Aščinica Hadžibajric's

Aščinica Hadžibajric's
        One of my essential rituals in the morning after training is visiting Hadzibajric's, my favorite ascinica, a storefront restaurant serving cooked (as opposed to grilled or baked) Bosnian food. Nested in the heart of Bascarsija, Hadzibajrlc's is a small place, so unassuming it is easy to miss if you don't look. Inside, there are but a few shareable tables, a menu with (low) prices hanging by the cash register, framed articles praising the food on the wall, and a quote from the Quran above the entrance. The same family has run the place since the 1860s, when one of the ancestors cooked so well (the restaurant was then owned by an Ottoman official) that everyone began calling it after the cook-Hadzibajric's.

Aščinica Hadžibajric's

         Eight generations later, the ascinica is run by Mersiha, the first woman in its history to be in charge. She spent nine years learning the trade as an apprentice to her late father, Namik. He kept no written recipes for any of their dishes, so the secrets of preparation have been passed on from generation to generation, until the dishes have been so perfected that it's hard to imagine how they could ever get better. Hadzibajric's offers traditional Bosnian fare-various stews and soups, meat, potatoes, and vegetables-whose names carry the sound of ancient Ottoman poetry (papaz cevap, krzatma, sis cevap, ekma, sitni cevap, and sogan-dolma) and might, in fact, be obscure to many Bosnians outside Sarajevo, or indeed Bascarsija, Mersiha takes great pride in possessing such an exclusive knowledge.
Aščinica Hadžibajric's
       The Hadzibajrics have cooked for royalty. Mersiha's grand- father was, some time before World War II, summoned to the royal court in Belgrade to cook Bosnian specialties for the Yugoslav king. He had to taste everyone of the dishes before His Majesty to show they were not poisoned. One of the pictures on the ascinica wall features Otto von Habsburg, a descendant of the family that once ruled over the vast territory that included Bosnia. In another, Namik and a couple of staffers stand next to the Spanish king Juan Carlos and his wife, looking comfortable in their distinguished presence. The royal couple visited the restaurant in 1985, and Mersiha, who was just a child then, remembers the narrow street outside being packed with secret -service agents.

        Royalty notwithstanding, the ascinica is a fundamen- tally democratic space. Because Bascarsija used to be a market where people came down from the hills above the city to sell, trade, or buy, Hadzibajric's was a place to stop by for a quick bite. To this day, people from the neighboring stores who have been selling tourist trinkets drop in for a meal.

Aščinica Hadžibajric's
        Everyone- "from the poor to the bosses," she says-is equal before a shallow stainless- steel bowl in which the restaurant serves its inexpensive fare. (In an ascinica, dishes might be combined, but ev- erything is served in a single bowl.) The only ones who might expect better treatment are the regulars, who by all accounts make up the majority of patrons.

        All the dishes are prepared very early in the morning, and Hadzibairic's stays open until all the fare is sold, usually by the late afternoon. In the old days, everything was cooked on a wood-burning stove, which meant that the fire had to be kept going overnight. Even if a gas stove does the job to- day, the fire is still burning. I suggest every tourist should visit this place in the middle of Bascarsija and surrely you won't leave disapointed.

Content and services:
Cooked food dishes ( Old Bosnian Dishes)
20 seats
Non Alcoholic drinks
Credit Cards:

Veliki Čurčiluk 59
Working time:
07:00 - 18:00
Web site:

Contact phone:
+387-33-536 111