Gastronaut has released his legendary book "100 leading Croatian restaurants and their recipes" for the 24th year, a unique guide for the best of what is happening in a year on the Croatian gastronomic scene. The company Abisal, led by Karin Mimica, is year after year investigating 2,500 independent and hotel restaurants in Croatia, while portal visitors and caterers vote for their favourites. Finally, the committee sets the final list, where up to now there were 476 restaurants, divided into six gastronomic regions: Istria and Kvarner; Dalmatia; Gorski Kotar, Lika, Karlovac and surroundings, Moslavina and Banovina; Zagreb and surroundings; Zagorje, Međimurje, Podravina; Slavonia and Baranja.
In the past 23 years, six restaurants have always been on this prestigious list: Bevanda (Opatija), Nautika (Dubrovnik), Puntijar (Zagreb), Rivica (Njivice), Villa Neretva (Metković) and Zlatna Ribica (Brodarica). Just as important restaurants are always present on this list, it is so exciting to see the new restaurants that were found for the first time in this book.
This year they are the restaurant of the luxury Casino Hotel Mulino in Buje, which wins with its St Jacques scallops filled with cleaned Adriatic scampi; Spinnaker in Poreč, where Goran Hrastovčak and Ivan Ergović are welcoming guests at the Valamar Riviera Hotel, especially with their oysters with apple, sea algae and vacuumed cucumber; Markus in Labin, romantically located in the vineyard, praising itself with the risotto with squids and gorgonzola with crunchy pancetta; Marina Kornati in Biograd na moru, within the third largest marina in the Adriatic and where you can enjoy the spectacular sea view and 750 berths while eating excellent octopus stew; the legendary Vinko in Konjevrate, where Šibenik Zagora is lined with lambing specialties, of which the lamb tripe stand out.
Pantarul in Dubrovnik is a place where your homely atmosphere invites you to taste Quiche with goat cheese and dried tomatoes; you can try Japanese specialties at the Tekka restaurant in Zagreb, which impresses with the variety of dishes; Muzej at the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb is not only housed in a beautiful building, but is also the right destination for gourmets, which can try, among other things, an excellent tartar tuna; You can stop at Brodski Stupnik in Stupnički dvori, in the vineyards of Dilj mountain, where you can taste Slavonian specialties, especially chicken with homemade gnocchi; Zlatni Lug in Požega is Slavonia in small edition, rich in splendid Slavonian cuisine and wines and pride itself on its wine cellar; Akademija Graševine in Venje, near Kutjevo, is located close to the most famous Kutjevo wine cellars, and after the wine tasting it is good to sit here and chill with cheese dumplings.
With these new restaurants, many are present year after year. Istria and Kvarner are always delighted with the high gastronomy and the local bites, Dalmatia visibly raises the level of its gastronomic offer, while Karlovac, Zagorje and Međimurje keep their offer in harmony. The Zagreb scene is extremely demanding and is a real success for all the restaurants that have maintained their quality of service and products for years. Great is the rise of Slavonia and Baranja, unfairly neglected gastronomic scenes in Croatia, which is the result of hard work and fascinating recipes.
Gastronaut also lead the Gastronaut Club, which organizes round tables, education, meetings and tastings, and over the past year there have been organized gatherings on Pag, Zagreb and Rijeka, and education and events on Krk and Lika. The Gastronauts were also co-organizers and media sponsors of more than 20 gastronomic and wine manifestations. Their presentation of the book was traditionally held in Rijeka, this time at Botel Marina where their products were presented by Dobro (cured meat products), Dukat (cheeses), Karlić and Zigante (truffles delicacies), Bakalar Milena, and wines were tasted from the wineries: Deklić, D'Oro, Krauthaker, Matić, Pavlomir, Perak, Sladić, PZ Gospoja, PZ Svirče, Valenta, Zigante, Graševina Croatica Association, Ivan Zelina and Osijek-Baranja County.
From our restaurants that were listed this year, our portal visited: Sv. Nikola (Poreč), Vodnjanka (Vodnjan), Stancija Kovačići (Rukavac), Jist (Viškovo), Za Kantuni (Mali Lošinj), Foša (Zadar), Zora Bila (Split), Zrno soli (Split), Bitoraj (Fužine) Frankopan (Ogulin), Gradina (Josipdol), Žganjer (Ozalj), Villa Zelenjak - Ventek (Risvica), Mamica (Pušćine), Mala hiža (Mačkovec), Akademija Graševine (Venje). Not trying to compare us with the Gastronaut, but we have a lot more work to do!
Photos: Edvard Badurina (Taste of Adriatic)