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The best pizza in Zagreb

Find the perfect slice at these top ten pizzerias

By Justin McDonnell, Jonathan Bousfield and Time Out contributors
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For a city with hundreds of pizzerias, its suprisingly hard to find a good one in Zagreb. Only a handful of restaurants make pizza like it really should be - thin, flash-cooked with sloppy tomato sauce, while too many others think of sour cream and gauda as legitimate toppings. Thanks to some smart pizzerias that have popped up in recent years, you can now find margheritas in Zagreb that are every bit as good as what you'd get in Naples. Read on to get a pizza of the action.

RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants in Zagreb.

Ten best pizzas in Zagreb

 Franko’s Pizza & Bar
 Franko’s Pizza & Bar
© Bojan Zibar

1. Franko's pizza & Bar

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Pizza Zagreb

The opening of this much anticipated new venture was accompanied by the kind of PR fanfare that saw journalists reviewing the restaurant before they’d even eating there. Happily, the hype has not been in vain; we went there towards the end of Franko’s first week of business and found plenty of positives and absolutely nothing to complain about. It’s a high-end pizzeria that delivers the goods, with ingredients sourced from Italian suppliers and a high degree of care invested in preparing the dough. Most of the toppings follow traditional Italian models although there’s a lot of artistic license; Sweet Sky mixes mozzarella with pear, walnut and pomegranate; Wild Wild Boar is garnished with wild boar sausage and truffles; Il Respire del Mare goes for prawns, pomegranate and lime. We opted for the Calabrian Red (88Kn) with spicy sausage and hot peppers, which came with perfectly crispy crust and plentiful springy cheese, and a real paprika-bite to the topping. Service is highly professional and well-drilled – this is one of the few places in the city where Time Out’s down-at-heel scribe was addressed throughout as cijenjeni gospodin (“the esteemed gentleman”), and to be frank we could get quite used to that.   

2. Public

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Zagreb

After years manning the oven at O'Hara's, one of Marina Vanjka's apprentices has opened a place of his own – and it's even better. A swish-looking trattoria in the western suburbs of Zagreb, Public is well worth the trip, offering reliably good Neopolitan-style pies. Pizzas with oven-speckled crusts are served with gorgeously sloppy tomato sauce and real Mozzarella, ensuring the pizzas are squidgy and crispy in all the right places. The menu extends beyond pizzas, with a decent spread of starters (the carpaccio is especially nice) and a range of inventive pasta options. It's also got one of the best Croatian wine lists of any pizzeria in town. Most pizzas are priced around 50-60kn - a total bargain, really, for pizzas this outstandingly good.

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3. Pizzeria Karijola

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Italian Zagreb

The first Pizzeria Karijola opened was on the island of Vis, named after the barrow porters used to ferry tourists' luggage. The hard-working owners made a point of using less salt and yeast, and fresher ingredients, most notably rocket, and success in Dalmatia soon followed. They then set up here in the capital, using the same formula only with more quality wines. The result is one of best pizzeria in town, deservedly popular, handily located just over Savska near the Student Centre. There's another branch of Kariola at Vlaška 63, one floor up from the equally esteemed Mali Bar bistro.  

4. O’Hara

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Pizza Zagreb

It's a bit of a mission from the centre, but O'Hara is worth it. Routinely topping foodie lists as one of the best pizza joints in Zagreb, this faux-Irish-pub-cum-Italian-trattoria succeeds on many levels. Forget it's location (a no-man's land in the western surburbs of Zagreb) this place sells the best pizza for miles around, matched by a beer menu that matters - there's over 100 bottled varieties and stout and craft beer on tap.

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L'oro di Napoli
L'oro di Napoli
L'oro di Napoli

5. L'oro di Napoli

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Pizza Upper Town

Zagreb is so full of it’s-quite-good-I-suppose pizzerias that it’s often difficult to pull out a place that’s really special. Located in a basement just north of Zagreb Cathedral, the Italian-run L’oro di Napoli might just fit the bill. The pies that are spaded out of its dome-topped oven are almost impossible to find fault with, sporting gorgeously leopard-spotted crusts and a just-the-right-side-of-sloppy range of traditional toppings. Italian-sourced ingredients are used throughout: their Pizza Bufalina, generously spread with mozzarella from Campania water buffalo, serves as a reminder of just how exciting – both in texture and in flavour - real Italian mozzarella actually is. The wide-ranging menu covers things that don’t crop up elsewhere, such as Pizza Nerano (with courgettes and parmesan cheese), or Contadina (with broccoli and Neapolitan salami), although there’s always a trusty Quattro Stagioni for those who prefer to hedge their bets. There’s a floor-to-ceiling picture of Napoli on one wall and the rocky coast of Capri on another, but the decor is otherwise on the functional side and not quite suited to a candlelit dinner. There will be an outdoor terrace in the courtyard come the spring.

Duksa
Duksa
© Duksa

6. Duksa

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Pizza Zagreb

Located a few strides away from the northwestern end of Maksimir park, this popular pizzeria is a great place to end up after a stroll. Situated on the ground floor of a new box-shaped building it comes across quite convincingly as a cosy neighbourhood eatery, with an interior featuring pastel-coloured cushions and some charming family photographs. There’s a lovely terrace at the back with large potted plants and small pots of basil on the tables. Pizzas is all they do, and the choice is large.

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7. Plavo Sunce

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Italian Zagreb

Italian restaurants are ten a penny in Croatia, as is the well-worn tag line that their cuisine is simplicity done to perfection. Where Plavo Sunce stands apart is their effort to ensure this is undoubtedly the case woth fabulous, affordable cuisine. Handmaking pestos, marinades, confits from scratch, only ever using organic, seasonal produce from local, small-scale producers, the difference is notable in their authentic pizzas, pasta dishes predjela (starters) and prilozi (side dishes), most of which come with minimal but perfectly proportioned spices and fresh herbes. Prices are reasonable, and the drinks list offer a decent selection of Croatian wines.

8. Fianona

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Pizza Zagreb

A modestly-priced pizzeria on the outer 'surbs of the city centre, Fionana offers quality pizza with an accent on Croatian ingredients. Local favourites include kulen sausage, slatherings of sour cream and sizzling chunks of steak. It’s enough to make an Italian blush, but purists will not be disappointed as Fianona also offers a range of decent Italic dishes. The interior - minimal, yet unpretentious is an upmarket shrine to the traditional trattoria, and reflects the simple pleasures of the food and wine on offer.

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9. Basta

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Pizza Zagreb

Thin based pizzas (50-80 kuna) are made very quickly and with an authentic approach; ingredients, such as cheese and incredible bacon, are used lightly, but they are of an extremely high quality. The scattering of a few fresh basil leaves atop is an incredible (and sadly rare) explosion of flavour. Starters, such as cheese and meat selections are of a similar high quality, with salads and sandwiches offering an alternative, the latter especially good at lunch.

10. Capuciner

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Italian Kaptol

Not only is Capuciner convenient, facing the Cathedral, and filled with locals, but it's fairly priced, most dishes in the with most dishes in the 40kn range. They specialise in big salads; excellent house pizzas with toppings like prosciutto, spinach and artichoke; and pastas, gnocchi and numerous veal dishes. This is a very good spot to grab a solid meal during a long day of sightseeing. From Kaptol, walk through the bistro to the back dining room with wooden-beamed ceilings or head out to the winter garden/summer terrace, which you can access through a back door from the building's side alley.

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