One of the great
pleasures of traveling to new locales is discovering new
restaurants. Freed from the limitations imposed by the
Covid-19 surge in Malaysia, we were free to explore new
restaurants each weekend while living in Zagreb. We
have divided this gastronomic tour into two catgorie--casual
dining and fine dining.
The meals in the former category would be 20 US dollars per
person or less for a meal, (sometimes considerably less)
while the fine dining restaurants were more in the 40-60 US
dollar range per person.
When it comes to
casual dining, it doesn't get more casual than Saralee's
"Thai Street Food," a little kiosk with four outdoor stools
just one tram stop from us. Since dining al fresco during
the winter months is a bit too "outdoorsy" for us, we tend
to take our spring rolls, friend chicken, or beef soup home
to enjoy in relative warmth and comfort. It is a good deal
pricier than we find it Thailand, but with the same
authentic taste. After two years away from our home in Sam Roi Yod, it is a treat
to have real thai food. After all, nobody doesn't like
Saralee! The photo to the left shows the small restaurant
kiosk, while the photo to the right showcases the always
friendly and capable staff (that's Saralee second from the
right). I'm getting hungry writing about this!
This restaurant was just a
short tram ride away--3 stops and 1 tram change. It offers
local Croatian dishes and the owner is continuing the
tradition begun by his retired father, while his mother is
the cook--it is a real family affair! We ate a number of
meals there. Perhaps our favorite was the grilled rainbow
trout. Prepared simply, it was delcious and only about 7 US
dollars. The friendly cook even invited us into the kitchen
one night and showed us how to prepare the fish! Another
favorite were the fried mushrooms, an absurdly large portion
served with yummy grilled vegetables. We also
had the chance to sample the pizza and lamb, both equally
good. This little pub/restaurant was a favorite of
ours, just two tram stops from our home.
Nokturno is located on a
steeply sloped street (say that three times!) connected the
plaza just above the Dolac market to Ulica Ivana Tkalcica, a
popular pedestrian street lined with restaurants, bars and,
of course, cafes. The prices are absurdly low and the food
is unbelievably good. The photo to the left shows the
sloping street and the outdoor seating where we ate our
meals and watched the world go by. Our first night
there we completely over-ordered. Tracy had a starter of
calimari which was delicious and could almost have made a
meal for both of us. Dale had the risotto with adriatic
shrimp, again it would have proven hardy far for two people.
But, nothing succeeds like
excess, so we order a main which was--even larger. We
stuffed ourself on a rack of ribs with carmeli wozed onions
and oven roasted potatoes. The Ribs were crispy on the
outside, yet well braised and literally falling off of the
bone. More meat than 2 people would normally eat for about
12 US dollars. Stuffed, we took the potatoes home and make
hashbrowns for breakfast the next morning. (I have blocked
our cardiologist from reading this page) And speaking of
breakfast, a week later returned for breakfast. Nokturno
offers large omlettes with combinations of mushrooms,
cheese, bacon on ham. They are not exactly early birds, as
breakfast does not begin until after 10 a.m., but it was
definitely worth waiting for.
Located just off the main
square, Rougemarin has become our go-to place for a
hamburger. Tasty meat cooked medium rare and served on a
brioche bun, it is hard to beat. We have lunched there twice
and the menu is small but filled with appealing dishes. It
is more of a lunch place, and its lunch prices keep the
restaurant in the affordable range.
Just two blocks
off the main square Al Dente offers the typical outdoor
dining--a seating area complete with heaters and blankets on
the chairs for cold weather dining. The main draw for us is
the pizza--beautful thin cdrust with buffalo
mozzarella--Margherita heaven. It is locate on a busy
thoroughfare that is perfect for people watching.
We have visited most of the
restaurants on this page twice, and our absolute favorite is
Carpaccio. It is located just a few block from the square to
it is very convenient. What's to love about this place?
Well--everything. The decore is beautiful, informal
and colorful, the food is exactly what you would hope to get
when in Venice or Florence, and the service is spectacular.
