Cardak, Skopje 01-2020

The area around Bohemian Street is full of lively restaurants (well, less lively on Sunday in winter) but there's plenty around and lots of lights giving atmosphere to the region. I can only imagine what it would be like in summer. Our Airbnb host had recommended finding something and that area and coincidence would mean that Cardak was already on my list. Gostilnica Dukat was also semi-closeby and is rated TA #2, but didn't make it there.

That evening our waiter was very impressive, chatting and joking with us, and also mentioning that a group in the next (smokers) room singing and playing instruments had been in the restaurant for 10 hours already...

- Macedonian salad (tomato, roasted peppers, onion, parsley, oil, spices) 120 den x2 - had a double serve of a simple delicious fresh salad;
- Sarma (stuffed cabbage leaves with rice & meat) 80 den x2 - really nice with meaty juices coming through onto the charred leaves;
- Tavche gravche (traditionally Macedonian beans stew in claypot) 130 den - a simple dish of beans in a mild pepper sauce;
- Braised veal in mushroom sauce (veal, fresh mushrooms, sauce, spices) 330 den - tender veal (shin I suspect) with a thick mushroom sauce;
- Pie with leek 150 den - they are well known for these "pies" and compared to previous versions had thinner rounds, crisper shell, and simple leeks. Overall very good.

A very good meal for me, a great meal for the rest of the family.

We even ended up going back a couple of nights later. This time was a different waiter, also friendly but less skilful English made it a bit harder.

- Sarma (vine leaves with rice & meat) - very good with nice mince. I think the cabbage one was better overall (and cheaper);
- Grilled fresh mushrooms 140 den - standard and nice;
- Claypot Cardak (veal, chicken, pork, button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, zucchini, pepper, tomato, onion) 600 den - a mix of meats in a meat-flavoured broth which was too salty and had a strong base, like ham. Some of the meat pieces were thin and had been cooked into disintegrating slightly. It really felt like too much leftovers put together;
- Pie with leeks - this time the dough was a bit doughy and a bit undercooked i think. Flavour still good. 

Not the same experience as the first time. Still an ok meal though overall.