11 best foods to try in Albania

Among the most important aspects of every holiday, no matter if you prefer beaches, hills or museums, there’s always delicious food. If you’re wondering what tasty morsels you can feast on in Albania, we’ve got your back. We’ll cover our top 11 foods to try in Albania today.

Where to eat in Albania? Here are the recommendations based on our experience and online reviews:

  • Alban Restaurant,
  • Rruga Mitat Hoxha (Saranda),
  • Veranda Apollonia Ksamil (Saranda),
  • Kodra e Kuajve (Durrës),
  • Taverna TE LILO (Vlorë),
  • Restorant Joni Vlore (Vlorë),
  • Era Blloku (Tirana)


What does Albanian cuisine look like?


Albanian cuisine draws heavily on the traditional foods of the Middle East. You’ll find many dishes here also known in Greece and Turkey. The ingredients of Albanian cuisine are mostly based on olive oil, wine, nuts and seafood. These are mixed with today’s Turkish, Greek and Italian influences.

Of course, there’s also no shortage of fast food in Albania and many of the most popular restaurants simply serve pizza, so don’t fret, you don’t have to try the fancy stuff if you don’t want to. There’s also some unusual dishes, like meat desserts or goat meals.

Before we begin the list, just a short mention that you can usually communicate with the waiters in English, no problem, though this is mostly the case for the big tourist resorts. In smaller rural areas, you may have an issue with that, so maybe do learn at least the basic phrases if you’re headed somewhere off the beaten path.




owoce morza albania

We sure hope that you’re a fan (or at least you’re open to) seafood, as the Balkans are a land exceptionally rich in that. In Albania, we recommend trying Midhje saute and mussels. It’s all delicious, tends to come in big portions and is all very cheap. Also don’t miss out on shrimps and squids either, as they are practically always fresh and very well made. Thin strips of octopus marinated in lemon is also a staple and it’s a very interesting experience.


Lamb and goat meat


kozina Albania

Though not exactly the most popular meats in the world, we do highly recommend trying them in Albania if you’re a carnivore. You can get it in the form of a casserole with yoghurt sauce served in a clay pot or with baked rice. A soup called Khash, cooked with lamb’s head, is a popular choice. The brave among you can also try lamb or goat’s head on its own or the testicles. Seasoned and grilled, they are a delicacy for Albanians. In the past, such a dish was served to guests for dinner.


Kabuni – meat dessert



Speaking of meat, you have to try Kabuni, a traditional Albanian dessert. It includes frying some rice in butter and adding sugar, cloves, cinnamon, soaked sultanas and mutton. To add to its ‘dessertness’, it’s eaten cold.




Fërgesë is a cold stew made of cheese, peppers, garlic and tomato sauce. It’s eaten only once it has cooled completely. It’s a popular traditional dish in Albania, well-known among the locals.


Bamia, or okra



Okra resembles peppers in appearance but tastes like courgettes or aubergines. The vegetable comes from Africa but has made its way into many countries which made it into a dish, like Albania. You can find okra in a stew, where it would be referred to as Bamia (Arabic for okra), in lecho, or served as a grilled/stuffed/marinated vegetable.

Recommended wine: Kallmet Riserva


Speca te Mbushur me Oriz


papryka faszerowana albania

This is a very flexible recipe known throughout Albania. The base is just rice-stuffed peppers, but the are many variations depending on the region. You can find additions like tomato sauce, lamb, feta or Greek yoghurt. There’s also the Speca te Mbushur me Salce Kosi variation, meaning peppers stuffed with cream.




Flijas are traditional pancakes from Albania. They have a crispy top and a soft bottom and are usually served with balkan cheese and yoghurt.





Japraks are like traditional stuffed cabbage rolls, though they are wrapped in grape leaves. They’re usually stuffed with a mixture of meat and rice or with rice alone. They’re eaten cold, sprinkled with the juice of a lemon. You can also find a version in the north of Albania called Sarme, more similar to traditional cabbage rolls.

We recommend Shesh and Bardhë wine for this one.


Jani me Fasule


jani me fasule

This is one of the dishes prepared mostly when Albania was going though its hardest periods, though it still remains very popular among Albanians. The soup may use cream or meat, but the base is white beans, onions and tomato sauce.


What to eat in Albania for dessert? Baklava and Kadaif


baklava Albania

If you’ve been to Greece or Turkey, then you’re already familiar with these desserts. If you haven’t had the chance, they’re as delicious here as anywhere else. Baklava is a filo pastry layered with nuts and soaked in honey, while Kadaif is a pastry made of characteristic pasta strands, also heavily soaked in honey.


What to drink in Albania?


kawa albania

You’re also going to have to order something to drink in Albania. What’s on the menu? Albanians certainly love coffee. They brew it the Turkish way, meaning boiling it in a pot. If coffee is not your drug, there are also herbal teas, usually taken directly from the Albanian mountains. Other popular non-alcoholic drinks include boza, a thick, sweet and sour beverage made from corn and wheat. There’s also Dhallë, meaning diluted yoghurt with salt. As for alcoholic beverages, you have raki and Skënderbeu, an Albanian cognac made from grapes.


Albanian cuisine – summary


As you can see, cuisine in Albania is a mix of cultures, times and influences. Thankfully, good old Albanian cuisine is also making a comeback nowadays and is becoming increasingly popular in restaurants and on the Albanian riviera. It’s also worth driving to smaller towns and villages, finding niche places here and there where you can discover something special.

This is especially possible now, given that Albania, while slowly rising in popularity, is still not really all that sifted through by tourists. It’s a beautiful place with great people and, as we’ve hopefully convinced you today, equally great food. We hope you’ll give it a shot.


See also:

Leave a comment