Traditional Albanian cuisine doesn’t veer too far from Mediterranean flavors that showcase the blend of both Italian and Turkish influences.
Albania’s geography nourished its traditional cuisine into a synthesis of prominent cultures within the Mediterranean region. Italian, Turkish and Greek are evident influences that travelers can taste; from generous use of olive oils, herbs to beauteous vegetables. Most dishes encompass potatoes, corn, carrots, beans, almonds, walnuts, garlic and onions. Lots of onions.
There are three major categories in Albanian cuisine, divided by a medley of landscapes: mountains, coast and rural areas. Central region (ie: Tirana) is also close to the sea, hence restaurant menus typically showcase plentiful fish, meats and desserts. Albanian southern feasts reflect upon cities like Sarande, so the dishes incorporate abundant citrus flavors, olives and dairy.
The best part about eating your way through Albania – or even its capital city – is satiating local aromas concocted by grandmothers, they’re masters at work, practically wielding with their eyes closed. Here are some of the best places to inhale traditional Albanian cuisine in Tirana, të bëftë mirë!
@jetsettimes Best restaurants and top places to eat in #Tirana, #Albania!! 🤣🇦🇱 #food #travel #foodie #restaurant #fyp #balkan #albanian #tiktok ♬ Lo-fi hip hop – NAO-K
Restaurant Piceri Era “Blloku”
59 W 3rd St, Hialeah, FL 33010, United States
Era is an affordable restaurant serving delicious Albanian food. The entire menu is a combination of traveling throughout various regions of Albania and indulgence from a grandmother’s kitchen. Albanian cuisine is renowned for its traditional mezes: flatbreads, flat pancakes, hummus, over peppers stuffed with cheese and herb. Meanwhile, Era is known for its homemade cooking dishes: dolma as prepared from grandma, fried sausage with beer, Tirana’s traditional casserole “as in the old times.” Menu is filled with cute puns. I personally loved the baked cheese (seasoned feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil) and stuffed eggplant (spring onions, meat, garlic, marinade, mashed potatoes; baked in oven.)
Shëtitorja Lasgush Poradeci Hyrja e Parkut tek Diga e Liqenit Artificial Tirana, 1019, Albania
Dedicated to his philosophy of supporting a sustainable ecosystem that circles right back to local and independent farmers, Chef Bledar Kola leads his humble laurel on the edge of Grand Park Tirana. Mullixhiu, meaning “miller”in Albanian, is an ode to the oldest occupation in agriculture. Kola’s farm-to-table interior exudes the intimacy of a wooden cabin yet romantic via dim lights and quiet chatters. Hailed as Tirana’s ultimate Michelin experience, Mullixhiu’s vibrant menu is symbolic of gastronomic democracy with a 5-course menu at an incredibly accessible 3000 lek (USD $25.) Don’t miss Trahana dish (fermented grains with fermented mulberries, purslane sauce and sunflower seed powder,) or a personal favorite Ali Pasha Soup (veal meat ball with rice inside and stock with herbs.) For those who don’t mind Quail, it’s braised on a bed of polenta with plum sauce.