Restaurants

The best places to eat throughout Croatia – restaurants and cafés reviewed by our experts

The best restaurants in Zagreb of 2016
Restaurants

The best restaurants in Zagreb of 2016

A mixture of old haunts and new joints; high-class and low-cost; our critics select the stand-out Zagreb restaurants of the year. RECOMMENDED: Our full guide to restaurants in Zagreb.

The best Asian restaurants in Zagreb
Restaurants

The best Asian restaurants in Zagreb

Looking for Asian food in Zagreb? A decade ago, there wasn't a stir-fry in sight, but that's all changed in recent years. The 'Asian food' umbrella is, of course, a wide one, especially when you consider the delicious tapestry of ethnic cuisines that make up the eats of the East. Truth is, Zagreb has been slow on the uptake - but what the city lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for in quality. These days, Cro-Asian gastronomy packs real culinary clout. Swanky fusion joints like Tekka specialise in destination dining, while more specialized restaurants serve up Japanese dumplings and Korean kimchi. Chopsticks at the ready - here's our list of the best Asian restaurants in town. RECOMMENDED: More great restaurants in Zagreb

The best cafés and coffee shops in Zagreb
Restaurants

The best cafés and coffee shops in Zagreb

Coffee-drinking is taken seriously in Zagreb. In the city centre, you can barely move for coffee houses spawling into the streets. Inevitably, some of these similar-looking joints are lacklustre, and it's surprisingly hard to find cafes with menus that extend beyond drinks. But once you've found your cafe, you won't be disappointed: the finest offer expertly-made coffee, and treats to have a sweet-tooth grinning for hours. Here are the best cafes and coffee shops in Zagreb.

The best falafel in Zagreb
Restaurants

The best falafel in Zagreb

These days, there's no shortage of falafel in Zagreb. Croatians have taken this humble Middle Eastern chickpea dish to their hearts, and it's fast becoming the vegan answer to cevapi. Whether you want it in a takeaway wrap or on an artisan platter, dressed in yoghurt or with humous on the side, here's where you'll find the best falafel in Zagreb. RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants vegetarian restaurants in Zagreb

Vegetarian restaurants in Zagreb
Restaurants

Vegetarian restaurants in Zagreb

Croatian cuisine is famously meat-heavy, but that doesn't mean veggies will go hungry in the capital. A small crop of eateries are providing wholesome, delicious and cheap alternatives to meat - making limp tomato and lettuce salads a thing of the past. Do you agree with the choices? Use the comments box below or tweet or Facebook your suggestions. RECOMMENDED: More great restaurants in Zagreb.

The best restaurants in Croatia

Recommended Zagreb restaurants
Restaurants

Recommended Zagreb restaurants

This ultimate guide to Zagreb restaurants covers it all: from top-level, splash-out fine dining to street food, traditional wholesome to high-end international, European bistro to east-west fusion. Get stuck in.

The best Dubrovnik restaurants
Restaurants

The best Dubrovnik restaurants

Dubrovnik restaurants are beginning to offer the culinary quality and variety that should be expected of such a luxury destination. And dining in Dubrovnik needn't cost an arm and a leg: many places offers simple, wholesome dishes at wallet-friendly prices.

Recommended Split restaurants
Restaurants

Recommended Split restaurants

The Split restaurant scene's culinary revolution is a recent phenomenon and one that's still booming. Decent and diverse eateries seem to be opening on an almost monthly basis, making Croatia's second city a gastronomic destination equal to almost any in the country. Split is not only a tourist playground – it's a living, breathing, dining-out city for locals too.

Nautika • Dubrovnik
Restaurants

Nautika • Dubrovnik

Rumoured to be entering its last season at the current, Pile-Gate location, Dubrovnik’s most prestigious culinary spot offers two panoramic terraces of starched white-tablecloth formality. To get full value for your holiday blow-out, book sea-view tables Nos.30-38 on the Penatur terrace or Nos.56, 57 or 64 on Lovrijenac. Chef Mario Bunda insists on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients – shellfish feature in dishes from the Elafiti isles such as Lopud brodet with polenta and Šipan fisherman’s carpaccio, or there are lobster medallions from Vis. Diners can also opt between three kinds of menu.

