Serbian cuisine, as a heterogeneous one, is actually derived from mixed cuisines, mostly influenced by Mediterranean (especially Greek), Hungarian, Turkish and Austrian cuisines. Serbian has a great passion for food in general, having a rich cuisine and a large diversity of alcohol beverages that accompany these fat-rich dishes. The Serbian cuisine is rich in fat meals, and almost every dish contains meat or its derivated. Vegetarian cuisine is not the strength of Serbian cooking and if you are a vegetarian then this might not be the city for you.
The one certain thing about the Serbian cuisine, is the fact that all people in this country will usually serve three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner, lunch being the most consistent one. It usually has three courses: soup, the second course, and a dessert which in most cases will be a baked cake. Desserts range from Turkish-style baklava to Viennese-style tortes. The national drink of Serbia is a plum brandy – slivovica.
Here are some typical Serbian specialties: cevapcici (small rolls of mixed minced meat), all kinds of grilled meat, sarma (stuffed cabbage, minced beef and pork with rice enveloped in pickled cabbage or vine leaves), moussaka (minced pork or beef mixed with eggs and potatoes and then baked), gibanica (pastry leaves mixed with eggs, cheese and then baked), Karadjordjeva snicla (large cyllinder shaped chunk of meat stuffed with kajmak, cheese and ham, usually comes with mayo and french fries), etc. The famous home grown spirits are sljivovica - rakija (plum brandy) and lozovaca (grappa). The choice of wines ranges between Mediterranean and continental types.
There are three areas where dining establishments in Belgrade are concentrated. Of course, the city has good restaurants outside of these areas. You can select an enjoyable place beside the Danube, at the very confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, or at the Belgrade Fortress, which looks over the rivers. And, of course, one of the tourist centers of Belgrade that can’t be missed is Dorćol. Dorćol is one of the oldest parts of the city, which lies alongside Skadarska Street, also called the "bohemian quarter".
DO'S & DON'TS
There are a number of things that you should and shouldn’t do in restaurants in Serbia. Here are some basic guidelines to bear in mind when dining out:
Do book. At most restaurants it isn’t necessary to book a table in advance. If however, you don’t want to be disappointed book in advance.
Don’t concern yourself with dress codes. You can enter every restaurant casually dressed, without a tie.
Don’t expect a non-smoking section. All Belgrade restaurants are smoky. Some restaurants may have no-smoking sections but these are likely to be situated right next to smoking areas.
Do signal waiting staff with hand signals. It is perfectly acceptable to signal waiting staff with your hand.
Don’t pay until the end of the meal. Unless otherwise asked by the waiting staff; and this will usually only be done at the end of a shift; you should pay for your bill at the end of your meal or drinks and not as food or drinks arrive.
Do tip. Rarely will you find a restaurant in Belgrade whose bill has the item "service cost" listed on it. Tips are entirely left up to the guest. If you are unsatisfied with the service, you don't have to leave a tip; if the service has been to your satisfaction, the custom is to leave a tip which is between five and ten percent of the bill.
Do approach the cash register if you have waited to pay. It is perfectly acceptable to go up and pay for your bill if you have waited over-long or are in a rush to leave.
Do try the local wines, beers, spirits and juices. Serbia has on offer a wide range of quality national and local beverages.
Do look your companions in the eye when making a toast: When toasting with drink in Serbia, it is regarded as polite to look others in the eye.