One of the best things about visiting Belgrade, or anywhere in Serbia for that matter, is the never-ending plates glorious Serbian cuisine served at traditional restaurants - pictured pretty much any meat you can think of cooked to perfection and laid before you in portions at least three times too large for the average human and you'll have some idea what we're talking about. While it's almost impossible to get a bad Serbian meal in Belgrade, you can find the best of the best when it comes to traditional Serbian restaurants below!
In both its cuisine and atmosphere Kovač combines the best of Serbian tradition with modern standards, while maintaining a perceptible air of authenticity. The feast begins with freshly baked cornbread, homemade cheese and Serbian prosciutto, and the menu features countless traditional dishes, such as smoked ribs, boiled ham hock and steak skewers wrapped with prosciutto. Another house specialty to try is the veal and pork, which is roasted under the bell (or 'ispod sača') with coals piled on top, letting the succulent meat slowly cook in its own juices. Make sure to save room for dessert, as the sweets are also quite sublime - our personal favourite is the tiramisu with quince. The wine collection includes more than 2000 bottles, and there is of course an equally impressive selection of homemade rakija to choose from. Located opposite the Banjica Forest in the south of the city, taxi is the convenient way to get here.
In older times everyone used to know exactly what was needed for an excellent meal: a good recipe and fresh local ingredients prepared with a lot of love. Luckily for you, at Bela Reka they still know the truth of these simple fact. Inspired by the traditional recipes known to Serbian grandmothers, the restaurant is a treasure trove of mouthwatering flavours. It's also a place to relax and enjoy your meal, with the accompaniment of fine local wine and rakija, in other words, a place to feel at home.
With gorgeous views out over Košutnjak as well as Mt Avala further to the south, the legendary Rubin is undoubtedly one of the most invigorating restaurants in the capital. We've always loved the rustic wooden furnishings, superb service and timeless charm that greets us on a retreat from the bustle of the city. The menu is largely made up of the traditional grilled meat dishes that all travellers to this part of the world will known and love, along with some of the city’s most refreshing salads. The food is good, but it is the views that really attracts, a stunning expanse of the lushest green.
Declared as the best tavern in South Eastern Europe, in Šešir Moj you will encounter the magnificent spirit of Skadarlija, the rhythm of Belgrade. If you are looking for an authentic Serbian tavern, you are in the right place. This is a place you choose to eat and drink among gourmets and bohemians – the atmosphere is relaxing by day and merry come nightfall. Their regulars choose Šešir Moj when they are in the mood to truly indulge their senses, and their staff see a small victory in every content guest.
The oldest kafana in the city, ? (‘Znak Pitanja’, if you’re asking) is as much an iconic spot as it is a restaurant. The building itself is coming close to 200 years of existence, built in the 1820s on the orders of Miloš Obrenović himself. That history is palpable in the walls, although its clientele is definitely of a more modern sort. Vuk Karadžić was known to dine here, back when the famous linguist had both of his legs. Decent traditional Serbian food happens to be available alongside the history.
A Belgrade institution since 1864, Tri Šešira (Three Hats) is the restaurant that best encapsulates the Bohemian magic of Skadarlija. ‘Bohemian’ generally means ‘traditional food with local musicians playing around your table’ in a Belgrade sense, so strap in (not literally) and go with the flow. The moving orchestra can be a little pervasive, but the novelty takes some time to wear off.
Ćiribu ćiriba, a phrase almost impossible for anyone but a Serb to pronounce, means ’abracadabra’. And just as its name is very Serbian, so is the place and the service. The interior includes an old Serbian cooker, black and white portraits, and many other aged things. Upon entering you will be offered a spoonful of a Serbian jam-like sweet, traditionally considered a welcoming gesture.
If its good enough for Tito, its good enough for us. One of the most famous tavens on a street full of them, a laundry list of historical figures have dined at Dva Jelena, and one can only speculate as to the stories these walls could tell. Traditional Serbian cuisine and plenty of history await at this celebrated Skadarlija spot.
A restaurant known for its variety of “home-cooked” meals and grilled meats. In spite of the unseemly interior (which the regulars have become quite fond of), discoloured cutlery, and the occasional patched tablecloth, Belgraders feel very much at home here. This spot attracts a wide variety of customers - young couples in love, old folks reading the paper, businessmen in suits, penniless students sharing a portion - all united by their mutual craving for a warm, “home-cooked” meal. No music.
A wonderful duplex restaurant in an old family house in Gardoš. The interior is decorated in bright colours and floral patterns typifying traditional houses. The upper level has a breathtaking view stretching over the roofs of Gardoš, and for an even more rewarding experience try getting a table on the miniature terrace. The food is decent and the portions large. The waiters are friendly but few in number, so if the restaurant is jam-packed, it might take some effort to get their attention.