Table of Contents
- Why Visit Zagreb?
- Zagreb Food Guide
- Top Zagreb Restaurants
- Casual Zagreb Restaurants
- Traditional Croatian Food in Zagreb
- Zagreb Cheap Eats
- Zagreb Markets
- Zagreb Desserts
- Zagreb Coffee Shops
- Zagreb Cafes
- Zagreb Bars
- Things To Do in Zagreb
- Plan Your Zagreb Stay
- Hungry for More Food?
- Pin It for Later
- About the Authors
Some businesses may revise their hours and menus due to COVID-19. Others may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check websites for updated information and make advance reservations where possible.
We didn’t know much about Croatian food until we spent two months exploring Zagreb cuisine. The same can be said for Zagreb itself, a city that lives in the shadow of Croatia’s sexy coastline with a plethora of over-touristed cities like Dubrovnik, Split and Hvar.
Gaining favor in recent years as a European city break destination due to its quaint city center and trendy Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb is more famous for its Christmas market (Advent U Zagrebu) than for its food. Most people don’t visit Zagreb for its food, and we were no exception.
Why Visit Zagreb?
As background, we chose Zagreb as a temporary base due to its convenient location outside of the European Schengen zone and its affordability. We certainly didn’t choose Zagreb for its food reputation.
To be safe, we brought a copious amount of Parmigiana Reggiano cheese from Emilia-Romagna to make sure that our taste buds wouldn’t suffer too much during our lengthy Zagreb visit.
Let’s face it, we didn’t have the highest expectations for the food in Zagreb. We were wrong.
Not only is Zagreb a charming city that slowly crept under our skin, but it’s also a city with a lot of great food hiding in plain sight. As our days turned into weeks and weeks into months, we kept discovering new Zagreb restaurants and cafes both on and off the beaten path.
We happily acclimated to the city’s vibrant cafe culture, especially after we found our specialty Zagreb cafes for daily coffee and an occasional dessert.
If you fall in love with Croatian desserts in Zagreb, you’re going to want to bake them at home. Click here to purchase Croatian Desserts with 50 different recipes.
Andrea Pisac Freškura, the ultimate Croatian insider, has created this wonderful e-book with 50 step-by-step recipes, 550 color pictures, expert baking tips and lots of great stories. If you like sweets, you need this book.
And the wine! Croatia and its neighbors produce a lot of great, inexpensive wine, something we had missed after our South Africa wine adventure in Stellenbosch. We made sure to make up for lost wine time in Croatia both at our apartment and when dining out.
At the same time, we also came to appreciate the city’s quiet beauty with its mixture of architecture, both grand and austere, and its abundance of hidden courtyards. With an apartment in the center of town, we were well-positioned to explore the city on foot, mingling with locals at cafes and finding our favorite parts of the city both in the historic Upper Town and the funkier neighborhoods down the hill.
We shopped at local markets where vendors came to know us and made sure we had the best fruits and vegetables of the season. Living like locals, we frequented cinemas, chilled out in parks and gaped at street art. In other words, we never got bored in Zagreb.
Click here to book your own apartment in Zagreb.
Buy a Zagreb Card for 24 or 72 hours to access the city’s best transportation and culture. In addition to providing transportation on trams, buses and the funicular, the Zagreb Card includes entry to the Museum of Broken Relationships, the eclectic Museum of Arts and Crafts, the edgy Museum of Contemporary Art, the historic Zagreb City Museum, the scenic Zagreb 360° Observation Deck and the Zagreb Zoo.
Zagreb Food Guide
The Zagreb dining scene is on the rise with old and new restaurants serving more than standard fare. Sure, the city still has plenty of traditional restaurants serving Croatian favorites like Štrukli, Pag Cheese and Octopus Salad as well as lesser-known dishes like Kulen and Zabrabački Odrezak.
Kulen, a kissing cousin to Italian charcuterie made with spicy smoked pig intestine, is readily available in both restaurants and grocery stores all over Zagreb. For tamer eaters, Zabrabački Odrezak is a crunchy version of Chicken Cordon Bleu with breaded schnitzel, melted cheese and chunks of ham.
The city also has a thriving restaurant scene serving global cuisine and vegetarian fare as well as a cafe culture that is starting to embrace specialty coffee. Bakeries and gelateria line the streets, and locals fill tote bags with fresh produce at the ubiquitous Dolac Market. The question shouldn’t be is there any good food in Zagreb. Instead, it should be where to eat in Zagreb.
Top Zagreb Restaurants
Considering Croatia’s geographical position near food-focused countries like Italy and Hungary, it’s no surprise that the current crop of Zagreb chefs is creating exciting food that spans the culinary globe. Food at the finest Zagreb restaurants is as exciting as food we’ve eaten in cities like Budapest, Bucharest and Tallinn, with young chefs blending the best of neighboring countries with Croatia’s rich bounty.
As you decide where to make your reservations in Zagreb, be sure to consider these restaurants:
Rated the second best restaurant in all of Croatia by the esteemed Zbor Dobrih Restorana and formerly helmed by a female Swiss-Canadian chef, Dubravkin Put is one of the best restaurants in Zagreb. In fact, in our opinion, it is the best restaurant in Zagreb.
A short walk from Ban Jelačić Square and situated next to the Tuškanac woods, Dubravkin Put is an oasis that feels far from the maddening crowds. After diners choose whether to sit inside the modern restaurant or dine outside on the spacious terrace, the main event is the restaurant’s exciting menu with an emphasis on Croatia’s greatest asset, its seafood.
