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Pricey but superior grill restaurant for special occasions
There's something reassuring about walking into a restaurant to see that none of the waiters are under 30. You're almost as likely to be as happy eating as they are to work there.
It's an all the more assuring sight at Pri Zvoncu, located 2km south of the city centre. From the outside, it looks like a ramshackle collection of rural outbuildings. Don't be fooled; this excellent restaurant is a local favourite.
Inside, a large seasonal courtyard is shaded by trees which inhabit and surround. Despite its popularity, there's a relaxed feel, helped by an absence of intrusive music. Parents with university age children, birthday get-togethers, dressed-up dates or reconvening friends, everyone smiles and talks as they eat or wait here, confident in its 20-year reputation.
The food is exceptional for a grill restaurant. A reasonably priced lunch menu, which alternates daily, offers grah (beans), tripe with bacon, stuffed peppers, sarma (stuffed cabbage) and simple stews to lunching business folk for 40-50 kuna. The pricier a la carte menu offers octopus salad, homemade ravioli or kulen, a lean, paprika-rich pork sausage from Slavonia. Of the mains, there are fish options, but this place majors in grilled meats. Mixed sharing platters including the house special Plata Zvonac, a bulging mound of meat for two, are priced between 140-220 kuna.
Menus at the restaurant are in English, but sadly the website is not. No worries; waiter Darko, the most recently acquired member of staff (he's only been here 12 years), speaks impeccable English and offers great suggestions from an extensive wine list that includes top quality Croatians like the Dalmatian Zlatan Plavac (230 kunas) and Istrian Roxanich (400 kuna a bottle). House whites are around 80 kuna per litre, reds around 60. It's not for every day and doesn't come cheap but meat fans are in for a real treat.