While the online guide that helped us out in the Balkans, In Your Pocket, isn’t so complimentary to Bosnian cuisine, I’m still inclined to look kindly on it as when in Dubrovnik last year we were told the only restaurant in town worth eating at was a Bosnian restaurant.
Despite what you might read on the internet, there is a McDonalds on Sarajevo, but that doesn’t meant you should go there. Cheap snacks abound with the advantage of being cheaper and tastier than anything you will find on the other side of the arches. That said, we did mostly steer clear of the cevapčiči while in the city, because there is only so much greasy meat you can eat.
These are a couple of places we visited in Sarajevo, that I thought worth sharing..
Džirlo | Street Kovaci Cilcma 6, Sarajevo 71102
The cutest little teahouse in all Sarajevo. Seriously! Its artful curation of knick knacks made it look like a still life painting. Džirlo has a large tea menu and also serve coffee, but it is the salep that will be recommended to you, and you should take it. At 4.50 per glass it is pricey, but delicious. Salep is similar to a chai latte, made using orchid flour. Warm and sweet and delicious.
Avlija | Sumbula Avde 2, Sarajevo 71000
Avlija is a super cute restaurant located on the slopes of a hill leading up from the city. It’s a bit of a hike but worth it for this plant covered restaurant. We ate klepe for an entree, a ravioli dumpling kind of hybrid, and they were definitely a highlight. The meat that came with our mains was a little dry. A curious waiter who talked us down from ordering a different shared entree as it would have been too much food. Such honesty!
Zeljo | Kundurdziluk (Bascarsija), Sarajevo
One of the best, greasiest and cheapest snacks in all the Balkans is čevapčiči, little grilles sausages served with chopped onion and flatbread. Zeljo (there is a 1 and 2) is recommended online, and deserving of this recommendation. I’m pretty sure they only serve čevapčiči, with the option of 5, 10 or 15 sausages, with sour cream an optional extra.
Regina | Kranjčevićeva 35, Sarajevo 71000
We have a terrible habit of going to Mexican restaurants in Europe. A terrible habit because none of them are really ever very good (Trento, Rome, Belgrade..). Our DIY fajitas at Regina were fresh, and the meat super tender, but completely lacking in any spice or Mexican flavours. Best for if you’re staying near the train station (it’s a little hidden, so you have to look for it).
The brew pub | Kranjceviceva 18, 71000 Sarajevo
We ventured in here on our way back from Regina, mostly because the pub was completely empty and I felt sorry for the owners/staff. Such a sucker. Turns out the Brew Pub hadn’t yet officially opened (but by now it should have), so that made me feel a little better. Once it’s properly up and running they will be brewing their own beer (including an IPA, so the authors of this site should be happy), but when we were there only half the taps were in use.
The Baklava Shop | Curciluk Veliki 56, 71000 Sarajevo
I fell in love with Baklava while in Turkey earlier this year, having completely avoided it previously for what reasons I know not. I was therefore excited to discover the availability of Baklava here, due to the history of Ottoman occupation. But. It wasn’t great. I tried baklava at a couple of shops in both Sarajevo and Mostar and it was all terrible. We finally made it to The Baklava Shop in the old town, on our final evening when our KMs were wearing out. We were limited to a single piece each of walnut baklava, and it was the best we ate by far. It was the only baklava that wasn’t refrigerated, and it actually tasted like something.
Ice cream (general)
As for baklava as is for ice cream. I’m sure there is amazing ice cream to be bought, but it was not bought by us.
Buregdzinica Bosna | Bravadziluk, Old Town, Sarajevo
Buregdzinica Sac | Mali Bravadziluk 2, Sarajevo 71000
I knew pita more generally as burek, but this apparently refers solely to the meat variety. Pita is a tasty concotion of filo pastry and filling – meat, cheese, spinach or potato. My favorite is the cheese, sirnica, or cheese and spinach zeljanica. Bad pita definitely exists, we ate some awful dried stuff from a bakery near our first hostel, but it mostly was good everywhere.
There are two recommended pita shops in the old town: Buregdzinica Bosna and Buregdzinica Sac. The advantage of whichever one we went to, over the many other pekara (bakeries) selling whole pitas, is that you can sit and eat at a table, and buy your pita by the gram. There’s also the added option of a liquidy sour cream poured over top.