As I’ve previously mentioned I didn’t have high hopes when it came to Belgrade’s culinary scene. Serbian food pretty much consists of meat, meat and more meat so I was pretty surprised to learn about Radost, a vegetarian restaurant in Belgrade, and even more determined to seek out this Belgrade hidden gem. Easier said than done in Belgrade. For starters this vegetarian restaurant in Belgrade doesn’t have a website, though it does have a Facebook page so I was able to get the address.
I worked out from the map that it seemed to be quite close to the Belgrade Fortress. I suggested to Sharps that we try it for lunch after checking out the views of Belgrade. We managed to locate the street we thought Radost was on but then we came unstuck. Some street names were in Cyrillic making it quite difficult to get your bearings. Fortunately a friendly passerby showed us the way. It turned out he actually pointed us in the wrong direction but he was so helpful we didn’t mind. And, to be fair, we hadn’t told him what number we wanted to go to.
Eventually we found what we thought was Pariska 3 but we were perplexed. It was clearly a house or block of flats, with no sign of a restaurant anywhere. I double checked the address. According to my research this was the place where there should be a vegetarian restaurant in Belgrade. Cautiously opened the door and went inside. Our suspicions were confirmed as we found ourselves in the entrance hall of some flats. I even checked the mailboxes to see if the name of the restaurant was on them to no avail. Perhaps it was all a ruse and there wasn’t a vegetarian restaurant in Belgrade after all.
Forced to admit defeat we were just on our way out when we saw a guy come in through the front door. I showed him the address and asked him if he’d heard of this mythical vegetarian restaurant in Belgrade as we couldn’t find it. And as if by magic it turned out he was in fact its owner, he’d been out to buy the food for the day. The reason we hadn’t been able to find Radost is because as we rightly guessed it’s actually housed inside a flat. There is a sign for it on the front door but it’s quite easy to miss.
We certainly weren’t prepared for what we saw as we entered the door, a contemporary space full of lots of cool and quirky objects. Everywhere we looked there were hidden gems – a row of gold wellies underneath a vintage cabinet, a mannequin wearing a top hat, fedora hats on lights to name but a few.
As promised the menu was also totally vegetarian with vegan meals too. It’s not fine dining, dishes included Mexican tortillas, spinach and tofu tart or Ramen soup, but it is wholesome hearty vegetarian fare. I opted for a Thai salad, cold noodles cooked in coconut milk with tofu, a huge portion but a bit on the disappointing side as it lacked in flavour. This could easily have been rectified by a bit more of the coconut milk dressing, there seemed to be a small clump of at the bottom of my bowl, and more tofu as I think I found three small pieces.
Sharps’ food, a vegan burger freshly made from mushrooms, onions and seeds by contrast was packed full of flavour and served with a fruity couscous. He very graciously offered that we share both dishes so I could enjoy it too. All of the cooking is done by two girls, they prepare the dishes to order behind the counter where you can see them hard at work, so you’ll need to be patient. Our friendly waitress told us that this vegetarian restaurant in Belgrade has been open since December and caters predominantly for foreign tourists (it’s also worth noting that it’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays). Radost means happiness in Serbian and this vegetarian restaurant in Belgrade made one veggie visitor to its capital very happy indeed.