These days, there's no shortage of falafel in Zagreb. Croatians have taken this humble Middle Eastern chickpea dish to their hearts, and it's fast becoming the vegan answer to cevapi. Whether you want it in a takeaway wrap or on an artisan platter, dressed in yoghurt or with humous on the side, here's where you'll find the best falafel in Zagreb.
RECOMMENDED: The best vegetarian restaurants in Zagreb
The only decent Middle Eastern restaurant in Zagreb's city centre, Lokma from Istanbul benefits from a first-class location on buzzing bar street Tkalciceva. Once predominantly a Turkish-take out, Lokma have recently upgraded the menu to incorporate an expansive selection of mezzes, attracting an entirely new breed of sit-down diners to this tiny restaurant and its slim courtyard. The Levantine-themed dishes are tasty, authentic enough, and hearty portions mean you get plenty of mezze for your buck - each around the 30kn mark. Open past-midnight, it's perfect for the late-night munchies.
If you're looking for high-quality, great value Lebanese food, Delicija Libanesi is a safe bet. Located amid Radnička cesta business district, this extravagantly decorated, Middle-Eastern influenced restaurant provides a warm contrast to its cold, glassy architectural surroundings. You'll find all the classic Lebanese mezze dishes here, so its a welcome retreat for vegetarians, although the Croatian menu also caters to meatier appetites. The whole experience is an embellished by the traditional hospitality of its Lebanese owners, and there’s a programme of evening entertainment on Saturday nights - including belly-dancing.
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.
Vegetarianism has been slow to catch on in many corners of this meat-crazed country, but progressive-minded Zagreb is beginning to buck the trend. This snack bar diagonally opposite noted hipster-hangout Kino Europa is arguably the capital’s leading exponent of fast food with a healthy-living bent. Burgers made from tofu, seitan and hemp (the latter is more mind-blowing in term of taste than you might immediately think) are the big sellers, although the salads, Asian-spiced wok dishes and cups of soup (including excellent recent menu addition Russian borscht) are well worth trying. And if you can’t get enough of the hemp, it also features as an ingredient in Green Point’s long list of excellent shakes.
This tiny vegetarian restaurant three tram stops east of the main square is an oasis for those looking for something besides mixed-grill platters. There are delicious vegetarian and vegan daily menus – soup, salad, vegetables and grains – in the 55kn-60kn range. You can also order à-la-carte dishes: pastas, veggie burgers, smoked tofu lasagne. Pancakes for dessert are made with healthy wholemeal flour. Fresh-squeezed juices are a good way to detox after a night of revelry.