When visiting any city as a traveler, one of the biggest questions will always be, “Where should I eat?” And when asking this, I am always hopeful to find THE local spot that will put the food culture of that city on display. After searching and asking around for the last two years, it turns out that Podgorica, Montenegro, has two places where locals point visitors. One is more popular than the other, however, debate rages across chatrooms, info boards and across tables about which one is the best.
Located near the city center in the Old Town known as Stara Varos, Pod Volat is a favorite among locals and will usually be one of the first places a traveler will get recommended. The name is Serbian and Turkish meaning “Under the Arch”. Stara Varos is a Muslim area that also contains Turkish ruins on the riverbank. The family who owns the restaurant is also Muslim, so be aware that there is no pork on the menu.
Speaking of the menu, it contains various offerings from traditional Montenegrin fare. Sarma, seasoned beef-stuffed cabbage in a tomato-based broth, and gulaš are a hearty, comforting reminder of grandma’s cooking. The Balkan-style gulaš has flavorful bite-size pieces of roasted beef in a tomato-based soup.
The favorite here seems to be ordering a plate of ćevapi (order with pomfrit fries) while sitting on the patio basking in the perfect sunny day. THAT is really the main attraction for this local favorite: ambiance. Enjoying the company of a good friend and sharing stories all while admiring the old stone decor on the inside and open air of the patio.
Pod Pločom sits on the outskirts of Podgorica, as you head toward Nikšić. It is on the right hand side driving away from town. Be aware there is no sign, so it’s easy to pass. This is a hidden gem in Podgorica! Tables will fill with men between 10am and 12pm for coffee or snack. However, between 12pm and 2pm, the crowds form for lunch. Usually around 5pm, a new crowd will gather once again.
The main servings come straight off the rostilj (grill). They specialize in savory, grilled meats. For a good variety order a mixed meat platter. Here it is special because they ask which meats to add or avoid to prepare the best plate possible. And, remember to always order for one less. A party of five should order for four.
The menu is not as diverse as Pod Volat, but for those looking to forgo the grilled meats, we recommend the schnitzel, a tenderized, pork steak which is run through a batter and fried to perfection. We also suggest the šopska salata, made with a combination of fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and local cheese. It is a local staple that perfectly compliments main dishes, and it can also stand alone while eating the buttery, freshly baked bread.
We welcome you to try both places (and maybe even call us to join you). Join the conversation and eat like a local.