There is seemingly little connection between Belgrade and New York – two metropolises, on two continents, with different histories, different economic powers and status. Different ideas, visions and possibilities, but nevertheless with immensely similar character.
Young in spirit, sometimes perhaps insolent, both cities inevitably drag out a smile on people’s faces and drown them into an adventure that seems endless. While New York creates the presence of a popular culture faced towards starry future, Belgrade is boldly stepping forward in its intention to provide the world with something very special.
Thus, the Belgrade’s gastronomic offer, inspired by the world’s metropolises, is becoming more daring and diverse. We used to be unable to imagine the concept of an open kitchen in Belgrade restaurants, but today there are more and more of them. The offer mostly revolved around traditional cuisine and some Italian or fish restaurants. Today, Belgrade offers its residents and visitors a full range of flavors and specialties from around the world, while prestigious restaurants and hotels bring chefs from around the world who are the true stars of their work, masters whose specialties are breathtaking.
Meet Ljuba Ristović, a lady who in a special way creates and nurtures the synergy of Belgrade and New York and turns her business into a dream gilded with Michelin stars. Her base in New York is Gramercy Tavern and The Modern, a mecca of sublime experience and specialty worthy Michelin stars. In Belgrade, Ljuba and her husband Dejan have been nurturing their love for cuisine and hospitality for 25 years in a small oasis on May 25th called Panta Rei, a restaurant that has been putting a special twist on Belgrade’s map of excellence for a quarter of a century. It’s time-defying and uncompromisingly holds on its uniqueness.
“With great pride and excitement in Belgrade, we are celebrating 25 years of Panta Rei Restaurant and we celebrate great success and even bigger plans. I look forward to everything we plan to bring to Belgrade and with that enrich the complete hospitality scene of our beautiful city. I have spent the last 5 years in New York in leadership positions at two of Manhattan’s most prestigious restaurants where, in a Michelin-starred environment, I have gained truly invaluable experience, knowledge and great acquaintances.”
It is this acquired knowledge that Ljuba’s team will, in the coming period, continuously invest in the Belgrade oasis of fine hospitality and charm that leaves every visitor breathless. One of the big projects she is currently committed to is hosting well-known, Michelin award-winning, Chefs in Belgrade, which will, without doubt, put Belgrade on the world map of hospitality and cities that stand out with their uniqueness and service behind which stand top names of the global hospitality scene .
“This does not mean that Belgrade gets its first Michelin-starred restaurant, but what I can safely say is that Belgrade will certainly attract the attention of the Michelin team for excellence, and this will open up numerous opportunities for us to find ourselves on their prestigious and much-coveted world map. Getting a Michelin star is very complex, and there are no much-defined rules. It is an endeavor or, perhaps better to say, a reward that requires a lot of work, sacrifice and investment, but it is certainly not impossible.”