Belgrade included in the Michelin restaurant guide for the first time ever
My favourite city in Europe joins the Michelin... tribe
In the early part of the 1990s, Yugoslavia began dissolving following years of cultural and political turmoil. In 1991, Slovenia became the first former Yugoslavian Socialist Republic to break free and become its own country, followed by Croatia and Macedonia, and then Bosnia. Serbia and Montenegro remained together until 2006, when they both became independent.
Belgrade, the current capital city of Serbia, also served as the capital city of Yugoslavia, which means that it spent 50-odd years picking up influences from both the East and the West, Muslim and Christian Catholic and Orthodox cultures, resulting in a multi-faceted cuisine with a million different accents. Because of its geographical characteristics and location, it also managed to throw some Greek and Turkish elements in the mix, as well as Hungarian and German cuisine because Belgrade has two major rivers and one of them is the Danube, a river that belongs to no one country, but waters ten.
It's a harsh truth but suffering is one of the things that contribute to the development of a strong and rich culinary heritage. Hardship breeds ingenuity and very few cities in Europe have seen what Belgrade has seen. However, one of the things the city had never seen, until now at least, was a Michelin guide feature.
Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michelin Guides said that after 120 years, the Michelin guide wants to keep sharing the world’s best culinary destinations and, "Belgrade is a place where tradition rubs shoulders with effervescent young talent ready to shine. Food and drink are engrained in the everyday lives of the Serbian people".
A team of anonymous and independent inspectors will evaluate restaurants based on standard worldwide criteria and will then compile a shortlist which will be included in the Michelin guide for Serbia and Belgrade.
I spent quite some time in Belgrade and there's something about the city and the vibe that just made me tick. I was actually supposed to go back last August but my flight was cancelled - you can imagine why - so that's on hold for now. I've never personally cared much for Michelin guides but I know they matter a lot to a lot of people, and I know that several professionals in the industry hold Michelin stars and guides in high regard.
Mind you, I'm not sure my favourite bar will make the list. The location is excellent, near the Church of St Sava, but the menu is not what you'd call 'varied', and the name is not subtle. It's called Molotov.