Albania has great food in welcoming restaurants.
On June 26, after arriving in Sarandë, we took a short walk from the White Residence Apartments to grab lunch at Beer House, a German restaurant filled with Germans ready to watch their soccer team play in UEFA EURO 2016, the European Football Championship. Sunday dinner was fresh, simple, delicious and included lamb. We got our first taste of baked feta cheese, and became hooked.
Fish Taverna Poseidon called to us as we walked along the shoreline in town and stopped to admire the marina on Monday afternoon.
The boy, the two men and I grabbed an open air table, sheltered from the hot sun and next to the aquarium-clear water.
The boy got muscles, I choose sardines, our friend opted for octopus and my love was served sea bass, all perfectly and honestly cooked.
A few days later, we had dinner here again with our girlfriend, so she wouldn't miss out.
On Tuesday, June 28, we had the only meal we considered mediocre, at least by Albanian standards. The octopus was grilled a moment too long, the mussels were overpowered by marina sauce and the seafood risotto was blah. I had red mullet. It was fine.
The view of the wind-whipped beach was, however, lovely.
That night, we savored one of the best meals ever, not just in Albania, but the world. We celebrated our girlfriend's birthday in the city center, on Sarandë's seafront, at Bar & Restaurant Centrali, which was recommended by Nurellari Winery Cellar. Of course, we drank their Pulsi Beratit 2015, happiness in a bottle. Actually, we drank two bottles.
Our waiter recommended the lightly grilled white cheese—feta made by his family—covered in his family's honey. The Kondi family rakia, fermented from his mother's grapes, was a delicious high-end grappa, not the jet fuel of previous nights. The head-on prawns were local, as was the swordfish. And the mussels were permitted to be the star of the boy's dish.
Back in the main section of Sarandë on the 29th, lunch al fresco with a sea view seemed like just the thing. It wasn't planning, but perhaps inevitability, that brought us back to Centrali for a romantic lunch for two.
The waiter brought an amuse-bouche, a traditional savory pastry topped with a modern twist: truffle shavings. Of course we had feta cheese with honey. My love had risotto with prawns, I went for grilled squid. For dessert, a Spumante float—sparkling wine with lemon gelato.
Did we drink more Nurellari wine? Of course!
Our last meal in Sarandë took place on Thursday, June 30, at Sarandina Serbian Grill, a nice walk from the White Residence Apartment. We enjoyed fish soup and baked feta cheese. Our request for fish and chips yielded a tasty whole fish.
The restaurant played "White Christmas" while we enjoyed our last sunset over the Ionian Sea.
Check out my reviews on Trip Advisor.