Food and Cuisine in Banja Luka
Food is not something you have to worry about in Banja Luka as the city offers excellent dining options. The rich and filling local cuisine of Banja Luka is complemented by international and continental fare, promising visitors a wonderful dining experience. The city accommodates travellers of all budgets with Banja Luka hotels, and this rule applies in the case of food too as it is relatively inexpensive compared to some of the other popular destinations around. You’ll find Banja Luka eateries ranging from the ever popular cafes and bistros full of warmth and good cheer to tastefully decorated upscale restaurants with multi-course meals.
Head to one of the many open markets in Banja Luka to load up on fresh fruits and veggies and sample some of the local fare!
In this Banja Luka Restaurant Guide, we have assembled all our recommendations about the tasty Banja Luke cuisine along with some specific suggestions about what Banja Luka restaurants to patron. When out trying all the good eats, make sure to pick up some traditional souvenirs to remember this lovely city, our Banja Luka Shopping page has information about some of the best goods to pick up when browsing around town. Our Bosnia and Herzegovina Restaurant Guide has more broad information about the national cuisine in general.
Local cuisine in Banja Luka is distinctive and reflects the multicultural history of the region and its geographic location. So you have Balkan and Turkish flavours blending with western European culinary traditions, giving you a unique fare that feels familiar yet exotic. Meals will surprise and titillate your taste buds to no end in Banja Luka.
What’s Traditional in Banja Luka
A variety of spices are used in traditional cooking, but never in large quantities. Meat (chicken, lamb, beef and pork are common) is an essential part of most dishes and a meat dish is generally the main course. But the preference for meat does not mean that people not into meat will go hungry. An array of fresh vegetables is produced here and form important ingredients in local preparations. Dairy products are also very popular. It is customary to have dessert and coffee at the end of meals. Another culinary custom people cannot seem to do without is the appetisers called meze which are small dishes often accompanied by alcohol.
A couple of the most popular local preparations include cevapi and burek. Cevapi are small grilled meat rolls made of lamb, beef or mixed meat. Served on the side are pita bread, chopped onions and cheese. Fast food restaurants in Banjaluka generally serve different varieties of cevapi. Burek is another traditional pita dish which has long been a local favourite. It is a pie with meat filling wrapped in filo dough and eaten with yogurt, though there are many variations to this preparation which are available at bakeries.
A few other items worth trying out include jagnetina, a delicious dish of lamb or pork grilled over an open fire and eaten with side dishes and yogurt; folovane paprika, which is fried bell pepper stuffed with meat and spices; and sarma, a rice and meat preparation with cabbage leaves and onion. Soups (corba) of various kinds are common and so are a range of delicious desserts and pastries.
Banja Luka Drinks
Coffee is the favourite drink and is consumed in huge quantities by the local population. Rakija, a strong drink usually made from plums, takes pride of place among alcoholic beverages. Locally produced beer and a variety of other alcoholic drinks are also readily available.
The restaurant arose in the place of former railway station Mala stanica that connected the city's periphery with the centre in 19th century. You will notice details of rails, bells and clocks smartly used to decorate the restaurant's interior.With its pleasant and relaxing ambience and gorgeous spacious garden, the restaurant is a perfect choice for a business lunch due to its prime location in the Government district or just for a casual chat with friends.The excellent menu offers a mixture of domestic, Italian and nouveau cuisine and a swanky wine list waiting to complete an eventful lunch or dinner.
Named after the river it overlooks, this restaurant is an idyllic retreat in which to have lunch and shelter from the sun, with a very traditional meaty meal lying in wait. Only problem here might be that during the summer you could end up envying the swimmers taking a cooling and refreshing dip down there below.
If you fancy a proper Bosnian meal, this place is known as the number one in barbequed cevapi and all manner of grilled meats. Kod Muje is a classic old-style eatery, passed down by its local family for years. The restaurant may look like a wooden cabin from the outside, but there is a beautiful terrace and garden and big umbrellas is case of rain or shine.
Another place off the main boulevard this is also almost opposite the city's cultural centre and just metres away from Banja Luka's monument to its World War II heroes. Plenty of filling pizzas on the menu and a cool and spacious alfresco area to relax in too.
Where a fountain splurges ostentatiously in the middle of the alfresco part just as the punters too wave their cash around, in one of the city's more prosperous eateries. Situated on a pleasant street, just outside the centre of town, here's where you can sample superior Italian fare in superior surroundings.
A fish restaurant oozing with architectural and culinary charm, 'Alas' serves up a bewildering range of piscatorial delights to its customers, though the waiter might take a bit of time before bringing your plate to the table. But 'slow food' is the best kind, as we all know, so sit back, enjoy the pleasant surroundings and sip your drink, secure in the knowledge that at some point your taste buds are about to get a real treat.
Mexican restaurant with generous portions, in a great location in the city centre.
Has unique location, in a old Kastel fortress in a center of Banja Luka, overlooking Vrbas River.
Another restaurant overlooking the Vrbas River, with a great menu and moderate prices.
The only chinese restaurant left in Banja Luka, also with a great Italian menu. The restaurant overlooks the Vrbas River.