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Food, Lifestyle, My Work, Travel

Visit Croatia: Pasta&svasta

June 15, 2016


Croatian gastronomic scene grew tremendously in the past 2-3 years and many already “established” restaurants such as previously written about Pelegrini, took their service, food philosophy and presentation to a whole new level that meet the worldwide standards of fine dining.

Unfortunately, there’re still way too many tourist traps, restaurants with endless menus which are always very convincing about freshness and quality of their food… That is until you’ll possibly fall for it, order your food and that’s where the romance will stop because you’ll realise that food is not freshly made, fish wasn’t caught “this morning” and most of the owners and restaurant managers couldn’t care less about what people are going to eat, as long as the portions are huge, prices are low and endless pasta, pizza and meat prepped in million ways with the grande finale of pancakes for the dessert are on the menu, tourists and locals will keep on returning.

On the other hand, there are people who are world travelers, people who are true foodies, people who don’t see food just as a fuel and who are taking a visit to restaurant equal to a mini trip to another “world” which will give you an amazing experience that you’ll gladly share with your certain special someone, family or business partners. Food is more than just a gas for your body, food is the best and most hedonistic way to enjoy your life, socialise… Food is a cultural thing and just like with fashion, I take a very sophisticated approach to it and see the whole picture, from how much love, time and effort it’s needed to just start a restaurant, all the way to how much nerves, smarts and once again appreciation for food and believing in what you’re doing is needed to present you with only ONE plate of perfectly homemade pasta with the best truffles and a glass of white wine specific only for the a certain part of the country or region…


This was the case with a charming restaurant in the middle of Zadar’s old town known as Poluotok among the locals. Pasta & svasta is the name you should mark down if you’ll be visiting Croatian coast this Summer since it’s worth taking a small d-tour even if you’re not planning to stay in Zadar.

Pasta & svasta opened it’s doors about two years ago, back in Spring of 2014 by it’s masterminds and true foodies Mr.Ivan and his lovely wife Ivana. Ever since the opening, Mr. Ivan, together in collaboration and agreement with his kitchen staff have been creating a wonderful crossover kitchen of traditional Croatian food/ cuisine presented with a modern twist. Whilst the authenticity of taste is “spot on”, the presentation is far from traditionally known in Italian/ Mediterranean restaurants. No big portions of everything and anything on the plate, but carefully presented, simple but bursting with the taste dishes are about to blow you off if you haven’t or have tried this cuisine before.


Just when I thought that I can’t be impressed by “yet another” bruschetta, pasta, etc. I was completely proven wrong. Mr. Ivan, who has a phd in costumer service and hospitality is very strong driven restaurant owner, meaning that he has a clear vision of what he wants to offer to his costumers who come from all over the world. One of the most surprising facts is that his restaurant has a Kosher food certification which is to me “unheard” of in this part of the country. He is the only one who has such certificate on Croatian side of Adriatic coast and that def. sets Pasta & svasta highly apart from any other restaurant nearby.

As a starter, we were presented by a home wine, bubbly Krauthaker sauvignon which comes from a certain vineyard in Istria of which Mr. Ivan is being part owner. Warm, crunchy and perfectly salty bruschetta with marinated sardines on the bed of arugula were divine “appetite opener” for everything that was about to follow up.



For the, so called 1st plate we were served home made, wonderfully al dente tagliatelle with hand de-shelled prawns in tomato sauce with big slices of truffles. I must say that I was having a very high expectations for this dish because I’ve been told by the owners that if I ever try this same dish somewhere else, it must taste the way it did at Pasta & svasta or better if possible but def. nothing less than what I was about to taste. Only one bite was already enough to understand what they meant, it was a perfect marriage between al dente pasta, sourness of tomato sauce and taste of the sea via the most delicious prawns I have ever tried anywhere. To top it all off, the truffles were like eating pure gold, absolutely prime ones, straight from Istria which is famous all over the world as the region for some of the best truffles.

We drank perfectly matched white wine, Galic chardonnay with our 1st plate.


2nd plate was slow roasted lamb with baked potatoes and pancetta. The meat is slowly roasted for many hours on a low temperature. This is one very traditional dish known to be prepped in Dalmatian households for generations, but the sophisticated and the most delicious version ever has been right this dish at Pasta & svasta. This is very manly dish which is perfect for all of the meat lovers. The meat was so soft that it’s been falling off the bone as you start to “dig into it” and it was beautifully matched with the crispy pancetta and aromatic potatoes. To maximise the ultimate experience of this dish, we drank red wine Skaramuca Plavac mali premium .