Latest restaurant reviews

Fajn
Restaurants

Fajn

A fairly new addition to Zagreb’s growing bistro scene, the small, superbly located Fajn succeeds on many levels. Occupying a lovely spot in the pedestrianised old town – just off the tourist thoroughfare between St. Marko church and Museum of Broken Relationships – it's exterior facade is blink-and-you'll-miss-it unassuming, with a small sign and a printout of the daily menu on the door. Here, the focus on quality over quantity means a limited menu of affordably creative cuisine, based on the daily catch at the fishmongers or butchers in nearby Dolac market. The result is sensationally good. From the small open kitchen, protégés of celebrity chef Dina Galvagno put the recipes of the day to the test. The menu features starters like risottos, daily soups or a cheese board with prosciutto and Croatian favourites for 70kn. There’s usually two or three mains: sea bream in almond crust with cauliflower cream and roasted beetroot; for the meatheads, pink slabs of steak or rabbit goulash, hovering around the 90kn mark. The owner is English speaking, and quick to offer up smart suggestions from the Croatian wine-list. The low-key soundtrack of jazz and classical makes a hospitable hum, and the seven-cover size ensures an intimate, polished experience. It’s deservedly popular, booking recommended on weekends.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Bistro Divas
Restaurants

Bistro Divas

Zagreb’s hot new bistro cites so many international influences on its menu – Afghani, Himalayan/Nepalese, Spanish/Basque – that you wonder if Divas isn’t spreading itself too thin. Not to worry. What arrives on your plate will be tasty, healthy and well presented, portions substantial enough to satisfy without weighing you down for the rest of the day. Yes, contemporary Divas is daytime-only, operating in synch with the longer-established Divas Café some 200 metres away, under the same ownership.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Bistro 75
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Bistro 75

Opened towards the end of 2015, Bistro 75 is still finding its way in Zagreb’s ever busier bistro/snack scene. A prime location helps, in the heart of the city’s bar quarter and not two minutes’ walk from the main square. At Bistro 75, food is at its best at lunchtimes, when locals tuck into the signature pulled-pork sandwiches, complemented by fat chips drizzled with zingy barbecue sauce. If this sounds like a diet-busting recipe for a sleepy afternoon, there are salads and three different types of falafel, with soups and stews offered in winter - fresh-fruit juices or craft beers may accompany. The place tends to throng on warm evenings, when punters are drawn in by its terrace, decent music selection and superlative cocktails.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Augubio Congo
Restaurants

Augubio Congo

This Mediterranean newbie sits in a refined palace in Split’s historic centre, facing the tourist office across a courtyard. When busy – and, given its location, this is often – not all items are available from an enticingly creative menu but there should be enough to satisfy even the most jaded of Dalmatian travellers. Prices are predictably higher than in less adventurous establishments in the tourist-swamped vicinity.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars

Recommended cafés

Eli's Caffè • Zagreb
Restaurants

Eli's Caffè • Zagreb

'You are now entering Evolution Area' says the sign on the door, which leads through to a coolly minimal white space with a handful of tables grouped around the bar. For several years now Eli's has been Zagreb's leading venue for quality coffee, leading a brown-stuff brewing revolution that is slowly spreading to the city's other bars. It is also one of the few cafe-bars that has remained 100% non-smoking, ensuring that you can actually taste and smell whatever it is you're drinking. A foxy young professional clientele gather here to gas, goss and guzzle coffee from 100% arabica beans selected and roasted by the café owner Nik Orosi, the country’s first specialty coffee roaster and supplies a half-dozen cafés with enough taste to want the best coffee in town.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Cogito Coffee • Zagreb
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Cogito Coffee • Zagreb

Flagship city-centre bar of the Cogito bean-roasting outfit, this recently-opened clinic for unrepentant caffeine-a-holics is just off the main street, at the start of the mysterious, half-hidden passageway which leads from Varšavska through to Masarykova. Minimally decorated save for some salvaged furniture and a few pictures, it serves a hard-to-beat brew, plus leaf teas, some freshly-squeezed juices, and that’s about it – save for some muffins and cookies provided by the Piknik bakery and sandwich bar.

