Avlija is one of the finest and tranquil places to eat in Sarajevo. For those not versed in the Bosnian language, avlija is a garden. The restaurant actually was one, seeing as it’s a part of a family house, before being repurposed into a notable Sarajevo restaurant.
The story of how one avlija became Avlija goes back to 1991 when the owner opened an adjacent fast food called Karkin. Avlija, as we know it today, quickly became a meeting point for numerous friends and family who would place an order from the fast food and lounge around. As the volume of both people and demands increased, opening a restaurant to fully accommodate everyone in a proper Bosnian way seemed like a logical next step so, in 1997, Avlija opened its doors.
Designed by famous BiH architect Amir Vuk Zec, Avlija retains the authentic look and feel of the traditional Bosnian garden with high walls, cobblestone surface, wooden furniture dressed with colorful tablecloths, and lush flora, constantly refreshed by rustic details obtained from travels across Bosnia and Herzegovina and elsewhere. Once an intimate space of family living, Avlija is a gathering place for all people who like easy listening and ambient music, lots of good conversation, and great food.
Naturally, food is an essential part of the restaurant and almost every meal is envisioned to blend with the overall ambiance of the place. Make sure you try dough fritters (uštipci) with milk cheese as a breakfast-type snack or delicious chicken wings for which Avlija is known for. To sweeten things up, there are some mean pancakes you can try or stick with the more traditional sweets like lokum.
We like to think Bazerdžan and Avlija are alike in that both are cozy, down to earth places that make you feel right at home the moment you step through the doors.