The Ultimate Ćevapi Guide
Ćevapi is a traditional Balkan dish, originating from the areas surrounding Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. The dish is considered a staple in a majority of the countries' cuisine in the Balkan Peninsula--sparking a huge debate about which country has the best ćevapi! During my time spent in the Balkans, I created a personal ranking of places with the tastiest ćevapi, which I am sharing with you below! Interested in a personalized food guide for your next holiday in the Balkans? Contact me: IG @j.kwasnik ✉ jakub.kw8@gmail.com
8 Places • 2 Saves • ago
Free

So what exactly is ćevapi?

Before we dive into the list and locations of the best ćevapi, I feel like it is necessary to give some background on the dish itself.

Ćevapi or ćevapčići is a meat dish, common in Balkan cuisine. It is typically found in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Slovenia. The original birthplace of this dish is not entirely clear. As what often happens with foods of national importance, each country has their own version of the story. Some sources, state that the idea of ćevapi was born in the current Old Town of Sarajevo in Bosnia (Baščaršija). While others say that it was an idea of a man called Zivko, who first served ćevapi in his family restaurant in Belgrade in Serbia. One thing is certain, the concept of ćevapi was brought to the Balkans by the Ottomans in the XIX century. The modern word ćevap is derived from the Persian kebab, meaning simply grilled meat. One could say that it is very similar to Turkish kofte kebab or some variations of Greek souvlaki but it is better not to mention that in front of the locals!  

How is it prepared?

Depending on the location, the ćevapi is made from minced beef, lamb, and pork meat or a mix of those with the addition of baking soda. It is formed into cutlets or small sausages and then grilled. The meat mixture is usually spiced with salt, garlic, paprika, pepper, and sometimes Vegeta - the beloved Balkan spice mix. The grilled meat is then served with a set of sides that usually include: somun or lepinja (traditional round-shaped bread), raw onion, kajmak (fresh creamy cheese made from unpasteurized milk), ajvar (a relish made from smoked eggplant and bell peppers), urnebes (Serbian spread made with kajmak and chili peppers), different varieties of cabbage (sweet cabbage, pickled cabbage, etc.), or potato chips.

Why is ćevapi important?

Ćevapi is a dish that is an integral part of the Balkan identity. Food in general is a passionate subject in the Balkans, with each country trying to protect and promote its cuisine in the best way possible. Ćevapi is a staple dish in multiple Balkan countries as it is one of the best and budget-friendly dishes one can have when visiting this region.

The Ultimate Ćevapi Guide

Here is my personal ranked list of the best places to try ćevapi in Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Slovenia.

I have not included places in Serbia in this ranking since quite simply I do not have enough experience with Serbian ćevapi. I plan to change it as soon as I can and include places from Serbia if they make my ranking of course.

8. Buffet Stari Kotač in Zagreb, Croatia

Buffet Stari Kotač
@kwasintheworld
In Stari Kotač I found the best ćevapi in Zagreb. Served in a less traditional way with fries instead of lepinja, kajmak and ajvar but very delicious. Since this place is a restaurant/ buffet you will also find other meat dishes on the menu as well as some fish. It has a nice patio outside for the hot summer days.
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7. Kantun Paulina in Split, Croatia

Kantun Paulina
@kwasintheworld
I was a regular in Kantun Paulina during my time in Split. It is an old-fashioned ćevapi kiosk with a basic menu and probably the best ćevapi you can find in Croatia! It is served as a sandwich inside the lepinja bread with a combination of raw onion and ajvar (kajmak can be added as an option). If you fancy something less traditional they have a set of sauces and spices available. It tastes best with a can of cold Karlovačko beer, on a bench in front of the shop facing one of the streets of the Spli Old Town.
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6. Ćevabdžinica Specijal in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ćevabdžinica Specijal
@kwasintheworld
Ćevabdžinica Specijal is one of the well-known ćevapi shops in Sarajevo's Old Town, yet it is mainly popular among locals! It has a delicious Bosnian ćevapi served in the most traditional way - on aluminum plates accompanied with half of somun bread, a bunch of raw onion, and a scoop of kajmak. I would recommend getting a side of their cabbage salad - 'kiseli kupus'.
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5. Basta Sidro in Tivat, Montenegro