By this point of our dinner, we have already become great buddies with our hosts, Mr. Ivan was happy to see that his food philosophy was understood and appreciated, so we have already made agreements to come and visit him again sometime soon to try couple of more dish-gems that he has hiding up his sleeve. 🙂

No ending of any dinner is good without something sweet, so we couldn’t resist the calling of deconstructed cheesecake with berry sauce and warm, melty goodness of chocolate suffle! Yum!



It was one of the best traditional, Mediterranean food experiences I’ve had in a long time. Without any doubt, I’ll be back again to Pasta & svasta. 🙂

*This collaboration has been made in agreement with Pasta&svasta. All of the opinions are my own.

*Thank you to Mr. Ivan and Mrs. Ivana for the warm welcome and for making this collaboration possible.

*Photography by: Natali K. photography

Lifestyle, My Work, Travel, Uncategorized

5 for Friday

June 3, 2016


ENG: How in the world is it Friday already? To top it off, it’s also beginning of a new month, so… Welcome June, I’ve been expecting you. 🙂

How was your week? Mine was a mash up of all sorts of happenings, feelings and lots of warm, may I say hot weather which brought me to the beach and I got my bikini out for the first time this year. To be bare feet, with minimum clothes on and feeling the sea breeze while licking super yummy ice cream… Let me tell you, only few moments/ things can top off a moment like that one was.

This Friday will be an easy going one, first some errands, then some zen time with a good book and my mini me at the beach and in the evening I will meet my friend to go and watch a “Miss Mamma” gathering 16 ordinary women from all over Croatia aged 25-55 and divided in two categories. I’m actually quite looking forward to this, different kind of competition where I believe that whole personality will play a bigger role in winning the competition than the looks which is usually the case in other “beauty” pageants.

Saturday and Sunday will be all about pizza, beach time and possibly squeeze in some movie time too. 🙂

I’m sharing my 5 favourite Instagram photos of the past week. Follow me daily HERE !

Have a great weekend everybody!

FI: Kuinka ihmeessä tänään on taas Perjantai? Ja kaiken lisäksi tänään on uuden kuun ensimmäinen päivä, joten…Tervetuloa Kesäkuu, olenkin jo odottanut sinua. 🙂

Kuinka sinun viikko meni? Minun mennyt viikko oli erilaisten tapahtumien, tunteiden ja lisäksi lämmön ympäröimä sillisalaatti. Kuumat päivät ovat vieneet minua rannalle nauttimaan. Joten sain vihdoinkin kaivettua bikinit esille. Maailmassa on vain muutama asia jotka ovat ihanimpia kuin se tunne. Kun saa olla paljain jaloin, vähissä kesävaatteissa. Ja kun tuntee raikkaan merituuleen, samalla kun nauttii mahtavasta jäätelöstä.

Tästä Perjantaista tulee tulee tosi rela. Ensiksi muutama päivittäinen asia. Ja sen jälkeen vähän zen aikaa hyvän kirjan ja minun mini minän kanssa rannalla. Ja illalla olen menossa hyvän ystäväni kanssa katsastamaan “Miss Mamma” tapahtumaa. Jossa kisaa 16 tavallista ympäri Kroatiaa tullutta 25-55V naista. Odotan tätä innolla. Sillä toisin kuin yleensä muissa kauneuskilpailuissa. Tämän kisan toinen pääkategoria on luonne, siis ulkonäön lisäksi. Ja uskon että nimenomaan se kilpailijan luonne on tällä kertaa se tärkeämpi seikka.

Lauantaista ja Sunnuntaista tulee pizza ja uimaranta täytteisiä. Ja saamme mitä luultavammin myös ympättyä siihen sekaan myös ihanan leffa hetken.

Minä jaan minun menneen viikon 5 suosikki Instagram valokuvaa. Seuraa minua päivittäin täällä !





Food, Lifestyle, My Work

Visit Helsinki: Toscanini

April 27, 2016


Growing up in Croatia and eating the finest of Mediterranean cuisine, including my mom’s and grandma’s impeccable cuisine, I was born to be a self-proclaimed foodie master! 😀 I’ve always loved good food and my standards to what tastes good have developed through the years, so by this age, if I’m eating at home, I make sure to buy only the high quality ingredients when cooking my lunches and dinners because I’d rather buy something bit more expensive in the food aisle and save on that 10th, unnecessary skirt for the Spring/ Summer “wardrobe refreshment”!

