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10 Best Restaurants in Tirana, Albania

best-restaurants-in-tirana

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If you’re looking for a good meal in Tirana, you’re in luck. The capital of Albania has an amazing range of fantastic restaurants, serving both traditional Albanian food and international cuisine.

In this post, I’ve described 10 of the best restaurants in Tirana. The list contains a mixture of cheap eats and more high-end restaurants, including a few great places to try classic Albanian dishes, as well as top-quality seafood, pizza, and my favourite zgara (grill restaurant) in the city.

I’ve also included some key information for each restaurant, such as the average price per head, address, opening times, website, and phone number, to help you find a perfect place to eat.

At the end, you’ll find a brief overview of some traditional Albanian dishes that you should try during your time in Tirana.

zgara-grill-restaurant-in-tirana

I recently spent a few weeks living in Tirana. During this time I tried to eat in as many different places as possible. I was really surprised (in a good way) by the food scene in the city. It seems like there’s a new restaurant opening here practically every week, and the standards are generally excellent.

Most restaurants in Tirana (and Albania in general) are extremely affordable, so you can feast to your heart’s content without breaking the bank, whatever your budget.

Here’s my pick of the top 10 best restaurants in Tirana.

(Also, check out this epic Albania road trip itinerary.)

Zgara Te Pazari (best zgara in Tirana)

In Albanian, “zgara” means “grill”. Tirana has countless zgaras – little grill restaurants serving simple, freshly prepared food cooked over charcoal. I’ve been to many of these throughout the city, and Zgara Te Pazari is my firm favourite.

This place is located near the New Bazaar, on a main street with several other zgaras in a row (it’s the best of the bunch in my opinion), and is constantly busy. Whenever you come here, it’s usually full of locals (an excellent sign), and the smells that waft down the street are simply incredible.

qoftes-koftas-in-tirana-zgara

The menu here is short and sweet, with just a handful of meat dishes (chicken kebabs, koftas, sausages), served with fries or rice, bread, salad, and/or pickles. But everything is cooked to perfection – the koftas (listed as “meatballs” on the menu) here are hands down the best I’ve ever had – and the prices are more than reasonable.

Both the food and the atmosphere are first-rate. They also do draft beer, and the staff are super friendly and always having a laugh.

If you’re looking for tasty food and a cheap, delicious and authentic local meal in Tirana, Zgara Te Pazari is the place to go.

Address: Sheshi Avni Rustemi, Tirana, Albania

Average price per person: 500 Lek ($4 USD)

Opening hours: 11am-11pm, Mon-Sun

Website: N/A

Phone: +355 69 560 2424

EATALIAN’s (best Italian restaurant in Tirana? maybe…)

Due to its close proximity to southern Italy, you’ll find quite a lot of Italian food (and Italian-influenced food) throughout Albania.

There are several great Italian restaurants in Tirana, but EATALIAN’s is one of my personal favourites. It’s a cosy little spot in the leafy and upmarket Blloku neighbourhood, just south of the Lana river (which is more of a stream, really).

The menu includes a good selection of seafood and meat starters (try the salmon tartare with orange), salads, great pasta, and main grilled dishes. Standout dishes include the seafood linguine, sea bream, and the grilled sword fish.

Service is fast and friendly, and the price-to-quality ratio is excellent.

Address: Rruga Pjetër Bogdani, Tirana, Albania

Average price per person: 2,500 Lek ($20 USD)

Opening hours: 12pm-11pm, Mon-Sun

Website: eatalians.business.site

Phone: +355 68 394 1101

Piceri Era Blloku (one of the best places to try traditional Albanian food)

Piceri Era (sometimes referred to as Era Restaurant), also in Blloku, is one of the best restaurants in Tirana for sampling traditional Albanian cuisine. This was one of the first restaurants I tried in Tirana, and remains one of my favourite places to eat in the city.

era-restaurant-one-of-the-best-restaurants-in-tirana

The menu contains local dishes and delicacies from the country’s different regions, and uses traditional cooking methods to showcase the range of unique flavours found in Albanian cuisine.

