In our new column Meet a local we present interesting individuals from different professional fields living in Belgrade. The idea is to get to know some locals and their favorite neighborhoods and venues in the city.
Please introduce yourself to our readers:
Hi I’m Nikoleta Rakocevic, I’m an educator, teacher trainer, simultaneous interpreter and an animal lover.
Has there been a new project lately?
I’ve been working on a new Serbian Language and Food workshop, a new year’s special for all those who want to learn functional Serbian through cooking and fun. The goal of all our Serbian workshops is to help participants naturally acquire, through learning by doing, some functional language that they can immediately use outside the classroom when ordering food, shopping, etc.. Also,together with my team in our language center Queen Victoria Education, we’re close to the completion of our new, unique functional language courses, workshops and trainings in Belgrade, and I can’t wait for 2019 and the new enrollment period to come and the team to share all our novelties with all language learners in Serbia and abroad in online lessons!
What do you like about Belgrade?
Its greenery! It’s one of the greenest cities in Europe, there’s parks and little patches of grass everywhere, just perfect places to sit and enjoy Belgrade’s summer or winter sun, cheerful people and great energy! Its spirit and uniqueness linger in the air, there’s a magic to Belgrade that can’t be explained, defined or put into words, and who am I to even try? (read a page or two from Momo Kapor’s The magic of Belgrade).
Where do you like to go out?
Belgrade’s cultural life is absolutely amazing. There’s something for everyone! Dorcol’s national theatre, an alternative theatre made in the midst of shacks in Solunska street, hosts amazing plays, where audience sit together around an old Smederevac wood stove, sip mulled wine, all in different chipped cups and mugs btw, and watch the actors run and scream around them. A perfect evening out with your best girls!On Sundays, Aleksandar Club coffee shop and ski slope, on the Kosutnjak forest edge, with a jaw droopingly stunning view to the whole of New Belgrade, New bridge and a part of the old city. Romantic, cozy, great for dog owners and lovers, kids and families, great food as well, just heaven for me!
Name 3 of your favorite restaurants in the city?
I love eating out!
Taverna Piatakia in Zemun (piatakia means ‘little plate’ in Greek)! They make genuine Greek food, and the whole place looks like a Greek island! The owner and chef is Greek, and just the smell of his food will literally make your mouth water and if you want some Greek fun, he likes braking plates too! If you’re looking for a great event venue pay them a visit – they organize weddings, Christening parties, birthdays and business celebrations there!
Caruso on top of Serbian Chamber of Commerce building is a place I visit regularly, mainly because of the delicious food and a great view, and the best fish and seafood I’ve eaten in Belgrade is definitely in Konoba &Wine Bar Tata Mata. I haven’t visited them for quite a few years now, I hope they keep the same quality and service. As for street food, that would be sooooo hard to say, Belgrade is renowned for it cheap and super tasty street food. There are little grill stands at literally any and every corner in the middle of nowhere.
Where do you drink coffee?
Morning home-made Greek coffee with my boy friend, pungent and full of taste, nothing compares to it. Otherwise, since I am a real coffee lover, it has to be either a place specialized in coffee making, or a place where I know they serve good coffee. Greenet in Nusiceva is a non-smoking place, so I spend a lot of time there.
And then wherever I am at the point of time- Koffein, Aviator, Java on Senjak – that might actually be my favorite one, and there’s a bunch of other little coffee shops with great coffee all around Belgrade.
Where do you spend your leisure time?
In Kosutnjak forest with my dogs.
At Ada Ciganlija lake, but not in the summer, since I hate crowds, cycling, enjoying the sun, pampering myself and eating homemade sausages in Gavez club, a really cool alternative place where ”improvisation is stronger than the system” as they say!
Hiking around Serbia, travelling and making road trips, even just for a day.
Name your 3 favorite locations in Belgrade and justify your choice.
Water… we are water, the world is water, what else is there to say? The rivers Danube and Sava – anywhere on their banks! Is there anywhere else in the world where you have two rivers meeting, such nice banks for walking, cycling, places not commercialized (yet!) where you can get your piece of peace and quiet. There’s a bunch of coffee shops on both rivers that do not spoil or disturb the piece at all and so much greenery and dogs everywhere. Paradise for me. So simple yet so perfect.
Ada lake and the surroundings.
Tašmajdan Park, for its history. It’s a park built on an old graveyard. There’s a rattling story behind its establishment. And yet, it is a very happy place. Coincidence? Taš has really calming and revitalizing energy. I’ve been told that it’s the only place in the world where you go underground and see real human bones and bone imprints in the ceiling (tours are closed now unfortunately, but Belgrade is also known to have one of the most mysterious and still not fully discovered system of underground caves and tunnels in the world).
Dragana Kostica is the Belgrade-based editor in chief and founder of Still in Belgrade art, culture and club scene magazine. She holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Policy and Management in Arts (MA of Arts) and a Bachelor degree in Archaeology.