This is part of the Momondo experience series, where Momondo challenged me to a gastronomic experience in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since Sarajevo is the capital and largest city in the country, I thought it would be the perfect place to take on the challenge of seeing what Bosnian food is all about.
Sarajevo has a multitude of restaurants, cafés, bakeries, teahouses, and street food vendors to choose from, so I began my gastronomic tour as anyone with a caffeine addiction does – with traditional Bosnian coffee.
See our episode on What to See and Eat in Sarajevo
Bosnian coffee is strong, but isn’t bitter. It is always served with sugar cubes and a glass of cold water. As much as you may be tempted to, don’t gulp it fast. Bosnian coffee should be enjoyed slowly. Stir the foam at the top and drop in the sugar cube, then stir some more.
We chose Miris Dunja near the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque in the Bascarsija to take advantage of the beautiful weather and do some people watching before starting our day.
After sightseeing around the old town (Stari Grad) for a little while longer, we worked up an appetite for the go-to fast food of the country, pies! The most common of these is Burek (pronounced boo-reck), which is basically fried, flaky heaven made of layers of crispy delicate phyllo dough and stuffed with cheese, meat, spinach, potato, or a combination of these. To be a true Bosnian pie, it must be baked in a sac (large metal pan) and hung up in a coal-burning oven.
If you want to be super traditional, eat your pie with a yogurt drink. The yogurt will coat your stomach and quench your thirst better than water, which you’ll appreciate after a heavy meal such as pie. Buregdzinica Sac in Stari Grad is clean, inexpensive and prepares the pies the traditional way. My favorite is the minced meat and potato pie, with cheese Börek coming in strong at second place.
No trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina is complete without trying the unofficial national dish, Ćevapčići (pronounced che-vap-chee-chee). These oblong-shaped grilled minced meatballs are the undisputed kings of Bosnian fast foods. You can find them throughout the Balkans; an influence left behind by the Ottomans.
Every restaurant and household has its own secret recipe for making them, and almost anywhere you walk in Sarajevo between the hours of 1 and 10 PM, you’ll catch the intoxicating smell of Ćevapčići emanating from restaurant exhausts. We got a clear consensus from locals that the best Ćevapčići is at restaurant Ferhatović in the Bascarsija quarter. And they were spot on! The meatballs were amazing, especially with a refreshing chopska salad.
Ćevapčići is commonly served with chopped raw onions and fresh Somun bread, which may look like a plain old pita at first glance, but is actually the work of master bakers and is quite a laborious process. Once you taste it, you’ll see why it is so good – the perfect blend of softness, chewiness, and crustiness that goes perfectly with tender juicy Ćevapčići. We had the pleasure of seeing how Somun bread is made at the Alifakovac family bakery in Sarajevo.
Nobody should leave Sarajevo without experiencing its fine dining scene. Ćevapčići and pies are great, but sometimes it’s good to change gears towards a more refined meal. We wanted to sample Bosnian fusion food and Herzegovina wines in a modern, upscale setting, and we ended up at the best restaurant in the Sarajevo, 4 Sobe Gospode Safije (“The 4 Rooms of Mrs. Sofia”).
The restaurant’s name alludes to the forbidden love between a Muslim girl, Safije, and Johan, an Austrian Count, during the transition from Turkish to Austro-Hungarian rule. The restaurant is located in an antique house just a 5-minute taxi ride from the city center.
Gorgeous vintage furnishings and a warm, welcoming ambiance served as the perfect backdrop to the lovely meal we had there. The menu of risottos, salads, seafood, and pastas was a nice change from the fast-paced casual eateries of the Stari Grad. After a satisfying tasting menu of beef carpaccio, mushroom risotto, tuna steak, lamb stew, and chocolate soufflé, we understood how dynamic Bosnian gastronomy truly is.
We hope you one day find yourself in beautiful Sarajevo, and that you take part in the national sport of eating! Bosnia and Herzegovina has no shortage of fresh meats, produce, herbs, and wines. There is literally something baking, frying, roasting, and grilling at every turn, which means you’ll be spoiled for choice. Sarajevo delivers Balkan food at its finest!
