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:
A wine aficionado, wine writer, explorer of Serbian wine history, co-founder of #ProkupacDay, wine critic, editor-in-chief of website www.vinopedia.rs, an avid traveler, and a hedonist.
Has there been a new project lately?
For 5 years already, we have been celebrating international #ProkupacDay on 14th October. It’s an event aimed at the promotion of Serbian wines and Prokupac, the flagship grape variety of Serbia. This year, the event was held in Kragujevac, Aleksandrovac, and Belgrade, where we assembled all Prokupac wine producers together with live music performed by Vasil Hadžimanov band.
What do you like about Belgrade?
I like its gritty charm. It’s an ever-changing city that always surprises you… Sometimes it’s grey and shabby but suddenly turns to futuristic and modern, sometimes green and relaxing but suddenly turns to overcrowded… What’s constant is that it’s never boring or monotonous. I have traveled a lot but still haven’t found its peer. I love living in Belgrade.
Where do you like to go out?
I like Belgrade’s wine bars. Wine culture has really evolved in recent years, so there are a lot of wine bars and places with a decent wine list. But, it’s also fun during the weekend, to take a morning stroll around the Kalenić marketplace, pick some fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, meat, and dairy products and later invite friends for a dinner paired with some wine from my collection…
Name 3 of your favorite restaurants in the city?
It’s not easy to choose only 3 ….hehe… Anyhow, Let’s say Homa Restaurant for their creative cuisine blending local ingredients and international flair. Miamiam Restaurant for Asian fusion cuisine… And something quite new… A small authentic Chinese restaurant opened just a few weeks ago, called Chuan Chuan Xiang in downtown Belgrade. The food is a mix of Sichuan and Xian dishes, and I am happy to discover authentic Chinese food, not the Europeanized interpretation of Chinese cooking which is often found in most Chinese restaurants in Belgrade… The food there reminds me of my last year’s trip to China and their street food.
Where do you drink coffee?
I live in Vračar area, quite close to St. Sava church and Čubura, so I enjoy drinking morning coffee at Kafeterija in Mekenzijeva street. Another favorite spot for coffee drinking is my balcony with an open view of the interior garden filled with lush greenery and fig tree, hidden behind the fences of Neimar.
Where do you spend your leisure time?
I enjoy spending time in nature, so when in Belgrade, I enjoy spending time close to the riverside. During weekends, I enjoy hiking, so my favorite spots are the mountains of East Serbia (Homolje, Suva Planina, Stara Planina, Tupižnica, etc).
Name your 3 favorite locations in Belgrade and justify your choice:
Kalenić market place – it’s hard to find that richness of local flavors and aromas elsewhere… Local products, high-quality vegetables and fruit, and the place where I can find the best homemade butter.
A hidden inner courtyard in Zemun ( address: Gospodska No. 4) – Inside a quiet courtyard, reminiscent of Austria-Hungarian times, there is a grape vine spreading across the facade of the house. This grapevine is more than 120 years old and it’s a witness of the times when local families planted grapevine in front of their houses to bring shade and fruit. Currently, this grapevine is protected by the state as the natural heritage.
The garden of Mezestoran Dvorište – the restaurant’s garden and menu brings together Crete, the Adriatic sea, the Middle East, the Balkans, and Andalusia. It reminds me that Belgrade is both a Mediterranean and Central European city.