I recommend picking a selection of their meze dishes, which are great to share as a first course. My favourites include the homemade cheese, tomato and rocket flatbread, the Korça-style pancakes baked with feta and garlic, and the baked peppers stuffed with cheese, curds and herbs.

Their homemade sausages are great too, and go really well with the cabbage, carrot and green apple salad.

In addition to local Albanian food, the menu also contains Era’s twist on a number of other classic dishes from neighbouring countries, including Italy, Greece, and Kosovo.

Era Restaurant is located on Rruga Ismail Qemali, just down from Radio Bar, one of the best cocktail bars in the city and a great place to come for a drink after your meal.

Address: Rruga Ismail Qemali, Tirana 1000, Albania

Average price per person: 1,500 Lek ($12.50 USD)

Opening hours: 11am–11:45pm, Mon-Sun

Website: era.al

Phone: +355 67 206 5000

Eat Fish Restaurant (best fish restaurant in Tirana)

With a stunning coastline spanning the Adriatic and Ionian seas, it’s not hard to find incredible fresh seafood in Albania. One of the best fish and seafood restaurants in Tirana is a place called Eat Fish.

This place isn’t as well known (at least with foreign visitors) as some of the other restaurants in this list. But several Tirana locals assured me that this is the place to come for top-quality, fresh seafood.

The prices are fair, the atmosphere is great, and the food is really excellent. Dishes to try include the fish soup, lobster grilled over charcoal, octopus cooked with tomatoes and olives, shrimp linguine, and the grilled swordfish steak.

Eat Fish is popular with business people at lunchtime and families in the evening. And best of all, you’ll probably be the only foreign tourist in the restaurant.

Address: Rruga Pjetër Bogdani, Tirana 1001, Albania

Average price per person: 2,500 Lek ($20 USD)

Opening hours: 12pm-11pm, Mon-Sun

Website: eat-fish-restaurant.business.site

Phone: +35 54 562 8312

OPA Greek Street Food (one of the best cheap restaurants in Tirana)

Zgaras are some of the best places to eat in Tirana on a budget. But sometimes you just need to eat something different. That’s when you should go to OPA Greek Street Food.

It does exactly what it says on the tin – fresh, incredibly tasty Greek fast food. Think gyros (pork and chicken) stuffed inside pitta, with a side of souvlaki, feta fries, halloumi, salads, and lots of tzatziki.

gyros-at-opa-greek-street-food-restaurant-tirana

Be sure also to try their (incredible) melitzanosalata starter, which is a traditional Greek dip made from burnt aubergine (eggplant), olive oil, garlic, parsley, and lemon juice. It’s a bit like babaganoush but without the tahini.

And if you have room afterwards (you may not – I didn’t), they also serve loukoumades, little bite-sized doughnuts soaked in honey…

For budget-conscious travellers, OPA is one of the best cheap restaurants in Tirana. Portions are large, prices are low, it’s usually busy, you get excellent service, and they’re open late – it’s an obvious winner.

Address: Rruga Sami Frashëri 15, Tirana 1001, Albania

Average price per person: 700 Lek ($6 USD)

Opening hours: 10am–1am, Mon-Wed; 10am–2am, Thurs; 10am–4am, Fri-Sat; 11:30am–12am, Sun

Website: opa.com.al

Phone: +355 4 452 5555

Padam (one of the best restaurants in Tirana for fine dining)

If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion, or just fancy splashing out to treat yourself, I recommend checking out Padam. It’s actually situated inside a luxury boutique hotel of the same name, but don’t let that put you off.

Padam is one of the best fancy restaurants in Tirana and offers a truly world-class fine dining experience.

It’s located on a tree-lined street, close to the enormous Pyramid of Tirana, just south of the city centre (about a 10 minute walk south of Et’hem Bej Mosque and Skanderbeg Square). The building itself is a local landmark, a stunning converted 1930s villa, with a modern interior and a lovely atmosphere.

