Kafana Galija (Gaul) was opened back in 1938. It is one of the oldest kafanas in Nis. The kafana was named after an experience the original owner Vučko Mitrović had during World War I. Before the war he came from a small village around Nis and started working in some kafanas but when the war started he joined the Serbian army.
After going through many battles and all the horrors of this war, the Serbian army ended up in Albania cut off by the enemy. They were finally rescued by a French ship called Gaul enroute to Tunisia. But that evening when the Gaul sailed for Tunisia the German fleet torpedoed the ship. It was completely destroyed. But Mitrovic managed to save his life by hanging on to a piece from the ship and was able to reach the Tunisian shore. Somehow he managed to return to Nis and bought a plot on the present Nikola Pasic street and built his own kafana, which he named in honor of the ship Gaul that rescued so many Serb and French soldiers during the First World War.
Since its opening in 1938 this kafana has been a special place for many locals who believe it reflects the spirit of Nis. Today, when you enter the Galija, you will see the classic original wooden tables with checkered tablecloths. On the walls are photos of old Nis, and some pictures by local painters who often dine here. The Galija has remained the same throughout the years, modest but extremely enjoyable.
The food in Galija is another story, and for us it might be the best in Nis, especially if you order the speciality of the house, a mixed grill in a baked bread bowl filled with an unforgettable sauce. One order can easily feed two or three, maybe even four people. Usually, in Serbia, when you first sit down, the waiter will offer you some homemade brandy. In Galija their specialty is homemade plum brandy, but you can also order pear brandy (Viljamovka) that goes well with their Serbian salad made of tomatoes, cucumber, onion and some hot peppers, seasoned with salt and olive oil.
With the Serbian salad you can have a sideorder of Urnebes, a cheese mixed with a little smoked paprika and garlic with olive oil. Apart from their mixed grilled specialty is a traditional sauerkraut dish that has been cooked for a very long time with pork, onions and spices (Bucin podvarak sa butkicom). Or a portion of delicious smoked pork.
All the food is served in traditional earthenware dishes that make every everything taste better, especially the beans with homemade sausage, which is not a bad starter. The Galija kafana is open every day and night except Sunday. In the evening you have the opportunity to listen to traditional Serbian music with the orchestra going from table to table to play requested songs.
Prices of food and drink in kafana Galija
They have a solid choice of wines the cheapest bottle of wine is 520 dinars (very drinkable) which is about 4.5 euros while the most expensive bottle is 2700 dinars, about 23 euros. Prices of salads range from 1 to 3 euros, warm appetizers from 2 to 5 euros, grilled meats from 2 to 10 euros. The price of the beer is from 1 to 2 euros. Both local and foreign beers are served. The most popular local beers are Jelen, Zajecarsko and Lav.
The waiters speak enough English so you can discuss what to order. Working hours are from 9 am to midnight. During the weekends the working hours are extended for live music. Reservations are obligatory for weekend evenings. It is advisable to book a few days in advance. Usually you don’t need a reservations for weekend lunch.
Galija is located in the center of Trg Nikole Pasica Square 35.