116 Ave C
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 353-8000
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Cuisine: Eastern European
2nd Cuisine: Serbian
Area: East Village
Payment: Cash only
Walking through Alphabet City in search of lunch, we found ourselves in front of Kafana, an Eastern European restaurant. It has outdoor in the front where we basked in the laziness of a Saturday afternoon with some people watching.
Our meal began with the best bread I've had in quite some - thick and crusty - served with a bright red paper sauce called Ajvar that went well with an ice cold beer brewed by Niska Pivara which dates back to the 1800s. Kafana, for its part, serves the foods of Serbia and Croatia. We started with Gibanica, a wonderful cheese pie, made with layers of filo and feta. It's superb. We followed it up with sausages, called Zlatiborska, filled with pork and lamb served hot off the grill with a spicy mustard and a pile of bright pink cabbage slaw tart from vinegar. Several other types of sausage are also offered. Another dish, Karadjordjeva, if made from a pork schnitzel rolled with ham and cheese called kajmak and then fried. You crack it open and all of this delicious cheese oozes out onto the plate. The cheese resembles ricotta with a bit more tang. It is served with a pile cripsy fries.
Other menu items include prunes stuffed with walnuts and cheese, grilled minced meats, a lamb and spinach stew, and braised pork shoulder with mashed potatoes.
Our meal ended with Talumba, cylinders of deep-fried batter soaked in syrup. This might be too sweet for some. Other desserts include a sour cherry pie, chestnut puree with whipped cream and boiled wheat with sugar and walnuts. The food at Kafana is just as adventurous as the area of the world where it originates offering a true taste of Eastern Europe on the streets of Manhattan. See more
Review By: Thomas Rafael