It may now find itself within Belgrade’s city limits, but Zemun is nothing if not different. This is clear enough from the fare that escapes from the kitchens of its restaurants into the mouths of its visitors. Lovers of seafood are in for a treat in Zemun, but there are plenty of magnificent restaurants of all kinds here.
Elegance personified at Šaran | @ Restoran Šaran/Facebook
‘Šaran’ means ‘carp’, and that should tell you all you need to know about this glorious place on the Danube riverside. Zemun has a proud history of plucking fish from the water and preparing them in glorious fashion, and nowhere is this experience better than in the cosy surroundings of Šaran. More than a century has passed since Vicentje Vukotić first opened an inn on this spot, and it won’t be surprising if Šaran lasts well over another 100 years.
The finest recipes from Vojvodina in the heart of Zemun | @ Restoran Ćiribu Ćiriba/Facebook
If you’re curious, the name is another way of saying ‘abracadabra’. The food at Ćiribu Ćiriba doesn’t come into existence out of thin air however, instead it’s being concocted by men and women who know exactly how to bring the tastes of Vojvodina to the stomachs of Zemun. The atmosphere only embellishes the enjoyment.
It doesn’t get much more romantic than a stroll along the Danube riverside, although you can argue that the addition of a candlelit meal may well trump it. Žabar is one of the most respected restaurants in these parts, with a view of the city that is every bit as stunning as you assume. Seafood is the main event here, but there are options for those not excited by a pescatarian lunch.
A typically busy night at Stari Rusmir | @ Stari Rusmir/Facebook
Something of an old Zemun classic here, albeit one that has been resurrected from the dead. Rusmir has long been a hidden culinary gem in Belgrade, although that only applies if you are a carnivore and one with a particular liking for sausage. No ordinary bangers though, we’re talking the finest pork the finest preparation combining to make the perfect sausage fest. Yes, we went there.
One of the best pizzerias in the city, regardless of location | @ Campo de Fiori/Facebook
An Italian option on Njegoševa, Campo De Fiori does everything you’d expect an Italian restaurant to do but with no small amount of Serbian flair to go with it. This is one of the best pizzerias in the city, regardless of location, although the lack of garden does lose it some points in the summer months.
The entrance to Stara Carinarnica, one of the oldest spots in town | @ Бобан Бирташевић/Facebook
Zemun was once the first town of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, looking over to the Ottoman land that was Belgrade, and the difference is most keenly felt in the architecture. Stara Carinarnica is one such building that harks back to a different time, and the food fills the belly with that warm nostalgic feeling to boot. The name means ‘Old Customs Office’, but don’t expect to be grilled here. You can insert your own grilled meat joke at the end of that.
Sticking with those catering to the carnivores, Toro Grill is everything you expect a restaurant called ‘Bull Grill’ to be. Some of the best beef in town can be found here, in a riverside eatery that somehow manages to combine primal food with opulent aesthetics. The meaty fare and the delicate river are strange bedfellows, but it works to a treat.
Social food at its very finest | @ Restoran Reka/Facebook
Good food, the mighty Danube, live music and a vibrant Balkan atmosphere – what more does one want from an evening out in Belgrade? Reka offers all of this and more, ticking all of the open boxes when it comes to enjoying yourself in both a gastronomical and spiritual sense. In short, come for the food, but stay for the whole shebang.
Some of the finest food in Serbia can be found in Zemun | @ Druga Priča/Facebook
‘Druga Priča’ is the Serbian term for ‘another story’, but the consistent quality of Zemun’s food is well and truly on display at this riverside spot. There is something different however, and whether that is the atmosphere or the brandy remains to be seen. The inn has been serving great fare for over three decades, so something is definitely working at Druga Priča.
Hearty cuisine at Bella Napoli in Zemun | @ Bella Napoli kod Garića/Facebook
Another Italian option in splendid Zemun, Bella Napoli brings all of the rustic charm to the table that one demands of any Neapolitan option in the modern world. The food stands up to task too, an invigorating mixture of local fish and Italiana that offers something for everyone, with vegetarians included in that ‘everyone’. The garden is rather delightful too.