Cele Café • Dubrovnik
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Cele Café • Dubrovnik

First opened in 1932 by a certain Celestin 'Cele' Šikić, this busy place is one of a gaggle of cafés grouped around the Stradun's bustling eastern end. Given a thorough refit in the winter of 2010-11, Cele was relaunched as a 'brunch&bar', serving all-day breakfasts (omelettes, croissants, cereals), salads, wok-fried dishes and burgers – until 5pm, when it reverts to its primary function as a drinking venue. Cele's sizeable pavement terrace can be mobbed by tourists in high season, and the place only really comes into its own when the midsummer deluge has receded.

Dežman Bar • Zagreb
Bars and pubs

Dežman Bar • Zagreb

Thank to a gaggle of designer stores the narrow, arcade-like Dežmanova is fast becoming one of Zagreb’s coolest addresses, an impression only bolstered by the opening of this chic new café-bar. The interior is as modernist as they come but soothing with it. Matt-black walls jostle with warm woody tones, and geometric light fittings convey an arty bent. As far as the drinks are concerned the accent is very much on quality at a decent price – coffee is supplied by local direct-trade roasting outfit Cogito, beers include the locally brewed Zmajsko Pale Ale, long drinks a refreshing Bellini (25kn), and there’s a good wine list with plenty of sparkling options. The cakes are hard to turn down, and there’s an evening menu of pršut and cheese platters.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Café Dubrovnik
Restaurants

Café Dubrovnik

Set in the hotel of the same name, overlooking the main square, this is one of the most revered coffeehouses in Zagreb, exuding classic charm and providing smart service. The location, of course, simply can't be beat.

Booksa • Zagreb
Restaurants

Booksa • Zagreb

Zagreb’s prime literary club also doubles as a café, a collective run by two enthusiastic women. There is a symbolic membership fee of 10kn/year, but members can then enjoy WiFi, carefully chosen music, a laid-back atmosphere and regular events that include readings by the big beasts of the local literary scene – with occasional ones by visiting English speakers. Thursdays are reserved for unplugged concerts by local musicians. The twice-weekly Mercredi Français pulls in the capital's Francophone community. There’s also a small library of English-language books. Good coffee and several varieties of leaf tea help to make Booksa well worth the quick tram ride or ten-minute walk from the centre.

Breakfast, brunch and beyond

Breakfast in Zagreb guide
Restaurants

Breakfast in Zagreb guide

With an increasing number of Zagreb’s guests staying in private rooms and apartments rather than traditional hotels, the need to find a good breakfast has never been greater. There were always plenty of cafés in Zagreb but few of them bothered to cook up food of any kind, never mind a sizzling pan of bacon and eggs. Until now. As well as a new genre of café, you are likely to find a designated breakfast menu in an increasing number of restaurants too. Here are seven of the best places to start the day.

Bistroteka
Restaurants

Bistroteka

Opened in late 2014 and already a leading light in Zagreb’s ongoing bistro revolution, Bistroteka strikes the right balance between snack-nibbling informality and slap-up sit-down dining. The menu displays a playful interest in an anything from Croatia to the wider Mediterranean and the Far East, ranges from thoughtfully compiled ciabatta sandwiches to major meat-and-two-veg meals, all of which is prepared and served with aplomb. The menu changes according to what’s fresh and seasonal; daily specials are chalked up on a board. The in-the-know wine list offers a good mixture of boutique and mainstream production from all over Croatia. The place itself is a pleasant place to sit and contemplate the good things in life, with white-painted brick ceiling, kooky light fittings and unobtrusive background pop. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Jutro
Restaurants

Jutro

Tucked into a quiet courtyard on Teslina, a street busy with restaurants and bars, Jutro is as restful a spot as you’ll find in central Zagreb. White-painted wooden furniture, house plants and colourful cusions create a laid-back, home-from-home ambience. Bags, jewelry and hand-painted umbrellas add an arty-crafty vibe – they are made by local artists and are for sale. Serious care goes into the coffee, and there’s usually cheesecake or chocolate cake in the counter-side cake stand. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Luna Rossa
Restaurants

