This ultimate guide to Zagreb restaurants covers it all: from splash-out fine dining to street food, bistros and east-west fusion. Our critics are constantly on the look-out for brilliant new restaurants (which we visit anonymously, of course) to bring you this list of our favourite tables in town.
A few words on the selection criteria: our choice doesn't reflect only the expensive, upmarket restaurants that Zagreb has to offer. We're looking for originality over exclusivity; value for money over fancy frippery. Our pick is a mix of daring, cool, cosy and downright tasty eateries to satisfy every spectrum of diner. Dobar tek!
RECOMMENDED: our guide to restaurants in Croatia.
Recommended restaurants in Zagreb
Occupying an oft-overlooked street corner just off the main square, Time is one of the trendiest restaurants in town. The extensive Asian-inspired fusion menu covers all the usual dishes, from ramen and Teriyaki to tuna carpaccio and a Thai green, but what really stands out is how the restaurant fuses sizzlingly fresh Adriatic ingredients with its familiar cast of eastern dishes. Much of what is chucked into your pan comes from nearby Dolac market; succulently tender lamb hails from Pag island and seafood is sourced from the coast. Quality fusion classics are served with presentational flourishes – and aren’t eye-wateringly expensive either. The interior would have you believe otherwise, what with its pricey lacquered furniture and low-key lighting, evoking a cocktail bar you might come across in Mayfair. Converted by the well-known Croatian architect Christian Rendulić, it’s a subtly under-lit space with a long wooden bar, shelves stacked with all manner of bottles, and a mixture of tables, bar-stools, and standing-room-only corners. The fashionable restaurant area is spacious but booking is recommended – the restaurant grows busier through the week and tends to fill up at the weekend. The bar is popular with the working and after-work crowd during daylight hours, Time turns up the music a notch in the evenings and fills up with a predominantly young, style-conscious crew. It’s a very good place to work your way through a representative sample of the better Croatian wines;
Trilogija sits just above the Stone Gate. Cobblestones lead from the door and inside. Tables sit on individual landings under vaulted, brick ceilings. The cosy dining room includes a bar area where folks can snack on a steak-and-cheese sandwich with caramelised onions (60kn). The idea is that even if you're in a hurry you can still enjoy a quality feed and glass of wine. More time lets you sample wonderful natural ingredients. Daily specials change per artistic mood and supplies on hand; mains run from 75kn to 145kn. Entrée examples include sea bass in lobster sauce and beefsteak in port wine. As well, you won’t regret the black tiger shrimp risotto with mango and spinach. For dessert, try the ravioli with sweet walnut filling.
The newest kid on the block in Zagreb’s ever-expanding bistro scene, this attractively chic restaurant is run by Andrej Barbieri, the famous Croatian chef and Masterchef judge. A modern interpretation of a French brasserie, the dishes are small but remarkably well-crafted, and the food plays to local strengths – there’s plenty of Adriatic fish-dishes, locally sourced meat and an excellent cheese and tapas selection. Inside, it’s an uber-cool suede and dark leather affair, with a backlit bar serving princely cocktails. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't come cheap - mains are priced 100-200kn, but food this satisfying is worth the splash-out. Boasting an opportune spot on Tkalčićeva (previously home to Takenoko) the location is hard to beat.
Located in a wooded dell between the Upper Town and the Tuškanac woods, it features a cool minimalist interior full of dark-brown furniture tones and low-key lighting. Seafood remains the kitchen's strong point, and both the baked fish and a 12-course tasting menu are well worth the splash-out
Kerempuh has a reputation for being an informal neighbourhood restaurant which also cultivates foodie culture. It has served as something of a proving ground for culinary celebrities in recent years, with both TV chef Ana Ugarković and rising star Dino Galvagno doing stints in the kitchen.