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Food, Lifestyle, My Work, Travel

Visit Croatia: Zinfandel’s

January 28, 2019

Zinfandel’s restaurant is one out of the two restaurants which you can enjoy inside of the Esplanade hotel. While LeBistro is more of a laidback “bistro” for a whole day dining, Zinfandel’s is perfect for a romantic night out, foodie experience or the best hotel breakfast you’ve ever had.

Perfect crepes

Let’s start with the breakfast, big variety of cold cuts, dips, spreads, fruit platter, overnight oats, smoothies, numerous cakes, selection of breads… All of those are part of the breakfast buffet table where you can serve yourself and eat as much as you like but if you wish to have something more special like warm porridge, grilled pineapple or poached eggs, you have a a-la-carte menu and the servers will do their best to spoil you with something warm and delicious. 🙂

Breakfast a-la-carte
Breakfast strukli

I would say that you should definitely try the “star” of their breakfast table and that’s traditional Croatian strukli, a dish like no other, which quickly became my favourite breakfast choice. Dense yet “melt in my mouth” dough, filled with the fresh cheese and topped with the sour cream and eggs, baked to perfection in the oven. It’s a well known fact that Esplanade’s breakfast strukli are the best in Zagreb, if not in whole Croatia.

Zinfandel’s got it’s name after a special sort of grapes originating from the South of Croatia. Main chef, Ms. Ana Grgic has been devoted to crafting her special signature at Zinfandel’s for 13 years. What begun as an apprentice in training, developed into something very fruitful and it ensured that Ms. Ana becomes the main chef of Zinfandel’s and LeBistro.

Ricotta gnudi
Carrot risotto with burrata and black olives paste

If you are looking for a delicious lunch with a 5 star service and a cozy, home like vibes, I suggest you to go to LeBistro. It’s a perfect place to try traditional Croatian dishes but interpreted in a “finer” way with a modern day twist to it. What stood out for me were definitely a carrot risotto and ricotta gnudi.

For a dinner at Zinfandel’s, I’d suggest you to leave about 2-3 hours of free time to enjoy all of the beauty of the interior, complex but delicious bites of food and some of the best wines from an extensive drinks list.

Foie gras with truffles and truffle ice cream

It’s impressive to see how much an interior can change from the breakfast to dinner service. From a bright, “comfy” and bistro like vibes in the morning to the luxurious, dimmed lights and candlelit dinner tables at evening. Zinfandel’s menu is changing very often but some of the dishes marked as “Zinfandel’s classics” never go off of the menu and there is a reason for that. Traditional dishes, which don’t need any adjustments and are visually as well as tastefully perfect just as they were years before and will be in years to come.

Rabbit lasagnette

Part of Zinfandel’s a-la-carte selection which does change has been for years putting it’s chef and the restaurant in the top of the Croatian restaurant scene. Loved by the critics as well as by the visitors and foodie enthusiasts, Zinfandel’s have set the bar very high to all of the other hotel restaurants in Zagreb. So far none of them have even got a close to Zinfandel’s in this “silent competition”.

Reindeer with rhubarb and beetroot

I was happy to share this dinner experience with my brother. We went a little “reckless” and have ordered some dishes which sounded interesting and innovative to us. There was no room for the safe options when trying to test and give a grade to Zinfandel’s food.

Starters were foie gras and truffles with truffle ice cream and cocoa cone and open lasagne with rabbit confit and chickpea foam. I must say I have never yet heard of truffle ice cream and esp. not served with the foie gras so I was excited to see how it’s going to be plated as well as what kind of the taste all together will have. Foie gras with truffles was delicious! I suggest putting it on a cracker bread to enjoy it fully. The ice cream part was bit confusing to me as I just couldn’t put/ mix it with the foie gras or eat on it’s own but that’s just the way my taste buds were, maybe you would go nuts about it so don’t hesitate to try something as innovative as this.

My brother had the open lasagne and before I could even ask him how does he like his dish, it was gone, licked off of the plate. 😀 He loved them as they were full of taste, creamy… Tomac Millennium Brut sparkling wine was perfect to match with our starters.

Pork fillets with radishes and mustard seeds

Main courses were reindeer fillets with roasted beetroot and rhubarb and a pork fillet with mustard seeds, pickled radishes and Bernaise sauce. Visually, both dishes were perfect but my brother who tested both of the dishes could conclude that the pork fillet was the “winner” out of these two.

Technically they were both prepped perfectly but the reindeer fillets were overpowering with the taste the rest of the food on the plate. Rhubarb and beetroot might be a good combination together in some vegetarian dish or even a dessert but together with the reindeer maybe something else would be a better choice. Pork fillet had nothing to complain about, everything matched well together and mustard seeds were a cherry on top of the taste explosion. Well done!

