Being the venue for our first official dinner of Euromeet 2011 our experience of Grne wasn't a typical visit. We had the whole of the main restaurant to ourselves and the food laid on was a buffet showcasing Macedonian cuisine.
Obviously as a private party we created our own atmosphere and a great night out was had by all but extrapolating from my experience I reckon this is a place well worth a visit in the normal course of events (watch out for my 2014 update!).
The building housing Grne is the classically elegant former Russian consulate and inside the decor follows the classical profile with soft lighting, simple furnishings and plenty of use of natural materials. The menu focuses mainly on local and national specialities and judging by the food we enjoyed everything should be tasty and well-presented.
For our meet the staff were unanimously helpful and friendly and so I shouldn't think that would be any different for a less formal meal and when I dropped in for a coffee on the terrace the morning previously service was swift and the coffee good (and relatively inexpensive).
Those that know me know that I'm a real foodie. I love a good restaurant meal and enjoy all the bells and whistles that go with it but I also appreciate good street food - "food on the hoof" as I call it. That necessary nibble before the real work of my touristic day begins - the beer bit!
I was suitably impressed with this little bakery. Immaculately clean, always busy and some great smells of the fresh-baked pastries wafting down the street competing, and winning, against the noxious traffic fumes from the main street's infernal combusting-engined machines.
This was where my well-practised "Point and "Edna Molam"" technique came to the fore as the smiling serving woman would say something unintelligible as she served what I was pointing at and I'd nod and reply "Da, Da" and hope I was getting what i thought I was going to.
Favorite Dish: On both occasions that I ate from here I got exactly what I was after. On the first day I had the meat burek and on the second the cheese variation. Both were equally delish, the meaty one subtly spiced minced lamb with just a hint of fruitiness and the cheese offering being that excellent Feta-style white cheese which the Balkan countries excel at. Both were substantially filled and the layered pastry rich, flaky and not at all greasy.
I think the meat one was 70 Den and the cheese 60 and so for a cheap pre-beer stomach liner these were just the job.
The Millenium Hotel offers a choice of three distinct dining areas: the informal cafe-bar with its terrace; the busy and buzzy pizzeria at the back and the semi-formal first floor restaurant where we found ourselves on the first evening of Eurommeet 2011.
This perhaps wasn't the best introduction to the Millenium's food offerings as we were a largish group and our decision to eat was made at the last moment and instead of settling for a set menu we were the full carte to choose from.
As a result the food was all a bit rushed and things but what we had on our little table was perfectly adequate for the task of refuelling between beers.
Favorite Dish: I just had a simple grilled chicken and chips which did the job.
As always tho' it's people who make places and the staff were professional, friendly and attentive. My fellow diners were a delight - Katherine from Cork (who is always a delight), my good drinking buddy Jon, from Norway and Jon's father Jan who isn't a VT member but had joined his son just for the craic (as Katherine would say).
This made for a fun evening and a few beers were more than enjoyed and an excellent bottle of a local wine "T'ga Za Jug" ("Longing for the South", named after a famous poem by Konstantin Miladinov) from the Tikves winery which Katherine reckons us boys appreciated, conveniently forgetting that she had a little glass herself ;-)
So all in all. Given the circumstances we didn't get the restaurant at its best but a good night was had by all.
Having had a pleasant few beers at Shrek (see nightlife tip) food became the order of the day. Passing this little place on a balmy late May evening the checkered tablecloths of the outdoor seating, a couple of which were occupied by obviously locals, caught my foodie eye.
Here's another example of people making places. My waiter, Stefan, was a marvel. As I bade him "Dobar Vecher" (OK that's Bulgarian but it seems to work here In Macedonia) he immediately recognised that I was an English-speaking foreigner and switched to the most perfectly elocuted English I've ever heard spoken.
I used my new Macedonian phase - "Zlaten Dab Molam" and from there on a very relaxing and chill out hour or so was spent.
Favorite Dish: The menu, quite usefully, is pictured on the restaurant wall (with English transliterations) and so I'd sort of decided what I was going to have (to accompany my beer). Pastrmajlija Bitola turned out to be neither pastry nor pizza but a sort of cross between - an almost flaky boat-shaped crusty dough filled with spicy chicken in a tomato and roasted pepper sauce. Adding a mixed salad (which was seriously substantial) made for a light but filling repast and the total bill of 220 Den a total steal.
Stefan was great, very attentive and upon enquiring where he'd learned his English he informed me he was self-taught. He'd learned solely from watching movies (English and American) and reading English language books.
En route from Bitola to Ohrid we had lunch on the shores of Lake Prespa, in a tiny lakeside village called Stenje - right on the border with Albania.
Turn right for Ohrid. Straight on for Albania.
It was a fixed menu for our VT “tour group” so I’ve no idea on prices or what’s on the normal menu. We had fish - the local trout, I think - in a tomato sauce. Mine was just a mouthful of bones, but everything else was good.
So was the company. And the location.
Favorite Dish: I'll have to pass on that!
When I arrived in Bitola I was stressed and exhausted.
I’d left Niš (in Serbia) at 9am to drive to Skopje for a lunchtime meeting. I’d navigated my way through Skopje, and then out again after the meeting.
Then another couple of hours in the car, partly over mountain roads. Arriving in Bitola (about 5) was a lot of laughs - no street signs anywhere. I found the hotel by luck. Finding its car park was even tougher.