A meal at Dubravkin Put is a grand sensory experience that never forgets its Croatian roots. We put ourselves in Manager Marin Čale’s capable hands during our first lunch, diverging from the lunch menu and ordering Black Risotto with chunks of tender cuttlefish topped with delicate slices of scampi tartare.
The silky risotto magically transported us to the sea and blew us away with its silky texture and seabound flavors. In fact, we enjoyed it so much that we returned to Dubravkin Put solely to experience the inky rice dish a second time. Not just the best thing we ate in Zagreb – it was one of the best of the year and inspired us to return to film a YouTube video.
Rest assured that there’s more to Dubravkin Put’s menu than seafood. Vegetarians will love starters like Bruschetta topped with Goat Cheese and Fresh Cherries, while meat lovers will find comfort in hearty dishes like Braised Beef Cheeks served with seasonal vegetables and pan-fried potatoes. Add a glass, or better yet bottle, of Croatian wine from the restaurant’s comprehensive wine list for culinary bliss.
Try Dubravkin Put’s tasting menu if you want to fully experience the menu. During our visit, the cost was 300 kuna (approximately $50 USD) for seven courses and 415 kuna (approximately $70 USD) for 12 courses.
Dubravkin Put is located at Dubravkin put 2, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia. Michelin has recognized this restaurant for its good cooking and good standard.
After leaving Bistro Apetit (see below) in 2016 to open Noel, Chef Goran Kočiš and Ivan Jug now wow Zagreb diners with their dual focus on gastronomy and service. Catering to an upscale foodie crowd, Noel’s dining room manages to be both elegant and comfortable.
At the end of the day, though, it’s all about the food at Noel and the food does not disappoint. Noel’s nimble team combines local ingredients with modern touches, as we experienced in dishes like artfully prepared Tuna Ceviche flavored with coriander and chili.
More adventurous diners will want to order something special like Black Slavonia Pig Crépinette with nectarine, marinated celery and buckwheat. Better yet, try a tasting menu with four, six or nine courses to fully experience Kočiš’ impressive culinary creations.
Update: Noel earned a Michelin star in February 2019.
Splurge and reserve a spot at Noel’s chef table. Priced at 1,000 kuna (approximately $170 USD) during our visit, this high-end dining experience is an ideal way to celebrate a birthday or anniversary.
Noel is located at Ul. Dukljanina 1, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
If you were to think that the top Zagreb restaurants are all located near the city center, then you’d be wrong. A winding, uphill walk will take you to Bistro Apetit, a delightful restaurant above the city’s medieval Gradec quarter.
The walk is a bit strenuous due to the hills, but the effort is worth it for the chance to dine at such a lovely space. Even better, the walk provides the perfect justification for ordering a dessert to end your meal.
Celebrity Chef Marin Rendić actively runs Bistro Apetit, as we witnessed when we shared dishes like homemade tortellini with Adriatic shrimp and a bowl of gnocchi with dark Adriatic octopus ragout and lardo di colonnata during a leisurely alfresco lunch. We had last eaten tortellini in Bologna, the homeland of fresh pasta, and we were pleased to taste Rendić’s version of the Italian specialty.
Though we ordered one dessert, we somehow ended up with two decadent creations including the berry-topped flan pictured below.
As much as we appreciated the food at Bistro Appetit, we were equally impressed by the cocktails created by mixologist Matej Derežić. Though we drank Croatian wine with our meal, Derežić twisted our arms to try two of his signature cocktails served in handblown glasses from the Czech Republic.
Mindi approved of her Black cocktail. Served in a glass dome, this drink was a creative mixture of gin, creme de violet, fresh citrus and squid ink. Daryl, on the other hand, felt bliss with his Cubangatden, a fruity concoction with golden rum, white rum, syrup, sparkling water, citrus and Cuban spices.
Bistro Appeti offers a chef’s tasting menu. At the time of our visit, the menu featured four courses for 420 kuna (approximately $50 USD) or seven courses for 620 kuna (approximately $75 USD).
Bistro Apetit is located at Jurjevska ul. 65, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia. Michelin has recognized this restaurant for its good cooking and good standard.
Look up or you’ll miss Agava. Though located on busy Tkalčićeva Street, the restaurant is set apart by a flight of steps that ascends from the street to the restaurant. Better yet, don’t just look up. Take the short walk up and stay for a meal.
Chef Belizar Miloš takes pride in serving a Zagreb menu filled with food influenced by the flavors of the Mediterranean and Adriatic coasts. Diners can choose a selection of dishes including soups, hearty meat dishes and more delicate seafood creations. Miloš also serves Croatian classics like Štrukli, Fuži and Dalmatian Pašticada.
Request a table with a view of the bustling Zagreb street.
Restaurant Agava is located at Ul. Ivana Tkalčića 39, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia. Michelin has recognized this restaurant for its good cooking and simple standard.
AbOvo Bistro & Bar (Closed with Update)
** Important Update: AbOvo is now permanently closed. Chef Filip has opened his own restaurant, Theatruium by Filho. **
True confession: We almost missed dining at AbOvo Bistro & Bar. The relatively new restaurant located across from Maksimir Park wasn’t on our radar until Bistro Appetit’s Matej Derežić recommended it to us over cocktails. We thank Derežić for the timely tip, as we were able to squeeze in lunch at AbOvo on our last day in Zagreb. And what a lunch it was.
