This is the kind of restaurant you think Washington simply doesn’t do—though you could well imagine it in a small town in the Midwest: The setting is homey and unpretentious, the staff warm and gracious, the cooking an assertion of the manifold pleasures to be had in humble food prepared with love and care.
What makes the place even more anomalous is that the bill of fare constitutes an authentic tour of the Balkans, from the robust, pinky-size sausages called cevapcici to the wide, juicy, sour-cream-dolloped burger (the secret to its tenderness: it’s marinated in onion juice) to the selection of good, crisp whites and sinuous, earthy reds from Bosnia and Croatia. Desserts are made in-house daily, and you’ll leave the poorer for skipping out on the krempita, a custard-filled pastry, or the crepes rolled with delicate rose-hip jam.
Where you can get it: 7770 Richmond Hwy., Alexandria; 703-360-3660
Also good: Goulash soup; Wiener schnitzel; baklava.