All the food, we loved it! Everyone says that most prominent in Serbian cuisine is their assortment of meat dishes, and it’s true. Meat abounds along with cheese, breads, and other such scrumptious foods; you really can’t go wrong with any of it. But also not to be left out is the surprisingly modern and ample selection of specialty coffee shops across the city. If you love good coffee and good food, you won’t be disappointed.
Accessibility is hit-or-miss with restaurants and cafés set up in old buildings with plenty of stairs, so I’ve also included wheelchair accessibility information for each location we visited.
Best Specialty Coffee
When we travel, we enjoy scouting out the most acclaimed specialty coffee shops in the area and checking out the brew and the vibes. And we usually pick up some beans to take home. This is no Starbuck’s coffee, rather dark, pure espresso, milk drinks, and filter coffee. If you also love good quality coffee, you’ll definitely want to try out some of the coffee shops in Belgrade.
Of all the reviews online, D59B stood out clearly on top, and when we got there, we knew why. The brews were amazing, the beans are amazing, and it’s such a fun little shop.
Unfortunately for the accessibility side of things, there are exactly two steps to get in and out, and we thought we’d just sit outside and enjoy our sips, but Zoran, our driver, insisted on asking a couple guys to help, and they quickly and efficiently lifted Michael inside. Talk about surprised! But also this wife’s heart was so happy that her hubby got to experience the inside, especially since this stop was specifically for him. Inside was pretty narrow, and the place got busy, but Michael was able to find a place for his chair.
This is a video of him getting lifted to the outside as we were leaving, but it was essentially the same going in, just that I didn’t have my phone out then because it happened so fast.
We were able to order our drinks in English, and Michael and I shared a Japanese-style iced coffee, and our friend, Sebastian, who was with us, got an espresso. We were all greatly pleased with our drinks.
Beans were being roasted while we were there, and it was fun to watch and heavenly to smell!
This place was definitely our top coffee shop pick!
Ministarstvo Kafe rather hilariously means “ministry of coffee”. It’s a café by Java Coffee, which they’re planning to turn into their main roastery and storefront café, according to the wonderful barista who was excited to talk about the up-and-coming coffee scene in Serbia. We stopped at this café not after careful planning and plotting, rather, on a whim, at the end of our very long and mostly unsuccessful afternoon of trying to explore the city on our own. It was a win to end our day.
Though unfortunately not wheelchair accessible, due to a small flight of stairs to enter, the patio was a friendly and comfortable place to sit and relax. Inside was a fairly large, open seating area with dim lighting and many comfortable little nooks and chairs and seemed a cozy, private space.
Although it was evening, I couldn’t resist ordering the shakaretto, once I saw it on the menu. It was explained as an espresso shaken with ice, ginger syrup, and lime, and the result was refreshing and rejuvenating and tasted amazing. Michael ordered a mocha, which are nowhere to be found where we live, besides Starbucks, which we don’t typically frequent anymore. And it’s his favorite drink, so he orders it whenever the opportunity arises.
And then I went to this little, corner bakery across the bridge and ordered this fantastic sandwich and a few other little bakery treats to try. I still don’t know what that bread was, but it was superb.
All-in-all, if you’re in the area, definitely check out this unique little location. It was a gem to have stumbled upon!
Like the other coffee shops we tried, this one had the barista running around filling orders left and right. We found it was a place with a lot of local regulars who swear by their coffee and won’t drink anything else.
Accessibility here was also not perfect, but for us, it was easy to pop up the small threshold step to get inside. The patio was also quite cute, but the tables were either extra low or extra high and wouldn’t be ideal to get a wheelchair under, though they could work for some.
The coffee selection was espresso and hot milk drinks. Actually, they take their coffee seriously here and the menu stated quite specifically that espresso with cold milk is an abomination, to paraphrase. They had exactly two roasts of beans that I believe they roast on site. We saw just a small roaster, and beans were sold by the 100 gram bag, upon request, which leads me to believe that they don’t produce a huge quantity at a time, which is charming.
We ordered two freddos, which are espressos over ice. I’d seen this “freddo” on the menu more than once and was curious what kind of drink it was, so I’m glad we tried it. The espresso was smooth and delicious, and with the ice, not so terribly concentrated, but that was perfect for me, as I like a little something to sip, not take as a shot.
This café was completely quaint yet retro at the same time. As for food, there were some little sweet treats available, but it was just a couple doors down from a tiny, unassuming take-and-go place — literally enough room for a display case with the hot items, and maybe a bar, though there were a few tables outside if you wanted to stay and eat. This was the place where the locals came to quickly grab something on their lunch break. And don’t let the cafeteria-style look fool you, it was fantastic.
And when the server suggests you get your stuffed zucchini (upper left) with some sort of sour cream sauce, you ought to listen. He knows what he’s talking about, and you won’t regret it!
So stop by for some caffeine and lunch before hitting up the nearby St. Mark’s cathedral and the neighboring, hundred-year-old Russian Orthodox church. You’ll be glad you did!
We didn’t make it to every one of the three original coffee shops on our list, but if we could have, we’d also have gone to Kafeterija Przionica Lokal, as the reviews also put it in the top specialty coffee places in the city.