Chef Filip Horvat, age 22 at the time of our meal, is a culinary wizard. Savvy enough to purchase his ingredients at Zagreb’s famed Dolac Market (see below) to ensure ultimate freshness and seasonality, he also brings a sense of artistry to his food creations.
And no dish showcased Horvat’s blend of art and gastronomy more than the tuna pictured above and adorned with bloody mary, mango, habanero pepper and pepper coulis. If you’re wondering if the pepper coulis was sweet or hot, the answer is yes. Horvat blends two pepper varietals to create an electric taste sensation.
Beyond exciting food, AbOvo offers a full range of drink options including espresso, cocktails and Croatian wine. Craft beer drinkers will be happy too with beers from local brewers like 5th Element and The Garden Brewery (see below). The colorful, funky decor featuring Marilyn Monroe prints completes the vibe. All that’s missing is good music. Wait! Never mind – they have that too.
Make a reservation at Theatrium by Filho to sample the talented chef’s food.
AbOvo Bistro & Bar was located at Bukovačka cesta 27, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia. It is now permanently closed.
Casual Zagreb Restaurants
By now, you might be thinking that Zagreb’s restaurant scene is mainly focused on gastronomy and fancy cuisine. In actuality, the city has scores of casual restaurants where locals dine if not daily then at least weekly. These are our favorites:
Gyoza & Sake Bar
We weren’t particularly impressed by the Asian cuisine in Zagreb until we stumbled into tiny Gyoza & Sake Bar.
Unlike other local Asian restaurants, tiny Gyoza & Sushi Bar has a limited menu that features authentically prepared Japanese specialties like gyoza, curry, dumplings and katsu. Though the restaurant has a handful of high-top tables, we parked ourselves at the bar to eat plates of gyoza and curry.
You’ll want to sit at the bar too. It’s the best spot in the restaurant since it provides a view of the kitchen action as well as an opportunity to talk with the colorful owner, Chef Antonio Jerković.
A Croatian native who lived in both New York City and Japan before returning home, Jerković is committed to serving food that mimics the flavors we enjoyed during meals in Tokyo and Osaka. Beyond his culinary mission, Jerković is an entertaining host who regaled us with stories of his past and poured us tastes of his favorite sake.
The menu may be simple at Gyoza & Sake Bar, but, thanks to Jerković, the experience is extraordinary.
Go to Gyoza & Sake Bar on a Saturday if you like ramen. This is the only day of the week when you can order the popular Japanese soup.
Gyoza & Sake Bar is located at Boškovićeva ul. 6, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Lari & Penati
Lari & Penati is the type of neighborhood restaurant that we would dine at again and again if it was nearby. Helmed by owner / Chef Igor Tomljenovic, the restaurant has a convivial vibe and cool decor.
Most importantly, the restaurant serves a good mix of Mediterranean and shareable bar food with reasonably priced wine. For our first meal at Lari & Penati, we sat outside and sampled a solid selection of dishes like Bacala Spread, Burattina with Goat Salami, Marinated Sea Bass Salad and Aubergine Parmigiana.
We complemented our meal with a bottle of 2015 Roxanich Mirna sauvignon blanc. Lingering after the food was gone, we chatted with Tomljenovic until the last sips of wine were gone.
We returned to Lari & Penati a second time to try the Reuben sandwich, a dish we had missed during our first visit. As expected, the sandwich was excellent as was the wine and hospitality. Mixing things up, we sat inside so that we could appreciate the restaurant’s funky, cookware-as-art decor pictured above.
Prepare to be spontaneous with your order. The menu at Lari U Penati changes daily based on what available at the market.
Lari & Penati is located at Petrinjska ul. 42A, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Mali Bar was often the answer to our question of where we needed to eat in Zagreb. Led by celebrity chef and cookbook author Ana Ugarković, the small bar serves over a dozen small plates in a cozy space inside one of Zagreb’s many courtyards. We mean no disrespect by the term “small bar” – after all, that’s the literal translation of “mali bar” to English.
Shareable dishes, served tapas-style, dominate Mali Bar’s menu, most with a Mediterranean point of view. For our meal, we picked a varied selection of plates like Labneh, Bresaola, Sardines and Chicken Wings. Sticky and spicy, the chicken wings served with tzatziki salad were the highlight of our meal.
Mali Bar also serves sweet dishes like sweet corn crema, chocolate cake and meringues. Since the plates are small, it’s easy to save room for one or two desserts.
Mali Bar is located on the second floor above a pizzeria. When you find the pizzeria, you’ve also found Mali Bar.
Mali Bar is located at Croatia, Vlaška ul. 63, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Situated in a former electric lamp factory away from the center of town, RougeMarin is a bistro that serves hamburgers including a rotating weekly burger special that can be ordered with one or two patties. Beyond the burgers, RougeMarin has a diverse menu with chicken, beef, pork and vegetarian options.
We trekked to RougeMarin to try their burger as well as a rack of BBQ ribs served Kansas City style with lots of sauce. Though we enjoyed experiencing the restaurant and its large outdoor terrace, we preferred eating RougeMarin’s street food when they catered the city-wide dvorišta event.
Save time and take an Uber to RougeMarin. The walk is long and Uber is cheap in Zagreb.
RougeMarin is located at Ul. Frana Folnegovića 10, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Time Restaurant & Bar
With an urban, chic vibe and a menu that features Asian dishes like sushi and dumplings, Time intrigued us. Once we saw it rated as one of Zagreb’s best restaurants, we had to check it out.
