Given that the culinary scene in Serbia not only expanded, but changed sufficiently to attract the interest of Michelin guides, a few friends and I lamented the receding prominence of good Serbian kafanas on the culinary landscape.
Yes, this is probably overly nostalgic and curmudgeonly, however once one hits a certain age, has had the chance to taste enough varied dishes and has been overcharged enough times for lacklustre ambitious attempts at fusion food in a pretentious unpleasant setting, one wants to know where he can have good, well priced ćevapi, beer and šopska, and light a cigarette to unwind.
Furthermore, kafana scene has been usurped by many new entrants who want to unsuccessfully emulate the traditional kafanas, but fail to have a good enough food and atmosphere. Thus, in order to protect you, dear reader, here is the list of certified good kafanas in Serbia (and the world).
The criteria are more impressionistic than rigorous: however, the menu must be traditional, traditional grill must be good, service must be friendly and old-school, atmosphere chilled and there must be a good old karafindl (cruet) with salt, pepper, oil and vinegar on the table. The list will be updated every time I get lucky and visit a good kafana.
In future iterations, the list (currently just links to Googlemaps) might be expanded with more information, maybe photos, and maybe.. at some point… get published like the superb British publication “Good Pub Guide”, or developed into an app.
If you want to get a sticker confirming kafana is certified, or want to suggest places to be visited, especially outside of Belgrade, do reach out.