Bosnian and Herzegovinians have a meat-centric diet. Traditional cuisine has obvious Turkish influences, and there is no shortage of the ubiquitous Balkan kebab. There are restaurants just about everywhere, even in small towns, where flame grilled meat and meat stews are staples. Don’t miss the succulent jagnjetina, grilled mutton or lamb, as well as bosanski ionac, a form of meat stew that is cooked on an open fire. Many good restaurants are sprinkled around Sarajevo’s central shopping district, as well as in the old town and they all serve exquisite and reasonably priced food.
Bars and Pubbing in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Nightlife is vibrant everywhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially in the capital. Clubs and bars stay open until early morning, but if you prefer people-watching, trendy cafés can be found along major attractions. Opera Bar (B Sarajeva 25, Sarajevo) is a popular stop for opera-goers and people in the performance arts community. It’s also an excellent place for espresso and traditional Turkish coffee. Connectum/Klub Knjige (Veliki Curciluk 27, Sarajevo) is worth a visit for a typical bookstore-café experience.
If it’s lively beats and electric crowds you are looking for, head to Sarajevo’s nightclubs and cocktail bars. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays are the busiest, so think about reserving a table or at least arriving early to secure a spot in popular places like Central Café (Strosmajerova 1, Bascarsija), known for its tasty cocktails, good crowd and cutting-edge music. Tre Bicchieri Wine Store & Tasting Bar (Cobanija 3, Sarajevo) has a wide menu of Italian wines plus a relaxing atmosphere.
The old town is lined with lively dance bars where you can mix and mingle with the locals, as well as other tourists and night owls. Baghdad Café (Bazardzani 4, Sarajevo) is one of the more popular choices across from Hacienda restaurant, along with many other dance clubs that stay open late on weekends.
Other areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina have a lively nightlife, too. Banja Luka has cool bars, while breweries can be found in cities such as Bihac. Mostar has a selection of nice Old Town lounge bars including Ali Baba’s Cave (Old Town, Mostar), while Neum’s beach scene is more low-key and geared towards families. Winemaking is a longstanding tradition for locals, dating as far back as Roman times. Popular regional drinks and spirits made from fruits are good. Try sljivovica, a plum brandy or ioza, a clear brandy.
Dining and Cuisine in Bosnia and Herzegovina
All urban centers in Bosnia and Herzegovina have top-quality restaurants serving not only traditional cuisine, but international fares like Italian, Vietnamese, and Mediterranean. In addition to grilled meats and stews served jagnjetina and bosanski ionac-style, local specialties like burek and cevapcici are also worth lining up for. Cevapcici is the tasty local sausage made from beef and lamb, while burek is a type of pie (either meat or cheese) made with filo dough or pita. The old town in Sarajevo is bursting with shops that sell burek and other varieties of the pastry like zeljanica, krompirusa, and tikvinica.
When in the capital, simply follow your nose and you’ll find a great restaurant. Bambus (Ferhadija 32, Sarajevo), right in the central shopping district, is a good choice for quality food at a reasonable price. If you are looking for traditional Bosnian food, head to Bsanska Kuca (Bravadziluk 3, Bascarsija), which is known for its veal broth (muckalica) served indoors or outdoors. Vegehana (Ferhadija 39, Sarajevo) is another local favorite, as is Park Princeva (Iza Hrida br. 7, Sarajevo). Slightly more expensive, it is worth the extra convertible mark for its elevated location where guests can enjoy scenic views of the city.
There are many Turkish restaurants in Sarajevo, as well. Inat Kuca (Veliki Alifakovac 1, Bascarsija) is known for its tasty stews and riverside setting, while Ottoman Kebap House (Old Town, Sarajevo) serves up spicier fare. For quality Mexican food in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hacienda (Bazardzani 3, Sarajevo) is your best bet. Frequented by the hip crowd, this trendy place is known for house music, tasty cocktails, and it stays open until early morning.
Delicious vegan choices are available at Karuzo (Mehmeda Spahe, Sarajevo), but the place is small, with seating for only 18 people, so allow yourself plenty of time to spare if you want to give it a try. Moja Mala Kuhinja (Sarajevo) features live cooking demonstrations and is owned by celebrity chef Muamer Kurtagic.
Outside the capital, both high-end and budget choices are still easy to find, with Banja Luka boasting the cellar-housed Kazamat (Tvardjava Kastel, Banja Luka) for excellent three-course meals. Mostar Old Town has the usual array of pizzas and grills, as well as places serving traditional Bosnian fare. Seaside Neum mostly features grill houses, many of which serve sardines.