I travel to eat and drink. And when I do, I do so in large quantities. For upscale dining, variety of food and value, Tirana is near the top of my list (Cape Town being the decided front runner). With only two nights in town, I couldn’t eat everywhere but I certainly tried. Here are the highlights:
1. Best Experience: Mullixhiu Restaurant Tirana
Here’s an excerpt from that post: This could be one of those posts peppered with overused travel expressions like ‘off the beaten path’, ‘the local experience’, ‘authentic’, and my least favorite, ‘wanderlust’ (see Are You a Naive Traveler?). This experience won’t make me use softer words in future posts, but it is the type of experience that reminds me why I travel and why winging it is still the way to do it (see How to Book Trinidad’s Carnival Last Second for Free*).
And here are some photos to back up my claim:
TPOL’s TIP: The address is: Shëtitorja Lasgush Poradeci Hyrja e Parkut tek Diga e Liqenit Artificial Tirana, 1019
2. Best Binge: Salt: My first night in Tirana I went to Salt where, according to the menu, World Peace Begins in the kitchen. I didn’t know what to order so I ordered everything.
How much does everything cost? 5080 lek which is $44. The Stella, at $3.45, was the only pricey item.
TPOL’s TIP: Salt is located on Rruga Pjetër Bogdani, Tiranë 1001, Albania, a street with many restaurants and bars.
3. Best Bill: On day two, I went to il Gusto for lunch. Perfect, incomparable, spoiled, fit for a king – all appropriate words to describe this experience. I have some practice picking out fish (see Burgers & Seafood: Sanya Dining Guide), but I have never been to a restaurant where the fish was de-boned in front of me. Much like someone putting cream cheese on my bagel, this was an indulgence that I rather enjoyed.
I’ve also had my fair share of fine cigars (see Guns & Butter: New Orleans Travel Guide (Binge Edition)) and I routinely have a Gran Marnier and espresso, but never in such a fancy presentation.
All of this cost $80.
TPOL’s TIP: il Gusto is located at Rruga Kajo Karafili, Tirana 1001, Albania and is perfect for lunch.
4. Best Gelato: There are gelato places all over Tirana. I picked a random one and can attest that it is much better than the rip-off gelato of the world’s biggest tourist trap, also known as the Amalfi Coast.
5. Best Drinks: Kino: It may be misleading to say that Kino has the best drinks since I didn’t go anywhere else. However, I’ll go with it because the drinks were top-notch, and I don’t want to mess up the theme.
TPOL’s TIP: Like Salt, Kino is also located on Pjeter Bogdani.
6. Best Atmosphere: Walk around the Salt District. There’s a bar, restaurant, cafe, or all of the above to suit your taste.
When the voters picked Tirana for where I would move next, I doubt many of them had any idea where it was or how great a city it is. Even if you aren’t looking to call Tirana your new home, I highly suggest staying there for a few days and having a few meals.