My last travel adventure was Albania. My first visit there. As you know there are many ways to discover a new destination – through its nature, history and of course cuisine.
Maybe here is the point where I should warn the hungry reader that a better time for reading this article might be after dinner. The pictures and stories that follow are easier to digest on a full stomach. No joke!
So, let me get back to yummy side of my trip. I’m not vegetarian and I enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a good steak and seafood. For somebody like me Albania is a place offering a lot of quality options. The trip was mostly focused at the Albanian seaside and therefore sea food was а preferred choice. It’s fresh, it’s not expensive, it’s delicious, nutritious and even good choice for somebody watching their weight. So, sea food really has it all. Every restaurant offers dishes with fresh marine catch. You don’t need to look for a fancy restaurant to enjoy a fabulously tasting octopus or calamari. Maybe the plating of the dish may be not that instagrammable, but it’s worth taking the risk.
My first try of Albanian food was in a small restaurant in Ksamil ( Castle restaurant). The grilled octopus there is so good that that brought the good mood back to our group. The backstory here is that we were travelling whole night to get to our holiday destination. We arrived in Ksamil to take our first lesson on local tips and tricks. If you are planning a trip to this part of the world, make sure you’ve prepared a backup plan for your accommodation. It turns out that having reservation in Albania, is not treated the same way as everywhere else.
But let me get back to that octopus. It was so good that it almost made us forget the fault start of the vacation.
We quickly found a replacement of the reservation and switched to a hotel…for more reliability. The small family owned hotel with breakfast included got our buy-in.
And let me tell you, to have a breakfast offered by the hotel, where you are staying is an experience itself. That way we got to know that the locals are used to welcoming Russian guests, who have a morning craving for a big glass of cow milk and two fried eggs.
That’s how our holiday started. Than we devoted ourselves to long naps on the beach, wave chasing, sun staring, book reading, Uno playing and of course consistently indulging on calamari, octopus, shellfish, small fish, all kind of fish.
If I have to recommend a place to somebody, who is at Saranda in the moment, I’ll say two things – LaYo’S and restaurant Harmony.
The first one we visited several times and below you can see some pics of their gorgeous dishes.
The second one – just once. The food there was definitely prepared and served with a twist, but the prices were more on the expensive side. For sure it’s worth trying it, but not for every night choice.
We ordered their take on local moussaka. It had aubergine, zucchini, tomato and meat. Usual ingredients, quite unusual shape. The moussaka was served rolled and fried. It was really tasty, but a bit heavy.
The other dish, which we had, is a shrimp burger. This one is healthier than a regular burger. Instead of fatty meat has shrimps. And the purple bread is home-baked and colored with ink from the calamari, which they also prepare.
If we had a high point of our culinary trip, that was it.
Note: Albanian have probably learned from the Italian, but they do know how to make a good espresso.