The “?” (Znak pitanja or The Question Mark Kafana) is officially the oldest kafana in Belgrade. Aside from being a tourist attraction in its own right it is the perfect place from which to begin acquainting yourself with Belgrade’s kafana culture and Serbian cuisine.
The “?” is housed in an Ottoman-style building typical of Balkan cities from the beginning of the 19th century (it was actually build in 1823). The personal physician to Serbia’s ruler, Prince Miloš, later opened a kafana here to take advantage of the building’s prominent position. In 1892 a new owner decided to rename the kafana to “By the Cathedral” but the church authorities took offence to this and threatened to close him down if he did not change the name. This task proved more difficult than he expected as all the good names at the time seemed to have been already taken and, while reflecting on it, the owner hung out a sign with a question mark on it. People thought this was the official new sign and the name stuck.
Inside, low wooden stools and tables add to the charming and authentic atmosphere. The long, shaded backyard, once a customary feature of every Belgrade kafana, is a rare sight these days.
The “?” serves traditional Serbian dishes of a very high standard and you should not pass up the chance to try their home-made rakijas. If you have other plans for the rest of the day and a heavy lunch accompanied by several rakijas might dull your senses, stop by the “?” for a well-prepared Turkish coffee.
“?” (Znak pitanja or Question Mark Kafana)
Address: Kralja Petra 6
Phone: +381 (0)11 263 54 21
Facebook (Unofficial): “?”
Opening Hours: 8am-midnight (every day)