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An overhead shot of the city of Pristina
Pristina, Kosovo
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The 10 Essential Restaurants in Pristina, Kosovo

Where to find traditional and contemporary Kosovar cuisine in the emerging European tourist destination

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Pristina, Kosovo
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Much of the world got to know Kosovo through the Kosovo War in the late 1990s, which ended with NATO intervention. But 20 years after that conflict and a decade after gaining independence, the country’s capital, Pristina, has transformed into a bustling, energetic city ready to re-enter the world stage.

Seated in the middle of the Balkans, just a short hop from Turkey and Greece, the nation was part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries before falling under socialist Yugoslavia in the early 1900s. Since emerging as its own country, Kosovo has demonstrated its remarkable fusion of influences from east and west, especially in Pristina, which has quickly earned a reputation as one of Europe’s cosmopolitan, fun-loving capitals.

These days you can find a broad range of restaurants in the capital, from affordable burger shops to traditional eateries serving tavë kosi (lamb or veal baked in a yogurt-egg mixture), sarma (stuffed vine leaves), and mantija (small pastries stuffed with minced beef), as well as restaurants elevating Kosovar cuisine with fine dining finesse and fresh produce from local farms.

As one of Europe’s emerging tourist destinations, Pristina makes an attractive trip for anyone looking for great value for the price, with low-cost carriers flying in from London, Berlin, and Geneva. Beer still costs as little as 1 euro, and restaurants tend to be generous with portions, even as new restaurateurs source high-quality ingredients from the nation’s plentiful farmland. If you’re looking to discover the real Kosovo, start with a meal at these 10 essential restaurants in Pristina.

Editor’s Note: Eater is not updating international maps at this time given disruptions to global travel during the COVID-19 crisis.

Prices per person, excluding alcohol:
$ = Less than 10 euros (less than $11 USD)
$$ = 10 - 30 euros ($11 - $33 USD)
$$$ = 30 - 50 euros ($33 - $55 USD)
$$$$ = More than 50 euros ($55 USD and up)

Kaltrina Bylykbashi is a journalist and brand strategist based between the Balkans and London. She writes about food, TV, and travel, and is the co-founder of Lucky Pilgrim.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Qebaptore Meqa

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Meqa is one of a handful of traditional qebaptores (kebab restaurants) still standing in the city today, after many of its competitors closed or slipped in quality. The restaurant offers a short, simple menu of grilled meat including koftas (meat patties), qebapas (mini koftas), pleskavica (burgers), as well as grilled chicken livers and kidneys. Unusually, Meqa sells meat by the piece (koftas, for example, are about 30 cents each), meaning you can easily build a personalized mixed grill for cheap. Order a variety of grilled items along with a side of speca (large fried peppers) and yogurt for an authentic experience. [$]

A restaurant exterior decorated in gray concrete and silver siding, large windows looking into the dining room, and a colorful sign featuring the name Qebaptore Meqa
Outside Meqa
Tomas Jivanda

2. Renaissance

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You can find Renaissance tucked away at the center of the city, behind an unmarked door (most local taxi drivers can show you the entrance). Opened just four years ago, the restaurant quickly established itself as a leader in the Pristina food scene, sourcing produce from within the country and inspiring other restaurants to do the same. Run by a band of three brothers, the team works with local farmers from across Kosovo to serve modern Balkan dishes in a seasonal, four-course set menu for just 15 euros ($17). Diners may receive appetizers such as grilled local cheese, olives stuffed with walnuts, or charred eggplant, followed by a salad served in the traditional local style with thick cuts of super-fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. Then comes a meaty main, often the star of the show, like slow-cooked veal gently heated with walnuts over a charcoal fire for eight hours. Every aspect shows the team’s dedication, from attentive servers who stop by tables often to top up glasses of local wine and rakija (a local brandy-like spirit made from fruits like plum, quince, and grape) to the building itself, which the family constructed using recycled materials from the capital. [$$]

A cook adds spice from a small jar to unseen items cooking on a charcoal fire as embers rise into the air
Cooking over charcoal
Tomas Jivanda

3. Osteria Basilico

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044 276 276

Italy, Kosovo’s neighbor across the Adriatic, has had a huge impact on Balkan cuisine (including that of Kosovo, Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania). Pizza and pasta are as common on restaurant menus as local dishes. So when Kosovars do true Italian food, they do it right. Among Pristina’s Italian offerings, Osteria Basilico is a standout, with dishes comparable to any osteria in Bologna, Florence, or Naples. Basilico’s rich spaghetti al ragu and spaghetti ai gamberi (pasta with shrimp) have become crowd favorites. [$$]