For the main course wine we were offered a merlot by Krauthaker from Kutjevo. I must say that the sommelier made us really entertained by the whole service of the red wine from out of the bottle to the glass. Very nice “touch” to the whole dinner experience.

Zinfandel’s dessert list consists of 4 equally great sounding options but we have decided to try their brownie and lemon sponge cakes. Brownie was a chocolate and nut dream, it tasted like a sophisticated version of Snickers bar. 😀 Lemon sponge cake was served with marinated pear and cinnamon ice cream – I couldn’t think of a better , Winter perfect dessert.

Lemon sponge cake with cinnamon ice cream
Peanuts choco brownie

I hope that my detailed description of what you can expect from Zinfandel’s and LeBistro as well as the photos of the dishes have made you consider of visiting them both and experiencing a real food heaven oasis in the heart of Zagreb city.

*This post has been made in collaboration with hotel Esplanade, all of the opinions and photos are my own.

*Thank you to Ms. Sanda and Mr. Ivica for making this collaboration possible.

*Thank you to all of the wonderful staff at LeBistro and Zinfandel’s for giving us a remarkable service during our visit.

Food, Lifestyle, My Work, Travel

YUM Sibenik

June 20, 2018

YUM pastry shop and cafe are a little peace of delicious heaven which you MUST visit if you find yourself visiting Sibenik this Summer for instance. YUM pastry shop and cafe was born only a few months ago and it’s a very refreshing and much needed addition to the local gourmet offer. Continue Reading…

Lifestyle, My Work, Travel

My experience of GLO hotel Sello

June 4, 2018

GLO hotel Sello invited me to visit their burger stand at a foodie event of craft beers and burgers by the various restaurants and beer brewers at a 2 day event in the town of Espoo. Even though I’m living in Helsinki,  Espoo is only a short ride away so I was at the event in less than 20 minutes. 🙂 GLO hotel Sello staff greeted me warmly upon my arrival and after dropping off my bags, I went ahead to the burgers and beer event that was going on at the square right next to my hotel and the shopping mall Sello.  Continue Reading…

Food, Lifestyle, My Work

Visit Helsinki: Little Paris

November 3, 2016

What are the odds that while visiting middle of North Europe, Helsinki, you get to experience the charm and romance of Paris? It is possible at restaurant Pastis! Authentic Parisian vibe, delicious food and coziness of the restaurant’s decor could be easily misplaced with any place in Montmartre for instance. Our sweet hostes Camilla told us that there are many Pastis named restaurants in Europe ( in US too, for example in NYC ) but there is only one Pastis in Helsinki and it’s a must visit place.

Continue Reading…

Food, My Work, Travel

Visit Croatia: Bota Sare

May 25, 2016

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Who could ever say that Mediterranean cuisine has anything to do with the Japanese one? Who could ever say that these two could be “mixed” and deliver the best of two worlds together in one place? Bota Sare made me believe that this is very much possible.

Oyster and sushi bar Bota Sare comes from a 40 years long family tradition of love for the sea food originating from their hometown Mali Ston. First fusion restaurant like this one was opened in Dubrovnik, followed by the one I’ve visited in Split. Ever since, Bota Sare has been the ultimate choice for many locals and tourists as a “must try” sushi place as well as a place where you get to try the best of traditional meals such as seafood risotto, octopus salad or mixed shells in Buzara sauce.

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Bota Sare is tucked away in a small side street, just a short walk away from the most visited spot in Split – Splitska Riva, one of the most beautiful promenades that a sea side city can have. Thanks to the benefits of Split city being situated at the Adriatic sea coast, fish is caught fresh daily and that is something that you can make sure of – Bota Sare serves only the best of the quality produce and never make compromises. Oysters are also daily caught and shipped from Mali Ston to Split.

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Menu is really interesting and “colourful” so it was a bit though to decide on what to choose from it, but since I’m a huge sushi lover, I had to take different nigiris, rolls and sashimi as starters and main course. Another two options were for more of a meat eaters, spring rolls stuffed with cream cheese and veggies as for the starter and beef teriyaki with rice as the main course.

Sushi rolls were great, especially a dragon roll, but the spotlight def. goes to the super fresh and delicious nigiris and spicy tuna tataki!

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If you want to enjoy the unique crossover of Dalmatian vs. Japanese cuisine, make sure to stop by Bota Sare and let the kind and skilful staff welcome you with the plates full of goodness for all of the true seafood lovers.

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

*Thank you to Miss Antonella Sare for making this collaboration possible!

*Photography by: Natali K. photography