Sarajevo’s Old Town is probably the most recognizable area of Bosnia’s capital city. It is full of historical and cultural sights, such as the Gazi Husrev-Beg Mosque, the Latin Bridge, and a maze of old Ottoman shops and market stalls. Many visitors choose to stay in this area of the city, so read on for our guide to the best places to eat whilst here.
View over Sarajevo Old Town | Ⓒ Rueben Thompson/Flickr
Dveri is a homely restaurant with an unusual but nonetheless cozy interior theme. The seating is primarily indoors but diners will find themselves surrounded by climbing plants and colorful flowers, all within what seems to be a countryside cottage. The food is traditional Bosnian fare, with dishes such as goulash or sausage stew – in other words, comfort food that is in keeping with the theme of the restaurant. There is also an excellent wine list, a selection of craft beers, plus plenty of options for vegetarians (a rare find in Sarajevo).
No trip to Sarajevo’s most historic quarter can be complete without a taste of one of the country’s most authentic dishes, ćevapi. Zeljo is a local favorite offering this famous dish, and serves huge portions at excellent value for money; it is considered by many to serve the best ćevapi in the area. For a simple but tasty and filling meal, ćevapi from Zeljo is a must.
Miris Dunja is a popular spot with Sarajevo’s young and fashionable crowds, thanks to its modern interior and relaxed vibe. It offers traditional lighter options and snacks, plus an enticing range of pastries that go perfectly with classic Bosnian coffee. The inside of the restaurant is quaint, but with only a few tables – the best spots to sit are the tables outside, which are ideal for people-watching. It is located in the pedestrianized area of the Old Town, near a number of popular attractions.
For a real taste of one of Bosnia’s most traditional dishes, burek, Buregdžinica Sac is an excellent choice. Burek is pastry filled with meat, cheese or potato, and is enjoyed by Bosnians at any time of the day. This burek restaurant is open for business all day, which makes it an ideal spot for a cheap lunch or dinner, and it is usually bustling with locals. Grab a table here for an authentic meal in the most historic area of the city.
If traditional design is what you’re looking for, look no further than Birtija. With its cushioned sofas, rustic wooden tables and antique bar, this spot is ideal for those looking for a cozy and authentic atmosphere. It is most popular in the evenings as it has a great selection of traditional beers, and is also on a slight hill so offers views of the sun setting over the city. It’s a small place, which combined the with chilled-out jazz music in the background gives it an intimate atmosphere.
Barhana is one of the most atmospheric dining spots in the area, thanks to its courtyard packed full of tables that are always full come evening time. The restaurant offers a range of classic Bosnian dishes as well as some more familiar offerings, and a good range of light lunches too. The portions are large and excellent value for money. It’s also a great spot to try some rakija, a traditional spirit that is not for the faint-hearted – Sarajevska beer is also available as a safer option.
In arguably one of the best locations in the Old Town, on the bustling ‘Pigeon Square’, is Hodžić. This spot is a basic but serves delicious ćevapi, and is an ideal location for watching the world go by. In addition to the ćevapi, there are also a number of other delicious grilled meats and traditional dishes to enjoy.
Pod Lipom is a relaxed restaurant offering a number of dishes that are traditional to the region. It is located in a side street in the Old Town, so although it is central it is quieter than other tourist hotspots. The building is a traditional Ottoman structure, with a small terrace area with a few tables outside. The food is served on traditional silverware, and there is an extensive range of dishes which vary from budget to fine-dining, so there is something for every occasion. Bill Clinton has also been a guest here, so it comes highly recommended.
As one of the few pizza joints to be introduced to Sarajevo after much of the city was destroyed during the civil war, Pekara Kovaci kod Mahira has a legendary status in the city. While it is not a restaurant as such (there are no tables, but plenty of nearby benches), a pizza from this place cannot be missed. Although pizza doesn’t seem particularly Bosnian, the pizzas have a slightly different twist and include a number of unfamiliar Bosnian toppings, such as authentic smoked ham, cheese, and a selection of tasty sauces.
Another of the area’s most popular ćevapi spots is Petica Cevabžinica, which also offers a range of grilled meats if diners have had enough of ćevapi. The interior is slightly more upmarket than other ćevapi restaurants, so it has a different vibe – more of a leisurely place to eat rather than a rough-and-ready fast food spot. There are also plenty of tables outside where diners can take in the Old Town environment of cobbled streets, terracotta roofs and minarets on the skyline.