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Vegan in Belgrade: Tips and Tastes

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

Our friends back in the United States feared we would be enduring the great starvation experiment moving to the land of meat, milk, cheese and butter, where national dishes are heavy on ground and grilled meats (known as ćevapi) and egg and cheese pies.


🥩 🥛 🧈 🥚🧀


We soon learned of the practice of "posno," which translates to "fasting." The Serbian Orthodox fast for certain periods of time throughout the year--usually before Christmas (Božić), which falls on January 7th in The Balkans, as well as before Easter and certain days of the week. The fasting is done forty days prior to each holiday, and entails the avoidance of meat, dairy, eggs and lard.


Honey in a jar.
Honey is considered "posno," but is NOT vegan.






Fish 🐟 (which for some reason Serbs do not believe constitutes as meat 🥩 ) and honey 🍯 are, however, permitted during lentenesque fasts, and are considered "posni," "posno, "posna," "post," "lenten," "fasting" or "ПOСНИ."










If you're vegan like me, do keep that in mind when you are ordering anything labeled "posno."


When in doubt, I print out and carry around a few copies of what I refer to as my "V-Card," and save a copy in my phone's image gallery for added peace of mind. I've shared my V-Cards with many a server, chef and tour guide throughout the Balkans and beyond; this handy trick has spared me many-a-headache and stomachache throughout the years.


The practice of fasting seeks to honor Jesus' sacrifice in his withdrawal into the desert for forty days and forty nights, setting the stage for deep reflection. Other Christians may elect to fast throughout this period, withdrawing from certain foods, festivities, entertainment, alcohol or other vices. Fasting represents the synergy of the mind and soul (pneuma) and the body (soma), and is an important spiritual discipline to guard against gluttony and impure thoughts, deeds and words. True fasting is not meant to be conducted as a form of masochistic suffering, but as a silent joy, followed by increased prayer and charity, repenting of one’s sins and reaching out in love.


Abstaining from food places our minds and bodies in a specific state, an altered or non-ordinary state of consciousness. One could say the senses are seemingly heightened; it's little wonder many holy men experienced such profound ascetic epiphanies during fasts.


Fasting is a tradition present in many cultures and religions throughout the world with about as many variations as a human mind might conceive of.


While Jesus totally abstained from the consumption of any food according to Scriptures, Orthodox Christians choose to fast by consuming simple Lenten products in moderation with great mindfulness.



 

I've likely bored you all to tears with the anthropology of food, and so without any further ado, allow me the honor of being your living, breathing North American field guide to surviving as a vegan in this glorious country I've come to love so much and so well-Serbia!



 

Recommended Fare and Foodstuff


We'll begin this culinary journey with one of my favorite categories-sweets. I am a sweet fiend, a sugar cat, sugar junkie, and a self-described fruit bat! I'd probably snort powdered sugar if you placed it before me in a tray given the right accoutrements! The amount of glucose fueling my brain is legendary. As a connoisseur with a lifetime's worth of taste-filled experience, I pronounce the following worthy of honorable mention for this highly-esteemed category:



🫐🍓🍒 Sweet Stuff 🍒🍓🫐



🍰 Ćao Šećeru is my favorite vegan patisserie in all Belgrade. It was the first all-vegan sweet shop I happened upon post-long run when embarking upon this grand adventure with my husband overseas. Beyond the nostalgia factor, and my loving adoration of Jelena (AKA Fibi) who works there, make no mistake, my accolades for Ćao Šećeru are given based on merit- the taste, texture, consistency, freshness, innovation, presentation and healthiness variables all factor into my ranking equation. The following images will serve as evidence undergirding my effusive love!

Cakes at Ćao Šećeru.
Čoko Limun and Borovnica-pistać cakes, and the Čoko and Manila Mafin from Ćao Šećeru.

Ćao Šećeru vegan cafe in Belgrade, Serbia.
A street view of Ćao Šećeru. A pilgrimage was made.

Scroll through the gallery above to browse through their menu.

The choco and manilla muffins in the foreground, while the chaco-orange and blueberry-pistachio cake slices pose appetizingly in the background.
The choco and manilla muffins in the foreground, while the choco-orange and blueberry-pistachio cake slices pose appetizingly in the background.

Chocolate Orange Cake at Cao Seceru in Belgrade.
Čoko oranž torte and Čoko oranž kapkejk.

Vegan cookie.
Vegan cookie.

Scroll through Ćao Šećeru's Instagram page for more tantalizing "food porn."


