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The best Zagreb restaurants

Feast your eyes on the best Zagreb restaurants, from new generation street-food and fusion to high-end, traditional Croatian

© Matt Field/Time Out

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.

Recommended restaurants in Zagreb

5/4

The latest venture from Dino Galvagno (the power behind highly-praised eatery Prasac), 5/4 or ‘The Fifth Quarter’ opened in 2013 and established itself almost immediately as Zagreb’s latest must-eat culinary sensation. It’s certainly a unique place to dine: with twigs and leaves stuck to the wall, the interior looks like a cross between a contemporary art installation and a forest hut. The menu changes daily and basically represents what the chef found at the market and what he feels like cooking; expect an individually crafted selection of European-Mediterranean dishes, with Adriatic fish and at least one mainstream meat dish always featured. The smaller dishes and starters are delights in themselves, and it pays to order several if you want to experience the breadth of 5/4’s cuisine: the 5-, 7- or 12-course tasting menus (for 290Kn, 410Kn and 570Kn respectively) come highly recommended.

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Pauza

Actors, creatives and thirtysomethings come here for home-made food with an imaginative, Adriatic-Asian take on culinary fusion. The interior aims for chic modernity without going totally lounge-bar, while the background music is cool, jazzy but sufficiently unobtrusive to allow for earnest conversation. The menu changes with the season. Pauza's wok-fried dishes mix Mediterranean seafood with Asian flavourings; although there are plenty of more traditional Croatian treatments of meat and fish for those who want something a bit more straightforward. Dishes of the day, chalked up on the inside wall, are excellent value at 45kn-70kn. Wines by the glass and the draught beer are equally affordable.

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Zagreb

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.

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Out of the Centre

Bistro Apetit

Winner of newspaper 'Jutarnji List''s inaugural Top 100 Croatian Restaurants list in 2012, Bistro Apetit offers superb standards of food, wine and service – standards imposed by Austrian chef and owner Christian Cabalier, previously of Vienna's Cantinetta Antinori. One key to its success is the location, hidden in a hedged garden on a tranquil residential street, just a short walk north of the city's Gradec old quarter. The cooking mixes the best of Croatian/Adriatic cuisine with the contemporary European mainstream. At 70kn-90kn for a starter and 120kn-160kn for a main, Bistro Apetit is by no means beyond the average pocket, and there are always some truly outstanding dishes on the seasonally-changing menu. And the desserts are truly heavenly.

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Zagreb

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.   

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Tkalciceva

Mundoaka

Further proof of Zagreb’s ongoing outbreak of bistro fever is provided by Mundaoka, a cramped but highly enjoyable spot just round the corner from the main square. It advertises itself as a ‘street food’ establishment but offers sit-down fare of the highest order, with an imaginative and globe-spanning menu that takes in ribs, deluxe pulled-pork sandwiches, raw tuna with ginger and a host of other lip-smacking ideas. Soups, bruschettas and cheese platters will more than satisfy the snackers; the prospect of freshly made cakes and muffins may well keep you rooted to your table for one more course. The choice of wines and craft beers admirably complements the food. It’s a busy place and you may end up perching on a stool or sharing a table; there is outdoor seating at the pedestrianised end of Petrinjska in spring and summer.

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Lower Town

Korčula

Korčula is as traditional as it gets. This fish restaurant on the corner of Teslina and Preradovićeva was here long before the trendy bars set up around it. The kitchen turns out high-quality versions of seafood standards, tuna fillets or grilled squid with blitva, as well as a few specialities worth trying, in particular a succulent baked octopus with potatoes (120kn). There are scallops, breaded frogs' legs and grouper or John Dory priced by the kilo. The black risotto (crni rižot) is as good as you'll get anywhere in town. Decent, well priced bottled of Dingač and Pošip (180kn) highlight an excellent wine selection (literally dozens of reds and whites) of similarly Dalmatian provenance.

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Zagreb

Kiša

Another addition to Zagreb’s growing roster of bistros with a twist, Kiša opts for a menu of healthy mid-priced food with a Russian-Caucasian slant. Nettle soup and  borscht feature regularly among the hearty soups; Georgian hachapuri (bread with cheese and egg) and Azerbaidjani kutabi (ravioli-style parcels filled with meat or spinach) are the more exotic of the mains. There’s a charming unorthodoxy to the interior decor too: light fittings come in the form of coffee mugs and tea cups hanging upside down from the ceiling; mood music is provided by a vinyl turntable and heap of LPs beside the bar.

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Zagreb

Zrno Bio Bistro

Hidden behind Kota, this smart bright bistro serves up dedicated vegan fare, with the accent on wok, noodle and pasta-based recipes. Ingredients are sourced from a local organic farm. There’s a reasonable choice of desserts and the courtyard setting provides something of a calming oasis in this busy downtown neighbourhood. 

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Zagreb

Stari Fijaker

From the embroidered red-heart tablecloths to the dark brown panelling and pictures of old Zagreb, the barrel-vaulted dining room of the 'Old Coach' is a nowadays rather rare example of what pretty much every traditional Croatian restaurant used to look like. The menu is famous for sticking to north-Croatian staples, with schnitzel-style cuts of meat, roast turkey with mlinci (baked pasta sheets), venison goulash, and roast knuckle of veal leaping off the pages of a lengthy and not too pricey menu. Litres of wine run at 60kn. Zagorska soup (23kn) of potatoes, mushrooms and ham is a great way to kick off a meal – and may well be enough to qualify as a lunch in its own right.

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Zagreb
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