After eating sushi, dumplings and spicy soba duck that were decent, but nothing above ordinary, we were less than impressed. We liked the concept, but if you’re short on time, Time’s food is not worth a special trip.
Go to Time for drinks but skip the food.
Time Restaurant & Bar is located at Petrinjska ul. 7, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Traditional Croatian Food in Zagreb
Unless this is your first time on our site, you already know that the 2foodtrippers are neither vegetarian nor kosher. We eat all foods except those that don’t taste good. This adventurous approach to food travel has benefitted us all over the world, but probably nowhere more than in Zagreb.
As in the rest of Croatia, the people in Zagreb like protein. And by protein, we mean meat and seafood. Don’t feel too bad for vegetarians – Pag Cheese and Štrukli are tasty options that don’t have any meat. As for our vegan friends, there are always cherries.
Anyway, we ate at several traditional restaurants to get our arms around Croatian food. Influenced by nearby Italy, Croatia has a food culture that never bored us with its soft, fresh cheeses (think farmer’s cheese or cottage cheese) and rotisserie chicken.
We didn’t tire of seafood plucked from the Adriatic Sea either. If you love this kind of food, go to the following Zagreb restaurants:
Proving that simple food can be as exciting as cutting-edge gastronomy, Grička Vještica serves hearty Croatian food that rivals the quality of restaurants serving food for triple the price.
Don’t be fooled by the cozy atmosphere and surly service, this restaurant is the real deal with a one-man kitchen cooking each dish to order just meters from the dining room. Food options fill a menu that reads like a book with page after page filled with soups, salads and meat dishes.
Named after the Witch of Grich, Grička Vještica serves the closest food to what Croatian mothers make for their families at home. Don’t be fooled by the touristic location (just off the funicular in Zagreb’s old town). This is the kind of homey, authentic food we crave when we travel the world – cuisine where you can taste centuries of cooking tradition in every bite.
Go to Grička Vještica after you visit the Museum of Broken Relationships. It’s just a one-minute walk between the two Zagreb institutions.
Grička Vještica is located at Vranyczanyeva ul. 6, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
A half-hour walk from the center of Zagreb will take you to Pri Zvoncu, a non-touristy restaurant serving excellent Croatian food to a steady crowd of local families and business people. Like most Croatian restaurants, Pri Zvoncu specializes in meat, though vegetable options are also available in a menu that reads like a “best of” list of Croatian food.
Dining with friends at Pri Zvoncu allowed us to try a large sampling of dishes like Mezo z Tiblice, a traditional preparation of storing salted pork with lard in wooden vessels or tiblicas. Originally a way for people in Medimurje to conserve pork during the cold winter months, Mezo z Tiblice is now a special dish available at authentic Croatian restaurants.
We indulged in other Croatian favorites during our meal like cottage cheese and Zabrabacki Odrezak, a popular dish affectionately referred to as ‘Zagreb steak.’ Oozing with melted cheese and stuffed with chunks of ham, the main component of a Zagreb steak is breaded veal (not steak). Don’t worry, we also attacked an actual brontosaurus-sized steak at Pri Zvoncu.
And the best part? Even with wine, the total cost of a feast for four was 715 kuna (approximately $87 USD) at the time of our visit.
Although Pri Zvoncu has an extensive menu filled with Croatian dishes, the restaurant’s specialty is Peka. Popular in Dalmatia, Peka is a way of baking meat and vegetables under a bell-like dome.
The team at Pri Zvoncu prepares Ispod Peka with beef and lamb in a large fireplace filled with embers, which allows the aroma to drift through the terrace.
Make a reservation if you want to try Peka since this dish must be ordered in advance.
Pri Zvoncu is located at Ul. Vrbik XII 1, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Proving that traditional Croatian food can be prepared with an eye toward gastronomy, popular Vinodol serves high-quality Croatian food in the center of Zagreb. Far from intimate, Vinodol’s space is massive with a large dining hall and an enclosed terrace.
Don’t be deterred by the cavernous dining space – the food here is quite good. Instead, pick your spot and get ready for a culinary tour of Croatia.
Vinodol serves Croatian classics like homemade Kulen and Octopus Salad (both pictured above). The spicy Kulenn was a daily special, whereas the Octopus Salad is a fixture on Vinodol’s menu. We also tried two generous pasta portions dishes including Fuzi, a traditional Croatian pasta served with fresh black Istrian truffles
Order one or more of Vinodol’s daily specials since these are the freshest and most unique items on the menu.
Vinodol Restaurant is located at Ul. Nikole Tesle 10, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Predating both World War II and communism, Purger has a sense of history that you can’t find at the newer restaurants in central Zagreb. Fast forward to the 21st century and Purger continues to serve Zagreb food favorites to Zagreb locals and the occasional tourists.
The atmosphere is friendly and the decor traditional with the restaurant’s gingham tablecloths and a cozy patio space in the back. Purger is a good choice for trying hearty stews, good grilled seafood and traditional favorites.
Purger’s menu has all of the Croatian food classics. We started our meal with Zagorski Štrukli, a rolled pastry stuffed with cottage cheese and then boiled. (You can also order your Štrukli roasted/baked if you enjoy a crunchier, strudel-like texture.) We continued our meal by eating like locals, sharing a heaping plate of fried calamari and a bowl of beef stew.