Sidro
@kwasintheworld
Probably the least-known and most underrated place on this list. Sidro is located in the beautiful neighborhood of Tivat Marina and has one of the best ćevapi I have ever tried. It is served with fries, kajmak, and onion, without the bread. I suggest getting a side of Ajvar because they have THE BEST Ajvar I could find during my travels. If you fancy trying something else than ćevapi they have plenty of traditional dishes on the menu including my personal favorite - Mučkalica!
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4. Tima-Irma in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Tima - Irma
@kwasintheworld
Tima-Irma located in the picturesque Old Town of Mostar is easily the best ćevapi restaurant in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ćevapi here has a nice and smoky taste and a bit more firm texture and is served with traditional sides of somun, raw onion, Ajvar, as well as some fresh vegetables. Kajmak can be ordered extra. It is best to be enjoyed with a cold bottle of Mostarsko beer. Keep in mind that this place is extremely popular and located in the very center of the city which means sometimes queuing time can be long - still, it's so worth it!
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3. Ćevabdžinica Nune in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ćevabdžinica Nune
@kwasintheworld
Ćevabdžinica Nune is a place that is recommended the most by the locals out of the ćevapi shops found in Sarajevo. It has a traditionally served Sarajevski ćevap accompanied with raw onions, kajmak, and half of the somun bread. The ćevapi here is very well seasoned without being too salty and has a firm texture. It is a great alternative to the ćevapi restaurants found in the Old Town as it is located in an alley in the newer part of the center and therefore is way less crowded.
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2. Ćevabdžinica Željo in Saravejo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ćevabdžinica Željo
@kwasintheworld
Ćevabdžinica Željo is a legend when it comes to Sarajevski ćevap and is one of the most iconic places to eat in Sarajevo. It has 3 locations in the Old Town and all of them are usually completely full. My advice is to go to the original one and wait in line because it is totally worth the experience. I usually have a skeptical approach when it comes to such touristic spots as this one but despite its popularity, Željo has maintained the authentic busy vibe of classic ćevabdžinica and excellent quality. It is hard to just pass it by without noticing because of the crowds and the amazing smell of grilled meat. The ćevapi itself is of course prepared in the most traditional way, served with a very creamy kajmak which melts in your mouth, raw onion, and somun. The meat has the desirable flavour of the grill which is not always the case with ćevapi. I would suggest getting a glass of kiselo mleko (sour milk) as it completes the experience in Željo.
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1. BBQ Tanjga in Kotor, Montenegro

BBQ Tanjga
@kwasintheworld
The absolute best when it comes to the quality and taste of ćevapi! Tanjga is actually the best overall grill house I have ever visited. When you enter what you see is something that would resemble a usual butcher shop with a few tables and a patio, until you notice a huge flaming grill in the background. The ćevapi is prepared fresh in front of you (as well as other dishes) which makes it hard to focus on the sides that they ask you to choose. Here you have a whole buffet of sides to choose from for your ćevapi, those include Ajvar, kajmak, urnebes, lepinja, fries, kiseli kupus, slatki kupus, crveni kupus (all things cabbage basically), pickles, fresh or grilled vegetables. The taste of the ćevapi is hard to describe with words but I will still try. The meat is tender and firm at the same time, well seasoned with not too much soda and salt which makes it keep the natural taste, and the characteristic grill aftertaste it leaves in your mouth is one of a kind at Tanjga. I would recommend trying more dishes on their menu, for example, the traditional Pljeskavica. On top of all that it is more than certain that you will become friends with the owner as he is quite a character and loves chatting with the customers.
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I hope this guide to ćevapi will help you find the best spot for you to try this absolute classic. In case any locals would be offended by my suggestions and ratings I would like to highlight that those were my personal top choices. 

My travels in the Balkans are not yet finished and I plan to visit more places and of course try more ćevapi to be able to update and improve this guide, so stay tuned!

It is time to eat ćevapi!

* * *
CURATED BY
🌅 'Every day is a journey and the journey itself is home.' 📍Split, Croatia Full-time Digital Nomad & Traveller from Poland, specializing in remote work traveling and itinerary planning. Focusing mainly on the Balkans, Poland, and Svalbard & Jan Mayen among others. I am constantly on the road moving from one place to another, experiencing different cultures and different ways of living 🗺️ Ever since I started living as a digital nomad, travel planning has become an everyday activity. This eventually led to helping my friends and family plan their trips. So I thought, why not share it with others? 🧭 Shop my guides to create your very own trip plan or contact me directly for personalized travel plans. Instagram DM: @kwasintheworld Email: kwasintheworld@gmail.com
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The Ultimate Ćevapi Guide
Ćevapi is a traditional Balkan dish, originating from the areas surrounding Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. The dish is considered a staple in a majority of the countries' cuisine in the Balkan Peninsula--sparking a huge debate about which country has the best ćevapi! During my time spent in the Balkans, I created a personal ranking of places with the tastiest ćevapi, which I am sharing with you below! Interested in a personalized food guide for your next holiday in the Balkans? Contact me: IG @j.kwasnik ✉ jakub.kw8@gmail.com
8 Places • 2 Saves • ago
Free

So what exactly is ćevapi?

