Half-price dining returns with Restaurant Week
Every summer and winter, Restaurant Week returns with great-value dining deals in Croatia's biggest cities. Spanning established top-drawer restaurants as well as cool newcomers, Restaurant Week offers a three-course meal plus a glass of wine for a bargain 100 kn. The price is always at least 50% less than the regular price. The week (which actually lasts for nine days, 9-18 March) attracts bargain-hungry gourmands across the country. Booking opens today, so nab your favourite table with a reservation. Check here to find the full list of the restaurants taking part.
Croatia awarded two new Michelin Stars
Michelin has just given out a fresh batch of shiny new stars, and Croatia is the recipient of two new awards. Dubrovnik's 360 and Sibenik's Pelegrini are Michelin-starred kitchens that made the critic's shortlist this year. In 2016, Croatia was awarded it's very first gastronomic award at Monte in Rovinj. The country now proudly possesses three Michelin stars, the ultimate culinary accolade. Set within the great walls of Dubrovnik with impressive views over the port, 360 blends its historical setting with a progressive, forward-thinking menu. Dishes change constantly but 360 is particularly skilled with seafood, modern Mediterranean dishes and innovations of Croatian classics. Without being too stuffy or formal, they pride themselves on providing a casual vibe where creative cuisine takes centre stage. Hands down the nicest place to eat in central Šibenik, at Pelligrini, diners may opt for the 400kn degustation menu that features, as an appetiser, a smoked aubergine and yoghurt dip, moving onto truffle and prosciutto pappardelle with sheeps’ cheese and fresh parsley, smoked oxtail in tempura with salsa, and braised meat with tomato salsa and carrot purée. Outside, the view could hardly be bettered, with tables on the stone steps overlooking the cathedral and a lovely terrace on the roof of the Bunari, the medieval water cistern building, complete with carved well-heads. RECOMMENDED: our guide to restaurants in Croatia.
The best coffee in Zagreb
Zagreb isn't short on coffee shops. The city centre is a parade of glass-fronted cafés and smoky outdoor terraces – many are longstanding independents, and there’s barely a chain-store in sight. Croatians are sacrosanct about their kava: it’s something to be enjoyed leisurely, not slugged from a cardboard cup on the way back to the office. That said, much of what you’ll find in your cup is commercially blended and can be spectacularly bland. Luckily, a cluster of ace coffee-shops are flying the flag for specialist and third-wave coffee – some double up as artisan roasteries, too. We’ve trawled them all to bring you a definitive guide to the best coffee Zagreb has to offer. RECOMMENDED: the best cafés and coffee shops in Zagreb.
The best sushi in Zagreb
Sushi has set Zagreb on wasabi-flavoured fire. The raw Japanese dish is fast becoming the city's favourite world food, and with sushi restaurants springing up all over the place, you can find some exquisite offerings. From 5-star sashimi spots to quick nigiri joints, here are the best sushi restaurants in Zagreb. Feeling hungry? Feast your eyes on our guide to the best Asian restaurants in Zagreb
A regional guide to Croatian cuisine
Diversity is what makes the cuisine of Croatia so special. In a country of 1,000 islands, 2,000km of coast, two major rivers, mountains, forests and plains, landscape, climate and history dictate what’s put on the dinner table. And through these distinct regions – Mediterranean, Alpine and Continental – Turks, Venetians, Austrians, French and Hungarians have come and gone, leaving their influences in the kitchen. For centuries, inland Croatia and the coast were ruled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Venetian Republic. Croatian cuisine can be therefore divided between the tradition of Central Europe, showcased in the capital, Zagreb, and that of the Central Mediterranean. Each region of Croatia contributes its own specialities but it should be borne in mind that these are regarded as national dishes and can therefore be found all over the country. RECOMMENDED: top ten Croatian food experiences.
The best restaurants in Croatia
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.