My first day in Albania continued that afternoon with my friend Ani from Balkan Pearls Tour Operator. We made the drive to the village of Surrel, which is located just 20 minutes outside the capital, Tirana. It’s an amazing farming community that’s home to one of the best restaurants in the country! Come along with me as I enjoy some insane Albanian food, including farm to table slow food, at Ceren Ismet Shehu in Surrel, Albania!
Ceren Ismet Shehu is an incredible restaurant that focuses primarily on meats like lamb, goat, and veal. They prepare the meat in multiple ways, and I’d get a full experience of their whole operation! Let’s check out some of the best meat and freshest food in Albania!
First off, I loved the greenery of the path leading up to the front door. There were lots of plants and flowers, an open-air terrace where people were eating, and even a little stream! It was beautiful.
Inside, I could see lots of wines in racks and some goat yogurt. It was an authentic farmhouse-style restaurant with high ceilings and two stories! I met the owner, Ismet, who was smoking some lamb and goat for 3 hours. Then he would marinate it and add a wine reduction sauce. The ribs he was smoking looked unbelievable, as did the tomahawk and chicken shish kebabs! I could already tell I was going to enjoy having slow food in Surrel, Albania!
He marinated the meat by brushing it with thyme that had been dipped in a pesto-like sauce. There were also potatoes, a vegetable soup, burek, and a type of Albanian pancake called flija! The flija had tons of layers in it and was so tasty! The potatoes were also amazing! The tomahawk was a light medium-rare. It was bloody, fatty, juicy, and smoky! The flavor of the thyme was out of this world!
Ismet actually cooked for the Queen of England in 2010! From the restaurant, we headed to Ismet’s farm, which was gorgeous. I saw lots of organic tomatoes, peppers, corn, eggplant, peaches, green apples, grapes, and plums. They’re some of the freshest in the country!
Back at the restaurant, it was packed! We went upstairs to the terrace to have our appetizers, including tzatziki, goat cheese, salad, stuffed peppers, beef sausage, two cheeses, olives, cabbage, and a thick sauce.
The pepper stuffed with cheese was hot, creamy, and amazing! I loved the cheese with wild berries! There was a stuffed green pasta with a creamy cheese sauce and a shish kebab. The pasta was stuffed with cheese, which more cheese on top. I loved it the creaminess and earthiness! The kofta kebab was smoky and tender. This Albanian slow food in Surrel, Albania was next level!
Next was a tava dish with squash, mushrooms, and nuts. It was super creamy and my favorite dish of the trip so far! I continued with the flija and the burek with spinach and cheese. Both had lots of yummy layers! Then, I tried a quail egg with beef around it. It was earthy and beefy!
Then, I had some goat milk yogurt, which was different, salty and natural! Finally, I tried the veal ribs with barbecue yogurt and berry jam. The ribs had peanuts on top. It was unreal with the smoked, barbecue yogurt! They blew my mind!
Ismet cut up the goat meat for me, which contained beetroot. It was so tender and double-smoked! It was so buttery! I enjoyed it with a local house wine!
Then, I had a cigar-shaped baklava with walnuts and vanilla ice cream, a blueberry cheesecake, and chocolate with ice cream with kadaif on top. The chocolate had a layer of pasta on the bottom and crunchy kadaif on top. It was sweet with a texture similar to vermicelli noodles!
The cheesecake was so amazing, and the dense baklava was unbelievable! What an incredible restaurant and an awesome slow food experience in Surrel, Albania! Huge thanks to Balkan Pearls Tour Operator for bringing me out here!
I hope you liked coming with me on my amazing Albanian slow food experience in Surrel, Albania! If you did, please give this video a thumbs up and leave a comment below, and please subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of my future travel/food adventures!