The Singing Nettle Review
One of my favorite things about traveling is trying all the best the local restaurants have to offer. This usually means going out of my comfort zone and ordering tons more food than I actually need just so I can try a bunch of different dishes. This is an honest and unsponsored review of the restaurant The Singing Nettle in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The name in the local language is Žara iz duvara.
Restaurant Name: The Singing Nettle / Žara iz duvara
Address: BA, Dženetića čikma bb, Sarajevo 71000
Open Hours: 2pm-11pm
Vegetarian/Vegan options?: Yes plenty of vegetarian and vegan dishes
Gluten Free options: Yes, a decent variety of Gluten free dishes
Reservation: Not necessary, but could help if going on weekends during 7-9pm
The fare served at The Singing Nettle is what I would classify as traditional Bosnian. The dishes of course have their Turkish/Middle Eastern influence, but done in a way that is distinctly their own. The star of the show is of course, nettle. Many people don’t know that this is actually an edible plant. Known commonly as the stinging nettle (get it, the restaurant name is a pun) the plant is tall and leafy, with sharp hairs on all surfaces which can easily irritate or inflame one’s skin.
As long as one doesn’t eat nettle raw, they will not have a problem enjoying this flavorful plant. It is similar in taste to spinach with a bit more earthy tones. As it has to be cooked thoroughly it can be used as a spinach substitute in many dishes involving cooked spinach.
I enjoyed a dinner at the Singing Nettle with my parents and Alona (from jetsettogether.com, who is writing a travel guide to Sarajevo). I find going in a group is the best way for me to properly review restaurants as I can try a wide variety of dishes.
The restaurant is run by a husband and wife team (I think, I wasn’t actually sure) and there’s only about 8 tables in the entire place. You are warmly greeted upon arrival and allowed to sit anywhere that is open. The menu has both English and Bosnian and gives a good description of what you will actually get. Note that unlike most places in Europe which give gram weights for your order, here is just a description and the price. However, you can be sure that you will receive more than enough food to satisfy your hunger.
We started off with an order of hummus which was done in a quite unique way. It is different than my classic “Perfect Hummus” recipe, but was perfect in its own way. It was a bit thicker consistency than traditional hummus you would expect from Israel or other middle eastern places, yet it was still based around mashed chickpeas and tahini. It was served alongside a delicious crusty bread which overall made a great little appetizer for our group.
As I knew I wanted to write a review about this restaurant I wanted all of us to get a different meal. I ordered the cheese stuffed grilled squid, Alona got the nettle and ricotta ravioli, my father ordered the sarma and dolma with meatballs, and my mother ordered the stew. Unfortunately they forgot the stew which was the only disappointing part of the meal. That being said the proprietor was extremely apologetic and of course took it off the check. We also ordered sides of roast potatoes, and potatoes pureed with butter, which were both fantastic.
I have to say as per the taste of the dishes, I was extremely satisfied. My cheese stuffed squids were perfectly grilled. It was served with a healthy amount of cooked nettles which I had found to be a bit too salty. I later learned they were supposed to be eaten as a compliment to the squid, and not by itself. That’s on me.
The nettle and ricotta ravioli was absolutely fantastic and well worth it. The order came with around 10 large raviolis which were perfectly cooked and seasoned, and definitely something I would recommend someone try. The sarma and dolma was perfectly decent, however it didn’t stand out to me as something extraordinary. That’s fine though, as this isn’t a fine dining establishment and all you could hope for is that the food tastes good and the service is polite, which it was.
The Singing Nettle Final Thoughts
I would definitely recommend people visiting Sarajevo try this restaurant if only for the chance to experience some very well cooked nettle dishes. Nothing is going to be perfect 100% of the time so I don’t begrudge them forgetting my mothers meal (especially since it wasn’t my meal) and the owner was more than apologetic enough. I would recommend the nettle ravioli and the grilled squid with cheese as must try dishes, but if you go in a large group, try a bunch of different things! After all, food is one of the best parts about traveling.
Recipe Copycats By Cooking To Entertain?
Not yet, but stay tuned because I will update this page when I make some copycat dishes with the recipes (if I can figure out how to make it taste similar). I definitely want to give a go at the cheese stuffed squids, and the ravioli, so hopefully that will be up when I finish this trip.