Purger is a nickname for somebody who lives in Zagreb. Ironically, most of the diners at Purger are purgers.
Gostionica-Restoran Purger is located at Petrinjska ul. 33, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
We wanted to love Trilogija. For one thing, it came highly recommended by Zagreb insider Andrea Pisac. More important, at least to us, we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary with dinner at this classic Zagreb restaurant located next to the city’s medieval Stone Gate.
On paper, Trilogija should have hit all the notes for us. The daily menu features Croatian classics based on the chef’s daily haul from nearby Dolac Market. Our meal started auspiciously with excellent renditions of Dalmatian Prosciutto and Fuzi generously topped with truffles. Our bottle of Karizma, a Bordeaux blend from Petrač winery, was great. However, a few elements missed the mark with us.
Our first issue was that our main dishes were missing a sense of place. Sure, the duck breast and tuna steak were cooked well, but we could have eaten them anywhere in the world. Our bigger issue was that there were no locals dining in Tilogija. In fact, each diner including us was American.
For better and worse, this restaurant is recommended by every mainstream tour guide including Rick Steve’s. Maybe it’s just us, but we generally enjoy getting away from our fellow Americans when we travel.
Be sure to make a reservation for Trilogija. The restaurant books up due to its popularity with tourists.
Trilogija is located at Kamenita ul. 5, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
If you want to enjoy traditional food and beer in a historic restaurant in the heart of Zagreb, then Stari Fijaker is for you. Open since 1848 but operating in its current iteration since 1994, this local stalwart offers a full menu of Croatian classics at reasonable prices.
Plus, with a vibe that feels more like a beer hall than a restaurant, you won’t have to think twice about ordering a liter of beer to go with your meal. Živjeli! (That’s cheers to you and us.)
Start with Štrukli and then add a plate of Sausage, Schnitzel or Goulash. Portions are large so you won’t be hungry for several hours.
Stari Fjaker is located at Mesnička ul. 6, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Zagreb Cheap Eats
By Western European standards, Zagreb is a bargain which means that most meals won’t break the bank when you dine in the city. That being said, sometimes we all want a truly cheap meal that’s both quick and tasty.
If you’re wondering where to find the best cheap eats Zagreb options, then wonder no more. We taste-tested the following joints and recommend them all:
Pingvin has been a local Zagreb favorite since it started serving reasonably priced sandwiches to the hungry masses in 1987. In many ways, the shop reminded us of cheesesteak shops in Philadelphia for the dining experience alone.
Grilled to order, Pingvin’s sandwiches are chock full of proteins like beef, chicken and fish, though vegetarians will find options as well. Although the name Pingvin translates to Penguin, the arctic bird is not a sandwich option. Optional toppings include corn, tomatoes, lettuce, ketchup, mayonnaise and hot peppers.
Since Pingvin quickly became our late night and mid-afternoon go-to spot, we ate quite a few of their sandwiches and sides. After much research, we honed our favorites to the grilled beef ficlecki sandwich and fries. Two of these sandwiches and an order of fries to share would set us back 86 kuna (approximately $10 USD), not a bad price for two people to eat so well.
Go to Pingvin if you have late-night munchies. The sandwich shop is open to 4:00 am every night except Sunday.
Pingvin is located at Ul. Nikole Tesle 7, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
The Burger Bar
As much as we enjoyed the food in Zagreb, certain foods were a challenge. Two of those food were burgers and tacos. So, when the barista at Cogito, our favorite local coffee bar, recommended Taco’s & Burger Barr, we ran to check it out.
As it turns out, the restaurant is a concept developed by Marin Medak and Tvrtko Šakota, two food leaders in the Zagreb scene. (Medak is an owner of RougeMarin (see above) and Šakota is an accomplished chef. Together, they are serving North American cheap eat classics with a Croatian twist.
For our meal, we shared homemade tortilla chips with guacamole, chicken tacos and a burger. The total cost for us both was 145 kuna (approximately $18 USD). Did we love the food? Let’s just say that we enjoyed the taste of home.
The burger and tacos weren’t quite right, though the chips and guac were pretty darn close. After talking to Šakota and hearing his passion, we know that they’ll get there sooner than later.
Feeling thirsty? Taco’s & Burger Barr has an interesting beverage selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks like the Agua Fresca pictured above.
Taco’s & Burger Barr is now called The Burger Bar and is located at Avenija Dubrovnik 15ZV, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Heritage Croatian Food
Heritage Croatian Food caught our eyes when we walked by the tiny shop selling Croatian street food and artisan food products. We soon returned to experience the shop’s traditional food and were not disappointed.
Heck, we knew we were in a happy place when we saw that the soup of the day was beer. Yes, you read that right – the soup of the day was beer.
We opted to try the full sampling of Heritage’s “Crobites” on offer during our visit. Similar to aperitivos in Italy, these light bites had toppings like marinated anchovies, cottage cheese with pumpkin seed pesto, Kulen and prosciutto. At a total cost of 49 kuna (approximately $6 USD) at the time of our visit, we could easily justify adding some “soup” to our pre-dinner meal.
Buy items like olive oil and chocolate at Heritage Croatian Food if you’re looking for tasty gifts or souvenirs from Zagreb.
Heritage Croatian Food is located at Petrinjska ul. 14, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Submarine Natural Burgers
Though burgers are all the rage in Zagreb today, this wasn’t the case back in 2014 when Submarine Natural Burgers (formerly Yellow Submarine) opened its first location. The fast-food outlet quickly differentiated itself by serving organic burgers as well as a selection of healthy salads and loaded fries. Lucky for us, that first location happened to be right near our Zagreb apartment. In other words, we became temporary regulars.
