Belgrade proudly stands tall as a regional powerhouse when it comes to gastronomic delights. You can find everything in the Serbian capital, from high-class gourmet restaurants all the way to edgy street eats. Picking 10 standout restaurants in the city is a nigh on impossible task, but let’s give it a go.
Named after the magnificent national park found in Montenegro, Durmitor is a traditional restaurant that embraces all things Montenegrin. If you aren’t aware, that means a relaxed atmosphere and no small amount of delicious fare, with some of the most tender meat we’ve ever come across. You won’t find much English on the menu, but you can feel assured that every single thing on it is fantastic. One of the best restaurants in town, regardless of location.
Dorćol’s Little Bay arguably takes the award for Belgrade’s most opulent restaurant interior, and the fare coming out of the kitchen more than accentuates that decadence. If you’ve ever wanted to eat a romantic meal in the surroundings of the theatre, Little Bay is the place for you. The live piano music adds an elegant ambience to it all, not that the aesthetics need any embellishment.
One of the best restaurants in the Balkans regardless of cuisine, it stands front and centre of Belgrade’s fight for meals without meats. It isn’t exactly easy to find, located in an apartment building near Kalemegdan, but it is more than worth the effort. Summer is clearly the best time to visit, as the enchanting (a word we don’t use lightly) garden is perfect for meals that are as social as they are romantic, with not a pljeskavica in sight. The name loosely translates as ‘the joy of a fine small kitchen’, and that just about sums it up.
Ćevapčići restaurants are ten a penny throughout the Balkans, and 90% of them are going to hit the right spot. Some are simply better than others, though, and To Je To takes the cake when it comes to Belgrade’s old town. Run by a family from Sarajevo, the restaurant is every bit as simplistic as ćevapi is supposed to be. Wooden benches and a pretty brief menu are on offer. Why clutter up a menu when you are just going to order the absolutely gorgeous ćevapi? Kajmak and onions are essential.
You’ll have to forgive us, as our mouth is watering at the memories. If you’re a fan of meat that seemingly drips from the bone, served up with juicy potatoes and all the tradition one can muster, Manufaktura should be your first port of call in Belgrade. Seriously, go here before checking into your hotel. There is more to traditional local cuisine than grilled meat, and Manufaktura is the place to sample some.
Belgrade is a city full of affordable adventures and inexpensive eats, but Enso is well and truly at the opposite end of that scale. There isn’t anything wrong with that either, as this is a top-class gourmet restaurant that values every morsel of food it presents. Mediterranean and seafood dishes abound at one of the most magnificent eateries in the entire region.
Many restaurants in Europe are obsessed with presenting themselves as ‘traditional yet modern’, but few manage it with such aplomb as Belgrade’s Ambar. There is nothing traditional about the cocktails of course, and the professional staff will go out of their way to match a concoction to a fusion dish from the menu. This is one of the finest spots in the city to sample some rakija too, although do keep an eye on your intake there.
Kalenić is one of the biggest and most popular markets in the entire city, so you can expect plenty of fresh ingredients at the nearby kafana that takes the same name. This is traditional grilled meat territory, although the salads are sizeable enough to provide a nice balance alongside all that grease. There is over 80 years of history here, and the friendly service suggests that everyone is hoping for at least 80 more.
A short walk from Belgrade’s iconic Church of St. Sava, Franš has been ploughing its almost equally iconic furrow for well over three decades now. The garden may well be the best in the city, a truly romantic setting for some of the finest eats in the Serbian capital. The classics are all represented on the menu, along with plenty of vegetarian options for those hoping to avoid meat.
Mixing the classical flavours of French and Italian cuisine, Casa Nova brings something quintessentially Mediterranean to the Serbian table. The prices are among the highest in the city, but the food and service comes with an air of professionalism and commitment to quality that is sometimes lacking in the more down to earth restaurants around. If you’re looking for a fancy place to take a date but want plenty of substance to back up the style, head to Casa Nova.