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Ćevapčići, Pljeskavica & Co. – Oh yes, at first glance Serbia does not seem to be the best country for vegetarians and vegans, as meat is always part of traditional dishes. But the trend is coming here too and there are many vegan and vegetarian options. In addition, many side dishes and snacks are vegan, so with a little skill you’ll find a very good selection here despite the meaty, traditional cuisine! (Also check out my travel guide to Belgrade here)
During the Serbian Orthodox Lent, no animal products (eggs, milk, butter, meat) other than fish are allowed. In principle, vegan plus fish (plus honey, as far as I know). This is just a short summary and there are different days with different rules and different versions of the fast. But for you veggies and vegans out there the rough overview is enough and I do not want to bore you with details.
The important thing for you: Because of this Lent, there are so many more options for vegans in Serbia than you might expect at first glance, especially during Lent in March and April. The keyword is “posno” which is often used in the food industry as a synonym for healthy and describes the diet during Lent.
At the bakery, for example, pastries labelled “posno” are mostly vegan, as “posno” does not contain any animal ingredients, with the exception for fish (vegan, but with fish, as it were), sometimes even “just” with seafood. And in pastries you usually do not find fish. Pita (a rolled puff pastry) with potatoes declared as “posno” is thus e.g. vegan. If you come to Belgrade during Lent, in March and April, then there is a particularly large selection of these “posno” dishes. You just have to make sure that you do not get any fish …honey is also included in some “posno” dishes. Variations of the word “posno” are “posne” “posna” and “posni”. With this “trick” I’ve found vegan dishes all over Serbia.
“Posno” dishes that you must try (but ask if they are really posno and fish free):
- Ajvar – a delicious Serbian specialty made with pepper and plenty of oil 🙂 You can eat ajvar as a side dish or as a spread
- Posni Burek or Posna Pita – both puff pastry dishes that are mostly vegan with potato, you can see that on the “posno” sign or just ask!
- Prebranac – a warm bean dish
- Đuveč – a rice dish that usually comes with meat, cheese or fish, but you can also order it vegan
- Posna Sarma – I’ve never tasted these cabbage rolls at a restaurant, only at my grandma’s, but during Lent, they’re filled with vegetables instead of minced meat – do not miss out on them if you can find them vegan!
- Salads – in most restaurants, there is a large selection of salads
- Soups – you can also ask for “Posna čorba” (pronounced “Posna Chorba”) without fish!
Vegan Restaurants & Cafes
Not everyone comes during Lent and you do not always want to go have to ask, so I wanted to introduce you to a few restaurants sorted by neighborhood that have jumped on the vegan and veggie trend and offer delicious, vegan dishes, usually declared as “vegan” on the menu. I also listed some cafes that we did not try, but are supposed to be good and I wanted to mention them as well.
Elixir Juice Bar Dorćol
Dorćol is one of my favorite parts of Belgrade and there is a lot to explore. For a little refreshment, you should definitely look in this small juice shop. You can also find vegan desserts and small snacks here! – Update: I think this one is unfortunately closed!
Elixir Juice Bar
You will also find an Elixir Juice Bar near the Knez Mihajlova shopping street.
I’ve never been here but a reader said I have to include it: it is smoke free and you get vegan sandwiches, green smoothies and more!
Near the Elixir Juice Bar in Dorćol you will also find this small health food shop. Again, you will find juices and vegan snacks, as well as a range of healthy food, some even unpacked.
Also a restaurant in Dorćol. You may wonder why eat Japanese in Serbia? The restaurant is well located and very tourist friendly. In addition, it is very popular with the young Serbs and therefore a lively restaurant with a great atmosphere. They have a non smoking and a smoking area.
Supernatural Shop & Bar – Bloom Cafe
Again around the corner you can find another healthy cafe and bar, especially good for a small coffee or tea break. I must confess that I do not know if they have good vegan snacks. As far as I know, it is a non-smoking cafe – one of the few! Update: This one closed down but instead Bloom cafe opened with a similar atmosphere and also non-smoking!
Here my cousin and I like to sit in the beer garden and drink fresh mint tea 🙂 The bar (again in Dorćol) has very cool and unusual decorations with a big elephant, tiger and other installations. The opening times on Google Maps are not correct. As far as I know, it’s open from morning until late in the evening. We only went there for drinks, but I still wanted to add it to this list here, as it’s super nice to sit in the garden here 🙂
Smokvica (The Little Fig) is a restaurant in one of my favorite streets in Dorćol: Kralja Petra Street. Smokvica has several restaurants and cafés, but I was only in this one café. Unfortunately, smoking is allowed in here, but you can find some vegan options on the menu!
Crna Ovca Ice Cream
This ice cream shop is relatively new and offers both ice cream scoops but also ice cream popsicles!
OLD TOWN CENTER
Apparently lots of pizza stands in the center have vegan pizza, this was also a tip by a reader. So keep your eyes open!
Radost Fina Kuhinja
Near Kalemegdan Park you will find this incredibly likeable restaurant. The menu offers vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free, delicious food. The place is a bit hard to find since there is not a big sign hanging, but I tried to mark the exact location of the entrance for you here! Tasty, fair prices and a nice atmosphere – an absolute recommendation from me! No smoking here either. Unfortunately, I can’t find my photos of the restaurant, but it is definitely my favorite!
Pretty expensive, but delicious organic ice cream with some vegan options!
Again you will find some vegan options here. I always liked it there a lot, but I have to admit that on my last visit I was not really convinced by the taste of our dishes or the service. Actually, this would be one of my top a recommendations, but unfortunately my last experience there was not so good.
Unfortunately the kitchen was still closed when we were there. We had a coffee right next to it at the Jazz Basta, but we could not wait long enough for it to open. The menu looked great. Again, the location is a bit difficult to find. Just take the small stairs that are below the street Fruskogorska and lead to Karadordeva street. At this staircase is the entrance, including a hidden garden in the courtyard next to the Jazz Basta, which I took some pictures of:
Super yummy vegan and vegetarian food with organic ingredients – therefore also pretty expensive. The only downside: Also here it is allowed to smoke which feels weird when healthy and organic food is promoted so much.
If you feel like having some hummus, you should check this place out! In the restaurant Hanan you can get fresh hummus at fair prices! The food is probably not really traditional Lebanese, I do not know that well, but we had a delicious dinner there. Not amazing, but if you’re in the area and hungry, not a bad choice!
Hummus Bar is a small fast food snack bar that tempts with pita bread, hummus and falafel! Perfect for a quick bite in between!
Not far from the Hummus Bar you will find JazzYoga, a vegetarian cafe serving delicious daily specials. When we were there, there was vegan musaka or smoked tofu sandwich. I also think that you cannot smoke there.
A backyard cafe in Vracar, more of a coffee place!
Telma Restoran & Bar
Super cool interior & atmosphere, not necessarily vegan friendly, you would have to “veganize” some dishes, but great for coffee and drinks!
I hope my vegan food guide Belgrade will help you a little bit if you ever visit Belgrade! Even as a veggie or vegan, the city is really worth a visit!!! More on that in my Travel Guide 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions! Here are some more food photos: