I have visited a lot of cities and Tirana in Albania definitely is on my top list for food! Especially the new upcoming Blloku area. In this article, I will share with you the best breakfast spots, local restaurants, coffee shops, and cocktail bars! All places are vegetarian-friendly.
Short on time? Here is a quick summary of all the best restaurants in Tirana:
For the best breakfast - Tony's
For local delicacies - Era
My personal favorite - Kripe dhe Piper
For vegetarians - Veggies
For sushi lovers - SushiCo
For a fancy dinner - Salt
For Italian food - Terracotta
For cocktails - Rehat
Now let's dive into each place in a bit more detail!
If you are a breakfast person and love avocado toasts, omelets, French toasts and so on this place will be for you! Tony’s is actually not a brunch place, it has a lunch and dinner menu too but I think breakfast is the unique outstanding part of it. The breakfast menu is available on weekdays until 11:30 and on weekends until 12:30. They also offer mimosas with your breakfast but if that is a bit too early then do not worry, your coffee cup will stay full and warm as regular top-ups are offered. Tony’s was my go-to breakfast place in Tirana as the value for money is excellent!
You can’t visit Tirana and not try some of the local goodies. For that I highly recommend Era! This place as locals say is ‘safe’ as they offer all the local delicacies but also well-known dishes so you can experiment a bit but also play safe. We ended up just ordering a bunch of starters to be able to try as many new interesting dishes as we could. Highly recommended by locals were peppers stuffed with cheese. My favorite was the little cornbreads with yogurt sauce. I know might not sound very exciting but they were soooo good! This is definitely an amazing value for money place. We had loads of food, even took some home, and paid around 30 Euros.
Another local food place that is highly recommended by locals that I didn't have a chance to try but want to mention in this blog is Oda!
My personal favorite restaurant in Tirana is Kripe she Piper which in Albanian means salt and pepper. For me, it comes down not just because of the amazing food but the ambiance and the staff. The restaurant setup is absolutely lovely. You can sit inside or outside and even if you choose outside they have the heating lamps there and lights so it feels very cozy. I actually ordered the starter - grilled octopus with potatoes - but the portion was as big as a normal course and was completely enough for me! I love it when a restaurant brings some bread with sauces as a starter. Little thing but that really leaves a very good impression. The desert menu has a variety of options and both deserts we had were amazing. They do not have a separate veggie section but they have a few things on the menu vegetarian friendly to pick from. The prices depend on the dishes. There were a few things on the menu that were expensive but over all for the service, ambiance, and food you get I would also add it to the great value for money places. We had 2 dishes, 2 deserts, wine, and beer and we paid less than 50 Euros.
There aren’t too many veggie places in Tirana, but there is one amazing place - Veggies! Honestly, the best burrito I have ever had! (Even when I was eating meat). Their menu is fantastic as they offer all the favorite dishes but a veggie version. I tried their truffle sushi and not often do I talk well about sushis that do not include fish, but they were really good! The prices are very reasonable. They also do takeaway so Veggies was my go-to takeaway place in Tirana!
For all my sushi lovers I recommend SushiCo Albania. The restaurant is lovely and the food is amazing. The only minus is that the staff is extremely attentive and then as time goes the attention shifts. Both times we went we got our food very quickly but then we waited a lot to get a bill and then pay. But that didn't ruin our experience because the ambiance was wonderful, great sushi selection and the food was really good!
For a luxurious dining or lunch experience, I recommend Salt. The interior is truly wonderful and the food was really good. This is the only place on the list that I will name as the expensive option as most dishes start from 12 Euros which is expensive for Albania and compared to other places on the list. But you will have a wonderful time enjoying some amazing dishes. The menu has a wide variety and they also do sushi!
Highly recommended is the Terracotta Italian restaurant and sadly I am not able to comment much on it myself because we went there one night and it was all booked out. They only accept people with bookings which just shows how popular the place is. Once we walked it it smelled amazing so this probably is one of my small regrets to not actually book for one night. But I safely add this to the list because you can’t really go wrong with Italian food and the place has amazing reviews!
For cocktails I recommend Rehat. The ambiance is really cool and they do their own signature cocktails. There is no menu, they just ask you what alcohol you want to and if you want sweet or sour. So I never knew what I was getting but I always enjoyed my drink. They have won several prizes so the quality of their signature cocktails is top! Cocktails are around 5 Euros so a great place to test a few haha
You will definitely hear people recommending Radio Bar and although I understand why, it is quite a funky and popular place, I prefer Rehat. Rehat felt more authentic. But that’s just my personal preference. If you want a busy popular place with a live DJ and familiar cocktails then Radio Bar will be the place for you!
The best coffee shops in Tirana
One thing you not going to miss in Tirana is coffee shops! Every 3rd place is a coffee shop. I guess Albanians love their coffee. Interestingly enough they do not have big brands like Starbucks and Costa! They love their local brands and boutique shops so much that I guess the big ones did not want to competent with that.
The closest to Starbuch and Costs you will get at Mon Cheri. They use more international names so you actually know what coffee you get. (In local ones my perception of what I ordered did not match the local one haha) They have quick service and easy to take away.
For working I recommend Colosseo Cafe. Locals meet there to discuss business so it is a great atmosphere to get your coffee and get some work done. Also, the coffee is very good and their hot chocolate is amazing. My go-to takeaway coffee was Mon Cheri but then I switched to Colosseo.
A very popular brand is Mulliri Vjeter. All the coffee shops are in prime locations. Their interior is always very cozy so is a great place where to just take a break and have a coffee. Most places are on popular corners with outside seating so also a great people-watching spot.
Then any cafe in the Grand Park of Tirana will be a great choice because what can be better than having a coffee in a wonderful park overlooking the artificial lake!
And my last recommendation is the Opera Cafe by the Tirana Opera House purely because it will allow you to take in the busy life of the main square. This option is definitely more for tourists but I think a great place to add to your travel plans when you need a little break between sightseeing the city of Tirana!