South-Eastern Serbia is famous for being the most delicious food region Serbia. So I managed to find the best restaurant in Niš called Stambolijski restaurant.
Indeed, South-Eastern Serbia is a gem for all food lovers. Thanks to the rich past, Serbian food is influenced by many cuisines. The Greek cuisine, Mediterranean but also Ottoman – Turkish and as well Central European cuisine. Many restaurants have opened in this area, but only one is the best restaurant in Niš. In this post, you will learn all about it!
So the traditional cuisine of mesmerizing Serbia is full of tastes and smells, characterized by highly diverse, solid, and spicy food. Serbian people use a lot of meat, vegetables, dough, and dairy products. There is a lot of fat and calories. Sure, it is a heaven for food and meat lovers. However, if you are a vegetarian, or worse – vegan, you may struggle a bit here when looking where to dine out.
Why is hard to be a vegan in South-Eastern Serbia and Serbia in general?
As I mentioned above, Serbian traditional cuisine is all about meat, fat, and calories. There is no sea, hence, no fresh seafood, besides some river fish. Veggies? Yes, but only if there is meat next to it. Traditional lunch in Serbia always includes a piece of meat, rarely any meat at all, and usually a big slice of it.
Then, you have a traditional restaurant called – Kafana. In “Kafanas” your chance of finding a vegetable risotto or any vegetarian-friendly, gluten-friendly, vegan-friendly dish is low. In some places, almost zero. I am not a fan of labels, but let’s say my diet is plant-based, but I do not eat any meat besides fish, no refined sugars, no soda, etc. One might say – she is picky. – maybe, but picky people need to eat too.
Two months of my life in Niš passed, and I still did not find a single restaurant with a least one vegan-friendly dish. I mean, sure, I did if you consider side dishes as your main dish. My main dish was some salad – which is delicious, by the way, but not enough as a complete dish to make my tummy full and go on for half of the day.
When dining out, I usually ate pizza, potatoes, mushrooms, and fish here and there. I also tried some traditional dishes that are vegan-friendly such as belmuž, yet, not enough as a main dish. Quite traditional, but fast filling. But I am a food lover, too! I want to taste food, enjoy it and not be full of just one dish! So I struggled and struggled.
Until one day…
My boyfriend’s brother said one day – Hey, I remembered one terrific restaurant with a unique story. You will love it, and guess what – they have dishes you will finally love! His brother is a huge food lover, a Serbian Jamie Oliver – I would say – but seriously! So if he recommended it, I decided to give it a try. I googled a bit about this restaurant, read mostly some excellent reviews, explored their website, saw some photos read the menu, and bam – my boyfriend and I reserved our spot!
Why is Stambolijski restaurant the best restaurant in Niš, Serbia?
Well, I believe that Stambolijski offers one-of-a-kind dishes you will find nowhere else in this area. As soon as I saw the restaurant from outside, I felt we will witness something different. Something I wanted to experience in this part of Serbia for a while! Indeed, Niš is an extraordinary, historic city with great food. However, as I said, most of the places offer strictly traditional food. Here are many restaurants with not many novelties, no vegan options, etc.
Stambolijski restaurant is the best restaurant in Niš, not only for me but for many other people how I found out later. It stands out with its New Balkan cuisine. Stalmbolijski managed to pair the old and new by sticking to the elegant serving and making the dishes.
Authentic Balkan food with modern aspects and many choices make Stalmbolijski unique, better than any other restaurant in Niš. Plus, they kept the amount of food you are getting, as South-Eastern Serbia is famous for large dish portions!
On top of that, Stambolijski restaurant is located in the oldest preserved house in Niš – dating to 1878. This house is the perfect example of traditional South-Eastern Serbia housing. It preserves all the aspects of one Balkan-Serbian style. The old city architecture of it is the ONLY PRESERVED ONE IN THE CITY OF NIŠ. So the state declared it as a cultural monument, under the law protection. Thus, dining in this restaurant is on a whole new level!
