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.
Diners are made to feel like VIPs at Tekka, an extremely classy upmarket Asian restaurant. Located in Zagreb's business district, it attracts a sharp-suited clientele, and has cultivated the elegant decor and uber-attentive staff to go with it. The recently revamped menu is near impeccable. Sushi here is a masterful blend of flavour and finesse. For something with a little more novelty, order from the Adriatic-Asian 'fusion' section, made up of largely successful experimental dishes - although some of these narrowly miss the mark (the seafood and creamy cauliflower soup tastes just as confusing as it sounds.) A few odd dishes are bound to come up from a menu as broad, bold and creative as this one. Everything is cooked (or not cooked...) to perfection, and the wine-list, featuring several award-winning Croatian wines, is tailored to the menu. Make sure to stay for dessert - they do a zesty lime Panna Cotta that would make an Italian chef blush.
Time Restaurant & Bar is an Asian-fusion restaurant in the heart of Zagreb. Set in what used to be a huge warehouse and hardware store it has been converted by the well-known Croatian architect Christian Rendulić into an impressive, classy space. Thai curries and sushi platters are expertly made and stylishly presented.
The first sushi restaurant in Croatia, Takenoko is still one of the very few Asian restaurants in town worth experimenting with – and although it will set you back a wad of kunas it is usually well worth it. Set on the ground floor of the Kaptol Centar mall, accessed from Medvedgradska, it’s a swirl of mellow mood music mixed with the soft sound of chefs chopping behind a central cooking station. Leafy plants sit in tall vases around heavy wooden tables below track lighting. Try the Tokyo platter: 11 nori makis (tuna and salmon) and seven nigiris. There’s a handsome choice of wok-fried dishes and some truly inventive exercises in east-west fusion, with fish, chicken and veal dressed in exotic spice combinations.
Manzoku Sushi, which opened in 2008, gets the honourable title of Zagreb's first sushi bar. Eight years later, they still seem to have the edge; especially for those yet to experience Japanese culinary culture, there's sometihng of a novelty to watching the chefs roll your sushi right in front of you. Dishes are served in artful arrangements with decorative relishes. You can also get a bowl of ramen from 43 kn, and, with sushi boards at the 60 kn mark, that makes Manzoku excellent value for money.
Evergreen is a stylish little restuarant, with a bright, garden-themed interior, and an extensive Japanese menu. Majestic arrangements of sushi come on light woodern boards, and there' a range of fresh hot fish dishes too. Two-person platters are around the 200 kn mark, meaning you can taste all the best things on the menu at a steal.
One of the better take-out sushi places in town, Binimoto sells a range of sushi-selection bento boxes in the 30-70Kn range: salmon Rhapsody at 50Kn is your best bet for a varied lunchtime snack. If sushi is not your style, pick up a pot of chicken chirashi with rice for 26Kn, or opt for a tofu-and-greenery salad for 14kn. It’s also one of the few places in Zagreb that sells Asahi beer.
The Zagreb sushi scene has experienced a flurry of openings and closures in recent years leaving Ginger Sushi as one of the most reliable central bets for good-quality Japanese fare. There are stools inside if you want to eat in but this is primarily a take-away place. The long menu covers most levels of the sushi stratosphere although with bento sets starting at 30kn you might just want to take a look at what’s already boxed up and ready to go. Asahi and Kirin beer in the fridge.