Ambar: The Balkan Experience

Courtesy of Ambar Goran Kosanovic
Ambar in Eastern Market (photo credit: Ambar/Goran Kosanovic)

Ambar is a gem of a restaurant in the Eastern Market area specializing in Balkan Cuisine. I knew Ambar as a great brunch spot, but their new Balkan experience menu really caught my attention.

Menu at Ambar
The menu at Ambar

For dinner, you can order a la carte, or you can order the Balkan Experience menu. There are two options under the Balkan experience menu: unlimited small plates and unlimited drinks for $49 per person, or unlimited small plates and Balkan specialties with unlimited drinks for $59 per person. Prices exclude tax and gratuity. These are great deals, and the food is fantastic.

The small plates are appropriate for sharing, and include mezze, spreads, pies, flatbreads, soup, salads, vegetables, meat and poultry, sausages, seafood, and grilled selections. The menu has options for everyone.

If you are going for the Balkan Experience, the more people at the table, the better. Standout dishes include: the stuffed cabbage, the mushroom crepes, the Balkan salad, and the mussels. I really had to cut down the number of photos I was including, every dish that came out was quickly declared my favorite. Also, beware of the bread: it is delicious. Don’t make the mistake I made and devour the bread before many of the other dishes arrive.

A selection of cocktails, beers, and house wines are included in the Balkan Experience menu. Ambar also carries over 52 varieties of rakias–fruit brandies, and  a selection of unique wines from Serbia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia as well as Italy and California.

Finally, for dessert, do not skip the forest gnocchi. It is a decadent dessert bowl with unexpected flavors and textures that complement each other.

The best part about  Ambar is the hospitality. The atmosphere is fun and energetic. Our servers were warm and friendly. This attention to hospitality makes an evening at Ambar one to remember. If you are looking for a different and fun dining experience and a place where you will be treated like family, look no further than Ambar. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Below are more photos of this delicious feast.

Assortment of Rakias at Ambar
Rakias–fruit brandy. The alcohol content in rakia is 40%-95%.
Spreads with house made bread and charcuterie platter at Ambar
Spreads with the most delicious fried bread
Assorted Open Faced Sandwiches at Ambar
Assorted open faced sandwiches, there are 15 different selections and gluten free bread is available. These are available for lunch.


Balkan Salad at Ambar
Refreshing Balkan salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, and cheese


Drunken Mussels at Ambar
Drunken musses, with rakia of course!
Stuffed Sour Cabbage
Comfort food at it’s finest: stuffed sour cabbage. Savory and comforting.
Mushroom crepes
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Croquettes at Ambar
Brussels sprouts with bacon and croquettes
Forest Gnocchi at Ambar
The forest gnocchi is a dessert bowl that is decadent and delicious, but it is not a heavy dessert. It is composed of chocolate mousse with bitter orange cake, ground chocolate, orange gelee, tarragon gnocchi, passionfruit espuma, and black tea sauce. I wish I was having it right now.
Ambar Desserts
Assorted desserts


Disclosure: I was invited to a tasting at Ambar. I was not compensated for writing this post. All views are my own.

Author: onevanillabean

I have loved cooking and baking since I was 5 years old. It was the one activity that I would share with all my extended family. Like most people, I love traveling. I love visiting the markets, exploring unknown ingredients, and bringing them back home with me for inspiration. I find that recipes with simple and pure ingredients yield the best results.

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