Before we dive into the list and locations of the best ćevapi, I feel like it is necessary to give some background on the dish itself.

Ćevapi or ćevapčići is a meat dish, common in Balkan cuisine. It is typically found in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Slovenia. The original birthplace of this dish is not entirely clear. As what often happens with foods of national importance, each country has their own version of the story. Some sources, state that the idea of ćevapi was born in the current Old Town of Sarajevo in Bosnia (Baščaršija). While others say that it was an idea of a man called Zivko, who first served ćevapi in his family restaurant in Belgrade in Serbia. One thing is certain, the concept of ćevapi was brought to the Balkans by the Ottomans in the XIX century. The modern word ćevap is derived from the Persian kebab, meaning simply grilled meat. One could say that it is very similar to Turkish kofte kebab or some variations of Greek souvlaki but it is better not to mention that in front of the locals!  

How is it prepared?

Depending on the location, the ćevapi is made from minced beef, lamb, and pork meat or a mix of those with the addition of baking soda. It is formed into cutlets or small sausages and then grilled. The meat mixture is usually spiced with salt, garlic, paprika, pepper, and sometimes Vegeta - the beloved Balkan spice mix. The grilled meat is then served with a set of sides that usually include: somun or lepinja (traditional round-shaped bread), raw onion, kajmak (fresh creamy cheese made from unpasteurized milk), ajvar (a relish made from smoked eggplant and bell peppers), urnebes (Serbian spread made with kajmak and chili peppers), different varieties of cabbage (sweet cabbage, pickled cabbage, etc.), or potato chips.

Why is ćevapi important?

Ćevapi is a dish that is an integral part of the Balkan identity. Food in general is a passionate subject in the Balkans, with each country trying to protect and promote its cuisine in the best way possible. Ćevapi is a staple dish in multiple Balkan countries as it is one of the best and budget-friendly dishes one can have when visiting this region.

The Ultimate Ćevapi Guide

Here is my personal ranked list of the best places to try ćevapi in Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Slovenia.

I have not included places in Serbia in this ranking since quite simply I do not have enough experience with Serbian ćevapi. I plan to change it as soon as I can and include places from Serbia if they make my ranking of course.

8. Buffet Stari Kotač in Zagreb, Croatia

Buffet Stari Kotač
@kwasintheworld
In Stari Kotač I found the best ćevapi in Zagreb. Served in a less traditional way with fries instead of lepinja, kajmak and ajvar but very delicious. Since this place is a restaurant/ buffet you will also find other meat dishes on the menu as well as some fish. It has a nice patio outside for the hot summer days.
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7. Kantun Paulina in Split, Croatia

Kantun Paulina
@kwasintheworld
I was a regular in Kantun Paulina during my time in Split. It is an old-fashioned ćevapi kiosk with a basic menu and probably the best ćevapi you can find in Croatia! It is served as a sandwich inside the lepinja bread with a combination of raw onion and ajvar (kajmak can be added as an option). If you fancy something less traditional they have a set of sauces and spices available. It tastes best with a can of cold Karlovačko beer, on a bench in front of the shop facing one of the streets of the Spli Old Town.
Add to
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6. Ćevabdžinica Specijal in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ćevabdžinica Specijal
@kwasintheworld
Ćevabdžinica Specijal is one of the well-known ćevapi shops in Sarajevo's Old Town, yet it is mainly popular among locals! It has a delicious Bosnian ćevapi served in the most traditional way - on aluminum plates accompanied with half of somun bread, a bunch of raw onion, and a scoop of kajmak. I would recommend getting a side of their cabbage salad - 'kiseli kupus'.
Add to
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5. Basta Sidro in Tivat, Montenegro