 

🍰 Rock'n'Raw gets high marks from me as an exquisite vegan sweets shop. Each cake, doughnut, bar and energy ball is gluten and flour free, fully-raw and all flavor. The names of each treat are inspired by the world of Rock-&-Roll:


  • The Star Man (David Bowie)

  • Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)

  • She's a Rainbow (The Rolling Stones)

  • Cheri Cheri Lady (Modern Talking)

  • Light My Fire (The Doors)

  • Yellow Submarine (The Beatles)

  • Here Comes the Sun (The Beatles)

  • A Kind of Magic (Queen)

  • Baby I Love You (The Ramones)

  • Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones)

  • Superstar (Playboy)

Raw vegan cakes at Rock'n'Raw
"Here Comes the Sun" raw vegan carrot cake, Rainbow and Choco Krawfna (doughnuts) and "One Way" cake.

Rock'n'Raw sweets are made in a kitchenratory with great skill and finesse. All unaltered raw materials and an imaginative presentation, spiced with love to fill you with rock and roll energy! A magical taste, courtesy of the sweets alchemist Dejana Popović.

Prepare to embark upon a stellar adventure of chocolate nougat galaxies and nebulae of wild berries. These sweets are always an epic hit with me.


 

🍦 Crna Ovca, translates to "Black Sheep," and serves a small, but tasty selection of vegan ice creams, including lovely colorful sorbets and a water-based black chocolate flavor.


Crna Ovca ice cream shop in Belgrade, Serbia.
The edifice of Crna Ovca, with cozy cushions laid along the windowsill.

Vegan ice cream cone from CRNA OVCA in Belgrade.
Vegan ice cream cone with vegan currant, kiwi and raspberry and vegan chocolate flavors from Crna Ovca.

 

🍦 Kolibri Eismanufaktur is a newer Austrian-influenced ice cream shop with exciting, unique flavors including Hokkaido pumpkin, basil, chocolate-cherry sorbet, cinnamon, black cherry, strawberry, nettle and berry, ginger and counting! Every staff member I've encountered has been a delight to speak with--especially Sanja, who explained to me the fascinating and harrowing process of preparing the nettle and berry ice cream. The anguish of taming stinging nettle through many washings and boilings is no simple task for the faint of heart. I have a colossal amount of respect for Sanja after my first (and hopefully only!) run-in with stinging nettle while in Athens. The creativity of this ice cream shop is novel and delicious.




Kolibri's vegan waffle cone, filled with scoops of handmade nettle and berry ice cream, pineapple and ginger flavors.
Kolibri's vegan waffle cone, filled with scoops of vegan handmade nettle and berry ice cream, pineapple and ginger flavors.

 

🍦 Luff Gelato is another ice cream shop with some good options on a hot summer's day. The cones served are also vegan. The vegan dark chocolate sorbet, fig and pineapple-chili ice creams are splendid.


Vegan ice cream cone at LUFF Gelato in Belgrade.
Vegan dark chocolate, pineapple and chili pepper another vegan flavor and atop a vegan cone from LUFF.

 

🍰 Zdrawo Slatko has a wonderful selection of vegan cakes and other sweets, and is located on the second floor of Palilula Market.


Palilulska pijaca (Palilula market).
Palilulska Pijaca (Palilula Market) from the outside.

Treats pictured above from Zdrawo Slatko:

  • Malina torta

  • Čoko-moko torta

  • Zdrawo slatko snickers

  • Kikiriki štanglica

  • Bajadera

  • Medenjak


 

🍰 ŠecerNo features handmade unique raw vegan cakes and treats using natural fruits, such as dates for sweeteners. A fantastic place for those who are vegan, diabetic, vegetarian, fasting or looking to support a small local vendor. Located in Titel, ŠecerNo delivers to Belgrade, Titel, Knicanin, Perlez, Zrenjanin, Kikindi and Novi Sad.



 

🍰 Bemata 2 features some better-than-decent and very pretty raw vegan cakes, but we found their other dishes to be rather on the lackluster edge of the spectrum.



 

🍰 Mandarina Cake Shop, while not strictly a vegan patisserie, serves mono-portions of exquisitely decadent vegan cakes from time-to-time, and is well-worth an investigative detour to check if they have any in stock for the day.



VeGun Tart, with hazelnut filled with dark chocolate, coconut, pistachio cream and blackberry jam.
VeGun Tart made of hazelnut filled with dark chocolate, coconut, pistachio cream and blackberry jam. at Mandarina.