4. Baba Ganoush Meze

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Johan V. Hahn
1000, Prishtinë
049 886 214

Baba Ghanoush is a small, charming vegetarian restaurant at the center of the city, and it couldn’t be more different from the meat-heavy establishments for which Pristina is commonly known. Mezze platters are full of smoky appetizers, from the namesake dip to beetroot chutney to roasted carrot mash flavored with peppers, garlic, and sunflower seeds. The restaurant’s falafel and bean wraps, which each cost just 2.50 euros, are particularly popular with the lunchtime crowd. While the menu shows a clear tendency toward Middle Eastern foods, Baba Ganoush also serves hints of local flavor in dishes like feta with walnut pate. Don’t miss out on a tall glass of local craft beer, Sabaja, which the eatery serves on tap. [$]

From above, a round wooden tray with large dishes of slices potatoes and pita, along with smaller cups of dips, carrots, olives, and cheese
Mezze platter
Kaltrina Bylykbashi

5. Lisa's Restaurant

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Modern Mediterranean restaurant Lisa’s is the new kid on the block in Pristina, serving some of the best steaks in the city. For just over 10 euros ($11), the kitchen offers a giant 8-ounce filet mignon with grilled vegetables and creamed potatoes, alongside huge rib-eye and T-bone steaks. Pasta, risotto, and salads fill out the menu, and the eatery serves an impressive list of wines and spirits made in Kosovo. [$$]

As seen from above, a table spread with a plate of charcuterie and cheese in the center, bread sticks to one side, and a fried appetizer to the other, along with place settings
Appetizers and charcuterie
Lisa’s Restaurant [Official Photo]

6. Soma Book Station

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Soma is a modern, creative space that includes a restaurant, bar, and art gallery where you’ll often find live music and cultural events. Until recently, Pristina’s international crowd preferred to gather at the bar for beer and wine, but a recent menu revamp has made dinner at the restaurant equally attractive for a night out. The kitchen now focuses on seasonal, locally grown ingredients in traditional dishes like stuffed peppers with cheese and thyme, assortments of grilled meats, and mezze platters with regional dips such as ajvar (smoky pepper spread) and tarator (sour curd spread with cucumber, garlic, and lemon zest). [$$]

Four red and orange peppers stuffed with cheese sit on a plate with olive oil on a wooden table in front of a dining room
Stuffed peppers
Tomas Jivanda

7. Liburnia

Copy Link
038 222719

This traditional Balkan spot offers an extensive menu of solid Kosovar dishes in a space inspired by the city’s historic Ottoman culture. At a glance, the long menu can seem intimidating, but there are only two foods you have to try: the casserole and the homemade bread. Okay, there are technically three critical dishes, since the restaurant offers two excellent types of casserole, one listed as “white” and the other “red,” both made in a tavë (clay baking pot). The white variety is closer to Kosovo’s traditional tavë kosi, a soft, buttery mix of yogurt, egg, and extremely tender veal. If you prefer a tomato base, however, the restaurant’s red version overflows with abundant eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, and onions, along with soft cuts of beef. Both dishes are served with homemade pitalka, a light, fluffy native bread cooked in a masonry oven. [$$]

A cast iron tray with cuts of meat, potatoes, and vegetables roasts in an open hearth beside other blurred trays
Meat and potatoes
Liburnia / Facebook

8. Hamburger Skenda

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Up until recently, “eating out” in Kosovo almost always meant a trip to a qebaptore, essentially a kebab shop. These institutions are scattered across the city, serving grilled koftas, burgers, and sausages. Skenda, located in the oldest district of the city, is known as the best qebaptore for hamburgers. For 1 euro, the fast-food hole-in-the-wall serves a chicken or beef burger, piled with local slaw, chile paste made from fresh crushed chiles, and salad. [$]

A storefront exterior in a two-storied, shingled building, with a sign for Hamburger Skenda with an image of a hamburger
Outside Skenda
Tomas Jivanda

9. Hannah

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Hannah offers a soothing respite from the buzz of the city. Located by Tokbashqe Park on the Northeastern side of the capital, the restaurant is decorated with plants and murals, while an outdoor patio offers tables beneath shady trees. Chef-owner Fetije Meta carefully prepares fresh soups, salads, and open-faced sandwiches with locally sourced ingredients. If you have time to preorder ahead of your visit, you can even request one of Meta’s traditional specialties like pite (a filo-crusted pie stuffed with tomatoes or spinach), mantija (pastries stuffed with minced beef), and leceniq (native cornbread made with cheese and spinach). [$]