Submarine offers several burger choices like Original, Smokehouse, Italian and French as well as options to supersize the burgers or go meat-free. There are no bad burger choices, and the same can be said for the salads and fries. Even better, the local craft beer choices are varied and excellent.
Order your hand cut fries Salchipapas style with homemade wood-smoked Slavonian black sausage chunks and BBQ mayo sauce. We tried all four options and this is the tastiest.
Submarine Natural Burgers has multiple locations including four in Zagreb. Our favorite is the original location at Frankopanska ul. 11, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
A self-proclaimed American-style diner, Rocket Burger is another pioneer in the Zagreb burger scene. Ironically, the owners are from Canada but we won’t hold that against them.
In all seriousness, Rocket Burger serves serious burgers made with 100% all-beef patties, lettuce, house-cured bacon, homemade sauce and more We tried a few of the six burger options and liked the Cheddar Bacon Supreme the best.
Two Cheddar Bacon Supreme burgers plus a side of fries cost us a total of 97 kuna (approximately $12 USD), leaving enough money to share a pint of local craft beer from Garden Brewery without going over our budget.
Rocket Burger has a new veggie burger loaded with an eggplant patty, beets, goat cheese, yogurt-dill sauce, lettuce and tomatoes.
Rocket Burger is located at Ul. Ivana Tkalčića 50, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
After eating pizza in Naples and at the best pizzeria in the world, we know good pizza when we eat it. We didn’t expect to love the pizza at Fries Factory. The slices certainly aren’t pretty, the shop isn’t fancy and the service is mediocre at best.
Despite these minor issues, we loved the ginormous slices topped with dollops of sour cream and cured meat. Priced at 10 kuna (approximately $1.25 USD) during our visit, this pizza may be the best deal in town.
Hit Fries Factory during a day of sightseeing in Zagreb. The pizza shop is just steps away from Ban Jelačić Square.
Fries Factory is located at Ilica 1, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Sometimes a slice of pizza is enough but sometimes we want more. Pizzeria Karijola fit the bill when we wanted more in Zagreb. This popular pizza spot serves thin-crust pizzas with 16 possible topping combinations as well as focaccia and salads.
One anchovy pizza was big enough to share. But since it only cost 42 kuna (approximately $5 USD) at the time of our visit, we each got our own.
Pizzeria Karijola offers a wide selection of Croatian beer and wine to go with its wide selection of pizza.
Pizzeria Karijola has two locations in Zagreb. We ate at the one located at Badalićeva ul. 18, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Locals and tourists flock to Zagreb markets on a daily basis to buy seasonal products from farmers and artisans. These markets sell fresh produce grown in nearby cities and so much more.
A statue of Kumica Barica (which literally means Godmother Barica – a tribute to the peasant women who graced the market in days gone by) greets shoppers at Dolac Market, Zagreb’s biggest and busiest market.
These shoppers come to buy ultra-fresh products from farmers who travel from nearby villages to peddle their wares. They also come to buy fresh fish, dairy and meat. A central hub since 1926, this market separates the more modern, urbane Upper Town from the medieval, cobblestoned Lower Town.
Britanski trg Market
Sometimes the best Zagreb market is the closest market. During our stay in Zagreb, Britanski trg Market won the prize for being the most convenient to our apartment.
Accordingly, this was our go-to market with a dozen or more farmers selling fruits and vegetables during the week. As happens, we connected with one farmer who made sure we got the best fruit for the best price and another farmer who sold beautiful, fragrant basil that rivaled some of the best we ate in Italy.
Of note, antique dealers replace the farmers on Sundays when Britanski trg Market becomes a weekly antique market. You can find fun treasures like the slightly used Moka pot that we bought one Sunday in Zagreb.
A Konzum grocery store is right next to Britanski trg Market, making it possible to shop for everything in one trip.
Britanski trg Market is located at British Square on Ilica.
Bargain lovers will love shopping for wine at Vrutak, the Croatian version of Costco with a basement filled with discounted wine. The selection is mind-boggling with wines from all over Croatia and nearby countries.
We discovered some heavily discounted bottles of Crnjac & Zadro Cabernet Sauvignon from Bosnia-Herzegovina. This wine quickly became our house wine in Zagreb.
You can also satisfy your sweet tooth at Vrutak. The store’s chocolate selection rivals its wine selection.
Vrutak is located at Vodovodna ul. 20, 10122, Zagreb, Croatia.
Dessert lovers will feel right at home in Zagreb, a city that can easily satisfy the hungriest sweet tooth. Beyond Croatian pastries available at chain bakeries throughout the city, Croatian dessert options range from cakes to tarts to some of the best ice cream we’ve eaten outside of Italy.
When you visit Zagreb, be sure to end your day with a sweet treat from the following cafes and gelaterias:
With three locations in Zagreb, Amélie can take some credit for making Zagreb a sweeter place to visit. Cute and cozy, Amélie offers a full range of desserts baked with ingredients sourced from Austria, Belgium and France.
When you visit Amelie, the hard part won’t be deciding whether to take a break from your busy day. Instead, it will be narrowing down the choices of tempting treats.
Need a break while touring Zagreb? Amélie has a location right near the iconic Zagreb Cathedral.