Besides the outdoor appearance, this restaurant is also rich in indoor appearance. The design of it is pairs well with the Balkan-Serbian style. On shelves, you can see quite a few interesting vintage items and many traditional fascinating paintings but also the traditional – gobleni – with many motives, also framed in vintage frames.
All in all, the whole interior looks very home-like, traditional, but at the same time sophisticated.
The menu of Stambolijski restaurant
The menu of Stambolijski made the excellent Chef Saša Mišić – a well-known Serbian cook. He managed to get together modern with classics. In this unique restaurant, you can taste dishes like jagnjetina ispod sača – a lamb that is cooked in a clay pot. Then, other tasty dishes such as pork neck with honey and beer.
Of course, I did not try the meat, but my boyfriend did, so I will share the full review of what we ate so you can know what is excellent and tried! Nevertheless, I think all the dishes are mouth-watering in Stambolijski, as we convinced ourselves face to face about their top quality and service. So here is what we ate during our first visit and not the last one!
We all know that tasting traditional food in a specific area can provide you with high-quality cuisine and can massively impact how you experience that place. I mean, visiting Niš without tasting their extraordinary local delicacies will not be complete! So please, no tacos or pizza here!
Rakia that is made from plums called “Uteha” – 10/10, perfect, homemade rakia with excellent taste, strong enough, but not incredibly strong – just like it should be!
White wine Tamjanika Stambolijski – 10/10, rich taste, perfect with salmon dishes
Goat blue cheese – terrific aged goat cheese in oak bark – voted as one the best kinds of cheese in the world! +10/10, this was our favorite dish. This cheese was something we have never tried before! You have to taste this!
Greek Salad – because we just got back from Greece! The salad took us back to Greece, but we have to give it 9/10 because we don’t want that our Greek friends get mad at us for trying their Greek salad somewhere else than in Greece! 😀
Veal soup Stara Planina way – veal broth with celery, onion, carrots, egg, sour cream, and spices – 10/10 – my boyfriend says! Such a delicious taste. A perfect homemade soup to start with and to warm one’s stomach!
Pumpkin soup – 10/10! This soup impressed me because the cook added something that perfectly blended all the tastes in the soup. I believe it is lemon or ginger something like that. It is a soup of the day – every day they have a different veggie soup, so you shall ask the waiter about it. Of course, tell the water about any allergies you have before ordering.
Salmon pasta – Salmon, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, olives, spice – 10/10! This dish was filling, but very refreshing due to all the Mediterranean ingredients! I never tried something like this before, and I will definitely try to make it by myself at home. I think olives here are adding the perfect twist, pairing perfectly with all the other ingredients.
Veal Sous Vide – Veal that is prepared with Sous Vide – a famous low-temperature cooking technology in its juices, with a base of sweet potato puree. By the way, Sous Vide cooking technology you can try in this area of Serbia only in Stambolijski restaurant, nowhere else! 10/10! My boyfriend says that the meat is perfectly cooked, all the aroma stayed inside, he was cutting it easily and the sweet potato puree was pretty nice. I hope he eats my sweet potato puree like that in the future!
Vegan cake – no sugars – 10/10! I was eating this delicious vegan cake and I could not believe I am in Niš, Serbia. For a long time, I thought eating something vegan was a mission impossible here! But here I was, at the best restaurant in Niš and vegan cake knocked me from my knees! I love how it wasn’t so sweet. It was a perfect match of sweet and a bit sour – exactly how I like it! You will also love this cake if you are not having such a big sweet tooth, just like me. Oh, I also loved these soft and thin almonds and the small mint leaf!
Trilece – Tres Leches – 10/10! My boyfriend was amazed by this cake. It was tasty and refreshing at the same time. Perfectly decorated and I also tried it – because – no meat in it! 😀
Homemade bun – 10/10! The homemade bun is always good!
As shown above, Stambolijski restaurant is indeed the best restaurant in Niš, Serbia. Not because we say that, but because you will say that too as soon as you give it a chance. Trust me – it will leave you speechless, fully bellies, and satisfying palate! Come to South-Eastern Serbia and taste the excellent food you have never tasted before!
To book your spot in Stambolijski restaurant click on the link: https://www.restoranstambolijski.rs/en/reservations/