Zagreb’s international culinary scene has improved dramatically over the past few years and it was a most welcome transformation! For a very long time, what was offered was different shades of pretty much the same, with some international influences. As I started to research and write about global food available in Zagreb, I realized that the list goes on and on, and making a shortlist was going to be a challenging task. After careful consideration and visits to many restaurants, I came up with a concise overview of my favorites.
Address: Trg Drage Iblera 10
Anyone who has ever been to Thailand knows that the best Thai food is found in unlikely places, such as inconspicuous little street food stands and carts. Khaos Thai is the first Thai street food stall in Zagreb, located on a street corner, and serving authentic Thai flavors and textures. It is run by two lovely Thai ladies, masters at their trade, who cook every meal to perfection. There is usually a line-up of locals waiting for their pad thai, tom yum, or some other delicious dish from a small but varied menu. It might take a while, but it is totally worth it! There are a few tables next to the stall, hardly-ever unoccupied, but don’t get discouraged as they do take away as well. Make sure you are there early enough since the demand is so high that the food often gets sold out before 4 pm!
Address: Ivana Tkalčića 26
There are several Indian restaurants in Zagreb and you can’t go wrong with any of them, however, my personal favorite is Royal India. This small and simply decorated restaurant with indoor and terrace seating is situated right in the city center. Their professional and attentive staff will gladly provide information about a reasonably wide selection of dishes and help you choose the one that you like, making sure no meal is too spicy. Indulge in traditional flavor-packed dishes such as tandoori chicken or lamb, samosas, paneer tikkas, kebab, and, of course, different types of naan bread and curry. There is a good selection for both veggie lovers and meat-eaters.
This cute little Greek eatery, although located on a very busy street, is hard to miss, due to its blue and white Greek-style exterior and traditional music coming from inside. Their menu is simple and includes freshly-made all-time classics such as souvlaki, chicken and pork gyros, tzatziki sauce, and Greek salad. Portions are more than generous, rich in aromas and flavors, and you can choose to eat in the restaurant or order to-go. The place does get pretty busy, especially in the evenings, but the service is fast and attentive.
Address: Savska cesta 134
A bit further from the city center but still quite easy to reach by tram, Mex Cantina is the first Mexican restaurant in Zagreb, serving top-quality food since 1998! The colorful interior with rustic touches is decorated with Mexican memorabilia, and live mariachi music on Monday evenings makes you feel like you really are in Mexico. An entire array of delicious food is accompanied by a great selection of tequilas, margaritas, and Mexican beer. The staff is hospitable and courteous and a free bowl of tortilla chips with two dips, while you are waiting for your meal, is a nice touch. For those with a more gentle palate, there are a lot of non-spicy options.
Address: Radnička cesta 37b
For the best sushi in town, go to Tekka. This modern Japanese restaurant in Zagreb’s business district is easily reachable by tram. The sleek interior provides a relaxing and intimate atmosphere, and the knowledgeable and polite staff will help you navigate the menu. Besides sushi, the restaurant also serves other traditional Japanese dishes such as sashimi, gyoza, tempura, miso soup, and other specialties.
Address: Radnička cesta 5
Another great place in the business district is Sofra, a Bosnian restaurant and a place where East meets West. For a very long time, today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina, a neighboring country to Croatia, was occupied by the Ottomans. The culture and food were greatly influenced by the invaders, resulting in a perfect blend of spices and flavors. All of their dishes are Halal and served in generous portions. The most popular dish and also the national dish of Bosnia is ćevapčići, a mincemeat kebab served in traditional bread called somun with sour cream and fresh roughly chopped onions. Bosnian cuisine is versatile and you will find great lamb, veal, and chicken dishes in Sofra, as well as plenty of vegetarian options. Finishing your meal with a piece of baklava or a cup of original Turkish coffee is a must!
Address: Radićeva ulica 16
The first tapas bar in Zagreb, Mio Corazon, is a charming rustic place near the busy central square, overflowing with character. The small eatery serves delicious miniature delights, both simple and elaborate, made with excellent quality ingredients. Enjoy the beautifully presented tapas with some delicious sangria, a cocktail, some wine or beer! The staff always meets you with a warm smile and is happy to help you pick the best variety of tapas, based on your tastes and preferences.