Mandarina VeGun tart.
Deconstructing and taking a bite out of the decadent VeGun tart from Mandarina.

 

🍰 Poslastičarnica Šuma (The Forest) is an in-house bakery and pastry shop located in the heart of the Bohemian quarters of Skadarlija, with some solidly nice vegan cake options, some of which are sugar and gluten-free as well. My personal favorite selection was the Lešnik torta, or broken hazelnut cake, gluten-free and naturally sweetened with dates and dark sugar-free chocolate for crust,


Forest Cake, with marzipan and forest fruit, and the Hazelnut Cake, with lots of hazelnuts and cocoa.
Forest Cake, with marzipan and forest fruit, and the Hazelnut Cake, with lots of hazelnuts and cocoa.



Another vantage point of the above cakes from Poslastičarnica Šuma (The Forest).
Another vantage point of the above vegan cakes from Poslastičarnica Šuma (The Forest).


 

🍲🍴 Cost-effective, Posthaste, Toothsome 🍴🍲


In this category, you will find some delectable delights made-to-order quickly, affordably and tastefully.



🌮 La Taqueria serving up some veganized traditional Mexican tacos, pico de gallo, guacamole, grilled vegetables, beans...and oh-my-goodness-gracious, do they know how to marinate mushrooms! Honestly, the best Mexican cuisine we've tasted throughout our travels abroad.


Their menu catchphrase is more than fitting: "100% Tacos made by Mexicans."


Alambre Ortodoxo from the vegan section of the menu at La Taqueria in Belgrade.
Alambre Ortodoxo from the Veganski section of the menu.

Vegan Taco Plate from the vegan section of the menu at La Taqueria in Belgrade.
The Vegan Taco Plate from La Taqueria.

La Taqueria - vegan tacos
Another day, another Vegan Taco Plate from La Taqueria.

Guacamole at La Taqueria in Belgrade, Serbia.
A side of guacamole at La Taqueria.

The Veganski section of La Taqueria's menu in Belgrade, Serbia.
The Veganski section of La Taqueria's menu.

 

🌯🥙 Tortilla Casa allows you to create custom burritos, bowls, salads and they have an excellent Scorpion hot sauce.


Tortilla Casa. A custom vegan burrito
The anatomy of a jam-packed plant-based vegan burrito with Scorpion Sauce from Tortilla Casa.

Vegan burrito and scorpion sauce at Tortilla Casa.
A hefty integral tortilla, filled with vegan goodness with double the Scorpion sauce from Tortilla Casa.

Two noteworthy cousins of Tortilla Casa are Burrito Madre and El Camión Loco, a self-described Californian taqueria on wheels. Both of the aforementioned permit patrons to customize their own burritos or bowls with loads of fresh vegan-friendly ingredients.


El Camión Loco food delivery in Belgrade, Serbia.
Some lovely packaging for our Wolt delivery of El Camión Loco. (The Cream Fresca and Cheddar Dip are NOT vegan. James is vegetarian.).

 

🥔 🍟 Patatas serves fresh French fries cooked before your very eyes. I enjoy a thick smattering of spicy ketchup, and James and I always look forward to a friendly greeting by our jocular friend, Dean who works there.


One fateful and dark night in the rain, all bundled up in thick jackets, Dean recognized us from across the way, and beamed us a bright smile and hearty greeting. In spite of the other countless pedestrians strolling by, he recognized us from his perch, and committed to one of the most enthusiastic waves we've ever been on the receiving end of!


(Need I say we were FREQUENT patrons?).


Customer service: 20 / 10!



A paper cone of French fries.
A paper cone overflowing with fresh hot French fries and spicy ketchup.


 

🥔 Potato's, not to be confused with Patata's above, serves only one thing - monstrous mega baked potatoes filled with customizable toppings (olives, ajvar, mushrooms, corn, beets, pickles or other vegetables).


Large potato with vegan fillings
A vegan mega potato, filled with beets, ajvar, corn and pickles somewhere down there beneath the spread.


Be sure to request a POSNO potato to ensure olive oil is used instead of butter.

POSNO Serbian packaging to encase a mega potato.
"POSNO"packaging encasing the behemoth potato.

Vegan potato, stuffed with vegetables and topped with a generous helping of ajvar!
Another delightful vegan potato, choc-full of ajvar (a tasty, and more-often-than-not vegan-friendly pepper spread).

 

🌯🍚🥢 Sushirrito has some of the finest tasting rice in all Belgrade. They have many vegan options, and allow you to customize a vegan sushi roll or veggie bowl to your specifications.


