Run by the team behind the Flying Pig on Hvar, Bestija is a new bistro bursting with fresh ideas
Set in a previously moribund-looking yard in one of the city's central neighbourhoods, everything about the new Bestija screams fresh. The décor is modern and unpretentiously shabby, managing to avoid many of the industrial tropes that have come to define ‘The Bistro’ – there are no hanging naked lightbulbs or exposed brickwork, instead, Bestija is spelt out in a scribble of neon light. The soundtrack is woozily ambient, a hipster-friendly playlist that oscillates between Brian Wilson, Cymande and The Grateful Dead. And the menu? Reassuringly small, it changes daily, but you can expect a cast of Adriatic favourites (grilled fish, Pag lamb) prepared with flavourful, fruity embellishments. Duck breast with homemade pasta arrives in a mushroom and cherry sauce. The grilled seabream is perfectly crisp-skinned and soft-fleshed, served with lemony chickpeas for acidity. As if to purposefully flaunt the freshness of their ingredients, a just-delivered box of veg sat briefly on the chef's counter before being hoisted into the kitchen to prepare for the next batch of customers. The drinks menu matches the light quality of the food - Istrian whites are well-represented, alongside Garden craft beers and a few cocktails. Mains are priced between 80-100kn – what you might pay for an average fish supper elsewhere, well worth the outlay for food this fantastically fresh.