A guide to the best food and restaurants in Belgrade and Novi Sad

This comes as a surprise to most people but Serbia and in particular Belgrade is one of the best places in Europe for dining out right now.

This is due to a combination of several factors.

  1. The local fruits, vegetables and meat are mostly grown in non-modern methods and taste much better than their western counterparts.
  2. The big fast-food players are present but most food is still prepared by people who actually enjoy cooking it and take pride in their craft.
  3. Serbians love dining out and word-of-mouth and quality is very important.
  4. Due to low average wages, prices are usually affordable to cheap by western standards.
  5. Due to a history of occupation, Serbian cuisine combines influences from Turkey, Hungary, Austria Italy and Greece.
  6. Portions are usually more than adequate, one three course meal is usually enough for a day.

Not everything is perfect though.

  1. Due to being landlocked, Fish and seafood only arrive fresh on Wednesday.
    Fish usually taste fine, but this is not the place to get fresh shrimps and calamari.
  2. Vegetarians will be very limited by what they can eat and dismayed by the amounts of meat consumed all around them.
  3. If you are on a diet, the copious portions on plates and sweets present in display windows will be a hard trial indeed.

So here are 28 of my favorite restaurants in Belgrade and 2 in Novi Sad with a recommendation of dishes.
Feel free to add your favorites and let me know if you liked it.

Street food

  1. Stuffed squid sandwich at Aquarium flying fish .
    Grilled squid stuffed with delicious spiced rice in garlic sauce, one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten.
  2. Mushroom pita at Tel Aviv Hummus house.
    Warm mushrooms in pita bread with harissa and thina make for fantastic snack at this 24/6 eatery.
  3. Macrobiotic salad at pekara Toma.
    This place offers pizzas and sandwiches around the clock but this healthy combination of wheat germ and walnuts in lemon juice is a refreshing pick-me-up for less than a Euro.
  4. Burek everywhere.
    An extremely fatty and unhealthy food but this is one of the best cities to sample it, if only once or twice a year.
  5. Fresh figs at the markets.
    It’s easy to forget just how amazing fresh figs are when in season.
    Markets are a great place to get fantastic local produce, supermarkets should be avoided.

Starters

  1.  Goose liver at Square Nine.
    One of the city’s finer restaurants offers this imported French delicacy, perfectly complemented by a warm brioche.
    Also get: it’s all good but the bread and butter pudding with nutella ice cream dessert and the homemade bread-sticks are fantastic.
  2. Homemade meat ravioli in truffle sauce at Klub Knijzevnika.
    I love truffles and in Serbia dishes featuring this wondrous fungi won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
    Also get: pistachio parfait.
  3. Starter plate at Jevrem.
    A great selection of meat, cheese and local spreads.
    Also get: lamb cooked “under the bell”.
  4. Cream of blue cheese soup at Zak in Novi Sad.
    Funnily enough it’s tiny Novi Sad’s Zak which is probably Serbia’s best overall restaurant with a great selection of interesting dishes.
    This soup was an incredible revelation and is worth of journeying for.
    Also get:  quail stuffed with goose liver in sticky Porto sauce, escalope with morels and white chocolate mouse for dessert.
  5. Beef roll in pumpkin seed sauce at Manjez.
    Is Pumpkin seed sauce so hard to make?
    Otherwise why is this treat not well known?

Main courses

  1. Black truffle Risotto at Frans.
    Perfectly cooked Risotto with avocado, mushrooms and a generous dose of black truffle shavings, can you say mmmm?
    Also get: beef soup and whatever your waiter recommends.
  2.   Steak with figs and nishiki rice at Na Cosku.
    Na Cosku has earned its top spot on Tripadvisor honestly.
    This glorious combination of tender meat and sweetly figs was enough to impress a native Argentinian.
    Also get: grilled goat cheese, truffle prawn chowder, the sensational green curry with chicken, lava cake, sticky date pudding, hell it’s all good here.
  3. Filet of salmon in beer and tarragon sauce on zucchini & fennel tortilla with olive salsa at Little Bay.
    Best bang for your buck dish in best value restaurant in town with great opera theme.
    Also get: Beef carpaccio with blue cheese mousse, selection of lamb and all the desserts.
  4. Ribs in BBQ sauce at Nachos.
    Not the biggest portion, but definitely the best ribs in town, fall off the bone succulence.
    Also get: dulce de leche palatschinken.
  5. Chicken wrapped in bacon with four different kinds of cheese at Casa Nova.
    Chicken+cheese+bacon = sign me up.
    Also get: turkey in Porto and figs sauce.
  6. Pizza Mafioso at Pomodoro.
    Perfect oven baked pizza with ham, pepperoni, mozzarella and garlic, may cause addiction.
  7. Lamb cooked in milk at Kafana Daco.
    Eating this will not only break a few commandments but will also make you feel like a wolf.
    Also get: Veal breaded in nuts.
  8. Perch in clay pot with pasta and smoked cheese sauce at Saran.
    A truly great combination at this high-quality fish restaurant in Zemun.
    Also get: octopus starter and sea bass in pistachio sauce.
  9. Veal sweetbreads (Brizle) at Walter Sarajevo Cevap.
    A special and cheap treat at this small eatery.
    Also get: great cevapi and pljeskavica  (kebabs and burgers).
  10.  Pizza with peanuts, peanut butter, ham and curry sauce at Kuca Mala in Novi Sad.
    Not only will this pizza win you any “weirdest pizza you ever ate” discussions, it is also pretty damn good.

 

Desserts

  1. Sticky date pudding at Iguana.
    Hands down the best dessert in town.
    A great combination of cake, cream and an irresistible warm butterscotch caramel sauce, a celebration of sweetness.
  2. Sigal’s cheesecake at Pane e Vino.
    A delicate cheesecake with a thin layer of crumble that feels light as a feather.
  3. Cheesecake at Guli pizzeria.
    Hey, I like cheesecake!
    This one is heavier and features tiny bits of nuts for a very memorable effect.
  4. Chimney cake covered in chocolate and almonds at the chimney cake place on republic square.
    Fresh and warm Hungarian delicacy with a topping of your choice is a bargain for less than two Euros.
  5. Semifreddo with lemon grass, lime and chili at Homa.
    Memorable texture and unusual taste make this newcomer a winner.
    Also get: stir fry oxtail, lemon pie.
  6. Rota pita at Zorba.
    Apples and caramel have never blended so well before.
    Also get: pasta with prawns in anise sauce.
  7. Oscar Wilde cake at Dorian Gray.
    A cake named after Mr. Wilde has to be extremely decadent and this combination of rich Belgian chocolate and raspberries certainly delivers.
    Also get: chicken liver spread with chutney and turkey with goose liver.
  8. Grilijas cake at Cafe Specijal.
    A deadly mixture of creamed chocolates and nuts in the shape of a cake.
    Also get: baklava, hazelnut cup.
  9. Apple pie at Mythologia.
    A BIG warm apple pie with ice cream on top.
    Also get: cappuccino shrimps soup.
  10. Mascarpone tart at Depo 23.
    Served in a jar, this simple combination of sweet cheese, prunes, bits of cookie dough and Armagnac is surprising and sensational.

Bon Appetit!

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