Padam’s award-winning head chef is Fundim Gjepali, who also heads up Antico Arco, one of the best restaurants in Rome.

The menu focuses largely on Mediterranean dishes, and the chef prides himself on using only the highest quality fresh seasonal ingredients to create truly outstanding and inventive cuisine. They do a tasting menu, and there’s also an extensive wine list, including some excellent Albanian wines.

You should try to book in advance, especially if you want to dine on the beautiful outdoor patio. It’s common knowledge that this is one of the best restaurants in Tirana, and they’re regularly fully booked.

If you want to push the boat out and enjoy an unforgettable meal in one of the most exclusive restaurants in Tirana, Padam is the place to come.

Address: Rruga Papa Gjon Pali II, Tirana, Albania

Average price per person: 6,000 Lek ($50 USD)

Opening hours: 10am-11pm

Website: padam.al

Phone: +355 69 202 5122

centre-of-tirana-colourful-buildings-near-skanderbeg-square

Oda Restaurant (another amazing restaurant to try traditional Albanian food)

Oda Restaurant is one of the most famous restaurants in Tirana and is another excellent place to try traditional food from Albania.

It’s located inside an old house, tucked away down a narrow alleyway close to the New Bazaar. The interior is very atmospheric, with dark oak beams and whitewashed walls decorated with vintage photographs and traditional memorabilia.

There’s also a leafy outdoor terrace that’s a wonderful space to sit, especially on summer evenings. From time to time they have musicians playing underneath the trees, which are tastefully illuminated with fairy lights.

The food is a blend of traditional and modern Albanian cuisine. Everything is very authentic, and the waiters are happy to suggest their favourite local dishes. Dishes are designed to be shared, as is typical in Albania, and I recommend ordering roughly 2 dishes per person.

Try the Fërgesë (a kind of stew made with cheese, peppers and tomatoes), the Patëllxhanë (stuffed aubergine), and the spinach pie – all delicious food.

I had expected this place to feel a little too touristy (especially given that it appears in virtually every article on the best restaurants in Tirana). However, it seems to be as popular with the locals (of all ages) as with tourists, and is just really great.

It’s a fairly small restaurant. During the summer, it can get quite busy and you may need to reserve a table or be prepared to wait for one.

Address: Rruga Luigj Gurakuqi 3, Tirana, Albania

Average price per person: 850 Lek ($7.50 USD)

Opening hours: 12pm-11pm, Mon-Sun

Website: N/A

Phone: +355 69 966 8881

Mullixhiu (best farm-to-table restaurant in the Grand Park of Tirana – try their tasting menu!)

Tirana’s Grand Park is a very large (290-hectare/700-acre) public park in the south of Tirana, and is one of my favourite parts of the city. As well as having a lake and extensive forestland, the park also has a few small restaurants around the edge.

Several of these are quite good, but the one that stands out is Mullixhiu. Popular with locals and tourists alike, this restaurant is based on a farm-to-table model.

Its head chef, Bledar Kola, sources most of his ingredients from a small network of local farmers and producers. Kola worked previously at the famous Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, and has created a menu that’s really outstanding.

The dishes are a mixture of “Albanian grandma’s home cooking”, and modern takes on traditional Albanian dishes, blending old and new. Try the saffron soup and the homemade sausages with polenta. The lasagne is pretty amazing too.

Mullixhiu is housed inside a wooden cabin-like structure that feels a lot like an Alpine lodge. The decoration is minimalist, elegant, and tasteful. Outside, they also have a little terrace filled with greenery, including various vegetables that are used in the kitchen.

The wine list is excellent, and great value, especially given the quality. They also do a tasting menu which, for 3,000 Lek (about $25 USD), is one of the best value tasting menus I am aware of anywhere in the world.