Yeah, I know, not so fashion thing of me to do. When I do go out for a lunch or dinner, I wanna go to places which deserve a dollar to be spent there… There’re way too many restaurants nowadays but not many do give what they ask you to pay for. Bummer, I know, so that’s why I’m more than happy to once again bring you an article from my cycle of “Visit Helsinki” posts in which I’m presenting you the best places to visit, dine at, hotels to stay at, etc. in case that you find yourself visiting my city this Summer perhaps! 🙂

If you are a local or somebody who’s living nearby, even better, then you get to test these places even sooner and share your experiences with me!


Going back to me growing up in Croatia, I have practically lived on an Italian food for a good amount of my life. I know how “the real” Italian food should taste and look like, so upon moving to Helsinki, Finland almost 9 years ago, I didn’t really have a chance to satisfy my Italian cuisine cravings. What was presented to me here as “Italian food” was a far cry from that. Ever since, I’ve been on a hunt for the real deal and I finally found it at Toscanini restaurant ran by a proper Italian chef! Hallelujah!! Pasta perfection here I come!



Toscanini restaurant is a “house restaurant” of a design hotel Klaus K which happens to be one of my favourite hotels ever. That’s how I came in “touch” with Toscanini for the first time about a year ago, by ordering in a room service for dinner. I remember thinking that my dinner was so delicious that I must pay a visit to this restaurant in person and not only via room service delivery.

I did it… Ok, a year later, but I still did it and guess what? The food is absolutely amazing and if I wasn’t looking outside the window on the Boulevard street and seeing the Finnish “Spring weather”, I would totally think that I’m in Italy, by the sea and any moment now Eros Ramazzotti songs will start blowing from the speakers. 😀


Besides weekly changing lunch menu, Toscanini are serving a full course, a-la carte menu in the evening times and over the weekend. There’s a little bit of everything for everybody and I’m so happy to see a menu which is not 3 meters long one with various pasta and pizza options, as it’s usually the case with all of the touristy versions of Italian restaurants I’m used to see around.


As starters we’ve opted for fish and seafood soup aka bouillabaisse flavoured with chilli and garlic bread and San Daniele ham cured for 18 months and a modern version of crispy bruschetta with Buffalo mozzarella cheese. The soup was one of the most delicious fish soups ever. I could “taste” the sea, it was so fresh and a perfect starter for a fish lover like me while ham + mozzarella might have looked like a simple combo but the explosion of tastes was incredible.



Main courses were perfect follow ups to starters – fresh spaghetti chittarra with oyster mushrooms and crispy Parmesan cheese and fresh rigatoni pasta with juniper flavoured hare ragu.

My mushroom pasta was so simple, but perfectly creamy and satisfying perfection of mushroom and cheese taste while the hare ragu made in red wine and tomato sauce was cooked to perfection and had a wonderfully balanced and rich taste. I don’t have to mention that both pastas were cooked al dente, which is also something I had problems with finding in Helsinki.



To complete the already successful Italian feast, we couldn’t pass on classics like Tiramisu which is truly the best one in this city and Citrus semifreddo with chocolate cake and berries. We loved every single spoonful and left back home with smiling faces and dreams of Italy.



*This post has been made in collaboration with Toscanini restaurant, all of the opinions are my own.

*Thank you to Miss Sissi E. for making this collaboration happen.

*Photography by Natali K. photography

Food, Lifestyle, My Work

Foodora promo

August 15, 2015

Good Sunday everybody!! I hope that you’re enjoying your weekend and recharging the batteries for the new working and exciting week that’s coming. I’m so tired from work, my back is aching ( nothing too serious or that a nice massage can’t fix 🙂 ) and therefore I’ll take this day off to just chill and do minimum of home errands and minimum physical activities too, so that I can rest before a new “set” of long hours of cooking and prepping at kitchen at work and sitting in front of my laptop doing the blogging work.

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Food, Lifestyle

Pasta Puttanesca

July 24, 2015

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe here on my blog so I thought to share one of my favourite pasta recipes to date. I’m a huge pasta fan and I’ve grown up on pasta prepared in million ways. Being raised in a small city on the Croatian seaside, which was heavily influenced by Italy and Italian cuisine, I can proudly say that I had a privilege of eating the best pastas through my whole childhood so I have a very fine taste when it comes to how I like my pastas and sauces that come with it.

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