As our barista at Ministarstvo excitedly explained to me, specialty coffee in Belgrade is on the rise. So expect more fun and high-quality stops to pop up before your next visit, and make sure you do your research before you go, so that you can make the most of your coffee tourism in Belgrade.
Restaurants for Foodies
In the city of unending streetside eateries, you couldn’t possibly go hungry. But I’m a big foodie, especially when it comes to local cuisine. So, here’s where we stopped and where we didn’t make it but wanted to.
The place everybody wishes they, too, were eating at. Or at least, the place that innumerable tourists stop to take a picture in front of because it’s just that, freaking, cute.
This restaurant also happens to be in a newly created pedestrian zone, which is, I’m sure, quite convenient for business. Our driver, Zoran, however, was thrown off by this as he said the area was still normal roads just two months prior. We benefited from the relative quiet and smooth rolling of the new construction.
The atmosphere was completely relaxing, the waitstaff busy but helpful and attentive when called upon. It was a great place to be when an afternoon shower broke out. Though I display the umbrellas in jest, in actuality, we were sitting to the left, under a large awning jutting out from the actual restaurant. The staff quickly helped us move the tables farther in so that Michael’s wheelchair was completely protected from the downpour.
In terms of accessibility, the patio area was completely accessible, with a variety of tables to choose from to suit your particular needs. To get inside, there was a very small step, small enough for us to pop Michael’s chair up it, though perhaps inaccessible for the lone traveler on a scooter. The bathrooms inside were small, but there were three different ones to choose from, and we found one of the men’s bathrooms to be fairly large. None were designed to be accessible, as is the case with most places in Belgrade. But the new and modern mall, Rajiceva, is just around the corner and has plenty of single-stall accessible bathrooms.
And last but by no means least, the biggest reason to come, the food! Not to be overlooked, and the pièce de résistance of the entire experience. Plan to while away a couple hours here, leisurely enjoying your appetizers, drinks, main course, and dessert if you have room for it. Everything on the menu is a Serbian specialty from various regions, and the prices and quantity are unbeatable.
Every table receives a basket of huge breads with their meal, so if you love bread, order a spread for it to enjoy with the rest of your appetizers.
Our main course was, of course, meat, as is the Serbian way. The men got a stuffed “burger” and a bacon-wrapped liver kabob.
And my choice was the cevapi, quintessential Serbian fare that everyone should try at least once, in my opinion. It was fabulous! And the crispy, fried potatoes were a great accompaniment, which I sprinkled with vinegar and salt.
If you go to no other special place to eat while in Belgrade, definitely stop for lunch or dinner at Manufaktura.
Unfortunately for us, this was the only restaurant on my list that we got to try out, but here were the other highly recommended places to visit, though I can’t comment on accessibility because we didn’t get to visit:
Apparently the best place to get šiš ćevap, which is, of course, a way of preparing meat, and is classic Serbian. My sources tell me that it’s stewed meat with grilled vegetables which can be served on their own or prepared as a sandwich in somun, a special kind of bread.
Bucko Pizza on Francuska Street
The Serbian way of eating pizza is to top it with all kinds of different sauces and spreads, which are apparently amazing at Bucko Pizza, which is open at a normal time during the day but also stays open really late. Even if you can’t understand their website, the colorful photos will convince you. Try it and tell me what you think!
So I Biber
Located across the river in New Belgrade, this is the place to go if you want portions so huge you can’t possibly finish them yourself. A tasty recommendation is Karadjordjeva; it’s pork steak rolled with ham and cheese. I’m not sure about accessibility, but I do know they have an outside patio as well as indoor seating. Read So I Biber reviews and see photos.
Lorenzo I Kakalamba
A unique dining experience because of the quirky and crazy decor. It seems you would simply have to see it in person to believe it. My source tells me, “But then there is the food, oh the food! It is amazing! I usually eat chicken fillet with prosciutto and mascarpone. The most tender chicken I’ve ever eaten! Staff are very polite and they all speak English. Prices are higher by Serbian standards, but well worth it. Portions are not enormous, though they do feel just right when you finish of course.” Before going, contact the restaurant about accessibility.
Regarding pastries, burek is everywhere! Apparently it’s appropriate to eat this stuffed pastry with yogurt, so if you want to fit in, that’s what you should do. Definitely take advantage of the abundance of this pastry, because I tell you, it’s worth it. I think you could spend a whole month just sampling baked goods and pastries, and here’s where you can do that.
Actually, speaking of burek, a great place to get some would be at the Čarli bakery (pronounced: charlie). It’s tiny and has a tiny selection, but what is not there in variety, is made up for with exceptional excellence in the few specialities they do offer. Here is the place where I saw the locals stopping in to grab a burek, that was swiftly chopped into bite-sized pieces and served with a yogurt on the side.
If you’re willing to go out of the way for a great bakery, then make your way to Trpković, which our driver Zoran says is the best around, as evidenced by the lines out the door. Now that’s what I’m talking about! And from a quick Google search of the bakery, it looks like you need to bring your appetite with you, as their selection is huge. Next time, we’d definitely make a special trip there.
One of the best parts of a culture is their approach to food and drink. Don’t leave Belgrade hungry!