Before the brunch became reality here in Tirana, there were two great places that i really loved: Dtown and Pallati 11. Either of them was fancy or uptight, but they both served great food and offered good service. Unfortunately none of them couldn’t resist in this harsh and sometimes absurd market.
DTown, was one of the first restaurants to offer real brunch classics such as eggs Benedict, pancakes, french toasts, Mimosas etc. and to be honest, I’m still not over those Benedicts with hash browns and the fantastic apple pie.
Pallati 11 was another brunch favorite of mine. Benedicts at Pallati were exquisite. Perfectly poached egg with hollandaise over the homemade soft bread with the crunchy crust…still haven’t found another restaurant that can offer the asparagus eggs, yet.
Now that both places have closed down let’s see what other options do we still have to brunch.
So, where to go?
I’ll list below the places that currently serve brunch. Many other places are trying to offer brunch but I’ll list them as i make sure they are doing this in the long run.
Bufe: I really like the small patio at Bufe, it’s perfect for brunch and for drinks in the evening too, but their eggs Benedict without the hollandaise sauce are a little bit tasteless, so better opt for Petulla (Albanian egg free fried dough) served with Feta-like cheese and jams. A very good hangover remedy, by the way.
SALT: SALT is currently offering the greatest selection of dishes in their brunch menu named: On weekend we brunch hard 🙂 Apart from the funny name, there are plenty of options ranging from the classics (eggs Benedict, pancakes, omelettes, toasts, etc.) to sweet treats (banana bread, french toasts and waffles) and some lighter options as well (granola, avo toasts and smoothies).
My eggs Benedict were overall tasty but to be frank I didn’t like the presentation. The place is so cool and elegant and the eggs weren’t looking like they belonged there.
Artist: Artist is a always a good option for brunch (or breakfast). I really love the street where it is located so anytime is great to sit on the patio and have something to eat or drink. Artist is not exactly offering brunch but their breakfast menu served also at lunchtime, has a lot of options such as omelettes, pancakes, french toast etc. My treat are usually the pancakes, served with fruits and chocolate.
TeDuKtu: This is a very cool place in Tirana, with a great patio for warmer days. At TeDuKtu (that means -IWantYouHere) the brunch is served on Saturdays because on Sundays they are closed. The presentation is great, but the taste not always matches the expectations. I found the Eggs Benedict without the ham, completely bland and tasteless, not to mention that the bun was completely soggy from the tomato. I would call that Eggs Benedict at all. The Matcha Pancakes were sticky and not fluffy at all, served with some fruits and decorations from the 90s.
The Stephen Center: The brunch menu has a great choice but i wasn’t very happy with my Eggs Benedict. They were overcooked and i still don’t think is a good idea to add tomatoes, they add moisture to the bread and to the ham, when they should be crispy.
They serve Illy coffee, which is also my favorite blend but the frothed milk of the cappuccino was too hot and the crumble apple pie was a little bit too dry.
The home social: Lately they have started offering Brunch and breakfast and everything i have tried so far was very well executed but my absolute favorite is the homemade Viennoiserie. The homemade (not frozen ones) croissants and pain ou chocolat are so hard to find in Tirana, so they are basically my main incentive to go there.
This last one is more of a farewell to the Funky Moustache after 6 years. Last time I was there, I was so positively surprised by the new management of a cool young couple and for a moment I truly believed that this place finally found the right path. They came up with a new menu, that immediately attracted so many brunch lovers and the atmosphere was so cozy and welcoming.
Yet again, as I said, this is a very harsh market, and having a bar is not an easy thing. Often the small bars and restaurants that want to bring something new, struggle with an uneducated clientele that gets easily caught by the ‘trending now’ factor rather than appreciate the true quality. Not to mention the low margins that the market dictates, that makes it impossible to survive.