Restaurants

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

Konoba Didov san: from Imotski with love
News

Konoba Didov san: from Imotski with love

Everyone recognises Croatian cuisine from holiday snaps; excellent, simply cooked fish like sea bass and sea bream, grilled squid oozing with cheese, delicate scallops, cuttlefish risotto coloured black with squid ink and juicy prawns, all served with lemon and the freshest salads before a sea view. What could be better? Well, in truth, few things could be better than the traditional seaside menus of Dalmatia and Istria. But that doesn't mean there isn't any room for improvement. And the menu of inland Dalmatia might just be the next step up.Sea bream served with blitva and salad Travel a few kilometres inland, breaking the back of the Dinaric Alps which run down the coastline, and you'll enter a part of Dalmatia which is completely different to the shoreline. Greener, with an at-times slightly cooler climate, spectacular mountain views and freedom from the noise, rush and bustle of tourists, inland Dalmatia is one of the regions of the country least discovered by international visitors. Its cuisine is similarly overlooked, which is regrettable because inland Dalmatia has one of the richest and most varied menus in southern Europe. Why should the food of this little-visited region be so good? Well, its close proximity to the sea ensures that all of the freshest seafood you can get on the coast is also available here. But, in addition to the traditional offer, inland Dalmatia also has the terrain and links to continental Croatia to make some very special additions.Peka Dis

How to survive a restaurant in Croatia
Things to do

How to survive a restaurant in Croatia

Well used to the annual summer influx of international visitors, almost every restaurant you will visit while on holiday in Croatia will do their best to help you smoothly enjoy the experience. Most waiters will speak English at a decent level or better and restaurant menus too will be in English, possibly also German and Italian. But Google Translate is not always wholly accurate. You do often see funny Croatian menu listings on social media, their innocent homemade direct translation attempts creating hilarious results. Pâté described as 'suffering from liver', shrimps described as 'smallpox' and a multitude of dishes described as being 'angry' rather than 'spicy' are just some of the classic examples. Less easy to navigate are some of the cultural differences you may encounter. Lucky then, dear reader, that you have Time Out Croatia at hand to guide you through the experience.

Zinfandel's launches new summertime menu at Esplanade Hotel, Zagreb
News

Zinfandel's launches new summertime menu at Esplanade Hotel, Zagreb

The new Zinfandel restaurant yesterday welcomed celebrity guests, food and wine buffs and members of the media to the resplendent Oleander outdoor terrace of the Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb. The occasion? The launch of the restaurant's exciting new menu, masterminded by talented and well-known head chef Ana Grgić. The presentation on arrival of red fruits – watermelon, strawberries, raspberries – accompanied by cocktails and champagne made for the perfect summertime welcome. After a short address of the audience by representatives of the hotel, including Grgić herself, attendees were invited to sample some of the new menu's offerings.Goose liver truffles and homemade breadBeef tartare, prepared freshly before the diners A beef tartare, expertly made before the eyes of diners, formed a part of the first course served, which also included rich truffles made with goose livers. Main courses available to try included a wonderfully tender and slightly smoked fillet of Pag lamb, served with roasted carrots, plus a creamy, pale risotto.The smoked lamb fillet from Zinfandel's new menu A chef prepares risotto on the terraceA great selection of wines was served with the mains, leaving not much room for the plentiful desserts which included panna cotta and various inventive chocolate creations. In her audience address, Grgić explained that her new menu was constructed with sustainability in mind, as well as the reduction of food waste. As well as the new summer à la carte menu, Zinfand

The 15 best bistros in Zagreb
Restaurants

The 15 best bistros in Zagreb

Once, eating out in Zagreb meant choosing from a slew of local restaurants with menus featuring meat, pastry, and more meat. But the capital's recent gastro-revolution has changed that. A wave of recently-opened bistros are making lunch a more exciting prospect in the capital, and most of them are the projects of passionate entrepeneurs - which means that these independent little places offer top-quality food and hand-selected decor. Like a traditional French bistro, those in Zagreb master breezy, intimate atmosphere, but their menus - often based around global 'street food' - are a welcome update. Here's our batch of the best bistros in Zagreb.  RECOMMENDED: more great restaurants in Zagreb.

The best vegetarian food in Zagreb
Restaurants

The best vegetarian food in Zagreb

Croatia's coast is well known for stunning visitors with its range of fresh seafoods and the country's continental areas offer up premium lamb, veal, beef and wild meats like boar and deer. Spectacular dishes such as pašticada, čobanac, peka and ražanj use such meats and many of these come with no small amount of theatre attached. Pity the poor vegetarian and vegan in your holiday group who, a decade or so ago, might have been restricted to a two-week diet of pizza, burek and grilled vegetables. Things are a lot better these days and the capital city of Zagreb is leading the way in its vegetarian options. Here are the best vege lunches and dinners to try in Zagreb and where to try them. Whether you're vegetarian or not, some of this simply must be sampled!RECOMMENDED: Vegetarian 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.