Address: Shëtitorja Lasgush Poradeci Hyrja e Parkut tek Diga e Liqenit Artificial Tirana, 1019, Albania

Average price per person: 2,000 Lek ($17 USD)

Opening hours: 12pm–4pm & 6pm–10pm, Mon-Sun

Website: mullixhiu.al

Phone: +355 69 666 0444

Ballkoni Dajtit (restaurant with the best view of Tirana)

The Dajti Ekspres is a 4670 metre-long cable car (the longest in the Balkans) that climbs from the edge of Tirana up into the mountains that lie to the north-east of the city. At the top station you’ll find Ballkoni Dajtit.

With sweeping views over all of Tirana and the surrounding area, from more than 800 metres above the city, this is definitely the restaurant with the best view of Tirana.

view-from-mount-dajti-tirana

The restaurant looks like a giant log cabin from the inside, with floor-to-ceiling windows that show off the panoramic views. They’ve also got a gorgeous outside patio that you can enjoy on warm sunny days.

The food is mostly traditional Albanian and very tasty. They’ve got a decent wine list too. As you’d expect, prices are a little higher than in the city for what you get, but only slightly. I was actually very surprised by how reasonable everything was here, given the location.

And the views from up there are completely worth it, and then some. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Adriatic Sea.

Address: Stacioni i poshtem i teleferikut Komuna Linze, Mali i Dajtit, Albania

Average price per person: 1,200 Lek ($10 USD)

Opening hours: 9:30am–7pm, Wed-Mon (closed Tuesdays)

Website: dajtiekspres.com/facilities/restaurant-ballkoni-dajtit

Phone: +355 67 401 1021

Artigiano at Vila (the OTHER best Italian restaurant in Tirana)

I’m going to be honest with you. When writing this I really couldn’t decide whether EATALIAN’s or Artigiano at Vila took the prize for being the best Italian restaurant in Tirana. So I’m including them both.

Artigiano at Vila specialises in pasta (which they make fresh every day) and wood-fired pizza, and they do both extremely well. Portions are generous and everything tastes fresh and delicious, just like good Italian cuisine should.

Highlights from the menu include the homemade truffle ravioli, fresh grilled salmon and shrimp strozzapreti, linguine with tiger prawns, and the pappardelle with salmon and asparagus.

The building itself dates from the 1940s and looks like an old Tuscan villa, with atmospheric wooden beams and colourful tiles.

Address: Rruga Papa Gjon Pali II 9, Tirana 1001, Albania

Average price per person: 2,000 Lek ($17 USD)

Opening hours: 11:30am–12am, Mon-Sat; 11:30am–11:30pm, Sun

Website: artigiano.al/restaurant

Phone: +355 67 600 0480

Bonus: Vena Vinoteka (my favourite wine bar in Tirana)

Okay, this is a wine bar, not an actual restaurant. But they also do food, and I want to mention them because it’s one of my favourite wine bars ever.

When I first walked past Vena Vinoteka, I was really struck by the atmosphere. There’s something about it that’s hard to pin down precisely. It was very calm, with traditional jazz quietly wafting through from the back, and small round tables with couples and friends who just looked incredibly happy and relaxed.

vena-vinoteka-wine-bar-tirana

The staff are fantastic here. I had to wait for a table the first time I came, so the guy behind the bar gave me a glass of wine on the house while I waited. But not before he encouraged me to try a few first to decide which one I wanted. It’s that kind of place.

As well as a good selection of international wines, they have several excellent ones from Albania.

The food menu is small but perfect to have with your wine: cheese plates, cold cuts, and various tapas-style sharing dishes.

Whether you’re looking for a place to have a relaxed, romantic dinner or just want to try some great local wine, Vena Vinoteka is definitely worth checking out.

Address: Rruga Komuna e Parisit, 3/1, 1001, Rruga Njazi Demi 7, Tirana, Albania

Average price per person: 2,000 Lek ($17 USD)

Opening hours: 8am–12am, Mon-Sat; 9am-10pm, Sun

Website: N/A

Phone: +355 67 490 4376

Other Top Restaurants in Tirana

The above Tirana restaurants are my favourite ones, but there are many other excellent places throughout the city.

cool-mural-on-building-in-tirana

I’ve included below some of the other top-rated restaurants in Tirana. I haven’t been to any of these myself, but they are all supposed to be excellent. All have reasonable prices, and most serve a range of great food including local Albanian and international dishes.

