Home Culture Cafe Bubamara: A Taste of Balkan Cuisine in Clifton

Cafe Bubamara: A Taste of Balkan Cuisine in Clifton

by Samantha Bonizzi
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There is a rich and diverse food culture that makes up Essex County and the surrounding area. Throughout, one can find an abundance of neighborhood eateries serving the traditional fare of regions near and far. One such location is Cafe Bubamara, a family-owned restaurant located at 263 Parker Ave in Clifton’s historic Botany Village, which will transport you to Southeast Europe through both the food and the atmosphere. Read on to learn more about Cafe Bubamara in Clifton, NJ.

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The Backstory

Cafe Bubamara was opened by immigrant couple Snezana and Alex Milic, who came to the United States from the former Yugoslavia. Their goal was to create a space in New Jersey where they could welcome people native to the Balkan region (an area that takes its name from the Balkan Mountains and sits in Southeast Europe). Cafe Bubamara is rooted in Balkan food and traditions, bringing natives of the area together while also being shared with those new to the culture. And it’s apparent from its 330+ five-star Yelp reviews and 4.6 star rating on DoorDash that this feeling of “home” extends beyond just those of Southeast Europe.

The Ivy at Chatham

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The Atmosphere

Cafe Bubamara is a standout destination on Parker Ave, with its florals, iconic “Fica” car, and bright red logo and awning (hint: bubamara translates to ladybug). There is an immediate warmth to the cafe, almost as if you’ve entered into a family member’s dining room. According to its website, Cafe Bubamara combines “old-world eclecticism with a romantic modern aesthetic” and “invites you to indulge in its whimsical and relaxed atmosphere, reminiscent of the glory days of Ex-Yugoslavia”. The walls are lined with photos of notables from the former Yugoslavia era, brought to life by native music from the same time in history. This is paired with vintage-looking furniture and trinkets for a cozy feel. In addition to the two-room interior, there is a back patio area open during the warmer months that is just as inviting.

The Eats

The cafe serves an array of traditional Turkish dishes, with their signature being the Burek, a flaky and savory pie filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables. These are made in-house daily and come in a variety of sizes, including personal, mini or family. Another authentic favorite is Uštipci, which are fried, hollowed-out dough balls served with feta cheese and honey for filling inside. Pair either of these with Turkish coffee (or “ Turska Kafa”) and you have yourself a true Balkan breakfast. Also highly rated is the Bubamara Breakfast which comes with two fried eggs, feta, bread, mayo, tomatoes, and a choice of chicken or beef sausage. The menu is complete with classic items like crepes, omelets, calzones, French toast, sandwiches, and paninis as well as a variety of desserts.

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Cafe Bubamara is making a name for itself as one of the best Balkan restaurants in the US, and lucky for us, it’s right here in Clifton. To get a taste for all that Cafe Bubamara has to offer, head to their Instagram and Facebook pages. The cafe is open daily from 8AM – 10PM.

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