Bosnian Food is Awesome!
Bosnian food is not typically on the top of the list for most foodies, but since this is Foodie Friday, we’re here to tell you they have some excellent, hearty dishes! As we’ve said in previous posts, food is at the heart of nearly every culture and country. Whether it’s pasta in Italy, Stir fry in China, or burritos in Mexico, every country has their favorite dishes and ones that truly envelope you when enjoying them in the atmosphere of the region.
On our arrival to Mostar we checked in to our hotel, the Hotel Villa Milas, where we inquired with our gracious host about dining options in the area. She said, expectedly, that in Old Town the food is hit and miss, even at the same restaurant from day to day. But there were two places she recommended and those were the restaurant at the Tennis Center just a half mile walk away (for a classic meal) and Restoran Udovice (for lamb on a spit) out of town a bit. We quickly decided those would be dinner one night and then either dinner or lunch on the way out of town back to Croatia, and we would test the waters in Old Town for other meals. I will say that the hotel had a nice buffet breakfast for us to start our day both mornings and that was a big plus. When in Mostar, stay with them as they have a nice clean and modern place, are very helpful, and are a 5 minute walk to the Old Bridge of Mostar and Old Town.
An Ace at the Tennis Center
At the urging of our hostess at the hotel, we walked to the Tennis Center restaurant for dinner the first night. It seemed odd that the Tennis Center, out of the way and not anywhere near Old Town, would be a place for a good meal. It wasn’t good…it was a great meal! Bosnian food is really good people. We ordered the mixed meat dish and the cevapi. Cevapi is small “fingers” of ground meat (like a skinless sausage), served with rice, vegetables, ajvar (a red pepper puree very common in the Balkans), and a bread call somun. This wasn’t just any bread, it was similar to Indian naan or a pita bread, but yet different. It was so light yet hearty, a delicious surprise. The mixed meat dish consisted of…well…mixed meat including lamb, beef, chicken, and pork. The meats were seasoned and grilled to perfection. Along with a side of fries it was a perfect meal. Definitely go here while in Mostar. It’s not the restaurant with a view, but you will be treated to an authentic meal, with excellent preparation, and you can eat for $12, total!
Hit and Miss in Old Town
The following day we explored Old Town and decided to try a little place on the east side of the Neretva River just up from Stari Most. We ordered cevapi again and the mixed Herzegovina Grill (vegetarian). The cevapi, as expected, did not live up to the previous night’s meal, a bit dry and not as tasty but the sides were good and it came with more somun! The Herzegovina grill was a good choice with a stuffed onion, peas and carrots (yes Forrest Gump, peas and carrots do go well together!), dolmas, a stuffed pepper, and mashed potatoes with a nice sauce. We had a great view and a nice setting and the meal was OK, but twice the price of the Tennis Center and it left something to be desired. There are other good restaurants along the river, so don’t discouraged, just do your homework. Trip Advisor is a good option for that as Yelp hasn’t hit Bosnia yet…
Lamb on a Spit – Finally!
Another Balkan favorite and another excellent example of Bosnian food, we were in search of lamb on a spit. We’d seen it countless times on our drives through Slovenia and Croatia, but hadn’t yet sampled it. At one breakfast spot just outside of Plitvice Lakes National Park, we saw the lamb turning on the spit, but it wasn’t yet ready that day. On our way out of Mostar we found Restoran Udovice. We climbed the hill on the motorcycle toward the west and found the place without too much trouble from the directions from our hotel hostess. We found the restaurant on the R424 in the town of Sretnice. Sure enough, as we pulled up they were just taking the lamb off the open spit. We met the waitress at the door and pointed to the lamb, she knew just what we wanted. We found a table outside under the shade of a vine covered portico, which was nice in the noon summer sun. We ordered a Fanta orange and a Cockta (a Balkan soda) and a Greek salad. After about 15 minutes, the meal was delivered to our table along with a green salad with lots of veggies, and more of the excellent somun (my mouth is watering just thinking about it). It was a full tray of grilled lamb and roasted potatoes. We dove right in an ate to our hearts’ and stomachs’ delight. It was a seriously good meal. For a 20 minute drive out of town, it’s worth the visit if you are in Mostar.
Don’t be misled folks, Bosnian food is excellent and there are some great restaurants to satisfy your hunger in and around Mostar. Seriously, I wish I was there right now.