Amélie is located at 100.00, Vlaška ul. 6, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
Like moths to the flame, we were drawn into Meet Mia. Once we saw the glass pastry case, we jumped right into the fire. For that, we have no regrets and only happy memories.
Mia Salman opened the tony cake bar decorated in a chic, art deco style. She bakes each tiny dessert with fine ingredients like Belgian chocolate and fresh fruit. Since prices are reasonable at Meet Mia, why not order two desserts and add a macaron or two.
Be sure to try the signature Meet Mia pastry with pistachio sponge, pistachio mousse, chocolate and orange cream.
Meet Mia is located at Vlaška ul. 43, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Slatka Tvornica Medenko
Attached to Cafe U Dvorištu (see below), Slatka Tvornica Medenko serves some of the city’s best ice cream. Not only does the creamy dessert taste good, but it’s good for you too since there are no artificial colors or preservatives added to the mix.
Instead, the clever folks at Medenko add unique ingredients like blue cheese, pumpkin oil, sunflower seeds and rhubarb. The non-adventurous can opt for flavors like mint with black currant or go for a brownie or sorbet instead.
Sit outside next to a colorful mural when you eat your ice cream. If the ice cream doesn’t make you happy, then the mural will do the trick.
Slatka Tvornica Medenko is located at l. Jurja Žerjavića 7, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
An ice cream institution since it opened in 1977, Vincek is serving the other best ice cream in Zagreb. Service is surly and lines are long, but the top quality ice cream negates any minor inconveniences.
We licked several Vincek cones during our time in Zagreb, alternating between fruity flavors like schwarzwald (black forest) and more traditional flavors like dark chocolate and cheesecake. Vincek also serves cakes and pastries, but we can’t comment on their quality since we never got past the ice cream. It was that good.
Don’t be deterred by the inevitable long line at Vincek. Their ice cream is worth the wait.
Vincek Slastičarnica is located at Ilica 18, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Zagreb Coffee Shops
Zagreb has a lot of coffee shops that serve mediocre coffee. With some luck and pluck, we uncovered the following three Zagreb coffee shops serving excellent third wave coffee:
Opened in 2014 by Croatian barista champion Matija Hrkač and roaster Matija Powlison Belkovič, Cogito has quickly become the top coffee shop in Zagreb. The owners are still involved in the business, though they rely on a friendly crew for many of the day-to-day activities.
We’ll cut to the chase and admit that Cogito is our favorite Zagreb coffee shop. We started our Cogito addiction at the small outpost near our apartment, continued it at the main location in the city center and solidified it at Cafe U Dvorištu (see below) where Cogito roasts its coffee.
We liked their coffee so much that we bought beans each week so that we could supplement our coffee habit at home with a French Press coffee maker.
If you’re traveling in Croatia beyond Zagreb, Cogito also has locations in Zadar, Rovinj and Dubrovnik. In a strange twist of fate, Cogito’s first international location is in our home city of Philadelphia.
Cogito Coffee has multiple locations in Zagreb. We can’t pick a favorite – we like them all.
Considered to be one of the world’s best coffee shops by coffee connoisseurs, Eliscaffe is quietly serving expertly brewed coffee (and coffee only) at a tiny cafe on one of Zagreb’s main thoroughfares. Croatian champion barista Nik Oroši opened the cafe in 2005 and started roasting beans in 2009.
Although we visited Eliscaffe several times due to its close proximity to our apartment, we never met Oroši. Instead, we were served by friendly baristas like Sara Bilanovic Platzer who always greeted us with a friendly smile before crafting our cappuccinos.
You won’t find any ashtrays at Eliscaffe. The cafe does is proudly smoke-free.
Eliscaffe is located at Ilica 63, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Unlike Cogito and Eliscaffe, Express Bar doesn’t roast its own coffee. Instead, this independent Zagreb coffee shop purchases the best beans it can source from roasters like Cogito and London’s Square Mile Coffee Roasters.
The atmosphere at centrally located Express Bar is friendly thanks to capable baristas who remembered us after just one visit. They also recognized us from YouTube. How cool is that?
You can sit outside, inside or in the smokers’ lounge when you drink coffee at Express Bar.
Express Bar is located at Petrinjska ul. 4, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Zagreb’s cafe culture is a curious thing. Locals swarm to cafes on a daily basis to hang out with their friends, smoke cigarettes and drink coffee.
Many times, coffee is an afterthought since locals are more concerned about the social scene and their cigarettes. Also, food is not normally served in Zagreb cafes due to rules related to smoking.
Despite these issues, we enjoyed our time at the following Zagreb cafes:
Velvet wins our award for being the most stylish cafe in Zagreb with a decor featuring vintage chandeliers, beautiful flowers and a spacious terrace. Though we often drank beer since Velvet’s cappuccinos are just so-so, we returned again and again for the cafe’s cool vibe and fast internet, two of our favorite things.
Interestingly, as is common in much of Central Europe, Velvet’s soundtrack features generic singers covering famous tunes – think Sweet Child o’ Mine done lounge style.
Beyond drinks, Velvet has a limited menu with a few desserts and snack items.
Velvet is located at Dežmanova ul. 9, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Cafe U Dvoristu
Situated in a hidden courtyard or dvorištu, Cafe U Dvoristu is a cafe that serves three of our favorite Zagreb things – Cogito coffee, Medenko ice cream and craft beer.
