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Paying Customer

Restaurant and bar reviews from Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia written by people that are, unlike professional food critics – paying customers.

Lorenzo & Kakalamba, Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade might easily be recognised as the European Foodies King of the Capitals in the Value for Money category. There are really not many capitals where you can find such a rich combination of great traditional restaurants that worship the legacy and centuries long food heritage and at the same time brave interpretations of modern, international influences with the Serbian twist for the affordable budget.

But, by far, the Italian / Serbian fusion restaurant „Lorenzo & Kakalamba“ stands out for their unique, brave, compromise less not only overall concept but for the brilliant execution as well.

Go to their web page and you’ll see the visual side of the concept. It mocks with symbols making humorous statements on every and each possible occasion you can think of. They constantly change the setting of the place by adding new pieces, new messages, new details in several huge rooms of the restaurant. They do not hide their story behind dim lights of candles. They do not speak out loud. They shout all the time. And make you laugh

Dishes they offer are just in the same line as the visual details that surround you. They are at the same time Italian and Serbian. Like, for example plate Firenze vs Pirot where the combine 2 typical salamis from Florence and Pirot (town on the south of Serbia) with two typical cheeses (grand Padano and kačkavalj). And they are all fantastic. All Italian dishes have a touch and twist of Serbian cuisine and it goes the other way round.

Besides that, what really strikes you is perfect organisation / logistics of the place. Very often in Serbia and Croatia concept is too big when you compare it with realisation. In „Lorenzo & Kakalamba“ everything is perfect. It is not undercapitalised. Waiters are among best in town – funny but knowledgeable. Serving is precise and all dishes come without too long intermissions. Wine list is very good.

We really left the place with smiles, after taking pictures with „fat David“ and other funny reinterpretations of some of Italian artistic landmarks.

No wonder, you have to book a place in advance. But it’s worth every Dinar.

http://www.lk.rs/en/

 

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Craft Room, Zagreb, Croatia

First of all, to be honest with you, Craft Room is this paying customer’s maybe the most favourable beer bar in Zagreb. There are number of reasons. It’s located in so called Zagreb’s Beer Alley – Opatovina Street. It’s really close to the Bana Jelačića Square, just above the Dolac market and close to the Zagreb’s Cathedral. It runs parallel with the most „tourist“ street of old Zagreb – Tkalčićeva. And for real beer lovers it offers several really serious beer bars the row. The bar that really started the revolution is positioned on the top of the street, just at the entrance to the park and it’s called „Tolkien’s House“. They offer a great ever changing selection of various beers from all over the world. The competition in beer is real.

But what makes the Craft Room my favourite spot is not only the wide selection of more the 100 bottled beers from all over the world and a dozen od ever changing fresh beers on tap, but the fact that they also serve various typical beer dishes every day from 5 p.m.

Bar tenders are really knowledgeable and they can point you to various styles and producers that you may not have tried or even heard before. Every week they offer some speciality from rising numbers of Croatian or foreign craft breweries. When the action is over, another keg steps into place – so, like in other serious beer bars all over the world – every day something new is on the list. And unfortunately, some titles are gone.

Regarding food, they make great onion rings, very good hot dogs with „Istrian“ sausages (if it did not run out before you’ve come) and solid hamburgers. During hot season, they serve at 2 open terraces. But when the fall or winter comes – better come before 8 p.m. to find a place close to the bar or at a table, because later it usually gets really crowded.

https://www.facebook.com/craftroombeer/?fref=ts

Berliner, Belgrade, Serbia

In one of the Belgrade’s hippest streets, Savamala (official name is Braće Krsmanovića), among dozen of other trendy places (bars, clubs and restaurants) the Belgrade’s beer place called „Berliner“ found its nest. From the first impression, after walking through the entrance, every beer lover will know that this is supposed to be his second home. Warm, cozy atmosphere of a original brick building positioned close to the rail tracks, wooden tables and a long bar surrounded with the great music of vintage soul, rock and rhythm and blues stands as the perfect surrounding for enjoying selection of more then 80 various beers. Unfortunately, not so many are offered on tab, but still you’ll be able to find quite nice selection of local (Kabinet and some other smaller breweries) and international (German, Belgium, Croatian, Scandinavian…) imported bottles.

Regarding food, you can find combination of German and local wursts (sausages) and American chicken / buffalo wings, spare ribs and similar dishes. You are in Belgrade and looking for proper beer? Berliner is the place.

https://www.facebook.com/berliner.pivnica/

Garden Brewery, Zagreb, Croatia

On the eastern outskirts of Zagreb, in the old industrial area called Žitnjak – the newest Zagreb’s craft brewery opened it’s facilities with the hamburger restaurant and venue that turnes every night into dj or live music club.

