Vienna is truly a melting pot of different cultures, and it has been like that for many centuries. Today, more than 40 percent of Viennese have foreign ancestries, and 30 percent have foreign citizenship. The biggest community accounting for more than 10 percent, or in numbers more than 200.000 people, is from the countries of former Yugoslavia. Such a mix of people gives a multicultural feeling to Vienna. On every corner, you can find cuisine from all over the world, which can be very beneficial for visitors to the city, if they want to try something new. In this article, I will concentrate on some of the best places to try typical Balkan food from former Yugoslavia, namely ćevapi and burek.
Ćevapi is the most typical meal that everyone connects with the Balkans. The funny fact is that everyone in the Balkans calls it ćevapi, but in Austria, you only get a diminutive version of the word or ćevapčići. Don’t ask me why, someone should really research this occurrence. Ćevapi is a charcoal grilled dish consisting of minced meat, that is usually served in flatbread called lepinja or somun, mostly with onion and kajmak. There are different varieties of ćevapi, Sarajevo and Banja Luka versions being the most known ones. In Vienna, there are lots of restaurants serving ćevapi, and I will introduce you to my favorites.
If you are aiming at finding good Sarajevo ćevapi, you should head to the Restaurant Merak. It is a very chic restaurant with a beautiful interior combination of traditional and modern style. They serve ćevapi in somun. It is located in the 15th district, very close to the train station Vienna West.
In Marengo Restaurant, you can get probably the best Banja Luka ćevapi in the city. They don’t differ from ćevapi that you can get in Banja Luka, the city where ćevapi and the owners come from. They are served in lepinja, traditional bread and with sliced onions. It is common to drink yogurt or sour milk with it. Marengo is located in Pohlgasse street in the 12th Vienna district.
Burek is baked filled pastry made of thin flaky dough called jufka, and it is usually eaten as fast food. Although it has its origin in Anatolia, it has been perfected in the Balkan countries. The most known bureks are in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, in Bosnia, only burek filled with meat is called burek, and bureks with other fillings are called pita. It may be eaten for any meal of the day. In Vienna, there are many good restaurants that serve burek. However, I will present you two that are specialized in bureks only.
Pitawerk is a tiny restaurant located in the 15th district. It has only few tables, but burek that you get there is perfect. They serve different varieties of burek such as meat, cheese, spinach, potato or apple burek. They are all made fresh on the spot.
Zeljo burek, named after the football club from Sarajevo, offers different varieties of burek on three locations in the city. Although there are few tables, it is mostly served in a form of fast food. If you are too lazy to visit them, they even deliver their food.
Vienna, being the city with the biggest population of citizens of former Yugoslavia outside their native countries, has good quality restaurants where you can try traditional food from that region. This article has was made to help you find the best places to get yourself acquainted with the Balkan cuisine.
Cover picture © Credits to iStock / Sarenac
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