The atmosphere in the cafe’s courtyard is chill with lots of tables and a colorfully painted wall. Though Cafe U Dvoistu has free wi-fi for its customers, it didn’t always work for us.
Cafe U Diorstu is the perfect spot for a hipster hang in Zagreb.
Cafe U Dvoristu is located at Ul. Jurja Žerjavića 7, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Cafe at the Museum of Broken Relationships
We’re not gonna lie – you shouldn’t go to the Museum of Broken Relationships for the coffee. The museum cafe just isn’t good enough to justify a special visit.
However, the popular Zagreb museum provides a unique perspective on broken relationships of all types. You should go to the museum to experience the museum itself.
Then, since you’re already there, you might as well stay for a coffee or beer in the cafe. The atmosphere is pleasant, plus they have cake.
Since you’ll probably have to wait to get into the Museum of Broken Relationships, buy your ticket first and then grab a drink while waiting for your entry time.
Museum of Broken Relationships is located at Ćirilometodska ul. 2, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia. The cafe is on the ground floor.
Café Sjedi 5
** Important Update – Café Sjedi 5 is now permanently closed. **
We found Café Sjedi 5 via Instagram, one of the many methods we utilize to identify places to eat and drink in a new city. While scrolling through photos, the painted coffee caught our eye and intrigued us enough to visit the cafe for coffee in the garden.
We’re glad we did since we can now say that we’ve drank painted coffee in a pretty garden. As far as taste goes, the coffee was just okay.
Bring your camera or mobile phone to Café Sjedi 5 so that you can take a photo of your painted coffee for Instagram.
Café Sjedi 5 was located at Ul. Ivana Tkalčića 84, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia. It is now permanently closed.
Zagreb is a drinker’s paradise whether your drink of choice is beer, wine or cocktails. This is a city where bars fill the streets and hide within courtyards. The challenge isn’t finding a bar; rather, it’s narrowing down the choices. Start with these Zagreb bars and you won’t be thirsty for long:
Craft beer has found its place in Zagreb with breweries, festivals and specialty bars like Craft Room. Beer is the main event at Craft Room, though the bar also serves food like burgers and fries.
A dozen beers (mostly Croatian) are on tap here at any given time, plus the bar also serves 150 bottles from Croatia and the rest of the world. Though Craft Room isn’t the only craft beer bar in Zagreb, it’s one of the best in town.
Sit outside to watch the action. Craft Room is located on a busy pedestrian street.
Craft Room is located at Opatovina ul. 35, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
The Garden Brewery
Open since 2016, The Garden Brewery is an American style brewery in Croatia with a British owner and an Australian brewer. In other words, The Garden Brewery is a truly global operation. Beyond that, the brewery is a cool place to hang out and drink good beer.
Nick Calder-Scholes heads the brewing operations by setting his canvas with science and striving for consistency. He opts to can the beer to optimize quality while being kind to the environment. But how is the beer?
After tasting five of the core beers plus three experimental brews, we can confidently say that Calder-Scholes’ beer is excellent. We especially enjoyed the Citrus IPA, a popular happy ‘accident’ of a recipe with fresh orange, lime and grapefruit zest and the Samphire Sour, a collaboration with Manchester’s Magic Rock that’s oak barreled and flavored with sumac berries.
There’s no need to be hungry when drinking at The Garden Brewery. Submarine Natural Burgers has a location next to the tap room.
The Garden Brewery is located at Slavonska avenija 22f, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
A visit to Croatia would be incomplete without a tour of the country’s wine regions. However, if you have limited time, you can complete a tour at Vinoteka Bornstein without leaving Zagreb.
During your visit, you can taste wines from all over Croatia on the outside courtyard or inside the 200-year old basement. We recommend the basement.
Vinoteka Bornstein isn’t just a wine bar – it’s also a wine shop. So, if you taste a wine that you like, you can buy a bottle or two to enjoy later.
Vinoteka Bornstein isn’t just a wine bar – it’s also a wine shop. So, if you taste a wine that you like, you can buy a bottle or two to enjoy later.
Vinoteka Bornstein is located at Kaptol ul. 19, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
You’ll probably want to drink beer at Sedmica, but you don’t have to limit yourself to the malty beverage. Sedmica has a full menu of beer, wine and cocktails as well as non-alcoholic drinks like juice and coffee.
Pick your poison and find a spot to chill inside or in the bar’s backyard. Either way, you’re likely to find an artsy crowd doing the same.
Sedmica is hard to find. Look for the bar’s small sign or follow the crowd.
Sedmica is located at Kačićeva ul. 7a, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.
Things To Do in Zagreb
With two months in Zagreb, we had ample time to explore Croatia’s capital city beyond the Museum of Broken Relationships. If you’re wondering what to do in Zagreb during your visit, consider the following:
- Traverse Zagreb via a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour.
- Taste Croatian food during a Zagreb Food Tour.
- Experience a Croatian Wine Tasting at Zagreb’s oldest wine bar.
- Explore Zagreb on a Walking Tour with a Funicular Ride.
- Ride around the city during a guided Bike Tour.
- Discover the Zagreb’s dark charms during an After Hours Walking Tour.
- Get back to nature on a Day Trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park.
- Cross the border and take a Day Trip to Ljubljana and Lake Bled.
Plan Your Zagreb Stay
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
We thank the Zagreb Tourist Board for providing us with Zagreb Cards and restaurant suggestions to facilitate this article. We also thank Andrea Pisac and Nickica Freškua for their warm hospitality and friendship.
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.