My first experience with Avenue C's Kafana was watching a World Cup game across the street at Zum Schneider, a German beer hall. In the 2010 event held in South Africa, Germany and Serbia were in the same group and played their second match against each other. Serbia scored the lone goal of the game in the first half, pulling off the surprising upset. Tiny Kafana was packed for the game and fans already spilling into the street went wild on the block for some time after the game. Australia was also in this group, and at the time an Australian restaurant was also on the block, making this ground zero for all the group games, and a lot of fun rivalry.
[On a side note, be sure to check back every four years for our awesome World Cup coverage and how to pair your dinners and drinks with games and fans from every country. Here is our coverage from 2014]
Six years later I finally came back for dinner and saw for myself how small the place really is. A four seat bar takes one corner, while 20 or so seats provide dinner space in the very dark restaurant. They have an extensive Balkan wine list, and when I asked about beer I was told they have "two beers from back home."
The better of these two is Jelen, from Belgrade.
There was a lot of Slavic chatter on the Sunday night I went, and anyone from Serbia I have asked about this restaurant in the past has always had a favorable opinion. It is not only the city's only option, it is a good one.
Two brick walls on both ends of the dining space provide a place for dozens of photos, which would be fun to look at if there was any light in the place. Even the bathroom is full of old-timey Yugoslavian powder room items and bric-a-brac.
My friend and I chose to get the $38 prix fixe that is on their online menu but does not show up on their table menus. All the choices are mixed in though, and the waitresses can go through the options.
Gibanica (cheese pie) and Zeljanica (spinach pie)
Lepinja sa kajmakom (traditional bread with cheese spread)
Meat and cheese meze
Kupus (chopped cabbage salad)
Prebranac (traditional baked beans)
The meat plate was a combination of cevapi (traditional grilled minced meat), kobasice (sausages), dimljena vesalica (thin sliced smoked pork neck), rolovane suve sljive i dzigerica (prunes stuffed with walnuts and cheese, rolled in bacon with chicken liver rolled in bacon), and pileci raznjici (chicken kebabs).
Needless to say, the amount of food was far more than two people could handle and we each had a takeout bag with a couple more meals to take home. It is a fun way to approach the menu and get as many tastes as you can in one visit.