Sidro
@kwasintheworld
Probably the least-known and most underrated place on this list. Sidro is located in the beautiful neighborhood of Tivat Marina and has one of the best ćevapi I have ever tried. It is served with fries, kajmak, and onion, without the bread. I suggest getting a side of Ajvar because they have THE BEST Ajvar I could find during my travels. If you fancy trying something else than ćevapi they have plenty of traditional dishes on the menu including my personal favorite - Mučkalica!
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4. Tima-Irma in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Tima - Irma
@kwasintheworld
Tima-Irma located in the picturesque Old Town of Mostar is easily the best ćevapi restaurant in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ćevapi here has a nice and smoky taste and a bit more firm texture and is served with traditional sides of somun, raw onion, Ajvar, as well as some fresh vegetables. Kajmak can be ordered extra. It is best to be enjoyed with a cold bottle of Mostarsko beer. Keep in mind that this place is extremely popular and located in the very center of the city which means sometimes queuing time can be long - still, it's so worth it!
Add to
Details

3. Ćevabdžinica Nune in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ćevabdžinica Nune
@kwasintheworld
Ćevabdžinica Nune is a place that is recommended the most by the locals out of the ćevapi shops found in Sarajevo. It has a traditionally served Sarajevski ćevap accompanied with raw onions, kajmak, and half of the somun bread. The ćevapi here is very well seasoned without being too salty and has a firm texture. It is a great alternative to the ćevapi restaurants found in the Old Town as it is located in an alley in the newer part of the center and therefore is way less crowded.
Add to
Details

2. Ćevabdžinica Željo in Saravejo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ćevabdžinica Željo
@kwasintheworld
Ćevabdžinica Željo is a legend when it comes to Sarajevski ćevap and is one of the most iconic places to eat in Sarajevo. It has 3 locations in the Old Town and all of them are usually completely full. My advice is to go to the original one and wait in line because it is totally worth the experience. I usually have a skeptical approach when it comes to such touristic spots as this one but despite its popularity, Željo has maintained the authentic busy vibe of classic ćevabdžinica and excellent quality. It is hard to just pass it by without noticing because of the crowds and the amazing smell of grilled meat. The ćevapi itself is of course prepared in the most traditional way, served with a very creamy kajmak which melts in your mouth, raw onion, and somun. The meat has the desirable flavour of the grill which is not always the case with ćevapi. I would suggest getting a glass of kiselo mleko (sour milk) as it completes the experience in Željo.
Add to
Details

1. BBQ Tanjga in Kotor, Montenegro

BBQ Tanjga
@kwasintheworld
The absolute best when it comes to the quality and taste of ćevapi! Tanjga is actually the best overall grill house I have ever visited. When you enter what you see is something that would resemble a usual butcher shop with a few tables and a patio, until you notice a huge flaming grill in the background. The ćevapi is prepared fresh in front of you (as well as other dishes) which makes it hard to focus on the sides that they ask you to choose. Here you have a whole buffet of sides to choose from for your ćevapi, those include Ajvar, kajmak, urnebes, lepinja, fries, kiseli kupus, slatki kupus, crveni kupus (all things cabbage basically), pickles, fresh or grilled vegetables. The taste of the ćevapi is hard to describe with words but I will still try. The meat is tender and firm at the same time, well seasoned with not too much soda and salt which makes it keep the natural taste, and the characteristic grill aftertaste it leaves in your mouth is one of a kind at Tanjga. I would recommend trying more dishes on their menu, for example, the traditional Pljeskavica. On top of all that it is more than certain that you will become friends with the owner as he is quite a character and loves chatting with the customers.
Add to
Details

I hope this guide to ćevapi will help you find the best spot for you to try this absolute classic. In case any locals would be offended by my suggestions and ratings I would like to highlight that those were my personal top choices. 

My travels in the Balkans are not yet finished and I plan to visit more places and of course try more ćevapi to be able to update and improve this guide, so stay tuned!

It is time to eat ćevapi!

* * *
CURATED BY
🌅 'Every day is a journey and the journey itself is home.' 📍Split, Croatia Full-time Digital Nomad & Traveller from Poland, specializing in remote work traveling and itinerary planning. Focusing mainly on the Balkans, Poland, and Svalbard & Jan Mayen among others. I am constantly on the road moving from one place to another, experiencing different cultures and different ways of living 🗺️ Ever since I started living as a digital nomad, travel planning has become an everyday activity. This eventually led to helping my friends and family plan their trips. So I thought, why not share it with others? 🧭 Shop my guides to create your very own trip plan or contact me directly for personalized travel plans. Instagram DM: @kwasintheworld Email: kwasintheworld@gmail.com
Send A Tip
Support Jakub’s work.
Select your tip amount
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$10
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