The Casa Rita Restaurant in Prishtina, Kosovo, is a brief walk from the American University of Kosovo. I have passed it many times, walking to and from the grocery store and the Tennis Club Rilindja. I had heard it was exceptionally good. Certainly worth a try.
Smoking is permitted on the first floor, so I was led upstairs to clean air and nicely placed, cozy tables topped with white table clothes, sparkling wine glasses, and dark red cloth napkins. Elegance flooded over me.
The maître de was impeccably dressed in his black trousers, crisp white shirt, and pleasant smile. He helped me with my coat and sweater, hung them on the wrap tree and led me to a perfect table overlooking the balcony below. The waiter pulled out my chair, and after I sat, placed a beverage menu on the table and handed me a dinner menu. I smiled and quickly ordered vere e kuqe (red wine). He nodded that he understood despite my butchered Albanian.
The wine was slightly dry, pepper and licorice notes, with a smooth, long finish. Exactly my preference.
I was drawn to a salmon entre, which included soy sauce with lemon, on the side, and roasted potatoes and carrots. After I placed my order, I looked through the expansive, picture window to see 8 umbrellas shading customers eating, drinking and in jovial conversations. Their tables were surrounded by red geraniums and tall fica trees. The trees in the National Park Germia on the other side of the street were a lovely natural backdrop.
Within a few minutes, the waiter stood tall and with a proud grin placed my salmon in front of me. He asked me if I needed anything. I said, “yo, faleminderit”...Albanian for “no, thank you.” He responded, “Ju befte mire”...”bon appetit.”
The salmon was a sweet pink, with crusty edges, just like I like it. My fork easily separated a tender morsel. It melted in my mouth. It was divine and I let out long swoon. Yes, without embarrassment or shame. Frankly, that is one of the benefits of traveling alone. No one knows you so you can be who you are. Besides, waiters love it.
The vegetables were al dente, perfectly prepared.
And the bill was even more impressive. My entre was 10 euros. Wine, 3 euros. Yes, slightly high for Prishtina, but Casa Rita is fine dining and worth every euro.
When I return, and I will, again and again, it will be difficult not to order the salmon again.
*Casa Rita Restaurant, Dr. Spetim Robaj, 10000 Prishtina, Kosovo call +377 45 558 558