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Kosovo Food Guide: What To Eat Drink (And Where)
Local food in Kosovo has been influenced by many different cultures, but more so by Turkish, Albanian and Balkan cuisines.
Dairy, meat and bread are important staples in the Kosovo diet, along with fruits and vegetables. Dishes vary from winter to summer, and vegetables such as the famous Kosovo tomatoes and cucumbers are consumed during the warm summers while pickles are plated up in the winter.
Traditional food in Kosovo such as flija, pies, stuffed peppers, kebabs, bureks, and sarma are common across all regions, with slight variations from one region to another.
How Much Is It To Eat In Kosovo
The cost of food in Kosovo depends on what you eat; but being one of the cheapest countries in Europe, the food is correspondingly cheap. You can enjoy a meal for hardly a few Euros, a Coke or Pepsi for 1 Euro or a beer for 1.5 Euros. A 3-course meal at a mid-range might cost you anywhere between 10 to 20 Euros.
A kilogram of apples costs around half a Euro, while a bottle of mid-range wine costs 4 or 5 Euros. Combine that with the cheap cost of traveling in Kosovo, and you have the perfect place for a budget-friendly vacation in Europe!
What To Eat In Kosovo?
There’s a lot! Because of the influences of neighboring countries, the Kosovo cuisine is familiar, yet distinct. The bureks remind you a tad of Albania, but not quite. The qebapa or kebabs have traces of Turkey in them.
You sometimes get whiffs of other Balkan cuisines in the food you try in Kosovo, but all the dishes here have their own unique flavor. Here are some of the Kosovo food dishes that you must try while visiting this country.
Byrek Or Burek
A pastry stuffed with meat, spinach or cheese, the byrek is an all time favorite meal. Some versions include rice along with the minced meat, making it a perfect all-in-one meal. The bureks in Kosovo are usually made in circular pans by alternating layers of flaky pastry with the fillings.
When you eat a Flija, you wonder at how a simple dish of alternating batter and cream can taste so good. But if you get the chance to watch it being made, you’ll be awed at the amount of work this simple Kosovo food takes. Alternating layers of batter and cream are filled into a pan and baked one layer at a time, over the course of 5 to 6 hours.
Isn’t that painstaking work? It’s probably what makes the flija taste so much sweeter.
You can’t leave Pristina without trying the Sarma. They look like adorable cocoons but are really a mixture of minced meat, veggies, and rice rolled in cabbage leaves or vine leaves.
TavëOriginating in Albania, the tave is popular in Kosovo, and you’ll find a few different varieties. Tave Kosi is made of baked lamb with yogurt and rice. Garlic and oregano are first used for seasoning the lamb and rice. This is then covered with a yogurt-egg mixture and baked till golden brown.
Another variation, the Tavë Prizreni is local to Prirzen as the name denotes. In this version from Kosovo, tomato is used along with green peppers, eggplants and onions to cook the lamb before serving.
A fish version, Tave Krapi, made with carp is popular around the Gjakova region.
Cevapcici Or Cevapi
Cevapcici or Cevapi are a type of skinless sausage that are made of minced beef, pork or lamb meat. They are grilled and served with onions and sour cream.
Gjuvec is a dish made of meat with vegetables like Kosovo tomato, olives, mushrooms, onions and spices baked in earthenware pots.
Ajvar or Hajvar
Red peppers, either hot or mild, are pickled to form a relish in autumn and can be eaten throughout the year.
Peppers are often stuffed with meat, vegetables and rice. Some are also stuffed with kefir and cottage cheese.
Commonly known as Shopska salad in other regions, the Shope Salad is made using tomatoes, roasted peppers, onions, tomatoes, and sirene cheese dressed with sunflower oil and vinegar.
Other Dishes To Try In Kosovo
- Pershut: A type of dried meat.
- Pljeskavica: A meat encased in a bun. Really easy to eat Kosovo food!
- Tarator: A summer salad made with yogurt, cucumbers, and garlic.
- Kos: A yogurt, made from goat’s cheese.
Breads In Kosovo
- Somun: A pita bread is the most common bread in Kosovo. It’s often had for breakfast as well and is served with eggs and sausages baked right on it.
Leqenik: A cornbread is popular in Kosovo and eaten plain or stuffed with spinach and cheese.
Kifla or Kifli: bread that is cut into triangles and rolled into crescent shapes. They are sometimes made with sesame seeds and cheese.
Desserts From The Kosovo Cuisine
- Krempita: A pastry made with custard and chantilly cream
- Baklava: A rich Balkan dessert made with layers of filo pastry and nuts and drenched with syrup or honey
- Tulumba: A pastry quite similar to churros, that is deep fried to a golden brown and then drenched in a sugar syrup
- Served cold and sometimes topped with cream and pistachios
- Tespishte: A cake type dessert that’s similar to Mediterranean Revani and covered with a lemon or vanilla flavored sherbet.
What To Drink In Kosovo?
You can’t leave Kosovo without tasting Vranac. This red wine is made from grapes from Kosovo’s Rahovec region that’s located Southwest of the capital Pristina. The Balkan grapes used for Vranac some of the oldest in the world. There are also a number of home breweries that sell other local wine.
Beer is brewed at a few local breweries in Kosovo and takes the name of the cities they’re made in. For example, Birra Prishtina from Pristina, Birra Peja made in Pec, Birra Ereniku made near the Erenik river region.