Vegan sushi burrito in Belgrade
A customized vegan sushi burrito, with radishes, edamame, carrots, iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, tofu and vegan chili sauce. (And, no, that little globule of rice pictured bottom right did not go to waste!).

They have a wide selection of vegan sauces which aren't at all too salty or boring. The seaweed salad, miso soup and edamame are also vegan.


Seasweed salad from Sushiritto in Belgrade.
Seaweed Salad from Sushirrito in Belgrade.

 

🥙🥬🍲 Rai Urban Vege has some of the best vegan pad Thai and fresh spring rolls wrapped in rice paper I've ever tasted. They have other menu items too, ranging from stuffed sweet potatoes, rice bowls, plant-based burgers, sweet potato sticks, hummus, curries, salads and raw desserts.


Vegan pad thai in Rai Urban Vege.
Vegan pad Thai from Rai Urban Vege in Belgrade, Serbia.

 

🥙🌯🥗 Hanan Shawarma Jerusalim is a Lebanese restaurant offering vegan dishes including customizable pita wrapped sandwiches with optional fillings including hummus, falafel, tahini, French fries, rice, salads, grilled vegetables and tabbouleh.


VEGAN FALAFEL SENDVIČ in Belgrade.
VEGAN FALAFEL SENDVIČ at Hanan Shawarma Jerusalim.

Falafel Sandwich meal at Hanan Shawarma Jerusalim.
Falafel Sandwich meal at Hanan Shawarma Jerusalim.

 

Cypress Tacos serves up some vegan Mexican street food including a vegan burrito and taco, vegan falafel salad and vegan tofu salad. If you find you need something sweet to appease your tastebuds, a few steps up the street, and you'll be at Ćao šećeru, which is an absolute, non-negotiable must-taste on your vegan tour through Belgrade.


Cypress Tacos in Belgrade, Serbia
Cypress Tacos restaurant edifice, with a vegan menu chalkboard on display.

 

BašTa salata is a place where you can customize your own vegan salad bowls, with a variety of raw vegan sweet cakes (Be wary: Some do contain honey).


This cake does contain honey.
A Tropical Hit Raw (almost) Vegan Cake, comprising of mango, blueberry, cocoa, sword powder, almond, cocoa butter, coconut crumbs, cashew nuts, coconut milk, dates and honey.

Mediocre salad, but it got the job done. Hunger was conquered.
A customized vegan falafel and tofu salad from BašTa Salata. Verdict: Not the worst and not the best.

 

🍽 🍷 Fancy Schmancy 🍷 🍽


This section features some higher-end gastronomic victuals.


🫒🍷🥕 Radost Fina Kuhinjica, which my husband wrote about last year, has the best atmosphere. Indoor and outdoor seating, with a lovely secret garden, 🧚🏼‍♀️faerie🧚🏼 lights and playful 🐈 cats 🐈‍⬛. From the portions, the service, the ambiance to the taste and presentation, Radost gets high marks from me as an all-around excellent vegan dining option.


Vegan ramen with rice noodles at Radost

Soup of the day at Radost.

Fresh falafel and tofu burgers, with a colorful side salad at Radost.

James' quesadilla at Radost, which can be made-to-order vegan.

Some vegan chocolate cake, well-plated, from Radost.
Some vegan chocolate cake, well-plated, from Radost.


Above, is a slideshow, featuring the front and back of the menu, and the final image is of the faerie garden outside.



Cats at Radost.
Did I mention Radost has cats in their faerie garden!?! Black cats are said to bring happiness according to some cultural beliefs.

Look for this open door to find Radost.
Radost can be a bit hard to find. Look for this open door and head inside.

 

🍹🍲🍆 Homa Restaurant is a Michelin star restaurant with exceptional food. While it's not strictly a vegan restaurant, and features a sparse handful of vegan options, your taste buds will thank me.


We were introduced to Homa by our ever-helpful friend, Bojan. If there is something you need to know about Belgrade, this is the guy, and if, by some off chance he doesn't know, you can bet he knows a guy or knows a guy who knows a guy who knows!


Rakija cheers at Homa in Belgrade.
Живели! Celebrating a happy reunion with our friend, Bojan, who espouses the belief, "Rakija connects people."

The dishes are next-level good. There are some vegan dishes you may order at restaurants and think, "Oh, this is good," or "Oh, this is really good. I would eat that again," or "Wow, this is supercalifragilisticexpiala-delicious!"


and then...