Two canapes sit on a long plate topped with cheese, arugula, shaved carrots, and other vegetables and pepitas
Canapes
Tomas Jivanda

10. Villa Gërmia

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Easily one of the most popular spots in Pristina, the scenic Vila Gërmia is always buzzing with locals. It’s the only restaurant in the expansive Gërmia parkland and forest, a beautiful green space that runs along the length of the city. Visitors can soak in the view from the dining room or the large outdoor patio while enjoying a broad menu of fresh wood-fired pizza, soups, salads, and grilled meats. Be sure to visit at breakfast, when the restaurant serves local treats like llokuma, pieces of moreish savory fried dough best eaten with lëng (spicy yogurt dip) and fried peppers. [$]

A restaurant patio, partially hidden by tall cylindrical hedges, beside geometric grassy patches, flower beds, and a single-story building with sun-lit shingles.
Outside Villa Gërmia
Villa Gërmia / Facebook

1. Qebaptore Meqa

Rruga UCK, Bardh i Madh
A restaurant exterior decorated in gray concrete and silver siding, large windows looking into the dining room, and a colorful sign featuring the name Qebaptore Meqa
Outside Meqa
Tomas Jivanda

Meqa is one of a handful of traditional qebaptores (kebab restaurants) still standing in the city today, after many of its competitors closed or slipped in quality. The restaurant offers a short, simple menu of grilled meat including koftas (meat patties), qebapas (mini koftas), pleskavica (burgers), as well as grilled chicken livers and kidneys. Unusually, Meqa sells meat by the piece (koftas, for example, are about 30 cents each), meaning you can easily build a personalized mixed grill for cheap. Order a variety of grilled items along with a side of speca (large fried peppers) and yogurt for an authentic experience. [$]

2. Renaissance

35 Musine Kokalari, Prishtinë
A cook adds spice from a small jar to unseen items cooking on a charcoal fire as embers rise into the air
Cooking over charcoal
Tomas Jivanda

You can find Renaissance tucked away at the center of the city, behind an unmarked door (most local taxi drivers can show you the entrance). Opened just four years ago, the restaurant quickly established itself as a leader in the Pristina food scene, sourcing produce from within the country and inspiring other restaurants to do the same. Run by a band of three brothers, the team works with local farmers from across Kosovo to serve modern Balkan dishes in a seasonal, four-course set menu for just 15 euros ($17). Diners may receive appetizers such as grilled local cheese, olives stuffed with walnuts, or charred eggplant, followed by a salad served in the traditional local style with thick cuts of super-fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. Then comes a meaty main, often the star of the show, like slow-cooked veal gently heated with walnuts over a charcoal fire for eight hours. Every aspect shows the team’s dedication, from attentive servers who stop by tables often to top up glasses of local wine and rakija (a local brandy-like spirit made from fruits like plum, quince, and grape) to the building itself, which the family constructed using recycled materials from the capital. [$$]

3. Osteria Basilico

Fehmi Agani, Prishtinë

Italy, Kosovo’s neighbor across the Adriatic, has had a huge impact on Balkan cuisine (including that of Kosovo, Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania). Pizza and pasta are as common on restaurant menus as local dishes. So when Kosovars do true Italian food, they do it right. Among Pristina’s Italian offerings, Osteria Basilico is a standout, with dishes comparable to any osteria in Bologna, Florence, or Naples. Basilico’s rich spaghetti al ragu and spaghetti ai gamberi (pasta with shrimp) have become crowd favorites. [$$]

4. Baba Ganoush Meze

Johan V. Hahn, 1000, Prishtinë
From above, a round wooden tray with large dishes of slices potatoes and pita, along with smaller cups of dips, carrots, olives, and cheese
Mezze platter
Kaltrina Bylykbashi

Baba Ghanoush is a small, charming vegetarian restaurant at the center of the city, and it couldn’t be more different from the meat-heavy establishments for which Pristina is commonly known. Mezze platters are full of smoky appetizers, from the namesake dip to beetroot chutney to roasted carrot mash flavored with peppers, garlic, and sunflower seeds. The restaurant’s falafel and bean wraps, which each cost just 2.50 euros, are particularly popular with the lunchtime crowd. While the menu shows a clear tendency toward Middle Eastern foods, Baba Ganoush also serves hints of local flavor in dishes like feta with walnut pate. Don’t miss out on a tall glass of local craft beer, Sabaja, which the eatery serves on tap. [$]

Johan V. Hahn
1000, Prishtinë

5. Lisa's Restaurant

Fehmi Agani, Prishtinë 10000
As seen from above, a table spread with a plate of charcuterie and cheese in the center, bread sticks to one side, and a fried appetizer to the other, along with place settings
Appetizers and charcuterie
Lisa’s Restaurant [Official Photo]

