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.Read More