As I mentioned in my last entry, fast food and casual eateries seems to be the way to go in Serbia and its neighbouring countries. Note that I’m not talking about McDonalds (though a good burger joint is always popular) – I’m referring to bakeries (known as pekaras), pizza joints, sandwich bars, and the such. We had two such ‘quick’ fast food meals while in Nis – the first at a chain called Cezar where the tagline is “different fast food”.
Takeaway pizza slices seem to be popular with the local teens, but we opted to eat in at one of their few tables. First up was a slice of the bacon pizza, served with a drizzle of chilli sauce on top. Interestingly when you order a slice of pizza at Cezar’s, the staff will ask you if you want ketchup, mayonnaise or chilli sauce drizzled on top. It’s not served as-is the way we have it in Australia. In any case, the chilli sauce gave the pizza a nice kick of flavour, though it hardly needed it with the super tasty and savoury bacon on top.
We also ordered a slice of the capricciosa pizza (spelt as ‘cappricosa’ in Serbia), though it’s better described as a ham and mushroom pizza as it seemed to lack the artichokes that characterise a good capricciosa. We went sauce-less on the top of this pizza, though this is the one that probably would have benefited from that extra kick of chilli sauce as it was a bit plainer than the bacon pizza. Still, the pizza base itself was cooked well with the type of charcoaling crusting on the base that gives pizza that extra bit of flavour.
On a separate note, I love how they serve pizza with a pizza wheel instead of a knife – it makes so much sense! I told K that on our return to Australia, I intend on opening up a pizza restaurant that offers pizza wheels with every meal. Naturally, this restaurant will be called ‘Wheely Good Pizza’.
Pizza alone isn’t the healthiest meal, so we decided to order a salad as well. The only salad available was the Cezar Salata, a play on the traditional caesar salad. The server asked us if we wanted cheese and sour cream on the salad, and we thought….why not, a bit can’t hurt? This is why not. There’s no such thing as a moderate amount of cheese and cream here – it’s all or nothing! We ended up scraping off most of the cream and cheese off the salad to save our lactose-intolerant stomachs. Unfortunately the salad itself was quite bland and boring, without the fresh crispy romaine lettuce that really characterises a good caesar salad.
We finished off our meal with a serve of the Pomfrit, or french fries. Not much to say here – they were nice and crispy, and the ketchup on top was a nice touch for me, but less so for K who prefers plain fries.
All in all, Cezar’s is really the type of fast food joint where you stop in for a generous slice of above-average pizza, rather than linger over a longer meal. Try some of the chilli sauce on your pizza slice!
Cezar is located at 47a Nikole Pasica in Nis, Serbia.
Our next stop for a ‘fast food lunch’ was at one of the many pekaras in Nis city centre, where every local will drop in for a pastry or some burek. We opted for one of the larger pekaras with seating available – Pekara Brankovic – rather than a small takeaway pekara. They have 18 branches scattered around the greater Nis area, but we went to one of the more central locations a mere minute’s walk from Nis Fortress.
Between the two of us we ordered a spinach and cheese pie (100 dinars), a French pastry with ham and cheese (80 dinars) and a palacinke with Eurocrem (65 dinars). Don’t even bother with ordering palacinke (pancake) from Pekara Brankovic – our was extremely underdone and disappointing. Palacinke is really something you need to order fresh from a small stall on the street, not something you get from a bakery. The pie was a much better choice with a good amount of spinach and salty cheese inside, and as an added bonus it wasn’t as oily as burek normally is.
For a full list of Pekara Brankovic locations in Nis, visit their website.
We tried the two different types of fast food that Nis is most famous for from two different eateries. Pizza slices are definitely my pick over the usual bakery/pekara fare – I think it’s a lot easier to find a tasty pizza slice, than it is to find a good pastry. Unfortunately healthier fast food options are less readily found in this area, and I did find myself craving a green juice and a coconut chia seed pudding to cleanse my palate after the heavier and oilier meals in Nis!