Situated on the slopes of Kalemegdan, above the Belgrade Zoo, Kalemegdanska Terasa (Kalemegdan's Balcony), a restaurant with the view of the Danube, is best-known for its excellent location.
This restaurant perfectly fits in the ambient of Kalemegdan fortress, which was built in the 13th century. During the Turkish rule, Kalemegdan (Turkish: kale-fortress and megdan-field) was separating the fortress from the city of Belgrade. Turks called it Fichir-bair - "the Contemplation Hill".
Today, Kalemegdanska Terasa restaurant represents a blend of a modern ambient and history. The whole complex comprises three units: Tvrdjava cafe pizzeria on the lower terrace, Terasa restaurant with an open-air section, and popular Cinema discotheque.
From goose liver and truffles…
Dusko Pilipovic, the restaurant manager, explains for eKapija that the location is not the only thing that makes this restaurant special.
- What is also important is the quality and selection of food, the quality of services and entertainment. We have tamburitza virtuosos playing Old Town music on Thursdays and Music Box Band on Fridays - says Pilipovic.
The restaurant's kitchen is run by Ljuba Stojanovic, an extremely ambitious and promising chef, who travels every year to Monte Carlo where he spends 15 days improving his skills.
Pastas, grilled dishes, fish and fish specialties, steaks, salads and/or cakes - is the only dilemma that guests have.
When asked to name one meal that has to be tried, Pilipovic instantaneously replies: "Beef steak with goose liver and truffles".
By the way, guests most usually order steaks, which account for 30 percent of all orders. Although very popular all around Serbia, grilled dishes are rarely ordered at this restaurant. Hamburgers, kebabs and similar dishes are mainly ordered by children who come with their parents to have a launch on weekends.
… to homemade quince brandy and Italian wines
The manager of Kalemegdanska Terasa says that the homemade quince brandy served at the restaurant is something every guest should try.
They buy this homemade brandy from a manufacturer in the vicinity of Cacak and the only problem they experience when offering it to foreigners is how to explain what exactly that spirit is.
If you prefer wines, it may be difficult for you to choose from a wide selection of French, Italian, Spanish, South American, Herzegovinian, Montenegrin and homemade wines.
The restaurant also has two sommeliers who take care of everything that has something to do with wines - selection, keeping, recommendation, serving, etc.
Although the interest in South American wines has been growing over the past few years, especially in those made in Chile and Argentina, the most popular wines at this restaurant are still Italian and French wines.
As much as about 65 percent of guests are foreigners, mainly tourists, businessmen or people escorted by their Serbian friends. They usually want to try homemade wines so that Terasa cooperates with numerous wine cellars, including Radovanovic, Kovacevic, Jelic, Aleksandrovic, Rajkovic, Princ…
Fighting competition with cooperation
There was once a famous cafe in that location. Numerous older singers (such as Lepa Lukic) used to sing there. About thirty years ago, the cafe burnt to the ground, and the whole area was later overgrown grew with weeds.
In the meantime, the owner has changed and the fortress has come to life. For years, Kalemegdanska Terasa has been representing a place where the tour of Belgrade either begins or ends. However, since the competition is growing tougher and the citizens' purchasing power is getting smaller, the number of guests at most restaurants is dropping.
That is why the management of Terasa is trying to stay one step ahead of all others by introducing new contents and expanding the circle of associates. They first turned the lower part of the balcony into a skating rink last winter, thus attracting more children that winter than ever before.
- We have started working with travel and marketing agencies and hotels. There are many garni hotels without a restaurant in Belgrade and that is where we see our chance - says Pilipovic and adds that they have established a good cooperation with Evropa hotel, which only comprises suites, so that they are doing the catering for the guests of that hotel.They also say that the Law on Smoking did not affect their business at all and add that inflation is the only problem since they do not want to change prices.
Asian cuisine at Kalemegdan
Kalemegdanska Terasa restaurant will soon introduce Asian specialties in its offer. They have decided to do that because that cuisine is "practical, popular, healthier and more cost-effective". This is only part of the new offer that Pilipovic expects to be very successful.
Vicinity of a zoo - advantage or disadvantage
The vicinity of a zoo does not affect the restaurant's operations significantly, says Pilipovic.
- It is attractive and positive when foreigners are here. And it is also positive on weekends when 10 to 15 percent of guests come to the restaurant because it is close to the zoo.
However, in summer months, especially in July, some guests complain about the unpleasant smell of animals, which is why sprinklers and air fresheners are used.
Wedding parties to remember
Almost every weekend in the period May-September is booked with wedding parties.
The vicinity of the churches of St. Petka and Ruzica, a park that is just perfect for wedding photo sessions and plenty of space situated on several levels are only some of the reasons why newly-weds-to-be see this restaurant as an excellent place to marry. Grooms are usually athletes and our interlocutor says that the wedding of our celebrated basketball ace Dejan Bodiroga was among the most special ones.
The wedding of his younger colleague - Dusan Kecman, was also unforgettable. After the midnight, the guests, led by the bride and trumpet band, went to the open-air section and danced in and around the fountain.
Also, growing number of companies from all branches of economy are organizing conferences, cocktail parties and business presentations at this restaurant.