So, after 2-3 quick beers with the other VTers, I did not have the strength to eat with them in the upstairs restaurant. A solitary pizza was the best option for me.
The small pizza was huge. Service was quick and pleasant.
Favorite Dish: The pizza or the beer?
The night we arrived in Bitola we ate at the restaurant upstairs at the Hotel Millenium. The menu offered lots of variety with a range of local and international dishes. Prices were extremely reasonable and the service was good. At our table we got a large salad bowl to start and this was my first (of many ) Macedonian salads. A very simple salad mainly of cucumbers, tomatoes and a local cheese grated over the vegetables but the ingredients were so fresh and tasty. My main course was the one in the photograph. I wasn't very hungry and wanted something light, so this fitted the bill perfectly. My fellow diners, John, Jon and Jan ordered a bottle of red wine and were very pleased with the quality.
Favorite Dish: I can't remember the name of this dish but as you can see from the photo it's some kind of sausage -shaped meat covered with grated cheese. Served with a small portion of chips and salad, it was ideal as a light but quite filling meal.
After we had drinks in the downstairs café, we went upstairs to the restaurant in the Millenium Hotel to order dinner. The restaurant has 60 seats. Service was attentive, very attentive with a good comand of English.
Since there was quite a big group of us and we didn't want a set meal, some people had to wait quite long for their food which was freshly prepared.
I don't remember the name of the dish I had but something like kebab Millenium. It was absolutely delicious. The sweet dessert was a dream, it was so light to eat.
It was nice dining in a good atmosphere. BTW, there is a small smoking balcony. All the restaurants in Macedonia seem to be non-smoking which is excellent.
We headed here for lunch on a rainy day. Since there were no free tables outside we headed upstairs and were pleasantly surprised by the cute interior. The feet of the tables were old feet of sewing machines. There was a tiny smoking balcony which offers views on Shirok Sokak.
Bure means barrel and outside on the building there is a barrel hanging. Inside there are various barrels to be seen. Their specialty is pizza. I just had a snack which was a hotdog in pizza dough and cheese. It was fantastic and cost MDK 40. Actually, I wouldn't have known what to order but I saw some girls at another table and asked the waiter what they had.
The owner of the place is very friendly and explained us the wall painting etc. While we were there also a policeman came to eat there.
I would love to revisit one day. BTW, you may find Bure Pizza on facebook.
When we were looking for a lunch place we found an outside table with comfortable seating at the El Greco.
The menu was not in English but the waiter offered to translate. They don't have a wide variety of food or else we weren't able to really understand what it was. Anyway, I opted for a pizza which was not a typical pizza but something similar and it had sesame seeds on it. It was tasty.
Friday May 27, 2011
The venue for our Virtual Tourist official dinner was at the NATIONAL RESTAURANT GRNE. We were treated to a large table filled with Macedonian national dishes. I don't know the names of the dishes - all I know is that what they had to offer was delicious. There were little cabbage rolls, meats, cheeses, tomatoes, olives, bowls of nuts, including almonds and hazelnuts. I think I tried everything.
The Grne na Shirok Sokak, as it is also known, is situated in the building of the old Russian Consulate. Right in Magnolia Square at the top of Shirok Sokak.
Our price was 17 Euros per person and included drinks.
Bure is located on the main drag of Shirok Sokak. We were attracted inside because of the cool curvy chairs and the planters made out of discarded, recycled bicycles. But the pizza is very good. Arriving to the seating area by some sort of elevator as the kitchen was downstairs.
The local beer was an excellent.
I rarely enjoy a hotel restaurant meal. They are usually pasty and/or tastless and/or overpriced. However, the Mellinium Hotel Restaurant provided a quality local menu, prepared well and was nicely priced. Even though our VT horde decended without much warning, the service was good and the waiters friendly. There is a small balcony overlooking the main street.
Favorite Dish: My stroganoff was well prepared and the Bovin cabernet was very good and fairly priced.
Bure means ‘barrel’. You start to realise this when you are looking at massive barrels across this happening little restaurant. Owned by a very friendly guy called Mihail, we were made to feel welcome by all the staff. The food is mostly pizza, but its really good pizza made in a wood fire oven. Unlike a lot of ‘authentic’ pizza places you can add on as many ingredients as you want. It has always irritated me when a proper pizzeria restricts what topping you can have.
Bure also prides itself on being a great place to drink beer. Beer and pizza are almost as good as sex in anyone’s book – and you can get 2 of the 3 aforesaid subjects right here.
In terms of location this is right in the middle of the ‘Bitola Strip’ also known as the Café Mile. Before you get to far into a pub crawl you could go upstairs and survey the mass of humanity along the strip and decide on the best course of attack into the rest of the Bitola nightlife.
And the best recommendation? The local Police eat here. Service with a smile and added security.
A medium pizza with ham, mushrooms, and egg. I had diet coke because I was driving but Holger said the beer was good.
We did not go to the Hotel but to the restaurant of the hotel. It looked a bit formal but finally nice.
Favorite Dish: We had excellent soup, a great mixed grill with Kajmak, a marinated pork fillet served with smoked ham and mushrooms in a cream sauce. We washed it with a very decent Merlot. And not to forget that the freshly baked bread sprinkled with sesame seeds was excellent. 2748 MKD for 2