I’ve been meaning to write this Zadar’s Gastro Guide for a long time, and finally I have put together for you some of our favorite places to do a proper Gastro Tour while in Zadar and try some of our specialties such as stuffed peppers, black risotto, scampi alla buzara, lamb under the bell, brudet, octopus salad, tuna steak… We are still searching for great food and we are open to suggestions which places we should try.
Whether you’re a morning type or not, it’s always a good time for something sweet – an amazing pancake for breakfast or as a treat between meals, and if you really aren’t the sweet type – don’t worry in the House of Pancakes Slatka tajna (FB page) they offer salty pancakes as well. If you are a fitness lover or body builder like my Marc, they have something for you as well – protein pancakes! You can find them in two locations, one is in the center (ideal for starting your Zadar tour, just after the Land Gate) at the address Špire Brusine 16, or at the address Miroslava Krleže 3A (closer to Zadar’s marina, perfect if you arrived with your yacht).
After a good pancake it’s time for a coffee and a mojito – we know just the place, and it’s just behind the corner of the House of Pancakes in the center. Café bar Zlatni kutić at Fra Šimuna Klimantovića 1 is a perfect spot at any time of the day, but be warned – once you start trying their amazing cocktails you never want to leave the place! This is our absolute favorite place in Zadar, and the owner and bar staff truly are masters of their art and sort of became our extended family! Marc would highly recommend Zlatni kutić to everyone, and I am the witness how hard it is to get him to go anywhere once he’s found his spot on the terrace… The shooters are from 10 to 15 kuna (so from 1.5 to 2 euros, about 1 to 1.5 GBP) and I dare you to find a place that has better price/quality. Best is to come earlier as you might not have a spot to sit on as this is one of the best places in town, agreed by locals and by the passengers through our city!
After a coffee and couple of mojitos, it’s lunch time – if you’re too hungry to wait till the meal is freshly made for you in any of our great restaurants, we know a couple of great fast food places:
- Papica would be the closest choice and definitely has the best burgers in town (try the burger called Burgazam and you honestly will be having one). Their veggie burritos are a great choice, I absolutely love them.
- Crazy pizza at the address Stomorica 1 has an amazing choice of pizza’s – you can choose between getting a huge pizza slice for 10 kuna or a couple of different kinds of pizza slices, or ordering your own jumbo pizza that you can take with you on the beach or sit and eat there.
- Fast Food Branimir is located at the Branimir square beside the town’s bridge, the address being Obala kneza Branimira and the good thing is that it has everything – yummy burgers, kebab, pizza slices and amazing chicken and cheese sandwiches and it’s open quite late so after your dance session on the way home you can grab a bite there, it will taste amazing, especially chicken and cheese with a bit of tabasco!
- Monster Kebab at the address Benka Benkovica is definitely the best kebab place in town where you can beside the “normal” kebab get a chicken kebab as well as wrap your kebab in a tortilla or get it in a bun. The only thing they do is kebabs and that’s why they are the best at it, the meat is always fresh, the staff are great and they are the only place to get a kebab in a tortilla – if you haven’t already, you should try it! The tortilla kebab tastes so much better and it’s easier to eat (no salad and meat falling out of the bun)!
- If you are watching your diet or are in the mood for something nice and healthy, try the Le mond salad & smoothies bar at the address Poljana Ivana Pavla II BB. Their amazing salads make a great meal for the summer heat – cold, tasty and filling.
- Nana Fast Food at the bus station (used to be one in Varoska street but I recently noticed the space was empty and am trying to find out if it moved somewhere or is just being redecorated) – definitely go for the chicken and cheese sandwich! Chicken is grilled in front of your eyes and you get to choose your extras. The best fried cheese sandwich in town you can find there!
If you are not too hungry to wait for your food to be freshly made, here are our recommendations for restaurants (great both for lunch or dinner, although you may need to make a reservation for dinner time).
All our restaurants serve freshly made food. I’m sure there are more great restaurants in Zadar and we are slowly working our way through all of them, but these are the ones we keep coming back to, and not just Marc and me but when our family and friends come over these are the places on the must-do list.
*Bruschetta (Mihovila Pavlinovića 12) is probably our favorite restaurant as we keep coming back for more of their great service and amazing food. All the food is freshly made, very tasty and well balanced. The portions are just right, leaving you place for some of their amazing desserts – and you should definitely start with one of their delicious bruschetta’s (my favorite is truffles and bacon). Every year they change the menus adding some new delicious combinations, this year’s favorite are gnocchi with chicken and fresh truffles, but I still miss the homemade ravioli that was really homemade, served with John Dory fillet- this year I will need to replace them with lentils and then come back just for some pasta! You can also check their Facebook!
