Two weeks ago my friend Clem and I went to check out if it is really true that Bistro Sarajevo has a very good offer of traditional Bosnian pies. It happened the rumors were true. Clem, who also writes for Manjada and is vegetarian, was more than delighted with the non-greasy zeljanica she got.
These cheerful and helpful ladies will make you feel like at home
Bistro Sarajevo is an ethnic eatery whose offer concentrates on traditional Bosnian specialties like omnipresent ćevapčići but also burek, zeljanica and sirnica can be found in their daily menu. The last three are names of traditional Bosnian pies made from a special pastry dough so thin you can read newspapers through it. Burek is filled with minced beef, sirnica is filled with young and salted cow or, even better, sheep cheese similar to feta while zeljanica in addition to cheese has spinach (although the tradition asks for some special wild edible plant).
Zeljanica was simply fantastic in its lightness, not greasy at all as it is often the case in many bakeries. The dough was crunchy enough and cheese was tasty and not too salted. The spinach was most probably frozen but it was good enough. Afterwards the waitress told us they were not satisfied with the Bosnian pies you can get in Pula’s bakeries so they hired an experienced Bosnian women to make these delicacies jut for them.
Of course, I also wanted to try their daily marenda offer (30 kn) to benchmark it with the offer of other joints I visited or I am going to visit. And here it was, a classic marenda dish.
Polpete (meatballs) in tomato sauce with steamed potatoes. The meatballs were tasty but a bit too stiff for my taste, I prefer when they fall apart when you touch it with a piece of bread. Maybe there was too much eggs or, God forbid, flour inside? I noticed also that the meat quality was not not at the highest level but acceptable. The tomato sauce was not bad but it had a too intense flavor – they used some flavor enhancer (Vegeta) and thickened it with roux (zaprška). If only for roux they had used olive oil instead of vegetable oil the final result would have been much better. Thumbs up for the choice of steamed potatoes as side dish.
Vegeta and bad roux are symptoms of the old-school cooking that still predominates in Croatian restaurants.
Nevertheless, although the decor of Bistro Sarajevo is a bit worn out and not very inviting, the food was tasted much better and it was much healthier than in Bistro Torta that I visited last time. I will come again here, that’s for sure.
Porta Stovagnana 10, Pula
phone +385 52 418 145
Now, you want to know how the real zeljanica looks and tastes like? Then you’ll have to meet Zumra from Prokoško jezero, mountain village in Central Bosnia, who prepares the most delicious zeljanica in the whole universe! I am going back to Bosnia this summer, that is more than certain.