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Oct 12, 2003 08:31 AM

Serbian Food?

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Dear Friends,

I have been desperately seeking a good source in NYC for Serbian food. In Chicago, there's no problem. In NYC--I hope I'm wrong!--it's a different story.

I would appreciate any and all leads to 1. a Serbian restaurant 2. an Eastern European restaurant that has Serbian items on the menu 3. a store that sells Serbian food.



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  1. haven't been there in ages, but used to be great and I think fits your bill. Milan's 710 5th Avenue (between 22 and 23 Streets), Brooklyn (718) 788-7384

    5 Replies
    1. re: Jim Leff

      I apologise but Milan's is Slovak/Polish.

      For Serbian food, try searching these boards for what you are looking for, e.g. pljeskavica, cevapi, bureks.

      You can find Balkan-type places in Astoria and Ridgewood. I can't think of anywhere that is outright Serbian, but there are plenty of Bosnian places that make Serbian-style bureks and pita.

      Things like ajvar and vegetable pickles are available in most Balkan/Turkish places and even some Russian shops.

      You can find Serbian style honey soaked pastries at Greek, Turkish or Middle Eastern bakeries (Laziza in Astoria comes to mind).

      Serbian coffee can be bought ready-ground as Greek or Turkish coffee. Some Middle Eastern places sell the dzezva pots and familiar tall grinder for grinding your own.

      A couple of restaurants that come to mind:
      DJERDAN #3 (221 West 38th Street, 212-921-1183) is a buregdzinica (burek shop). It has another branch in Astoria.
      Bosna-Express (791 Fairview Avenue, Ridgewood, 718-497-7577) serves pljeskavica. No idea how to get there by public transport (long walk from end of M train?), but there are a lot of Serbs in this neighbourhood.
      Cevabdzinica Sarajevo (37-18 34th Ave, Astoria, 718-752-9528) is one of about ten places around this neighbourhood that serves cevapi and all other sorts of grilled meat.

      Someone on this board (maybe Jim Leff?) has written about a cevabdzinica in the Bronx.

      1. re: plum

        No, *I* apologize. You're absolutely right. I always read Slovak for Serbian and vice versa, I'm not sure why. Some extremely specific form of dyxlexia, I suppose.

        DJERDAN was terrific (well, just for burek) when it was just in Astoria. Now all three locations are mediocre. they're cutting corners.

        Never been a fan of Bosna-Express, never understood what people see in it.

        Cevabdzinica Sarajevo (37-18 34th Ave, Astoria, 718-752-9528) is weird. Everytime I go it's different. If the owner (who I think of as the Cevapi Guy) is there, it kills. 

        Sorry to be so negative. I have to ponder Serbian, there are a couple, but I got four hours sleep last night so zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

        1. re: Jim Leff

          I've been to Cevabdzinica Sarajevo recently (August). I found the menu has gotten a little broader but all the old favorites are there. The place has also been spiffed up slightly (they even have menus with color pictures of the dishes!) but the prices have remained the same. The cevapi are still wonderful.

          Re Bona Express, its located about a half block from the Forest Ave. M train station.

          1. re: Bob Martinez

            Would you please be so kind to tell me what's the fastest/easiest way to get to "Cevapdzica Sarajevo" from Upper East Manhattan (right next to the Queensboro bridge).

            We might be driving, but most likely not.

            1. re: Sasha

              Cevapdzica Sarajevo is about one block from the Museum of the Moving Image so travel directions for the Museum work just fine for the restaurant. (See the link). In fact, why not combine food and culture in one visit? You can't go wrong.


    2. Well, could you tell is what Serbian food IS like?

      I have tiny bits of experience with different "ex-Yugo" cuisines: Croatian (grilled or simply prepared fresh seafood mostly, delicious; excellent red wines - Kastelet?), Bosnian (burek, cevapi, spices, that sweet dark coffee served in a djezva, sticky sweets - more Turkish/Middle Eastern in character than the other ones), and Slovene (sort of halfway between Italian and Austrian, with their own prosciutto style, good white wines, delicious baked goods...), but I have really no clue as to Serbian cuisine. Can you name and explain some dishes??

      2 Replies
      1. re: Katerina

        Well, I had an experience of Serbian food and its really amazing! Pljeskavica, burek and other stuff named here are nothing comparing to "sarma", "pasulj"(beans made on Serbian way), "proja" and "kajmak"... there are many others but these are really the best... I would love that somebody opens a fine Serbian restaurant in NYC :)

        Try to find these foods on the internet or maybe on wikipedia :)

        1. re: The_Muchmallow

          Here is a link to a new New Jersey board I just started, hopefully you'll try it, and let us know how you like it.

      2. p
        Paul Kelleher

        Thanks to everyone for your wonderful responses. I'm ashamed to say that in all my searches, I hadn't come across the places you all have mentioned. Typically, I would just try to look through an NYC food guide, scanning through the East European section. Never got far with that. Then I tried just search on google for a restaurant name. In Chicago, there's always a place with a name like "The Serbian Village" or "The Yugo Inn" (which of course makes it easier to find!).

        To answer an earlier question, I think Croatian and Slovenian food would have many overlaps with Serbian. In fact, for many dishes, I'm probably mis-naming it as "Serbian." My favorite dish remains cevapcice (perhaps called cevapi here?)--seasoned ground meat, shaped into small links. And also Gibanica, which is this amazing casserole dish with layers of cheese and flaky dough.

        Thanks again for all your kind responses! I can't wait to hit all the places mentioned.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Paul Kelleher

          true, pljeskavica, gibanica and cevaps can also be found in croat-slovene restaurants. i know that because we have these places all over cleveland. no serb restaurants there tho far as i know. please let do tell us when you try out the queens places the others mentioned.

        2. Can you tell me the difference between Serbian-style bureks and pita? I have a Serbian friend that calls these bureks pita bread. They are filled with either meat or cheese. Is there a difference?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jade54

            Well burek and pita are different because bureks are made with leafy pastry.. I don't know how to explain (try going on wikipedia or some serbian cousine web page)... Bureks can be made of meat, cheese, mushrooms or some herbs :) and this is for "pita" :)

            1. re: Jade54

              There is no diff between burek and pita- they are just 2 names for the same thing. In Serbia/Bosnia they will often call it pita, and in Croatia I heard it more often called Burek, but honestly they told me there was no difference!

            2. I realize this is a really old thread, but just in case anyone is searching for Serbian cuisine: a restaurant opened up this past year called Kafana, on Ave C between 8th and 7th St. I think it was touted as the first Serbian restaurant in Manhattan. The food was great and the atmosphere really takes you back to Belgrade with all the photos on the wall. The pljeskavica, cevapi, sopsa, Nikshicko pivo, and jafa cakes that came with our bill were all just like you might get in a cafe in Serbia, albeit in a fancier atmosphere. We went a few nights after it opened, and ran into a famous Serbian actor named Zarko Lausevic eating with his family there.

              Anyone know of any other new Serbian places that might have opened up recently?

              1 Reply
              1. re: ninnikuramen

                I went there a few months ago and thought the food was mediocre, at best. Maybe its because I've had home made Serbian food.