Top Three Chicagoland Serbian Restaurants

Mar 14, 2023

Looking for something new to try other than the basic American fast-food restaurants? Try these best Serbian restaurants in the Chicagoland area. Explore Chicago’s taste of Serbia.

  1. Cafe Beograd

Cafe Beograd located in Irving Park is always a go-to. Named after the capital of Serbia, it is one of the most popular Serbian restaurants in Chicago. When the weather is nice out, the outdoor garden is a cute place to sit. What I love most about the place is the side of the restaurant has a painting of the famous Nikola Tesla. Now let’s talk about the most important part, the food. The food is amazing and in every bite, you feel a different burst of flavor no matter if you ordered something sweet or salty. I always feel like Remy the Rat from Ratatouille imagining the flavors in my head. For something salty, I recommend a Pljeskavica which is a Serbian Hamburger. The meat is similar to a regular hamburger, but it’s juicier, bigger and flatter. The bread is a lepinja which is a soft and fluffy bread that is served nice and warm. For something sweet I recommend the Jaffa Torta or Jaffa Cake. Jaffa Cake is extremely delicious, and it has a chocolate tangerine flavor.

2. 016

016 Restaurant and Sandwich Shop located in Lincoln Square is one of the best places you’ll ever eat food. 016 is named after the area code in Leskovac, Serbia which has produced some of the Balkans’ best grill masters. Obviously when in 016, it is necessary that you try the Gurmanska Pljeskavica or Burger. It is a beef patty that comes with a bacon cheese mix, kajmak, lettuce, tomato, onion and their house bun.

  1. Zora Cafe/Kafana Zora

Zora Cafe located in Norridge is my third favorite restaurant because the inside is very rustic and looks like the inside of a kitchen in Serbia, but the location of the restaurant is not the nicest. They don’t have outdoor seating for when the weather is nice because it’s in the corner of a strip mall. Zora Cafe has the best veal stew that I have ever tried. Every time I go to a Serbian restaurant, I order veal or fish stew depending on what I am feeling. I have not been to a restaurant with better veal stew.

In all these restaurants you can also order a Palacinka, a Serbian-style pancake, and Burek, which is a savory pastry. Palacinke and Burek are my favorite meals to order when I don’t know what to order. Burek is a warm filo dough and could be ordered in three different flavors, Burek with cheese, Burek with spinach or Burek with meat.  I personally love to order Jogurt with my Burek to either drink or dip in. Then, for dessert to follow the Burek, a Palacinka or crepe is always a safe option. Palacinke are rolled instead of folded like a French crepe, and you can ask for it to be filled with Eurocrem (hazelnut spread) or Jam of any kind.  I recommend the Eurocrem palacinka, and I always ask to add Plazma to it because the Plazma biscuit adds a bit of a crunch and decreases the sweetness of the hazelnut spread.

Overall, the noticeable pattern in Serbian food is barbeque and meat are a necessity in every dish. Vegetarians are hard to find in the Serbian community, but you don’t need a flight to Serbia to enjoy these top three restaurants.

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