Rakia is a homemade liquor made across the Balkan region, and every town or country makes it differently. The rakia in Kosovo is usually made from grapes, walnuts, quince, and other local fruits, and is quite strong to taste.
Other Drinks To Try In Kosovo
- Boza: A sweet malted corn drink that goes well with pastries.
- Kos: A yogurt made from goat’s milk.
- Ayran: A yogurt drink that is usually drunk as an accompaniment for pastries.
- Tursha Kafa: A thick, sweet and strong Turkish coffee.
- Kompot: A sweet non-alcoholic beverage made by cooking local fruit with sugar and flavored with cinnamon or vanilla. It’s served hot during autumn.
- Rasoj: A juice of fermented red cabbage that’s popular in winter.
- Slivovica: A strong plum brandy.
Best Places To Eat In Kosovo
Here are just a handful of places you can check out while you’re in Kosovo
Pristina, Kosovo Restaurants
Soma Book Station
Soma Book Station is a favorite with locals and tourists alike. The passionate staff, centralized bar, an amazing display of books and vinyl records draw the eye. Readers can rent books for 1 Euro and vinyl records can be played or exchanged. Their collection includes the likes of Chet Baker, Sonny Rollins, John Cage, The Fall and so on.
The drinks range from rare wines to local craft beverages that change with the seasons. And the food is simple yet tasteful. If you only go to one place in Kosovo, it has to be the Soma Book Station.
Restaurant LiburniaA short distance from the Pristina Townhall, the Restaurant Liburnia looks like something from a fairytale. Tangled vines, lamps and folk music greet your entry to this Albanian restaurant. Must try dishes include the in-house bread and slow-cooked goat.
Tourists love the sunny terrace at Tiffany as much as they love organic food and drink here. Bread is baked fresh at the restaurant itself and served with the day’s choice of meats and vegetables. You can also buy some delicious in-house made Ajvar as a memento of your trip to Kosovo.
Wooden doors hide what looks like someone’s home. But the absence of a signpost does not stop visitors from finding this gem in Pristina. There is no menu, and you’ll just be brought a variety of dishes, almost like a buffet. The food and wine are perfect! It’s best to book a table in advance though since the place is a local favorite and tends to fill quickly.
Close to City Centre in Pristina, you’ll find a variety of Albanian dishes, salads, and bread at Restaurant Pishat.
As a vegetarian, you might find it a bit difficult to get food in Kosovo since meat is a big part of the diet here, but things are changing. The family-run restaurant called Babaghanoush is one of the only Kosovo restaurants that serves pure vegetarian food. However, the food is more inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine and serves salads, hummus, falafel, and more.
The White Tree Terrace
This small oasis in the midst of a concrete city offers a great collection of local rakia and beers. And being located at The White Tree Hostel, the White Tree Terrace is budget friendly!
Home Bar & Restaurant
If you’re looking for a change from the local food and want to try Lebanese, the Home Bar and Restaurant is for you. The restaurant that is decorated with antiques and has a cozy feel, serves everything from spring rolls to fajitas to hummus, and from easy-to-eat wraps and burgers to finger licking curries.
Peja or Pec, Kosovo Restaurants
Kulla e Zenel Beut
The Restaurant Kulla e Zenel Beut with its stone walls looks like it’s come right out of the 18th or 19th century. It’s also perfectly located in the heart of town with a lovely terrace. Taves are the must try item here.
One of Pec’s leading hotels, Hotel Dukagjini is situated on the Lumi i Bardhe River in the heart of Pec and has been serving customers since 1956. Go here to try delicious local food or even spend a night here.
Best Restaurants In Kosovo, Gjakova
Hani i Vjetër
Dark timber walls and furniture contrast with an airy courtyard. You can choose to eat indoors or outdoors at Hani i Vjetër, and enjoy a range of traditional dishes, including fish.
Hani i Haraçisë
Hani i Haraçisë is one of the oldest restaurants in Gjakova and was previously a caravanserai serving weary travellers. Wooden logs can be seen stacked neatly along the walls, and their delicious taves now delight locals and tourists.
Best Restaurants In Kosovo, Prirzen
Close to the Marasahi trail, set by an old sycamore tree, the Restaurant Marasahi serves traditional Albanian dishes. The best part though is getting the chance to cook your own steaks on hot stones before eating them.
For a welcome break from everyday Kosovan food, the Fish House in Prirzen is the best change. Tastefully prepared dishes of fish and other seafood even elight the locals.
The name says it all. Situated close to the Prirzen Fortress, just next to river and overlooking the old town, Ambient Restaurant is the perfect place for a quiet dinner. You can choose to sit indoors in winter or enjoy sitting outside on warm summer nights.
Okay, so that’s our list for Kosovo for now. If we find more of the best places to eat in Kosovo we’ll add them to this list. But if you know of someplace that absolutely must be on this list, just comment and let us know and it’ll be up here as soon as.
T’bofte mire! (That means Bon Appetit!)
More Kosovo Blogs For You
- Cities You’ve Got To See In Kosovo
- Top Things To Do In Kosovo
- Where To Stay In Kosovo
- Where To Stay In Pristina
- Rent A Car In Kosovo
- A Guide To Tipping In Kosovo