It has unique story behind that will probably ensure long existence of the project. British investor, former musician, dj and music producer Nick Colgan has been in Croatia for many years. He started one of the most succesful summer music festivals in a region – Garden music festival. By building it’s reputation, but also business operation, latest edition to the project is his own brewery. He invited young New Zealander Nick Calder-Scholes to be his brewmeister.

They change their own produced beer lists  quite frequently but always offering really premium varieties and interpetations of various beer and ale styles. It is obvious that they produce their beers for summer festival, because they are sometimes “lighter” and “smoother” in taste when you compare them with international standards but also Croatian competitor. But they are very rich in taste with gentle and fine balances of layers. Their Stout (milk stout) is by many professionals considerd maybe the best in Zagreb.

If you’re looking for food, Garden Brewery partners in Zagreb with one of the best hamburger joints – Sumbmarine hamburgers, (originally positioned in Frankopanska street in the Zagreb’s center). They offer quite uniqe high quality burgers and spare ribbs (finished on grill, that lack a bit of smokey smell and softness for the true ribbs fans). Late at night the joint turns almost every night into night club with live band or djs that play soul, funk, R&B, house music.

The beer bar competition in Zagreb get’s almost every day tougher and tougher. Garden Brewery’s position is a bit of a disadvantage  But, it is definitelly worth a taxy drive or (if someone in the group stays on nonalcoholic beverages) trip out of the center. The quality of their products is premium and if you’re soul / funk / R&B fan, this place might become your temple.

http://www.thegarden.hr/the-garden-brewery

Kralj kobasa, Zagreb, Croatia

Kralj Kobasa stands for “the King of Sausages”. This is by far one of the best street food places in Zagreb. Situated in historical passage Oktogon it gives at the same time flavour of Zagreb’s heritage (dozen of various Croatian sausages) combined with influences from all over the world (Austrian sausages, New York hot dogs…). Beside various excellent sausages it delivers also nice selection of Zagreb’s craft ales (Zmajsko, Medvedgrad etc). Great vallue for money. Trully local with global twist.

http://www.kraljkobasa.com/

Pilipovi dvori – OPG (Agro tourism), Promina / Drniš, Croatia

OPG, in Croatia stands for Agro tourism object, meaning that everything you consume there is either grown in own backyard or at least in a backyard of a neighbour. Eggs are totally fresh, same as cheese or “basa” – local dish of sour salted cream. You may also find (according to season) mushrooms from neighbouring forest, or some stew made of deer or boar that was hunted nearby. Usually local, domestic self produced wine is served. OPG “Pilipovi Dvori” represents typical basic, rustic but warm soul of hard working people from the surrounding of National park Krka. This is a perfect spot to rest (sleep in a huge barrels that were handcrafted and turned into sleeping rooms) after enjoying cultural heritage (of monasteries Krka and Visovac) or natural beauty of waterfalls and river. You can stay overnight and enjoy a dinner and a rich breakfast. It lacks maybe some precise finishing in wine or cuisine but its warm hearted and hard working, always smiling hosts will give you a romantic glimpse of a lost days in the past, when people had much less to choose but at the same time, more to respect.

http://www.vina-duvancic.hr/index.php?kusaona-vina

Pilana Bliznec – Zagreb, Croatia

Real, genuine, traditional Zagreb’s food experience in a beautiful forest of Sljeme, just near a Bliznec stream.

Great vallue for money. Portions are gigantic. As traditional dishes as they can be. They serve mostly meat from grill. Plates were really FULL of freshly made dishes and well served. The terrace is positioned close to the stream Bliznec that goes from the top of the hill Sljeme and brigs clear fresh water surrounded by the green forest of the park of nature. The feel and atmosphere of traditional Zagreb.

One of the best nature escapes from the downtown rush, while still being in the outscirts of Zagreb.

Bistro Apetit – Zagreb, Croatia

We visited the first dinner when restaurant’s new chef – Tom Gretić (once voted as the best chef of Croatia) presented his new – summer menu.
And it was superb. It’s innovative, light – but full of taste and enriched with various ingredients that, unfortunatelly, come rare in Zagreb’s restaurant. What we specially prefered are his combinations of traditional fish or meat dishes flavoured with fresh fruit like peaches or melon.

The concept is new for the restaurant: Gretić will dig and explore Zagreb’s tradition but to create original dishes with his personal twist and signature.
Wine pairing was the best of it’s kind with excellent pairing of German Rieslings, Italian Sauvignon, French Chardonay etc…

Ministry of Crab – Colombo, Sri Lanka

We travelled all around the island, and this is by far the best place to eat in whole country. Great food, great service for reasonable price. They deliver crabs in various sizes, as fresh as one can imagine. Crabs are prepared in numerous ways combining different influences from Japan, Creol, Chinese or mediterranean cousines with fantastic fresh local ingredients.

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