Belgrade in Serbia is among the best European city destinations when it comes to nightlife and authentic experience in its restaurants and bars. It’s not a secret that people from neighbouring countries (Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, etc.) flock to Belgrade when the weekend comes to enjoy a tasty experience. The hospitality facilities listed below are among the finest hospitality establishments in Belgrade, the ones that should be seriously considered for a visit if your way leads you to the Serbian capital city.
Restaurant Kovac for a fancy night out
Restaurant Kovac (the Blacksmith), founded in 1932, is somewhat off-the-beaten-path from the main tourist areas in Belgrade, but allocating some time to pay it a visit would be an excellent investment of your time. The restaurant is at the very top of the list of Belgrade’s iconic eateries, and although the prices are somewhat higher than usual, the atmosphere, fine dining and overall experience make up for it tenfold. You should really try Karadjordjeva snicla (Karadjordje steak) and cevapi, which are made of minced meat; cevapi are mostly complemented with french fries and onion, but you can ask for a different order if you prefer otherwise.
Live music will always welcome you in the evening hours in Restaurant Kovac, featuring, depending on the day, Serbian ethno music, popular hits, gypsy music, or some other. The restaurant specializes in Serbian culinary specialities, but also hosts foreign chefs from time to time, who present specialities from their countries and regions.
You can either stop by for a meal or drink, and Kovac Restaurant has wireless internet if you need to get a job done on the go. The restaurant also provides a VIP Fireplace Lounge for business meetings or a needed rest. An expansive garden opens according to weather conditions.
Kovac Restaurant is located on Bulevar oslobodjenja (Boulevard of the Liberation) 221.
? Restaurant, an authentic 19th century cuisine experience
The name of the oldest Belgrade’s existing restaurant is a result of a 19th century dispute between its owner and the church. Located at the opposite side of the street from the Cathedral Church, the then inn was named “By the Cathedral Church”, which was found insulting to the religious authorities. The owner changed its name in ?, as a temporary solution until resolution of the dispute, and here we are.
Unlike its name, ? Restaurant remained entirely the same since its establishment in 1823. The period furnishings, ambiance and staff’s outfit are genuine, only the refrigerators and bottled beverages belong to this time. The restaurant is conceived as a relaxation facility, and you will find no wireless internet here.
Accordingly, meals and drinks are prepared and served in a traditional way, which you can enjoy in an outdoor garden or in the restaurant’s premises. Finally, the inn wouldn’t be an inn without live music, which takes place during evening hours on the certain days up to 11:00 pm, (12 am on Saturdays).
? Restaurant offers a wide range of Serbian national specialities based on meat, appetizers, salads and desserts. It is advisable, since the restaurant’s capacities are often filled to the last place, to make a reservation in advance. We recommend you to order chicken mixed with vegetables.
A popular urban legend is attached to this place. Once, a priest from the cathedral from the other side of the street ordered a meal, and when done he stated: “Now I see why those seeking solace, who fail in finding it in the cathedral, come by here.
? Restaurant’s address is Kralja Petra (the King Peter Street) 6.
Vapiano Restaurant - take a quick meal when time is an issue
Vapiano self-service restaurant surely isn’t a national cuisine restaurant, but is a convenient stop-by point for all those in a hurry, lacking time to wait until their order is delivered. Nevertheless, those willing to enjoy the Italian food or a drink in a prolonged visit are equally welcome.
The principle is simple. Take a card at the entrance, have it validated as you take your meal and pay when leaving. Vapiano Restaurant is located at the beginning of the Knez Mihailova Street, in downtown Belgrade, and features cosy ambiance, pleasant music and a variety of Italian famous specialities, such as pastas, pizzas and cooked meals. As for the suggestions, you can hardly go wrong with Scampi (scampi with olive oil and onion) or Pasta India.
Coffee Dream bar - a multitude of coffee variations
Coffee can be found anywhere, but for the best offer of coffee drinks in Belgrade you should pay a visit to Coffee Dream, at the intersection of Knez Mihailova and Nikole Spasica Streets. The bar isn’t especially large, and you aren’t likely, in most cases, to find a place to sit. You can, however, do what most people do. Take your drink with you, and enjoy it at the nearby Kalemegdan Fortress, Belgrade’s top tourist attraction.
Coffee Dream’s extensive list of coffee drinks is quite long, and the longer you look at the list the harder time you’ll have deciding. Take only a quick look at the menu before ordering; you are hardly going to make a mistake, anyway. Cappuccino, mokachino, macchiato and iced coffee are some suggestions, but you can also have fruit frappes, shakes, cakes, soft drinks, alcohol and various delicacies.
Eating on the water
Let’s get back to a restaurant of the Serbian national cuisine. If you have enjoyed a stroll along the Sava River in New Belgrade, Suvenir (Souvenir) Boat Restaurant (splav in Serbian) is an excellent place to recover spent calories. The restaurant features a cabin of a maritime captain, with a bunch of related souvenirs, a large TV screen (for sport events most probably) and pleasant music.
The prices are quite reasonable, and while you wait for your order, you can shorten your waiting time with magazines that are offered at the entrance.
Sarma, consisting of rice and minced meat wrapped in sour cabbage, pljeskavica (minced meat with french fries and onion) or any other traditional Serbian specialty would make a good choice.
Where should you look for more exceptional restaurants and bars?
Start along the Sava and Danube Rivers. If you are in Belgrade during spring or summer, Valdano Boat Restaurant by the Sava River has a great atmosphere. The Danube Quay in Zemun, a Belgrade suburb that merged with the city, is another great destination for premium dining after or before a relaxing walk along the riverside. Skadarska Street, in the vicinity of the downtown, is a bohemian hub, just like Montmartre in Paris, for example.
Although most restaurants of the Sava and Danube Rivers are worth the time and money you invest in them, Српска брвнара – Cyrillic letter - (Serbian Cottage - the Sava) and Дунавска прича, or Dunavska prica (Danube story – the Danube), shouldn’t be taken as such.