Discovering ExpatOwned Restaurants in Gjirokastr Albania

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As an expat living in or traveling to Gjirokastër, Albania, you might already be familiar with the popular tourist spots. But what about the hidden gastronomic treasures tucked away from the crowds? These unassuming restaurants, owned and operated by expats, offer a unique dining experience, complete with authentic flavors, welcoming atmospheres, and cultural exchange. In this article, we take a virtual culinary tour of Gjirokastër, uncovering these hidden gems and sharing insights and experiences from their owners and patrons.

Exploring Hidden Culinary Treasures

Shopping Boulevard is a bustling commercial area in Gjirokastër that caters primarily to tourists. However, nestled amidst souvenir shops, ice-cream parlors, and fast-food chains, one can easily miss the unassuming facades of some of the most delectable dining establishments in the city.

  • Café Floresta: Located on Rruga Myslimi Gjeriqi, this cafe is owned by Italian expat Giuseppe Perrino. The place serves a variety of coffee drinks, sandwiches, and cakes, with a charming outdoor seating area that is perfect for people-watching.
  • Restorant Liguri: Situated at Rruga Vasili Shantoja, this Italian restaurant is owned and operated by Roberto Bettiolini and Sabrina Candido. The restaurant is known for its artfully crafted pizzas, pastas, and other Italian delicacies.
  • Plaza Cafe: At Rruga Shpatarav America, this cafe belongs to Spanish expat Luis Anaya. The place is famous for its homemade Spanish dishes, including paella, tortilla, and gazpacho.
  • Café Kino: Located at Rruga Vasili Shantoja, this cafe is owned by Polish expat Konrad Bartkowski. A popular choice among expats, this cozy joint serves coffee, pastries, sandwiches, and pizza.
  • Restorant Mediterraneo: At Rruga Bashkreshave Laprakas, this Albanian-Italian restaurant is owned by Boris Dhusaku and his wife Graziella Borzello. The place offers a unique fusion of Albanian and Italian cuisines, with a welcoming atmosphere and an extensive wine list.

Insights and Experiences

We asked a few expats about their favorite hidden restaurants in Gjirokastër and their experiences dining there.

Café Floresta

Restorant Liguri

Plaza Cafe

Café Kino

Restorant Mediterraneo

From Appetizers to Desserts

Aside from the popular Italian and Spanish fare, these expat-owned restaurants also feature a diverse array of dishes that are an endearing blend of local and international flavors.


  • Café Floresta: The Caprese salad here is a must-try. Fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar make for the tastiest version of this classic Italian dish.
  • Restorant Liguri: The bruschetta at Liguri is a work of art. Crusty bread, ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil, make for a mouthwatering appetizer.
  • Plaza Cafe: The gazpacho at Plaza is the perfect starter on a warm day in Gjirokastër. Made with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil, this cold soup is refreshing and delicious.
  • Café Kino: The Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts at Kino is a sweet and healthy option for an appetizer. Perfect for someone who wants to indulge a little without feeling guilty.
  • Restorant Mediterraneo: The Albanian meze at Mediterraneo is a must-try for foodies. The meze is a platter of fresh vegetables, salads, spreads, and dips, such as ajvar, tzatziki, and coriander dip.

Main Courses

  • Café Floresta: The spaghetti carbonara at Floresta is the perfect dish for spaghetti lovers. The dish is a perfect blend of pasta, bacon, onions, eggs, and parmesan cheese.
  • Restorant Liguri: The penne alla vodka at Liguri is a unique twist on the classic Italian dish. It is made with penne pasta, tomato sauce, cream, vodka, and Parmesan cheese.
  • Plaza Cafe: The Tortilla Espanola at Plaza is another must-try dish. Made with potatoes, onions, and eggs, this Spanish omelet is a hearty and delicious meal.
  • Café Kino: The Korean bibimbap at Kino is a fusion dish that combines traditional Korean ingredients with a European twist. The dish is a mix of rice, vegetables, meat, and an fried egg.
  • Restorant Mediterraneo: The Albanian pastasciutta at Mediterraneo is a crowd pleaser. The dish is a mix of puff pastry, minced meat, vegetables, and spices, perfect for meat lovers.


  • Café Floresta: The Tiramisu at Floresta is an expertly crafted masterpiece. The dish is a mix of ladyfingers, coffee, mascarpone cheese, and cocoa powder.
  • Restorant Liguri: The Cannoli at Liguri is a delicious dessert that is a staple of Italian cuisine. The dish is a mix of sweet ricotta cheese, candied fruit, hazelnuts, and chocolate chips.
  • Plaza Cafe: The Churros with chocolate sauce at Plaza are perfect for someone who has a sweet tooth. The Spanish dessert is fried dough, dusted with sugar, served with a rich chocolate dipping sauce.
  • Café Kino: The Cheesecake at Kino is a decadent dessert that is sure to satisfy your taste buds. Made with cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and flour, this cheesecake is a must-try.
  • Restorant Mediterraneo: The fresh fruit salad at Mediterraneo is an indulgent treat for the health-conscious. The salad is a mix of fresh fruits, such as strawberries, kiwis, grapes, and watermelons.

Join the Culinary Conversation

We encourage our readers to share their own experiences of dining at expat-owned restaurants in Gjirokastër or their favorite hidden eateries in the comments section below. Let's celebrate the unique flavors that define the expat dining scene in Gjirokastër and share recommendations, recipes, and stories that enrich our culinary conversations.


Expat edibles are more than just delicious food. These restaurants in Gjirokastër, owned and operated by expats, are a reflection of the vibrant and diverse expat community in the city. Expats in Gjirokastër, through their love for food, are bridging the culinary gap between the old and the new, the local and the international, and the traditional and the modern. So, come and join us on a virtual culinary tour of Gjirokastër and become a part of this exciting culinary journey.