Rakija, Kafa, Roštilj, Kafana, Prokupac, Pijaca.....
RAKIJA (Fruit brandy)
|Čokanj (a special long-necked glass for rakija)|
Rakija is an alcoholic drink made from the distillation of fermented fruit. It is a clear-as-water kind of drink, with a percentage of alcohol that can range from approximately 40% to 65%. You might think that rakija is similar to brandy or schnapps and that there’s nothing new here. But in fact, there lies an entire world to be discovered, as Rakija has its own tradition, its own rituals, and particularities. Šljivovica (šljiva - plum) is the most popular, as well as the cheapest and the strongest. For Serbs, rakija means much more than just šljivovica, and if you know the right places, you can find yourself enjoying the pleasures of the most diverse kinds of rakija: apricot, peach, grape, fig, quince and even juniper. Each version has its own subtle and particular taste lying just beneath the initial strong flavor.
Rakija is served chilled down to cellar temperature, in a shot glass or čokanj (a special long-necked glass). You can have it before or after a meal (although in Serbia it is usual to drink at least one rakija as an aperitif, or with a meze), but with moderation, because if you drink it to excess you will be unable to take pleasure in it and savour its delicate aromas. In a restaurant, when you wish to order a rakija, ask for "domaća" (home-made) rakijas, as they are superior to industrial products. A fine place to get acquainted with rakija is Rakia Bar (A: Dobračina 5, Tel: +381 113286-119, www.rakiabar.com. Open: Mon-Sun. 9-24). Here you can choose from among hundred different traditional and special rakijas from all over Serbia. You can buy good-quality rakijas at Rakia&Co, Terazije 42, Tel: +381 112643-158. Open Mon-Sat 9- 21.
Serbs drink a lot of coffee. All sorts of coffee. The most popular traditional coffee, also known as Turska (Turkish) comes unfiltered, in small cups. You can order traditional coffee almost everywhere and anytime. Sometimes with traditional coffee comes ratluk, a sweet with jello & almonds.
Serbia and Belgrade are a places where you surely can eat well. The Serbian gastronomy is a strong mix of oriental, central European and local Balkan cuisines, offering an overwhelming variety of meals. Serbian food is mainly heavy, with plenty of calories. Meat, pastry and local vegetables dominate in Serbian cuisine.
There are many dining options in Belgrade. From fast food kiosk to exclusive restaurants. However, if you want to experience the authentic atmosphere of Serbia, and to try traditional food, go to some of the kafanas. Kafanas slowly disappear, and are replaced by modern restaurants, bistros, cafes and ethno restaurants (which somewhat retain the spirit of kafanas). There are still many in Belgrade, and here we recommend several located near the city center:
Skadarlija (location) - cobbled lanes and alleys, the ex-bohemian quarter of Belgrade, with lot of kafanas. Almost all have live music at night, but today it is too touristy and a bit expensive, but still with excellent traditional food. The oldest and most famous are Tri šešira (“Three Hats”), Dva jelena (“Two Deer”), Zlatni bokal (“The Golden Jug”). Booking is recommended.
Keep in mind, smoking in restaurants and cafes is still allowed in Serbia. Some (rare) ones have non-smoking rooms. So, if you are a smoker, you will be able to enjoy cigarettes (cigars, pipe) at the table, and if tobacco is bothering you, check first whether there is a non-smoking room in the restaurant.
WHAT TO EAT? Depends on the taste, of course, but if you want to taste something typical Serbian, then, for example some of THESE!
Breakfast - Many people in Serbia have breakfast in bakeries, or at least buy breakfast in it. The number of bakeries is huge, they are located at every step, and the offer is rich and diverse. The most popular is burek with yogurt. If you prefer breakfast at the table, select One Place (Jedno mesto), or one of these PLACES.
Ćevabdžinica - A specific small shop of a special ambience where ćevapi (or ćevapčići) and similar grilled dishes such as pljeskavica, chicken and sausages are served. Ideal for a light meal if you become hungry during a city walk: Walter, Savčić, Cica and more.
