Destination Bosnia: Surprising Sarajevo — Dinner with Mrs. Safija

A forbidden love affair between a beautiful Bosnian woman and a handsome Austrian count is the backdrop for tonight’s icebreaker dinner as members of the newly-formed “band of merry media” — 18 travel writers and photographers invited by Insight Vacations to sample a portion of its Bosnia Herzegovina-Dalamatian Riviera itinerary — get acquainted, cling glasses and break bread at one of Sarajevo’s upscale restaurants: 4 Sobe Gospođe Safije (Four Rooms of Mrs. Safija).

Originally built as a home in 1910 by Count Johan Von Herberstein for his beloved Safija, the love of his life, this Bosnian-European fusion restaurant, located in the hilly and trendy neighborhood of Bjelave, has been restored to early 20th century splendor.


Filled with lots of period pieces, the Four Rooms of Mrs. Safija celebrates that legendary and taboo love affair between a Muslim woman and a Christian man during Sarajevo’s transition from Ottoman to Austro-Hungarian rule in the early 1900s, and stands today as a monument to love, beauty and fortitude.

Built up, not out, the house is a three-story epicurean landmark, with a restaurant, lounge, wine and tapas bar and a seasonal summer garden outside. But, enough about the decor. How’s the food?

Regularly cited by international food critics as one of Sarajevo’s very best restaurants, my fellow travel scribes and I pretty much have the run of Mrs. Safija’s four rooms and the superlative kitchen as we touch knife to fork and enjoy this Insight “signature,” get-acquainted, three-course dinner.

Over a glass of bubbly rosé, I select the Bey’s chicken soup — Bosnia’s national soup — a sea bass fillet in a saffron sauce, and a filo dough-style apple strudel with vanilla ice cream. Not to be overlooked, all of these mouth-watering dishes are complimented by fine white and red wines from the house cellar.

Count Johan may have fallen head over heels for the lovely Safija, but our newly-formed “band of merry media” is definitely smitten by these four rooms and the kitchen. Uh, any chance we can have seconds?

For complete information on Insight’s premium and luxury-escorted itineraries, including 113 journeys across Europe, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

See you tomorrow morning at 10:00 when we’ll hook up with Dino, Insight’s “Man in Sarajevo,” for an informative stroll around the Baščaršija, the old Ottoman bazaar.

Until then, laku noć (good night).

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©Tom Palladio Images


Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along the travertine and cobblestone that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches via and Anthology Magazine Ireland.


  1. Some nice photos of Sarajevo, the food probably is good, since you mentioned “Any chance for seconds?”.


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