All the ingredients for a memorable meal. Our last meal was
a case in point. We started with a glass of proseco and
moved onto a bottle of red, a Chianti Reserva. The
bread basket was only surpassed by the olive oil--that
heavenly peppery taste that we love. That was followed by
the appetizer, a french onion soup which had a
marvelous cheese topping over a hearty broth. Then on to the
main course--Dale had a homemade Bucatini with bacon. The
pasta was perfectly cooked and there was a meaty flavor in
every bite. Tracy opted for the rack of lamb with fennel,
grilled vegetables, and polenta. The chops were cooked in
pairs and without exception every bite was medium
rare--whether pasta or meat, Carpaccio knows what they are
doing. Enhancing the atmosphere was the inviting interior
and the waiters were terrific--never hovering, yet always
there to answer a question or fill a glass. We ended the
evening with a terrific apple pie--on the tart side, the way
Tracy likes it. The cost for a first-rate dining experience?
About 62 US dollars, inclusive on the wines.
Vinodol was another fine
dining experince. It is located just down the street from
Carpaccio, on a row of wonderful restaurants. All of them
offer both inside and outside dining (with heaters and a
glass enclosure. We opted for the inside, in the large room
sown in the photo to the upper right. There was also a
larger (warmer) more formal dining room, but it was fully
booked. Our appetizers were a creamy mushroom soup for Tracy
and a chicken soup with dumpling for me. Both were served
hot and hit the spot, especially as the room was a bit on
the chilly side, even with the blankets
provided to every seat. For our main course Tracy had
a seabass with grilled vegetables,
for the pork loin, which was a sizeable amount of meat. We
topped it off with apple crumble (of a somewhat
deconstructed variety, while Dale gorged on chocolate lava
cake.The photo to the middle left shows the mushroom soup,
while to the right is a photo of the chicken dumpling soup.
At the bottom left is a photo of the sea bass and to the
right the pork loin dish
. I think
next visit we will book the more formal dining room in
advance for a warmer experience, but
it was a good fine dining experience.
Thus far in our stay in Zagreb we have consistently
good meals wherever we have dined,
regardless of whether it was relatively expensive or inexpensive.
Not a place for
vegetarians, however, as meat seems to predominate.
Korcula is on the opposite
side of the street from Carpaccio, on the corner of Ulica
Nikole Tesle, the "restaurant row" of Zagrebs "old town." We
had passed by it several times, and our discerning landlady
also recommended it, so we gave it a try.
Steak House is attached to the adjacent Hotel Dubrovnik, and
is located just in front of the tram tracks at Trg Ban
Jelacic, two stops from our house. We ventured there
relatively early in a our stay and enjoyed a truly
"American" meal, a tomahawk steak of impressive proportions.
The photo to the lower right shows Tracy doing here
best "The Price is Right" display of this massive hunk o'
meat along with the obligatory baked potatoes. Of course
washed down with a nice house red. The American Steak House
with its paneled wall and aproned waiters summons up a
1960's vibe--the characters of Mad Men would be right at home here. We
did visit a second time during advent season
and had a wonderful buffet that included a variety of meats,
fish, and vegetable dishes, a hearty fare to warm off the
cold. Plus, it was only a ten meter walk to the tram stop!
Return to Zagreb Main Page
The Esplanade is most likely
Zagreb's most upscale hotel. It is located near the railway
station and Tomislav Square, and it was an elegant rest stop
for passengers on the Orient Express in the days when tha
storied train passed through this part of the world. While the
train is gone, this beautiful hotel remains. We did a
staycation there and breakfasted in the elegant dining room,
but the eatery that really caught our fancy was Le Bistro, an
elegant but slightly less formal restaurant located on the
street level. We dined there twice, including Christmas Eve,
when last minute travel changes had us scrambling for a place
to celebrate. The food was delicious, as Dale dined on grilled
octopus and Tracy tucked
into a tenderloin. The serene atmosphere, attentive wait
staff, and perfectly prepared food made our impromptu choice a
very satisfying one. We returned to the Bistro later in the
year and had a similar experience.