PIJACE - Green-Markets
Fruits and vegetables are perhaps the best that Serbia has to offer. At the end of the summer the choice is huge. And Belgrade is one of the few cities in Europe with operating green-markets where you can buy fresh fruits, vegetables and other local products daily all year round. The city has more than 30 green-markets providing local and seasonal vegetables and fruits as well as dairy products. The Pijaca opens officially from sunrise to sunset, but you shouldn’t go very late because the best products tend to be sold during the morning. Kalenić, Bajloni, Zeleni Venac and Zemun green-markets are the busiest and most well known ones ...read more
Serbian wines are not widely known, but their quality is well above the reputation. Besides to excellent wines made from international varieties, it is certainly worth tasting wines from autochthonous grapes:
Red: Prokupac, Crna (black) tamjanika, Probus (hybrid variety)
White: Bela (white) tamjanika, Smederavka, Slankamenka, Muscat Krokan and hybrid varieties Sila, Morava, Neoplanta and Župljanka
Bermet - dessert fortified wine that is a specialty of northern Fruška Gora wine region. It was originally intended for medicinal purposes (similar to the original digestifs), but later it was produced for regular consumption. It contains between 16 and 18 % of alcohol and it is usually served as a dessert wine, but can also be served as an aperitif. Bermet is produced through maceration of over 20 different herbs and spices. It can be made of red or white grapes, but the exact recipe is secret and held by only a handful of families in the town of Sremski Karlovci. According to some documents, Bermet was served on the Titanic, as well as in the Vienna royal palace. It is best served at a temperature of 18-20 °C...... read more
If you would like to bring a bottle of Serbian wine with you, for you or as a gift, here are our recommendations (according to the best price / quality ratio):
Reserve Pino Svetih Ratnika (Pinot Noir 100 %) Winery Botunjac, cca 14.0 EUR
Prokupac (Prokupac 100 %) Winery Ivanović, cca 8.0 EUR
Fabula Mala (Cabernet Sauvignon 20 %, Cabernet Franc 50 %, Merlot 20 %) Winery Chichateau, cca 10.0 EUR
Kremen (Cabernet Sauvignon 100 %) Winery Matalj, cca 14.0 EUR
Kardaš (Cabernet Sauvignon 100 %) Winery Aleksić. cca 7.0 EUR
Chardonnay Kovačević (Chardonnav 100 %)Winery Kovačević, cca 9.0 EUR
Stota Suza (Tamjanika 100 %) Winery Minić, cca 8.0 EUR
Sila (Sila 100 %) Winery Milanović, cca 9.0 EUR
Tri Morave (Smederevka 45 %, Tamjanika 45 %, Morava 10 %) Winery TEMET, cca 9.0 EUR
Varijanta, Rose (Muscat Noir 100 %) Winery Aleksandrović, cca 8.5 EUR
Bermet (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rizling) Winery Živanović, cca 9.0 EUR
Suggestion: Do not buy wines and spirits at the airport Duty Free Shop, almost twice as expensive than in the city. Leave some space in your luggage and visit one of the Wine shops.
Years ago, visitors to Serbia were faced with a conveyor belt of rakija when it came to imbibing too much alcohol in the long Belgrade evenings. The times have changed however, and the craft beer revolution has well and truly made its way to this corner of the continent. (theculturetrip.com)
Beer prices in Belgrade
According to the average European standard, Serbia is among the cheapest countries when it comes to food and beverage products.
For example in markets, domestic beer (0.5 liter draught) is around 0.9 euros (80 dinars), and imported beer (0.33 liter bottle) is around 1.5 euros (180 dinars);
Clubs and bars prices are little bit higher, domestic beer is between 200-250 dinars (1.6-2 euros), and imported beer is between 250 – 300 dinars (2-2.5 euros).