Modern Mediterranean restaurant Lisa’s is the new kid on the block in Pristina, serving some of the best steaks in the city. For just over 10 euros ($11), the kitchen offers a giant 8-ounce filet mignon with grilled vegetables and creamed potatoes, alongside huge rib-eye and T-bone steaks. Pasta, risotto, and salads fill out the menu, and the eatery serves an impressive list of wines and spirits made in Kosovo. [$$]

6. Soma Book Station

4/A Fazli Grajqevci, Prishtinë 10000
Four red and orange peppers stuffed with cheese sit on a plate with olive oil on a wooden table in front of a dining room
Stuffed peppers
Tomas Jivanda

Soma is a modern, creative space that includes a restaurant, bar, and art gallery where you’ll often find live music and cultural events. Until recently, Pristina’s international crowd preferred to gather at the bar for beer and wine, but a recent menu revamp has made dinner at the restaurant equally attractive for a night out. The kitchen now focuses on seasonal, locally grown ingredients in traditional dishes like stuffed peppers with cheese and thyme, assortments of grilled meats, and mezze platters with regional dips such as ajvar (smoky pepper spread) and tarator (sour curd spread with cucumber, garlic, and lemon zest). [$$]

7. Liburnia

Meto Bajraktari, Prishtinë
A cast iron tray with cuts of meat, potatoes, and vegetables roasts in an open hearth beside other blurred trays
Meat and potatoes
Liburnia / Facebook

This traditional Balkan spot offers an extensive menu of solid Kosovar dishes in a space inspired by the city’s historic Ottoman culture. At a glance, the long menu can seem intimidating, but there are only two foods you have to try: the casserole and the homemade bread. Okay, there are technically three critical dishes, since the restaurant offers two excellent types of casserole, one listed as “white” and the other “red,” both made in a tavë (clay baking pot). The white variety is closer to Kosovo’s traditional tavë kosi, a soft, buttery mix of yogurt, egg, and extremely tender veal. If you prefer a tomato base, however, the restaurant’s red version overflows with abundant eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, and onions, along with soft cuts of beef. Both dishes are served with homemade pitalka, a light, fluffy native bread cooked in a masonry oven. [$$]

8. Hamburger Skenda

Nazim Gafurri, Prishtinë 10000
A storefront exterior in a two-storied, shingled building, with a sign for Hamburger Skenda with an image of a hamburger
Outside Skenda
Tomas Jivanda

Up until recently, “eating out” in Kosovo almost always meant a trip to a qebaptore, essentially a kebab shop. These institutions are scattered across the city, serving grilled koftas, burgers, and sausages. Skenda, located in the oldest district of the city, is known as the best qebaptore for hamburgers. For 1 euro, the fast-food hole-in-the-wall serves a chicken or beef burger, piled with local slaw, chile paste made from fresh crushed chiles, and salad. [$]

9. Hannah

Mbretëresha Teutë, Prishtinë 10000
Two canapes sit on a long plate topped with cheese, arugula, shaved carrots, and other vegetables and pepitas
Canapes
Tomas Jivanda

Hannah offers a soothing respite from the buzz of the city. Located by Tokbashqe Park on the Northeastern side of the capital, the restaurant is decorated with plants and murals, while an outdoor patio offers tables beneath shady trees. Chef-owner Fetije Meta carefully prepares fresh soups, salads, and open-faced sandwiches with locally sourced ingredients. If you have time to preorder ahead of your visit, you can even request one of Meta’s traditional specialties like pite (a filo-crusted pie stuffed with tomatoes or spinach), mantija (pastries stuffed with minced beef), and leceniq (native cornbread made with cheese and spinach). [$]

10. Villa Gërmia

Serbia
A restaurant patio, partially hidden by tall cylindrical hedges, beside geometric grassy patches, flower beds, and a single-story building with sun-lit shingles.
Outside Villa Gërmia
Villa Gërmia / Facebook

Easily one of the most popular spots in Pristina, the scenic Vila Gërmia is always buzzing with locals. It’s the only restaurant in the expansive Gërmia parkland and forest, a beautiful green space that runs along the length of the city. Visitors can soak in the view from the dining room or the large outdoor patio while enjoying a broad menu of fresh wood-fired pizza, soups, salads, and grilled meats. Be sure to visit at breakfast, when the restaurant serves local treats like llokuma, pieces of moreish savory fried dough best eaten with lëng (spicy yogurt dip) and fried peppers. [$]

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