As Macedonia's largest city, Skopje boasts many wonderful places to sit and have a meal or a drink. The city brings together local and traditional specialties, ethnic foods from around the world, and hundreds of cafes and bars for every occasion.
Let's begin with some of Skopje's most frequented restaurants:
Vodenica is a very popular restaurant located close to the city center, in the neighbourhood "Kapishtec". The restaurant offers indoor seating, an outside terrace with a lovely small pond, and a wine bar area. The restaurant is sophisticated and takes pride in its service.
Wide range of chicken, pork, and beef dishes, as well as specially prepared pastas. Many local and international wines and beers are available, as well as various liquors. Desserts include in-house prepared cakes and tortes, crepes with ice cream, and more.
Price: Mid-range, about $10-$20 USD per plate.
"Naroden Front" Street #69. Any taxi driver will know the restaurant by name. If you walk or drive down "Naroden Front" you can't miss it.
The St. Panteleimon monastery & restaurant are a very popular location for people who travel to Macedonia. It's a good choice to eat with an excellent view of Skopje. The Monastery is located on the Vodno mountain, roughly halfway up, and was built in the 12th century. St. Panteleimon is the patron saint of doctors & physicians.
The Panteleimon restaurant is located in the yard of the monastery, and diners have a choice of eating outside in the warmer months, or inside by the large fireplace during the winter. This location is very popular in the summer due to it's beautiful view of the city, and it's location in the mountain offers a cooler and more fresh breath of air than down in the city when the temperatures get hot. Often this restaurant is used for special occasions such as weddings, baptisms, and private parties.
An assortment of grilled meats, some traditional dishes such as Pita (very popular), Kiselo Mleko (Macedonian Yogurt - very popular here), special Sausages made in-house and roasted by the fireplace, assorted cheeses, and more. A full variety of beverages, wines, beers, and desserts are available.
Price: Higher Mid-Range: $10- $30 per plate. Diners can choose to not spend much if they don't want to, and enjoy the view. Prices are a bit higher than of comparable restaurants in Skopje, you are paying for the atmosphere, and it is worth a visit.
Although the Monastery & Restaurant are located in the mountain, they are not difficult to reach via taxi or car. Any taxi driver will know the place, and by car the suggested route is to follow the road from downtown Skopje (Mito Hadzi-Vasilev Jasmin) that passes by the main hospital complex "Mother Theresa" and head up the mountain. Once you begin the winding roads, take your first exit left (2-3km after you leave the last neighborhood) and follow that road until you reach the Monastery.
There is one other way to arrive by car, but it would be more confusing for a first-time traveler.
The Destan restaurant in Skopje is a well known place locally that offers Skopje's best Kebapi (ke-baw-pee - traditional ground meat links). Many visitors to Skopje are directed to this restaurant to try Macedonia's legendary Kebapi, and nobody is disappointed here. The restaurant was first opened in 1913 and had the name "Stara Charshija" which means "Old Bazaar" (because of it's location in the old Turkish part of town). The restaurant has been family-owned, and is now run by the 5th generation since the original owner.
Skopje's Destan restaurant offers diners 3 locations: one in the Turkish bazaar, one on the main square, and one in a smaller shopping area near the center of the city. The original location is in the Turkish bazaar, and although surrounded by other restaurants offering Kebapi - none compare to Destan.
Along with the desirable Kebapi, Destan restaurant offers a large selection of other grilled meats, salads, and appetizers.
New visitors to Destan must try the classic Macedonian accompaniment for Kebapi:
-Bukovec (boo-ko-vets). This is a side powder to dip the Kebapi in, made from dried red peppers and salt
-Chopped Onions - perfect side for Kebapi
-Shopska Salad - the most famous Macedonian salad. Tomatoes, Onions, Hot Peppers, Cucumbers, crushed Macedonian Feta Cheese
-The classic destan-style bun: the Lepinja (le-pee-nya)
Kebapi are served in portions of 5, which cost about $3 USD, together with side dishes, salad, and drink, the total cost per person is around $6-7 USD.
Destan Restaurant is very easy to find by foot if you start at the main square. If you are facing the Alexander the Great Statue, turn towards the "Triumphant Arch" and Destan will be in sight on the right side. If you choose to go to the Old Turkish Bazaar location, cross the Stone Bridge (right in front of the Alexander the Great statue) and after a brief, straight 5 minute walk you will run into Destan.
Any Taxi driver in Skopje will know of all 3 locations, and most residents will also know this information.