Sarajevo style ćevapi in Ljubljani – delicious 9

Ćevapi are grilled meat rolls served in the Balkans and originating from Turkey (kebab). There are few different styles of preparation. Here we are going to describe the most famous variation that comes from Sarajevo. Then we will list restaurants (ćevapdžinica’) in Ljubljana that serve this kind of delicacy and compare them.

Meat is the key ingredient. 3/4 are baby beef and 1/4 is mutton for fat. For some mutton has a too strong taste. In that case, use just beef, but cuts with more fat like neck or chuck. It should be salted (up to 2%), added garlic water (garlic cooked in water), and then minced twice. Leave it in the fridge from 12 hours to 48 hours, so the meat will get cured/fermented and it won’t split when grilled. In between, it should be kneaded for 30 minutes. If you prefer lighter/softer ćevapi add baking powder and mix meat again.

Once the meat is prepared you should create rolls. Rolls should be firm. Making them by hand requires some practice, but there are special tube/syringes that will help you with this. You can use one sausage maker or one made/improvised from a plastic bottle.

If possible it should be prepared on charcoal. Heat should be on medium level (red charcoal covered with some ash). If too hot you will get them burned on the outside and raw on the inside. If the fire is too mild by the time they are not raw they will also be too dry. Grills should be greased with beef or mutton tallow.

Once they are finished you should serve them with ‘lepinja’ flat bread, chopped onions, and ‘kajmak’ cheese spread. In Ljubljana, you have few places that come close to the process described above.

10 v pol

Its name means 10 (ćevapi) in half of lepinja. They opened this ćevapđinica back in 2002 in Štepansko naselje at Litijska 47. Interior reminds us of Sarajevo. Here one can enjoy Dino Merlin’s music while tasting many Bosniac dishes. To go back to ćevapi, one portion of 10 ćevapi costs 6,9 €. Ćevap is tasty, medium done, well-shaped, and big enough. Lepinja is soft, wet, not too chewy, and covered in meat flavor. Onions are chopped to the appropriate size and not too strong. Kajmak is fresh and spreadable. You can get ćevapi delivered. Also, they opened one restaurant at the coast in Koper. Overall I would choose this place as the top to try Sarajevo style ćevapi in Ljubljana.

ćevapi_10_v_pol_dostava
ćevapi_10_v_pol_delivery

Sarajevo ’84,

This place succeeded Flex night bar, popular at the time. It is named after the Winter Olympic games that were in Sarajevo in 1984. The Interior is covered with memorabilia from that period. It is located in the city center at Nazorjeva 12 in the cellar below ground level. We had a tradition of visiting this place in December and left with some wild stories from these visits. Hopefully, COVID-19 didn’t close them. They have some interesting personnel but still, I would put them in second place.

ćevapi_sarajevo_84
ćevapi_sarajevo_84

Das ist Valter

Named after a famous line by a German soldier from the movie Valter brani Sarajevo aka Walter Defends Sarajevo: “Sehen Sie diese Stadt? Das ist Walter! aka You see that city? That’s Walter”. They are now almost franchise with 10 locations open in Slovenia, Croatia, and Austria. We will talk here about one in Ljubljana at Njegoševa street 10 near UKC. One portion of 10 ćevapi costs 7 €. Big tasty rolls, lepinja not crunchy enough, kajmak is OK, prebranac too liquid. They have a beautiful garden to enjoy during the summer. I would put them in third place.

Sarajevo style ćevapi in Ljubljani - delicious 9 1

Saraj

Named after Saraj, meaning castle or palace, referring to Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are just 1 minute away (100 meters) from Das ist Valter on Bohoričeva street 1. One portion of 10 ćevapi costs 7,9 €. Similar, nothing to complain about. They have also a beautiful garden to enjoy during the summer. I would put them in fourth place.

Sarajevo style ćevapi in Ljubljani - delicious 9 2

Baščaršija – etno hiša (update 2023-07-20)

New place Baščaršija was opened few months ago. This is forth restaurant by same owner that stareted in Maribor. Here on can enjoy euthentic atmosphere (checkered table cloth, balkan music, interier as whole). I waited 15 minutes to order, later waiter apologized. I took big portion (10 pcs of ćevapi) with kajmak and mineral water. I got order in good time. As for food lepinja/somun (flatbread) was biger than usual, not soggy but full of flavour. Meat rolls were even and smaller than average but tast was ok and they were not dry, kajmak (cheese spread) was salty enough and easy to spread, onion was chopped in bigger chunks then usual but I liked it like this. On way home I ordered 2 baklawas and payed for everything 21 €. Location and interiar are great, food is tasty, service not great and prices to high. So some pluses and some minuses, average.

baščaršija ljubljana
baščaršija ljubljana

Čewapi

This is the Serbian chain Walter with 40 restaurants in 5 countries, but they serve Sarajevo style ćevapi. In Slovenia they took the name Čewapi not to be mixed with Slovenian restaurant Das ist Walter. This is their third location in Ljubljana (Cankar str., Supernova, City Park). Interior is new and modern, but I like old school places for this kind of food.

ćevapi
ćevapi

On menu classics from ćevapi, suđukice, tufahije … Here ćevapi are tasty, somun a bit smaller and dry, onions chopped and inside somun. But kajmak was one of the best I tried in Slovenia, salty, tasty, and spreadable.

Vozi miško!

Again reference to a movie line from “Ko to tamo peva”. They have two locations in Mercator malls, the first one was in Supernova Rudnik, and the second one in Šiška. They have a special marketing trick, their portion has 11 ćevapi, one more than all the other restaurants.

Pavza

This place is in BTC shopping mall. Nice, clean service and they serve good ćevapi.

Bosna

Named after country where Sarajevo is the capital city. It is located in the Nove Fužine neighborhood. I lived there for nearly 30 years. This is more of a fast-food joint, but the food is tasty

Thera are few places that are now closed but had left good impression:

  • Harambaša, Vrtna 8, opened in 2002, moved later to the bank of Ljubljanica, and then closed. They had the greatest interior and with coffee (kahva) you got 1 Drina cigarette
  • Sofra/Merak, Bosniak restaurant in Bežigrad part of town, after few changes in ownership and renaming it is permanently closed.

From Serbia originates an alternative style named after town Leskovac. Preparation is similar, rolls are longer so you eat 5 instead of 10 rolls. Here one should try prebranac (beaked beans) and šobska salad (cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and white cheese). The longest tradition has Čad, since 1964 they offer Leskovac grill in old building and again nice garden. Momo group (members are Rio-center, Dubočica-Moste, Portal-Fužine, Gurman-Vič), Leskovac (more of a fast-food type joint in Levstik’s square), Keršič and Stara pumpa in Šiška, Napoli since 2003 in Nove Jarše, Zoki behind WTC, Maratonec in Bežigrad, Jovo (closed, in Moste), , Ćiro in Vič, Tramvaj (closed; in the center)

Also, there are many places with ćevapi but they don’t do it even close to tradition: Sole, Damayanti close to UKC, ElClasico, Raubar, Zmaj (fast food), Jelen (closed), Ajda (fast food since 1988), Legende in Župančičeva Jama, Pomf in Riviera Trubarjeva street, …

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