*Stipe (Plemica Borelli 5a) is a restaurant that I have been visiting with my family for a very long time as we all agreed they have great domestic food and pizza. If you are feeling like trying some of the Croatian specialties such as black risotto you should try it here! The secret to black risotto is to take the ink from the squid and color the rice black, but now lots of restaurants use fake ink to color the rice and I can taste the difference, but not in Stipe – here you will get the best natural black risotto, tasting the same as our family’s recipe. Definitely give a try to their brudet (it’s kind of like a fish pie but more soup like), bakalar na bijelo – the cod is our traditional Christmas Eve’s dinner, either na bijelo which is just with potatoes, parsley, garlic and olive oil (flavors of Croatian cuisine, and the big secret is to add a bit of white wine) or na brudet which has basically the same ingredients but is cooked with wine and tomato sauce to stay in a soup. If you are more of a meat type, you should try Zagrebacki steak made of veal meat, stuffed with ham and cheese, kind of like a cordon bleu but with better meat or some of the amazing Pizza Bolognese!
*Rafaelo (Obala kneza Trpmira 50) has absolutely the best barbecue in the town. The meat is so tasty, the portions are huge, the service is great. They even found us a champagne bottle although they don’t usually serve it. While sitting and waiting for our grill we were enjoying the smells from the kitchen, and by the time our food arrived even if we weren’t feeling so hungry we were starving! The food was absolutely delicious, and in the end we were eating just because it was so tasty and feeling so bad for not being able to finish it all. I would recommend it to everyone!!!
*Stomorica (Stomorica ulica 12) is a nice and cozy street restaurant with a lovely lady standing at the doors willing to explain all about today’s specialties. What a lot of people don’t know as they don’t see it straight away is that Stomorica actually has another terrace on the other side from the main street Stomorica, which is to me a lot more beautiful place to sit down than on the street. Amazing fish and meat plate! And when you finish there with your delicious food, you will find the Rio bar just a few steps away to finish your evening with some delicious cocktails. Or you can always walk 5 minutes back to Café bar Zlatni kutić and get some more of their tasty shooters and cocktails.
*Malo misto (Ulica Jurja Dalmatinca 3) has the most traditional look and it’s like an oasis between Zadar’s busy streets, their beautiful terrace makes you forget you are just a few steps to the main square or to the street market. The service is very friendly and the food is delicious. Definitely go for some fish or grill as they are known among the locals as the best grill in the center, but you could also try some of the seafood with pasta or rice! Check their photos on Facebook!
There are two beautiful lounge bars in Zadar, The Garden being the first one (I can’t believe I actually remember when it was opened! I was still in high school then and all their cocktails were too expensive for my budget, so my friend and I would share a beer just for the view and to lie on the white pillows). The Garden Lounge is really all about relaxing, and if you get a liter cocktail you will get a nice complimentary plate with it. Ledana is located in a Queen Jelena’s park, and is so stylish and a beautiful, real oasis with fountains, disco lights and unique chairs. As the night goes by, Lounge & Bar Ledana becomes the real dance zone and party lasts till the morning hours. You can also shuffle between Ledana and Svarog just down below on the 5 wells square and dance your way from super tasty Kamikaze shooters in Ledana to large beers in Svarog 🙂
As we already mentioned, the Branimir fast food is open so if you get hungry after all the dancing, that is the place to get a yummy chicken and cheese sandwich. And to make a full round of our tour, we will take to to a coffee and cake type of afterparty in Kavana Danica. Besides great cakes (one cake is called 7 sins as it probably has so much calories but hey! you’ve already spent them on the dance floor, tiramisu, cheesecake, various chocolate cakes and pies) they have the best ice cream in town, and so many flavours it will be hard to choose – they have a cheesecake flavoured ice cream!
If you get hungry later and you don’t want to move out from your air conditioned apartment, call the Taxi Pizza Tomato at the +385 23 224 422! They truly are the best delivery in town and you can get a 1 meter long pizza (the biggest one you can get not just in Zadar, but anywhere) that will be enough food for a whole bunch of people or a big family, like ours when we all get together!
For a day trip we would recommend going to Nin, a small town full of history and really close to Zadar, where you will find a beautiful sandy beach, Kraljicina plaza (Queen’s beach as the legend says first Croatian king Tomislav gave this beach as a present to his Queen and every time he was home the two of them would have the whole beach just for themselves). On the beach there is a nice beach bar with very friendly staff and great cocktail prices for a beach bar, and a tasty ice coffee! In Nin you will find the restaurant Sokol, a family restaurant with a long tradition and great food. We sat just to have a coffee and to cool down a bit, but the smells coming from the kitchen convinced us to get a brunch there and the food was so good we decided to come back the next day. The pasta is homemade and delicious; the meat is great. We will definitely be coming back again to try more of the chef’s recommendations from the menu!
Another great day trip is to the Dugi otok island, firstly you get to enjoy 2 hours of a ferry ride and make some great panoramic photos (and catch a great tan while on a ferry, but be careful not to burn as you won’t feel the strength of the sun with that cool breeze coming). On Dugi otok is one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia, Sakarun beach often compared to Hawaii due to the white Caribbean like sand. Be warned that the shops there close at noon, so take enough water and supplies from Zadar! But if you get hungry, we know just the place with the best pizza we ever tried – in Veli Rat you will find Pizzeria Galeb. This is a must try as it’s more than just a pizza, it is a taste of pure happiness melting on your taste buds and you will wish this pizza could be delivered to your home address every time you have a craving for pizza. Other pizzas just won’t taste the same, we are already planning to come back for a pizza day, and maybe smuggle one jumbo back with us to Zadar.