Luna Rossa

This Istrian-themed trattoria mixes traditional home-style cooking with an unashamedly contemporary interior, striking a nice balance between minimal modern greys and folksy textures like pale wood and rope. The mainstay of the menu is the in-house pasta and njoki served with a variety of delicious sauces, ranging from white-wine-and-mushroom (55kn) to Istrian-truffle (115kn). Also well worth recommending are the seafood risottos, T-bone steaks and ombolo-style pork chops. It also functions as a wine bar (with both stools at the counter and outside on the street), serving the best in Istrian boutique production – check out the chalked-up recommendations on the blackboard for affordable by-the-glass options.    

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Oranž
Restaurants

Oranž

There's an increasing number of smart-and-comfortable cafes in Zagreb that do the coffee-and-cakes thing respectably well. What distinguishes Oranž is the sheer scope and quality of what's in the display window: plumping for the impossible-to-resist lemon-and-lime meringue pie simply makes you pine for all the other cheesecakes and gateaux that you could have had in its place. There is also a respectable number of sandwiches, quiches and salads, but it's the sweet side of Oranž that will hold you in repeat-visit thrall.

Beer and burgers in Zagreb

Šalša
Restaurants

Šalša

A low-rise suburban street in Trešnjevka is an unlikely location for one of Zagreb’s cult new bistros, but it’s well worth venturing out here to see what all the fuss is about. Occupying a rather unprepossessing pair of grey first-floor rooms, Šalša chalks up its daily menu – together with a small list of well-chosen wines – on a huge wall-to-wall blackboard; there’s usually a pasta dish, a stew and something seriously meaty to choose from. Šalša’s burgers are legendary, and connoisseur-friendly beers such as Kozel and San Servolo provide additional reason to linger.

Burgeraj
Restaurants

Burgeraj

A small but perfectly chosen menu has made Burgeraj one of the city centre’s cult eateries. The spicy Pepper Jam Burger or the shiitake-filled Tamari Burger are worth making a pilgrimage here to try out. The interior looks a bit American diner-ish and the excellent drinks list (Fentimans Ginger Beer, Californian Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, local Pale Ale from Zmajska Pivovara) makes this a great place to hang out – it’s just a shame there’s only enough room for about 16 people at a time. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Rougemarin
Restaurants

Rougemarin

Something of a cult among Zagreb carnivores on account of its delicious gourmet burgers (try the 200g cheeseburger for 36kn), Rougemarin also serves top-notch bistro fare with a small menu of light but delectable meals strong on fish and healthy foods. Three-course set lunches with drink are well worth the 100kn outlay. Boutique Croatian wine, craft beers, and a small outdoor terrace provide further inducements to visit; located amid residential blocks just south of the Radnička cesta business district, it’s not exactly central.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Rocket Burger
Restaurants

Rocket Burger

A new crop of quality burger bars sprang up in recent years and this was one of the first, serving deftly grilled patties of pure beef to an appreciative crowd. The cheddar bacon supreme (35kn) is the ruling monarch of the menu, although the pulled-pork sandwich (33kn) also has its devotees. There’s a breakfast option (bacon, eggs and pancakes) available up until 2pm; bottled Belgian beers, Strongbow cider and locally brewed Nova Runda craft beer provide ample excuses to hang around. With a handful of tables on the pedestrianised strip of Tkalčićeva, the setting couldn’t be better.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Tarpon
Restaurants

Tarpon

Occupying the ground floor of the Zagrepčanka, an iconic Seventies-era skyscraper, Tarpon woos the business-lunch crowd with matt black surfaces, solid wood tabletops, and a classic high-protein menu of grilled flesh. Dishes range in price from grilled squid (45kn) to steak with truffles (140kn), with an ample choice of chicken and pork variations filling out the middle ground. There's an extra menu of weekday lunchtime specials, featuring some very reasonable stews and soups. The restaurant proper is on the upper, mezzanine level, while the ground-floor café is perfect place to pause for coffee, cakes and a lung-full of cigarette smoke.