Well hello there, friends! Long time no talk. I’ve been on an Island with 200 kids and then promptly hopped on a plane to the beautiful country of Croatia and I have gotten quite a few requests for my favorite things we did/ate so here is my attempt to remember and give you some pointers. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down all the places we ate but I definetly remember some of them because they’re some of the most awesome eating experiences of my life thus far and I would love for others to experience it. Enjoy!
Things we did:
We took a 2 hour walking tour which covered pretty much everything you needed to know history wise and it gave you the lay of the land. My sister and I went to the Museum Of Broken Relationships which was so amusing. It was basically stories of how people broke up and a physical remnant from their relationship like a shoe or an axe… you will have to go to find that one out. We also went to the Croatian Museum of Naive Art which was actually one of my favorite things we saw. The pieces in there were just stunning and whimsical. Plus admission is the equivalent to less than 10 bucks. While we were in Zagreb, there were several festivals going on so we were never bored. There was one beer and food fest that went the whole month of July where we had mojitos and some great food and watched a World Cup game with a huge crowd on a big screen with some new friends from Switzerland. In addition, we went to the Botanical Garden– free admission!
Things we ate:
So let me preface this with this- Zagreb likes refined grains, beer, and meat. In other places in Croatia closer to the coast you will find THE BEST seafood but we stuck to meat fingers and pizza in Zagreb. Yeah, I said meat fingers. Cevapi (the English menus translated it to meat fingers and we just laughed so hard) is like Cevpapcici (we make this in my family!) which is minced meat like a mini skinless sausage served with some sides (usually more meat- ha). There are also a lot of local breweries in Zagreb so that’s really fun if you enjoy beer!
Croatia is wonderful because there are influences from all over Europe but Italy is just across the Adriatic so the pizza was really authentic.
The most popular beer in Croatia is Ožujsko- the green bottles. Its really good- I drank lots of that.
A restaurant I do remember is Otto & Frank. Kate and I had the “traditional Zagreb breakfast” and it was like our tastebuds went to freaking heaven. A toasted piece of fresh bread with some cream cheese and something else with lettuce and somehow a deep fried egg that still had a runny Yolk? Ugh so amazing + they made a pretty good latte.
After a few days in Zagreb we headed to the train station to catch the 7 hour train to Split. If you do this PLEASE do yourself a favor and bring snacks. Also if you get motion sick try and get a seat facing front- I faced the back and couldn’t handle it any longer after about 3 hours and had to sneak into another seat.
I really, really loved Split. I have this thing for European beaches and Split was just a nice rendition of that. No one cares what you look like and EVERYONE goes in the water!
Things we did:
We took a 2 hour walking tour of Diocletian’s palace and the surrounding area and then spent the rest of the time beaching, exploring, and eating. There are some bars and restaurants along the coastal walk from our hotel. We ended up watching the semi finals of the World Cup in Split and the city went literally NUTS- I was really fun to see. Car horns till 5 am after our hotel greeted us with champagne and little dances from the waiters once they won. It was a pretty cool experience!
Another thing to do is people watch and walk down by the area by the palace at night. Maybe grab a gelato or drink? It’s really packed and the bars are filled with people partying it up. I was having a bit of a rough night when we went down there so the sheer volume of people gave me a huge anxiety attack and I had to leave- BUT- if you can handle that then you are good 🙂
Things we ate:
Oh man. Ok. We had the most magnificent meal at this place called Konoba Matoni. Not only was our waiter so helpful, the food just kept getting better and better. The atmosphere is this restaurant is so cute you walk down into what looks like a stone covered cave where everything is nice and cool, temperature wise, but warm feeling wise. We ordered the fresh caught tuna steak, the other fresh caught filet, and that’s a veggie puree and roasted potatoes. We always asked for the local white or red and if the restaurant blew us away we ordered dessert. This time was hot the most magical chocolate lava cake.
Another meal we had was lunch at Ostarija u Vidakovi. We shared some amazingly flavorful muscles and a seafood risotto + local wine for a long lunch. Lunch is not a quick thing here. In one of the big cities like Zagreb I rarely saw people sitting down to eat. The only thing people sit down to do is drink and smoke. On the coast however, long meals are part of the day. At this lunch we were sitting by a group of 6 men who were playing cards, eating, smoking, and drinking for way longer than us and we had been there for at least an hour and a half!
Here comes my most favorite meal of all meals. Partly the meal but also partly the ambiance. DVOR sits atop a hill overlooking the water where people stay in till sundown so we had good speedo and people watching. This is a Michelin star recommended restaurant and I see why! The eating experience was unique with special dishes to cleanse your palate with and fun spins on things I never knew you could do. Think prawns turned into dust to top other prawns in a beautiful little cold stew.
I shared a fish fillet with my sister along with a wonderful cardamom chocolate cake and tasted everyone else’s dishes. My dad got the truffle pasta and I LOST MY MARBLES. My mom got a tartar of sorts and it was wonderful!
We shared another local white to pair with our fish per our waitresses recommendation and loved it. This is the only restaurant we went to where people looked really put together. Everywhere else people are suuuuper casual. Lunch? Swimsuits welcome (with a coverup) and you can totally be salty and sandy.
Snacks were mainly ice cream or a fruit I took from our hotel breakfast. Ice cream was my favorite and I had it for a morning or afternoon snack every day! It was so hot it was perfect.
I hope you enjoyed seeing a glimpse into our travels! I’ll be back next Tuesday with Hvar and Dubrovnik. Happy Tuesday 🙂