It’s easy to eat well in Serbia. And that’s a very good thing.
The food scene in Belgrade is undoubtedly on the rise. Despite an influx of young Serbians entering and thriving in the world of tech, those who dive into the food industry truly want to be there so that Serbia’s traditions are served with new innovations and cultivated modernization.
Eating well in the city is brilliantly accessible, since Belgrade’s culinary landscape is vastly democratic. For a Michelin-starred meal, the cost spans from USD $30 to $80 for a multi-course tasting menu. Opting for wine pairing? Stick to Serbian. Local vineyards might not be internationally known due to lack of exportation, but the collections are astonishingly balanced and full-bodied.
For a full list of traditional Serbian restaurants, head on over to Skadarlija. But the recommendations below are both old and new takes on the meaning of Serbian cuisine. Classical and stylish. Historical and trendy. Most importantly, they’re all delicious and affordable.
Karađorđeva 48 Beograd RS, 11000, Serbia
One of the most sumptuous restaurants in the city, Salon 1905 is an experience all on its own even without tasting the food. Grand staircase, gilded and marbled columns catapult an intricate vaulted dome. Salon 1905 serves modern Serbian cuisine, with a particular focus on larder. The tasting menu wasn’t available on this night, but the duck breast and a local red wine made for a fantastic pairing.
Mitropolita Petra 8, Beograd 11000, Serbia
The chefs at Enso are having a lot of fun! By taking their grandmothers’ recipes, the chefs imagine new twists with flavors from around the world. Enso’s five-course tasting menu began with confit of rabbit in pure duck fat. I tried rabbit for the first time, since it was the chef’s signature dish. Followed by octopus, cooked sous vide for 36 hours with fermented garlic and salsa. Then, the main dish was aubergine baked in oven, finished on the grill. Embellished with black and white sesame seeds, glazed with honey and a side of roquette salad. The fourth dish was a duck confit in duck fat capped with cauliflower purée, mixed with chestnuts, sweet and sour hoisin sauce. The sweetest finish in the end was an incredible and mindblowing “chocolate fantasy.” One of Enso’s chefs, Nikola Stojcic, exclusively told us,
“We’re constantly learning, and we want to share our traditions and the food we grew up eating with the rest of the world.”
Senjanina Ive 4, Beograd, Serbia
Homa is another renowned restaurant catering to traveling foodies. Influenced by the wave of minimalistic gastronomy in Denmark, Homa’s modern cooking is Serbian foundation at heart, pulsed by hints of Italian flair. Located in the trendy Lower Dorcol, Homa was one of the firsts in the city to launch an 8-course tasting menu for 10,000 dinars (USD $80.) The wine selection combines local Serbian grapes and biodynamic natural bottles.
Knez-Miletina 25-27, Beograd 101203, Serbia
JaM is all about transforming simple and mundane small plates into forms of edible art, ie: hummus, chicken wings. Its magret de canard becomes a much more interesting dish with a nutty risotto. The goose liver paté is also a popular dish. Leave room for homemade pasta before moving onto sweets – so titillating since JaM’s patisserie is also an institution.
Iva New Balkan Cuisine
Kneginje Ljubice 11, Beograd 11000, Serbia
Probably the most “bang-for-the-buck” meal in Belgrade is Iva New Balkan Cuisine, where you can go for a high-quality Michelin starred meal and spend less than USD $20. By working with smaller farmers, the laidback restaurant’s menu ranges from generous and comforting breakfast items to traditional Balkan street foods. On this day, I ordered a delicious pulled pork waffle with beet root salad, along with a glass of red house wine.
Gospodar-Jevremova 40, Beograd 11000, Serbia
If you find yourself wandering through the charming alleys of Dorcol, head over to Saša bar for a savory, meaty satiation. Ribeye, angus, roasted chicken…you name it. Start your lunch or dinner with an exquisite bone marrow, make sure to end it with tiramisu and pair it with one of many fruity varieties of rakija!
Comunale Caffe e Cucina
Beton Hala, Karađorđeva 2-4, Beograd 11000, Serbia
Comunale is one of the most stylish restaurants at Breton Hala which is a previously abandoned storage area next to the Belgrade Pier, now reformed into a hub of trendy eateries facing the Sava River. Comunale was one of the firsts to makeover Breton Hala, it highlights Italian cuisine with enticing pizzas and risottos. Order a bottle of local Serbian wine to accompany a delectable pasta with prawns.
Skadarska 32, Beograd, Serbia
For THE restaurant to indulge in traditional Serbian cuisine in Belgrade, head over to Dva Jelena. The historical institution first opened its doors in 1977 by Blagota and Jelica Pesic as a renowned restaurant welcoming former Yugoslavia celebrities. As one of the oldest taverns in Belgrade now, Dva Jelena comprises the largest à la carte menu in the city, full of hearty goodness and traditional Serbian recipes. A personal favorite is ox cheeks perfectly braised, tender and flavorful on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes. The gorgeous indoor space is embellished by lovely wall paintings and can accommodate up to 450 guests, the exterior patio can host up to 350 people, facing the Bohemian quarter’s vitality. The best part about Dva Jelena is the live music which accompanies a delightful meal, during both lunch and dinner.
Velika Skadarlija Restaurant
Skadarska 40c, Beograd, Serbia
If you’re with a large party at Velika Skadarlija, try the “Saber of the Hero for Four People” which is essentially a massive platter of gourmet kebab, smoked pork fillet, smoked pork ham, sausage, turkey baked potato with cream cheese and grilled vegetables. In reality, it satiates far more than four people. Under the guidance of chef Saša Matić who is from the TV show “Kitchen from Hell,” the menu is sumptuous with a fusion of Serbian and Italian influences, including: beef stew, lamb under the ashes, black risotto…and much more.
Skadarska 29, Beograd 11000, Serbia
One more delicious eatery in Skadarlija is Tri šešira, another ancient tavern in the Bohemian district. Opened in 1864, the traditional restaurant’s name means “three hats.” Originally, the same location was a crafts workshop with a logo that showcased three brass hats. Many Serbian writers and artists spent hours at the tavern creating masterpieces. These figures included: Đura Jakšić (Serbian writer, poet and painter,) Branislav Nušić (Serbian playwright and essayist,) Ilija Stanojevic-Cica (Serbian director and actor) …. just to name a few. Some modern figures who have dined at the restaurant include: King of Spain Juan Carlos I and George Bush. Tri šešira features meaty dishes, grills, soups perfect for cold winters. With its wide range of rakija, Tri šešira is a great spot to sip on them while tapping your feet to a live band.
Manufaktura Restaurant Belgrade
Kralja Petra 13, Beograd 11000, Serbia
Taking a break from Skadarlija neighborhood, stop by Manufaktura for a robust brunch. The restaurant’s signature red umbrellas adorn the cobblestone street and outdoor patio, making the adorable hotspot difficult to miss. The dishes are made with purely organic ingredients grown solely in Serbia. Manufaktura is known for its famous dried meats, – particularly Mangalica (Hungarian breed of domestic pig) – locally-grown vegetables and fruits, and all sorts of Serbian cheeses and wines. The menu is a delectable combination of Bulgarian, Greek and Macedonian influences.
Word on the street is that Serbian pizza is a must-try! Every city has its own “drunk food” after a night of barhopping. In Belgrade, Bucko Pizza is it! Located near the Tesla Museum, Bucko is a tiny pizzeria that locals absolutely adore. It serves slathered slices with cracker-like crust, and comes with truly authentic toppings: chicken salad, beef salad, sour cream mushroom, Russian salad…etc. Sounds odd to you? Wait until you devour a bite!