By New Times
By Robrt L. Pela
By Lauren Saria and Heather Hoch
By Deborah Sussman
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Kathleen Vanesian
By Eric Schaefer
By Heather Hoch
After a big meal of bread and meat, the last thing you may be thinking of is dessert. But know that sweet endings like baklava, tulumba (a favorite Bosnian dessert of fried batter soaked in syrup, served cold, and resembling a Twinkie with ridges), and sampita (a thin, yellow sponge cake with a meringue topping) are available and should satisfy nicely.
Nearly hidden between a smoke shop and a hair salon in an aging strip mall, Old Town Sarajevo could easily be a drive-by, but don't let the exterior fool you.
Turulja tells me that when she remodeled her restaurant, she wanted her customers to re-live the real Old Town Sarajevo, which might be why the interior looks as if it could have been ripped from the pages of a travel guide — it was made to resemble the Bašcaršija, the Old Town market sector where the city was founded. Linen-topped tables and wood chairs are surrounded by what appears to be entrances to shops or homes, done in white-washed walls, dark wood, and stone, and fashioned with doors, fences, and slanted roofs. There's even a working replica of the town's famous fountain, Sebilj, in the center of the room, along with décor items like Bosnian cooking implements, paintings, and a copper tile of Vucko, the little wolf and mascot of the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.
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Here, the restaurant's patrons, mostly Bosnians from the surrounding area, gather. There are groups of males enjoying cups of strong Turkish coffee and spirited conversation, families settling in for a meal and enjoying glasses of Cocta, the Slovenian beverage whose main ingredient comes from the dog rose hip and which, Ahmetovic says, is the Bosnian version of Coca-Cola, and several loners popping in to pick up to-go orders.
"They tell me my restaurant smells like home," Turulja says of her customers.
I just think it smells like it's time to eat.