Need a tour? Book your 3-Hour Walking Tour of Old Sarajevo here!
If you’ve been to Sarajevo, where and what did you eat? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below!
Special thanks to Momondo and BH Tourism.
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Where to Eat – Bosnia4u.comsays:
[…] “Bosnia and Herzegovina has no shortage of fresh meats, produce, herbs, and wines. There is literally something baking, frying, roasting, and grilling at every turn, which means you’ll be spoiled for choice. Sarajevo delivers Balkan food at its finest!” – https://davidsbeenhere.com/2014/05/15/what-and-where-to-eat-in-sarajevo/ […]
in a couple of weeks i will go to serbia again and bosnia for the first time… in my research i descover your blog and videos. good job! for sure i\ll eat cevapcici in sarajevo and see the bridge in mostar.
since i\m comming from timisoara, romania, i will go by car. can you tell me more about roads and traffic conditions in cities and country-side?
PS. not yet in romania? imposible… i wait for stories and foto/videos from romania.
A unique, exceptional place in Sarajevo – both food and service. One of my best foodie memories over years and countries. Do yourself a favor and go there
Thank you for your post and stories. Lovely and very helpful. I’m from Malaysia and will be visiting Bosnia on December, can’t wait to try Ćevapčići !
In Serbia, the make bureks with meat, or cheese, or spinach or… , which apparently is correct, as in Turkish language, “burek” is the word for a pie.
But here in Bosnia – a pie with meat is considered to be some sort of the king of pies and as such the only pie to deserve the glorious title of BUREK, so when you come back, do not even mention a cheese burek:)
glad you enjoyed the visit! best from Sarajevo
Thank you for the comment Janisamodavde!! I won’t mention the cheese burek 😉
4 rooms of Ms.Sofia is not the best restaurant, not even close.
It is a good restaurant but there are plenty of better options such as “Luka”, “Bristol Restaurant&Brasserie”…
It was pretty amazing! Sorry I didn’t even get those as a recommendation. Wish you would have found me earlier!
Gastronomic Adventure in Sarajevo - Sarajevo Timessays:
[…] Source: https://davidsbeenhere.com/2014/05/15/gastronomic-adventure-sarajevo/ […]
I’ve been to just about every corner in Bosnia and the surrounding countries (I’m actually from Prijedor) and I can, without a doubt say that the best ćevapi can be found “Kod Muje” in Banja Luka. My mouth is watering just thinking about them…Prijatno (bon appetit)
Hi Dino, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I loved Banja Luka so much, can’t wait to go back again soon. My mouth waters every time I think about the food in Bosnia.
Thank you for these wonderful pictures and stories about Bosnia. Just looking at these pictures makes my mouth is water.
I live in Miami for over 10 years now but Im from Sarajevo originally. There is a place in Miami where you can buy our food and Ćevapčići so I go there from time to time just to satisfy my nostalgia.
Thank you again!
Dzenan I am also from Miami! Where is the Cevapcici restaurant? I need to also get my fix 🙂 Bosnia was incredible and the food was delicoussss!
I think I responded already but cant see it here…anyways, here it is again. Its on 5th and WashingtonAve on the beach, its called Europa delicatessen. I need to go there soon also!
I’ve been to Sarajevo a several times and I always ate ćevapčići at “Ćevapdžinica Željo” It’s very famous. Although if you want to taste the most delicious ćevapčići then you have to visit Serbia because they make it mixed with pork which make them even more juicy.
And btw. My name is Dunja, just like Cafe at Baščaršija. I don’t know how much you’re informed but Dunja is a type of fruit which is pretty much aromatic and smells so yummy. I think english word for it is “quince”. Actually the best product made from Dunja is marmelade.
Hi Dunja, I also heard that Ćevapdžinica Željo was very famous. I guess 5 days in Sarajevo still wasn’t enough to try all the different places to eat ćevapčići! The Serbian recipe with pork was also very delicious 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment. We will be publishing more about Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina in the coming months and I hope to hear back from you!