Gambero Gourmet Tirana

Habitat Restaurant

Pizzarte

  • Cuisine: Pizza
  • Address: Rruga Luigj Gurakuqi, Tirana, Albania
  • Average price per person: 800 Lek ($6.50 USD)
  • Opening hours: 11am–11pm, Sun-Thurs; 11am–11:30pm, Fri; 11:30am–11:30pm, Sat
  • Website: N/A
  • Phone: +355 69 682 6287

Salt Rest

à la Santè

  • Cuisine: French & Italian
  • Address: Rruga Sami Frashëri, Tirana, Albania
  • Average price per person: 2,000 Lek ($17 USD)
  • Opening hours: 8am–11pm, Mon-Sun
  • Website: N/A
  • Phone: +355 69 851 1112

Otium

  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Address: Rruga Brigada VIII, Tirana, Albania
  • Average price per person: 4,000 Lek ($34 USD)
  • Opening hours: 12–11:30pm, Mon-Sat; 12–5:30pm, Sun
  • Website: N/A
  • Phone: +355 4 222 3570

Duff

Tartuf Shop

Pop Art

Traditional Albanian Food

Albanian food has been influenced by many different cultures throughout history. There are similarities and crossovers with the cuisine of many nearby countries, including Greece, Turkey, and Italy, although a few dishes are uniquely Albanian.

meatballs-from-the-best-zgara-grill-restaurant-in-tirana

You’ll notice that a number of dishes are fairly meat-heavy, but there are many delicious meat-free options too. Vegans aren’t particularly well catered for though, and many traditional vegetarian dishes tend to contain butter, cheese, and/or yoghurt.

However, the fresh fruits and vegetables here are usually excellent, and most places serve some form of stuffed peppers or aubergines (be sure to ask for no cheese if you’re a vegan, otherwise the dish will almost certainly have it), grilled Mediterranean veg, and/or salads.

Here are some of the most popular traditional Albanian dishes:

  • Byrek: a light and savoury pastry filled with meat, vegetables, or cheese (I love these things so much, especially the cheese ones!)
  • Fërgesë: a vegetable stew made with peppers, tomatoes, and cheese
  • Qofte: grilled or baked meatballs usually made with lamb and/or beef
  • Patëllxhanë te mbushur: roasted aubergines (eggplant) stuffed with rice, meat, and herbs
  • Shendetlie: a type of Albanian ravioli filled with spinach and cheese
  • Kukurec: a dish made with roasted chicken, potatoes, and vegetables
  • Tavë kosi: a lamb and rice casserole baked in yogurt and spices
  • Tava e fasuleve: a vegetable casserole made with beans, tomatoes, and peppers
  • Bakllava: a sweet pastry made with layers of phyllo dough, filled with chopped nuts and syrup or honey (it’s found all over the Balkans and the Middle East, but the Albanian stuff is particularly delicious!)

Be sure to check out some of these traditional dishes during your time in Albania!

inside-of-vena-vinoteka-wine-bar-tirana

Final Thoughts on the Best Restaurants in Tirana

These are my top picks of the best restaurants in Tirana. It’s a really great city, and the restaurant and food scene there vastly exceeded my expectations.

I hope you enjoy trying out some of these places during your time in the city. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite or a leisurely meal, you really are spoilt for choice with many excellent and authentic restaurants to choose from.

Café culture thrives in Albania, and the country’s pleasant climate means that the majority of places offer outside dining throughout much of the year.

One of my favourite things about Tirana is how reasonably priced everything is. In fact, it’s often cheaper to eat out than to buy all of the ingredients and cook for yourself.

Whatever your budget, you can regularly eat out and try a range of different places during your stay in the city without it costing too much at all. You can’t say that for many other European capital cities!

cocktails-at-radio-bar-tirana

Do you have a favourite restaurant in Tirana? Let me know in the comments below!

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