I’m not going to lie, K and I made some rude jokes about the name of this cafe. While it looks like Tramvaj, I believe that it’s actually supposed to be translated into English as Tramway. However as we are incredibly juvenile, we kept pronouncing it as Tramvaj. Anyway.
Tramway is located on the main pedestrian street of Nis in Serbia, and is unique in that it’s one of the few places that actually offers food as well as drinks. We walked past a million small bars serving drinks but Tramway was one of the few that served food as well. While they do specialise in desserts (choose between twenty different types of ice-cream sundaes!), there’s also a few sandwiches and salads you can choose from.
The distinguishing feature of Tramway is the way they are set up – the whole interior of the cafe is designed as though it is a tram from the 1950s. The bar and kitchen area is like the exterior of a tram, and the seating are small tram seats – so the booths can be a little bit tight! Like most cafes and bars in Serbia, Tramway is also a free-smoking bar so be prepared to sit and eat with people all around you puffing away on cigarettes.
K started off with ordering a Lemonade, which was essentially just slightly diluted unsweetened lemon juice. The expectation is that you sweeten the lemonade yourself, hence they drop off a sugar canister at your table at the same time as the lemonade. The main problem with this is that even if you put in a few shakes of the sugar canister, the sugar doesn’t actually dissolve properly so you’re still left with an incredibly sour lemonade.
We shared a sandwich – a Ham, Cheese and Mushroom Sandwich. Unfortunately it seemed as though the mushrooms came out of a tin, and the grated cheese would have been better if it had been melted slightly. Still, it’s a pretty standard sandwich in a roll and at the cost of $2.50 AUD, it was surprisingly cheaper than many of the options at local fast-food outlets.
We also shared a Fresh Salad With Feta, a simple mix of chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, sliced jarred olives and cubed feta cheese. While the salad itself was nothing special (a few too many olives and a little over-dressed for my liking), the feta was incredibly creamy and rich – one of the best fetas I’ve ever tasted.
Choosing to stay healthy, we ordered a Fruit Cup to round off our meal rather than an ice-cream sundae. I was hoping for a selection of fresh fruit as we’d been finding it difficult to buy nice fruit in Nis – much of the produce in the local supermarket was bruised, wrinkly, or mushy.
Unfortunately, a number of the items on this platter were actually from tins – tinned cherries, tinned strawberries and tinned pineapple (which had gone slightly off). It was quite disappointing and given that it wasn’t all fresh fruit, the cost of the platter seemed over-inflated.
I can’t rave about our meal at Tramway Cafe – too much of what they serve isn’t fresh. If I wanted to have food out of a can, I would make it myself in my hotel room, not pay an inflated price for it in a smoky cafe. I suspect that Tramway is the type of place you go for a coffee and a slice of cake or a scoop of ice-cream – somewhere you go for a snack rather than for a full meal.
Tramway Cafe is located at 20 Obrenoviceva in Nis, Serbia.