What is Cevapi?
Cevapi is popular dish in Sarajevo . They are small grilled rolls of minced beef, lamb or mixed in a half pita bread. Chopped onions served on the side, and cheese is optional.
The cevapi probably originated from Turkey and brought to Bosnia during Ottoman occupation in the Balkan. Cevadžnica is an upscale fast food restaurant, serving only cevapi. If you are in Sarajevo, especially in the Old Town part, Bašcaršija, be assured that you will eat the best cevapi once you decide to eat some. For pork lovers, you will not find pork cevapi in Sarajevo since 80% of the population are Bosniaks, another name for Bosnian Muslims.
I was raised in a culture which indulged itself in pork meat since pork meat was the cheapest compared to chicken, beef, lamb, etc. I grew up next to a neighbor who sold pork meat in the street market, near other family who raised cute little and not so cute big pigs to be slaughtered later. I grew up hearing “oin-oin” through the days and nights and seeing roped pigs on the wagon waiting to be delivered to their final destiny. To summarize, I grew up with a lot of pig-related experiences.
But I don’t miss pork at all, on the contrary, I was glad to not have eaten a type of meat for more than half a year. All the pigs in the world should say thanks to the Muslims. LOL.
Cevadžnica (place to eat cevapi)
Here are the three best cevapi houses in Bašcaršija, the old part of the town.
Banja Luka cevapi
I recommend this place if you like spicy cevapi called ŠIS CEVAP. The name came from the “shish kebabb.” Chilli peppers are mixed inside and grilled with the meat. At other places, you can only ask for some chilli pepper called “fefferoni” on the side.
The cevapi here are grilled popping hot, and so are the pita bread. Other people, my roommates for example, prefer the pita to be cold and soft. They even soak the pita in some broth.
Zeljo (1 and 2)
Across from Havana club
My guide book and almost everbody agreed that Zeljoserves the best Cevapi, so good that “if you haven’t eatten at Jeljo, you’ve never been to Sarajevo.” The cevapi are lright for me; perhaps my tongue has lost the norm sense. There are two Zeljo owned by the same owner, and located slightly across from each other. By the way, Zeljo is the name of a football favorite team in Sarajevo. [link to the team]