You can get all kinds of international cuisine in Belgrade’s restaurants. Nevertheless, when we want to eat well, we turn to local cuisine.
Serbian grilled meat dishes have become the symbol of Serbian cuisine, with one of the best known being ćepvapčići (minced beef rolled into finger-size pieces on ice, grilled and served with finely-chopped onion).
Mešano meso (Mixed Grill) is all the delights from the grill on one plate:ćevapčići (see above), pljeskavice (beef burgers), uštipci (meatballs),kobasice (sausages), krmenadle (pork chops), ražnjići (shish kebab), đevrek(doughnut-shaped meatball with kajmak) and vešalica (strips of smoked meat). As food from the grill is best eaten freshly prepared and still piping hot, the so-called Leskovački voz (Leskovac Train) was invented. The number of ‘carriages’ this train has depends solely on the size of your appetite. Once you’ve eaten two or three ćevapčići, next to arrive is a pljeskavica, and then, before you can raise your ice cold spritzer to propose a toast, steaming hotkobasice are placed on the table. The ‘train’ continues to chug along with the arrival of some home-made lepinja (flatbread). Keep in mind that it is you who decides when the last ‘carriage’ has passed!
Karađorđeva šnicla (Karađorđe Steak) is named after Karađorđe, leader of the First Serbian Uprising against the Turks. Nobody knows if he actually liked this dish, but it’s no secret that it is very popular in Serbia. A veal steak is stuffed with kajmak, rolled up, and dipped in egg. It is then covered with breadcrumbs and deep-fried. This dish is served with tartar sauce and a glass of quality red wine would be an excellent drink to go with it.
You cannot imagine celebrating any important holiday without pečenje na ražnju (spit-roasted meat). But why stop at holidays? Travelling through Serbia, you will notice that restaurants with lambs or pigs revolving on the spit-roast in front of them are an integral part of the landscape. It is sold by the kilogram and is eaten with salad, and in winter, with winter pickle salads. With the roast, you can enjoy a glass of red wine.
Teleći šumadijski kotlet (Šumadija Veal Cutlet) is a cutlet of veal, served with Serbian cheese, tomatoes, bacon, sour cream, potato, rice, and spicy chilli peppers. We recommend a quality red wine to accompany this dish.
The tradition of preserving meat by smoking it is illustrated by the large variety of smoked meats served in restaurants. The most well known isdimljena vešalica (a smoked, grilled strip of pork), which is served with Serbian salad as a side-dish. A quality red wine goes great with this meal.
As winter makes way for spring, winter food is replaced by fresh food.Kapama od jagnjećeg mesa (Lamb Kapama – stew) is a favourite springtime meal. Pieces of lamb are sautéed together with onion, leek and spinach and then simmered, or alternatively, cooked in the oven. Natural yogurt is the preferred drink with Lamb Kapama.
Srpski đuveč (Serbian Đuveč – casserole) is prepared from tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, rice, spicy chilli peppers, diced pork and onion, which is first fried and then baked in the oven. It is has a piquant and delicious taste. You will be thirsty, so don’t forget to order some white wine.
For those of you, who prefer milder dishes, then punjene tikvice (Stuffed Courgettes) are an excellent option. Courgettes are stuffed with rice and minced meat (beef and pork), cooked with tomatoes and herbs, and then served with a helping of cold yogurt. You should order some quality rosé wine to drink with this particular meal.
True gourmets, and those who wish to sample something unusual, should definitely try teleća glava u škembetu (Calf Head in Tripe). This dish is prepared using the head, liver, lungs and tripe from a calf. The lungs and liver are boiled first, and then fried with some onion. The head is placed on top of the tripe and lined with a stuffing made from the liver and lungs, which is all sewn together and put in the oven for 4 to 5 hours and then served with salad, hot chilli peppers and dry white table wine.
Pasulj (Serbian Beans) is one of the most popular local dishes and it comes in many different ways, such as a broth or a soup, a vegetarian version or an “army” version. Pasulj is cooked with onion, bay leaves, and meat, such as diced bacon or smoked spare-ribs and thickened with browned flour to finish with. Pasulj is usually served with kobasica (sausage), krmenadla (pork chop) or similar meat. You really should get a salad to eat with pasulj – we recommend sweet cabbage or roast peppers in oil, with a sprinkling of garlic. Beer or a white wine spritzer goes hand in hand with this dish.
Kiseli kupus (pickled cabbage/sauerkraut) is a traditional winter food. But fresh cabbage is also eaten raw, as a salad, or it is cooked in a variety of ways. One of these ways is podvarak (Stewed Cabbage). Chopped sauerkraut and onion are fried, and then fat is added, often with finely chopped pieces of bacon. This is then baked in the oven and served with turkey or roasted pork. This dish is a regular at the dining table during the winter holidays. A quality red wine should be drunk with this dish.
Svadbarski kupus (Wedding Cabbage) is cooked slowly in a large clay pot for a number of hours. It is prepared using pickled cabbage, mutton, beef, pork, and smoked meat, with generous amounts of onion, pepper, salt and bay leaves. This dish is especially good when accompanied by some quality red wine.
Kuvana kolenica (Cooked Pork Hock) is a gourmet dish, cooked together with spices and served with horseradish. This dish cannot be eaten without some white wine or a cold spritzer.
Jagnjeća sarmica (Lamb Sarmas – parcels) is made from lamb lung and liver. These are boiled then chopped, and rice, egg, fried onion and spices are added. This is then wrapped in lamb caul fat to form small parcels, which are dipped in milk and egg. These parcels are then roasted in the oven. This dish is served with sour cream and we recommend a quality white wine.