The best Rijeka restaurants
Restaurants

The best Rijeka restaurants

Rijeka majors in fish, seafood and simple Venetian-inspired dishes, thanks to its seaport location and cultural mixing with nearby Italy. Rijeka has a handful of upscale restaurants that provide international culinary quality, but you can also experience some local specialities at more affordable restaurants. Read on for our critic's guide to the best restaurants in Rijeka. RECOMMENDED: Everything you need to know about Rijeka.  

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.

Recommended restaurants in Dubrovnik

Nautika
Restaurants

Nautika

Dubrovnik’s most prestigious culinary spot offers two panoramic terraces of starched white-tablecloth formality. 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.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Restaurant Ankora
Restaurants

Restaurant Ankora

Sitting on a terrace of the Ankora, eight kilometers west of Dubrovnik, you may get the impression that you are sitting on the deck of a boat. Not only is the sea within easy reach, all 80 seats by the water – an eastern wind brings fragrances of the Mediterranean herbs used to make home-made grappa, gladly served to you as you sit down. Since you are so close to the waves, it comes as no surprise that the menu is full of fresh fish, shellfish, scampi and lobster, prepared in the traditional Dalmatian way. A variation on this theme is seafood pasta and risotto. Reservations are recommended on balmy summer evenings.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Fish Restaurant Proto
Restaurants

Fish Restaurant Proto

The seafood-oriented Proto, recent recipients of a Michelin recommendation, sits in the heart of the Old Town and claims a tradition dating back to 1886. It was here that Edward VIII entertained Wallis Simpson in the 1930s. Executive Chef Boško Lonac oversees squid and lobster in simple, traditional but superbly balanced sauces as well as fresh shellfish from Ston up the coast and popular local meat dishes. The extensive wine list covers just about every quality tipple that Croatia has to offer. Choose between restrained elegance in the 1930s-influenced dining room or the recommended first-floor terrace with great Old Town views. Booking essential.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Restaurant Amfora
Restaurants

Restaurant Amfora

Amfora is an excellent choice for both meat and fish lovers, its cuisine drawing its inspiration from the all areas of the Mediterranean while adding some Asian twists. Here you'll find a fusion of styles and influences, from Morocco to Lebanon, and all the way to the Adriatic coast. The menu changes twice a year. Currently it features a house-style traditional beef cheek "pašticada", cooked sous-vide for 48 hours. This technique is also used for some fish dishes. All pastas, gnocchi and breads are prepared in this kitchen. Fresh autochthonous ingredients are provided by the local produce market - the blue-fin tuna is line-caught. Meat is supplied from the small farms located in the continental part of Croatia. Premium specialities are made of black Slavonian pig and simmental beef. The wine list is long, andmainly local, while the olive oil is extra-virgin - note the bottle ofTorkul from Korčula on every table. The modern interior can host up to 40 guests, while the outdoor seating provides a view of an orchard and 32 more seats. Reservations are recommended in high season, especially for groups of six or more.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Restaurant Amoret
Restaurants

Restaurant Amoret

Thirteen wonderfully decorated apartments at three different locations in the Old Town. All apartments come with kitchenette, TV and free wifi. In summer, stays of under four nights will be subject to a slight surcharge, but prices are still very good for the quality of the accommodation and the location.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars

Recommended cafés

Botaničar • Zagreb
Bars and pubs

Botaničar • Zagreb

Botaničar is a stylish café, bar and sometimes art gallery near the botanical gardens. One of Zagreb's best-looking venues, the café is like a lookbook for retro furnishings; the well-lit room is scattered with '70s hairpin-legged tables and bright velvet sofas. The cafes aesthetic theme is inspired by the nearby gardens: leafy plants are everywhere, with hanging creepers flowing out of oak cabinets The drinks-only menu features coffee from Zagreb roasteries, a selection of craft beer and a respectable list of domestic wines. A soundtrack of gently jazzy music and the occasional chanson provides a relaxed, low-key atmosphere. The café gets buzzier when the after-work crowd arrive. An outdoor terrace overlooking the National Archives provides further inducement to visit in summer.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Booksa • Zagreb
Bars and pubs

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.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Cogito Coffee • Zagreb
Bars and pubs

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. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Book Caffe Dnevni Boravak • Rijeka
Bars and pubs

Book Caffe Dnevni Boravak • Rijeka

Living-room-style hangout that will appeal to those who like a bit of culture with their coffee – the floor-to-ceiling shelves are absolutely stacked with books, CDs and vinyl LPs, while a small annexe serves as a cute art gallery. Literary readings and live music feature several times a month; on other days it serves as a mellow social hub for the city’s reading, writing and chatting community.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Cele Café • Dubrovnik
Bars and pubs

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.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Pod Zidom Coffee, Food and Wine Bar • Zagreb
Restaurants

