The various ethnic groups in Kosovo contribute to its gastronomy, with dishes inherent to Serbian, Albanian, Turkish, and minority groups served in restaurants all over the country. In addition, the separate cuisines contain influences from Italian, Byzantine, Ancient Greek, and Roman culinary traditions, making dining here an adventure in flavors and ingredients. Eateries for all budgets can be found in the cities, while local restaurants in rural areas offer delicious regional food at great prices.

Albanian cuisine makes use of Mediterranean herbs such as oregano, basil, rosemary, and mint, and all Kosovar recipes use the country’s rich, flavorful olive oil and fresh, locally grown or locally reared ingredients. Serbian food is influenced by Austro-Hungarian recipes, with minced or ground meat a major ingredient, and the Turkish cuisine’s Ottoman heritage fuses Middle Eastern delicacies with Central Asian elements, including the plentiful use of yogurt.

Bars and Pubbing in Kosovo

Pristina and Gjacova are the hot cities for nightlife in Kosovo, with the university town of Pristina guaranteeing busy bars and cafés, although many clubs here open and close during the same season. Longer-established favorites include Aher (University Campus, Pristina) and Hard Rock Bar (3 Sheshirat, Pristina), both popular with the young crowds for loud rock music.

Pristina’s downtown around Rruga Garibaldi and Rruga Fehmi Agani offer the most options, while the Santea district is another evening hub in Kosovo. For great jazz, Jazz 212 (Pejton, Pristina) is the place to be and, for an international, upscale ambience, Zanzibar (nr ABC Kino Cinema, Pristina) attracts the UN and NGO crowds. Pristina’s buzzing café scene is located around Luan Haradinaj Street, with more student hangouts found on Bill Clinton Street.

Downtown Gjakova, around Qarshia e Vogel, is the happening place in this lively city, with cafés and bars serving alcohol and boisterous locals. Summer season nightlife is hot, and the promenade down main street ends in plenty of live-music clubs and bars. Hard Rock Cafe (downtown Gjacova) showcases local bands on Wednesdays, along with inexpensive beer and a friendly atmosphere. The strong, usually homemade raki liquor (Turkish unsweetened, anise-flavored hard alcohol) is a favorite beverage, but is best enjoyed in moderation.

Dining and Cuisine in Kosovo

Eating out in Kosovo is a cheap, rewarding experience, with a wide choice of cuisines and venues in Pristina and other large cities, and local restaurants serving traditional cuisine in the rural areas. Pristina is best for international foods due to its large number of UN and foreign NGO residents. Liburnia (city center, Pristina) is a good choice for those new to Balkan cuisine. Set in an old building with a charming courtyard, it serves huge plates of meaty Albanian main courses and delicious salads.

The culinary experience at upscale Tiffany’s (Rr Fehmi Agani, Pristina) comes without a menu as the dishes are chef-designed from the best of the morning’s fresh market visit. Whatever you order from the waiter’s descriptions, you’ll be satisfied. Another venue well worth a visit is Hani I 2 Roberteve (Blv Nena Teresa 3, Pristina), locally known as "Two Roberts," popular for events and fine dining. Seafood, grilled meats, pasta, and a good wine selection are highlights, and there’s live music every Friday.

Amelie (Rr Fehmi Agani 10, Pristina) is the flagship location of a well-known coffee chain in Kosovo serving great lunches at reasonable prices. The first restaurant to offer self-service in the country, it is famed for its crepes, soups, quiches, roast beef and goat cheese sandwiches, pasta, and flavorful brews. Other addresses for the chain are Rl Karl Gega, Rr Agim Ramadani and Rr Peradori Justinian.

If you’re visiting Prizren, don’t miss Arasta (close to Prizren Old Bridge, Prizren) for its oversized portions of delicious local food, great salads and interesting wine list on a budget. For tasty Albanian cuisine, The Restaurant (Hotel Dukagjini, PeJa (Pec)) offers five-star international and local food with excellent service at affordable prices.