Restaurant SarajevoAddress: 2701 W. Lawrence
Phone: (773) 275-5310
I didn’t know Balkan food existed until I moved to Lincoln Square, and now I have four restaurants to choose from (maybe more?). The Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe bridges the Austrian-Hungarian area to Mediterranean countries like Greece, Italy and Turkey, which is probably why I like the food from this region so much. It feels a little exotic, and yet there are some familiar names on the menu such as schnitzel, kabob and alfredo.
Restaurant Sarajevo is the perfect place to try Balkan (or Bosnian to be more specific) food in a warm atmosphere, preferably with loved ones. Ignore the fact that it’s located on a less-than-aesthetically-pleasing stretch of Lawrence Avenue. Once inside you’ll feel like you’re in a Euro-cafe where you are welcomed like a friend and the food is made with care. The owner is one of the nicest men I’ve ever met.
His wife runs the kitchen as if she’s cooking up a family dinner, complete with homemade bread (served with an addictive cheese spread called Kajmak), freshly prepared soups and salads ($4-$5) and platters of meats. To get a good sampler, try their “Bosnian Mixed Plate” which includes grilled veal, chicken kabob, Cevapcici (a specialty sausage) and Pljeskavica (a ground lamb-beef patty stuffed with cheese).
If you prefer poultry, go for the chicken medallions on croutons with mushroom sauce. Grilled fish and calamari are available for the pescetarians. Most entrees run in the $12-$13 range and are accompanied by your choice of side dishes. I recommend the creamed spinach or the deceptively named “boiled potatoes” (which are more like really good au gratin potatoes).
Open daily at 9 a.m., they also serve breakfast for ~$5 (omelets or eggs with homemade sausage) and they offer high-speed wireless Internet access. Restaurant Sarajevo is BYOB, and they will waive the corkage fee if you call ahead to make a reservation.