, in the 21 district. Albanians love Korça, which is one of the most important towns of the country, famous for its culture and music, and people love to spend their night out eating the typical delicacies of the town. Serenata Korçare is famous for its mix of grilled meat, so order it with a Korça beer. We strongly suggest you book in advance because Serenata is often full.
Tirana offers many choices, and if you want to taste some Spanish delicacies, go head into Hola!, a restaurant located near the former house of Enver Hoxha. The Spanish owner of this beautiful place, a finalist on Masterchef Albania, creates delicious tapas and tasty paellas.
A la Santé is a small, hidden restaurant located in Blloku area. It’s not easy to find, but it’s worth the effort. The dishes are prepared with the freshest seasonal products and are delicious as well as healthy. Try the truffled quinoa, grilled salmon or avocado mango salad, and you will not regret it.
For a warm atmosphere and great food, go to Çoko Bistro Bar, a beautiful spot in the middle of Blloku district. One of the most elegant bistros in Tirana, it has a gorgeous interior and a lovely outdoor terrace, perfect for lunch on spring days. Enjoy the view while people-watching those on the street below. Whether you prefer desserts or would rather start your day with eggs and cheese, Çoko has plenty of yummy menu options. We strongly suggest trying the Eggs Benedict and a fresh orange juice, but the menu has a great selection of sophisticated plates, such as poached egg burger, beef tongue in miso sauce and French patés.
Mexican food lovers can’t miss the chance to try nachos and other Mexican specialties at Serendipity, a beautiful restaurant located in Blloku, the coolest area of Tirana. This place offers a lively atmosphere, delicious Mexican food and is decorated with nice elements of Mexican culture and art. There’s often live music too.
In front of Tirana’s artificial lake, one of the most beautiful spots in the town, lives Mullixhiu, the coolest restaurant of the Albanian capital city. Chef Bledar Kola, who worked at the world-famous Noma in Copenhagen, invites customers to try traditional Albanian tastes reinvented in a sophisticated and modern way: the result is an excellent mix of old and new. The ingredients are taken directly from Mrizi I Zanave, a gorgeous farmhouse-cum-restaurant located near the town of Lezhe, in the north of the country. Try the pomegranate juice, it’s delicious. Also, the wine list is outstanding, with wines from Albania’s most famous wineries, including Kantina Kallmeti.
For great burgers, head into Duff, an American-style sports bar where you can taste typical American dishes. Big burgers, crisp fries, cold beer and a game on the TV. Duff has also a great selection of veggie options, just in case.
For locals Umami is one of the best fine-dining restaurants in the capital city. Why? It offers customers the chance to taste excellent food not used in the everyday life. The chef Renato Mekolli prepares delicious plates made with Albanian fresh products combined with ingredients such as sesame seeds, cucumber, soya sauce, avocado sauce and so on.