John & Rachael welcome you to the city of Sarajevo & its ski resorts
Like Sarajevo in general, the food and drink scene has an abundance of character. The traditional foods of the region steal the show with their home cooked style and often eastern influence. But modern twists on the old and an ever expanding international range of styles, only increases the city’s fantastic options.
The drink and bar scene of Sarajevo is coming along nicely. You can enjoy Bosnian and other regional wines in plenty of establishments (some places don't serve alcohol at all). The high quality mainstream regional beers on offer are being bolstered by the ever improving craft beer producers of the region. You can easily find some truly cool bars with unique designs to indulge in your preferred tipples.
What to Eat in Sarajevo
This is a creamy chicken and okra soup, usually served with lemon and flatbread. Can be enjoyed as a hearty starter or main dish.
Burek and pita
These are an extremely popular and traditional “fast food” which can be found all over the city (look out for a Buregdzinica). Burek is the meat version only, consisting of minced meat rolled or layered in filo pastry. Pita or pie are other versions of the same idea. Filo filled with a range of ingredients for example spinach and cheese, potatoes and pumpkin.
Another traditional favourite in Sarajevo. Cevapi are grilled minced beef or lamb rolled into short sausage shapes. These are served in a soft, light somun flat bread and typically accompanied with kajmak (local spreadable creamy cheese) and raw chopped onions. A glass of fresh yogurt is the traditional accompanying drink.
Dolma and Japrak
You can find a variation of stuffed dishes in Sarajevo. Dolma or Japrak are vine leaves stuffed with minced meat and served with cream and a tasty juice. You can also find stuffed peppers and onions on many menus specialising in traditional dishes.
These are dumplings filled with minced meat served with cream and minced garlic.
An interesting stew of barbequed meat and vegetables served with rice or potatoes and topped with cream.
A traditional Bosnian dessert of a poached apple stuffed with walnut and served with cream or ice cream.
Delicious doughnut like balls of dough, deep fried and served with kajmak.There are very moreish!
Bosnian Stew (Lonac)
A rich and flavoursome stew with the main ingredients being vegetables and chunked meat. There are variations in recipe but the general method or alternating layers of larger pieces of meat and vegetables until the pot is full, remains the same. Water is added and the pot is placed in a fireplace or on a stove and the meal is slowly cooked for several hours.
What to Drink in Sarajevo
Wines in restaurants can be relatively expensive. There is a lot of poor wine sold at the lower price points, so be prepared to spend a little more if you want quality.
There are two grape varieties you will find most commonly in Sarajevo; a white called Zilavka and a red called Blatina. Both are widely grown in the region of Mostar. A good Zilavka should be fresh and acidic, dry with a medium to full body. Often aged in oak the aromas can be nutty and of apricot. Blatina when produced to its full potential is a smooth, medium bodied, dry red. The tannins are nice and smooth in bottles over 4 years old and there are aromas and flavours of cherry and other berries.
Beers are very reasonable and overall good quality. Of the mass produced options, Jelen and Sarajevsko Pivo are excellent easy drinking lager style beers and are great value. In a shop it’s around half a euro for 500mls and around 3KM or 1.50E in a bar. There is also a thriving and constantly improving craft beer scene which you can easily tap into in most good bars.
A general term for a variation of brandies you’ll find all over the Balkans, you’ll certainly come across Rakija in Sarajevo. There’s a range of flavours to sample, some stronger such as loza and others sweeter such an dunja.
Drinking Bosnian coffee is a symbol of Sarajevo culture and identity. Raw coffee is roasted, ground and then gently cooked in a metal pot called džezva. Bosnian coffee is served with sugar cubes (which you either add to the coffee or suck between sips), sometimes with Turkish Delight and a glass of water to clean the palette. Remember to take your time over coffee, it's not an event to be rushed!
Where to Eat - Sarajevo Restaurant Guide
The traditional dishes served here are along the lines of the more localised Ascinicas. On the menu you’ll find filled peppers, onions and vine leaves (dorma), bosnian pot and cevab (stews). The prices here are a little higher, but the tasty food & attentive service make the experience here worth it.
This is a very reasonable spot to try many of the local specialties with the locals. Good value and home-made offerings, such as Begova Corba (a traditional broth like soup) this makes for a great lunch stop. Staff are helpful and can make recommendations.
Everyone has their favourite place for cevapi. There’s many places in the city serving this staple dish. A visit to at least one cevabdzinca (eatery specialising in cevapi) is a must. Petica is our favourite. Choose from 5 or 10 cevapi which comes stuffed in somun bread and ask for kajmak.
Small and brilliant restaurant with a super tasty menu including lots of sweet and savoury pancakes and some superb pasta options. Nice option for breakfast as well.
Go here for...falafel! Served with hummus and middle eastern style salads. Very good vegan/vegetarian option in the city.
This restaurant is located out of town in Dobrinja, but so worth seeking out. Delicious food with a more modern touch and great service in a comfortable setting.
Where to Drink - Sarajevo Bar & Cafe Guide
Our top recommendation to go to try some top regional wines is to head to the small but functional Petrakija. Here they specialise in only Bosnian wines and have great staff on hand for an abundance of information and guidance.
Our favourite beer bars are:
The famous Pivnica HS which is the producer of Sarajevsko Pivo, the city's oldest brewery. It's a great place to go and try all they produce.
Vucko Pub offers great beer variety and decent accompanying food, with some really helpful staff to give you recommendations.
Majstor Za Pivo is out of the town in Dobrinja but well worth searching out. Not only is the beer selection extensive, but the food is superb.
You’ll find many cafes around town offering Bosnian coffee and Italian styles. If tea is more your thing, head to Franz and Sophie tea shop. The have a wide selection of loose teas to choose from, depending on your mode. Each pot is freshly brewed in a teapot and served with biscuits
If you’re feeling in the mood for a cocktail, make a stop at Blind Tiger. They mix up some of the best cocktails in the city. You’ll find all the classics as well as some novel cocktails. They also serve bar style food. Happy hour 2 for 1 cocktails is on offer through the week.
For a funky overall bar, the unique Zlatna Ribica is the place to enjoy a few drinks, no matter your tipple. The bar is full to the bream with quirky objects and the wine can come served in goblets!
Photo Credit > Gabor Nadai