Pod Zidom Coffee, Food and Wine Bar • Zagreb

Opened in June 2014, Pod Zidom has effortlessly elbowed its way to the top of the wine-bar league, offering an affordable-to-expensive mixture of great Croatian wines, a range of Mediterranean-style lunches and tapas dishes, regular live music, and a wonderful outdoor terrace overlooking a street that’s very central but also slightly hidden from the hubbub of the main square. Done out in a mixture of greys and pale wood tones, it manages to look smart but laid back at the same time. The weekday ‘set lunches from Dolac market’ are a steal at 40kn-55kn. 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Eggspress
Restaurants

Eggspress

This restaurant hatched out of nowhere – taking over the long defunct and dusty-windowed Pushkin’s Restaurant on Boškovićeva, just off Zrinjevac square. Devoted entirely to eggs, this outlet has already proved popular with Zagreb’s Saturday morning crowd, with a world-spanning selection of egg dishes – there’s perfectly poached Eggs Benedict, omelets, Shakshuka; whatever way you like yours, Eggspress have it cracked – but with most dishes veering towards the 100kn mark, the concept doesn’t come cheap. Inside, the bright, modern interior features exposed brickwork, acres of seating and a grand piano – slightly incongruous with its barmy eggs-only concept menu.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Otto & Frank
Restaurants

Otto & Frank

Occupying a premium spot on Zagreb's bustling thoroughfare Tkalčićeva, Otto & Frank is a bistro with an emphasis on breakfast, booze and bar snacks. Finding a flawless full English in Zagreb isn't easy — breakfast here is a typically light affair, constituting pastries, cheese and cured meats, but there's a growing rooster of restaurants you can go to for a good fry-up, and Otto & Frank lay on a killer all day breakfast. A stellar cast of craft beers from local breweries provide speedy replenishment for your hangover, and a daily selection of soups, salads and sandwiches are decent for the lunchtime munchies.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Dežman Bar
Bars and pubs

Dežman Bar

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
Kava Tava
Restaurants

Kava Tava

Consisting of a wooden-shed bar surrounded by a scattering of stools and chairs, the al-fresco Kava Tava delivers just about everything that makes a good café – except, arguably, for four walls and a roof. It occupies the north-western curve of Britanski trg, the square that hosts a Monday-to-Saturday fruit and veg market and a hugely popular collectors' fair on Sunday mornings. What makes Kava Tava unique in Zagreb's cafe-land is the all-day breakfast menu, comprising eggs and bacon, eggs and sausage, cereals and muesli. Sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers and pršut platters are also on offer. Otherwise the quality coffee will keep you motoring, and there's a full range of wines and beers (including Leffe, Erdinger and Paulaner). It's as popular in winter as it is in summer, with mulled wine and shots of Istrian rakija warming the cockles.

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars

Beer and burgers in Zagreb

50 A Burger & Champagne Bar
Restaurants

50 A Burger & Champagne Bar

Handily located behind the main square, this funky burger bar is the result of a global journey spanning New York, Hong Kong and Hvar. The vibe is lively, friendly and perfect for a casual meal and a few cocktails before you head out woozily into the night. Glazed soft-as-cotton brioche buns are stuffed with juicy, dripping patties. The menu uses local ingredients wherever possible, featuring Pag lamb, Istrian truffles and Dalmatian fig jam. There are nods to the owner’s New York/Hong Kong upbringing too with pan-Asian flourishes like bao buns packed with beef, kimchi and wasabi mayo and bowls of ramen broth with silky noodles. Service is unfailingly welcoming. The proprietor Adena parades the tables hawkishly to ensure everything is served properly and on time, occasionally stopping to carouse with the guests. Vegetarians are well-catered for, uplifting to see in a city where restaurants usually toss a few symbolic crumbs at vegetarians (or dry clods of falafel.) Here, you can substitute any burger combo with a veggie pattie and meals can also be prepared for vegans. The wine list is pleasantly varied, and there is craft beer on tap from Zagreb’s Garden Brewery. The cocktails are intoxicatingly good. Avoid the overly sweet ‘boozy’ slushies, delivered in plastic bags tied up with little bows of hessian, they’re a bit gimmicky and extortionately priced. And the bill? Compared with its competitors, 50 A Burger isn’t cheap but an extra 20-30kn (€3) is a perfectly reasonable

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Submarine Burger
Restaurants

Submarine Burger

Can burger-flipping be a sustainable, ecologically responsible industry? Well Yellow Submarine is certainly giving it a go. The submariners pride themselves on making thick, succulent burgers from organic local beef, garnished with local škripavac cheese and veggies. Smokehouse (36kn), featuring bacon, mushrooms and smoked cheese, is just one of several imaginative combinations. Fast food this good should be enjoyed slowly – the mellow wooden-stool interior is a pleasant place to sit.

Time Out says
5 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
5 out of 5 stars
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
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
5 out of 5 stars