In Croatia, the choice of Mexican food is extremely poor and most of the time when they are advertising something as a Mexican restaurant or food, it has nothing to do with real Mexican. Some combinations of Tex-Mex yes, but true Mexican, unfortunately, no.
When I stumbled upon an announcement new Tacos And Burger Barr was opening in Zagreb, I instantly shared it with Jaime. We loved the burgers in Rougemarin (owners are the same guys) so we assumed this place is going to be huge as well.
When we arrived around 6 pm, the place was full. We saw two people leaving and asked the staff if we could take their (half of a) table and squeeze in with other girls. Thumbs up for the staff for asking them if it was ok with them, and letting us jump in.
One Croatian, one Spanish and two Mexican were ready to decide if this place finally managed to bring something truly Mexican into the town.
Having mezcal on the menu was a first great sign! Usually, people have no idea what mezcal is – three different kinds here made our hearts beat a little bit faster. Of course, we decided to start the dinner with Gusano Rojo, a brand we never heard off but it was unbelievably tasty. I, who do not like hard drinks, drank this one like it was nothing!
Even we came to try tacos, we were so hungry we ended up ordering burgers with fries and a portion of tacos to share. If I remember well, Rougemarin was one of few places that did not have a separate charge for french fries, but they came together with a burger by default. It would be great if Tacos And Burger Barr followed their practice. Until then, you need to pay 17 kn extra to get the fries.
Jaime and guys went for a chipotle burger and I decided on a cheese one. They hoped for chipotle to be spicy, but since they are used to eat spicy food, they did not feel anything. It would be great if they came in a more spicy option as well!
Burgers were big and yummy, not the best ones we ever tried but in top 5 for sure. They are served in cool wooden boxes which, not only are super practical for the kitchen, but look unique as well.
Tacos were there as well, sitting in the middle of the table. Nobody wanted to taste them at first, we were scared to get disappointed again. (Last year we found a stall selling tacos during the Advent which was a joke – we did not want the same to happen again.)
We must applaud them for making their own homemade tortillas from original masa harina. As soon as tacos came to the table, the guys commented how tortillas look great. When Mexicans say that in Croatia, then they must be fantastic. And they absolutely were – soft, tasty and perfectly sized.
There were four different kinds of tacos on the menu – made of poultry, fish, pork or beef meat. You can see the menu was carefully crafted to have something for everyone. We ordered beef cheeks tacos which were literally melting in our mouth.
I loved the salsa as well, however, guys were not so thrilled. They said cream should be skipped and traditional Mexican tomato or chile sauces should be served instead. I would just wish there were more than three tacos in the combo. Actually, I wish they were sold by piece and less expensive, just like they are in Mexico.
We notice the place is doing quite well just after the opening, but of course, there are several things which can help them to improve their service and position themselves as an iconic place in the heart of Zagreb.
We all agreed Tacos And Burger Barr is too expensive. Tacos are simple and cheap street food. Do not try to make them fancy and expensive. Allow guests to buy them one by one and combine different types. A combo of three small tacos for 50 – 60 kuna is too expensive, especially because you are still hungry afterward.
For the amount of 60 kunas, you can order a main dish in many restaurants, a whole pizza and a half, huge burger with fries and so on. Tacos should be cheaper and that’s it. Just as an example, an average taco at the expensive taco joint in Mexico City costs between 6 and 10 kunas. Here, you pay between 17 and 20 kunas.
We LOVE the fact they brought excellent tacos to Zagreb and we would be here every week if prices were more affordable. The staff was friendly and attentive, as well as nicely decorated restaurant. Tacos and Burger Barr could easily become our favorite place in the city, just if they remember they are in Zagreb, not London or NYC.
What is your favorite kind of taco? Did you visit Tacos and Burger Barr in Zagreb?
Tacos And Burger Barr
Jurišićeva 2a, Zagreb
Opening hours: 11:30 – 23:00
Closed on Sundays
Price range: 450 kn for 4
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Let’s be honest – food is one of the most important aspects of travel, as well as the everyday life. When the outside temperature lowers to zero or below, what we eat and how the food makes us feel becomes even more important. If you find yourself in Croatia during the cold season, you must give it a try to this delicious Croatian winter comfort food.
Sausages of all kinds
The sausage is an absolute queen of any Christmas market and it can be found at literally andy food stall. They can be found all around the city and every place has its own version, spicy or not, served cut with a bun or within a toasted bread, traditional or innovative.
You should try the traditional ones like debrecinka or kranjska kobasica (kobasica means sausage in Croatian), but also sausages made from venison meat like wild boar or deer. At home, we often eat dry and smoked sausages, together with homemade bacon and kulen.
If you feel adventurous, in Zagreb Christmas market you can try Submarine’s Christmas burger or Mundoaka’s Shish Kobas as well. I’m not sure how to describe it – it is something between a sausage and a ćevap, but it is tasty.
French salad or in Croatian francuska salata is known as a Russian salad in the rest of the world. Why do we call it French, I have no idea. This caloric salad is a symbol of winter holidays and I’m sure there is no household which does not prepare it at least once in December.
Čvarci – the winter treat
Čvarci or pork greaves are made by cooking pure pig fat and squeezing out the fat which makes them crispy and delicious. You need to be extra careful while you are making them because they burn easily, but it you make them right, they are simply delightful.
Super hot mulled wine
If every food stall sells some kind of sausage, it sells mulled wine too. Both of them are the most traditional and the most recognizable Croatian winter comfort food when it comes to Christmas markets.
The mulled wine has become a synonym for winter and winter gatherings. It is sweet, it is tasty and it heats you up perfectly! It is great if you are spending the afternoon in the city or to enjoy a warm afternoon at home. All you need is a bottle of good wine (red or white, it is your choice), some water, sugar and few cloves and voila! Be careful not to burn your tongue! If you are not a wine lover, you can always go for a fruity punch, tea with alcohol or hot rakija (traditional schnapps).
Fritule sprinkled with sugar and chocolate
Fritule are my absolute favorite winter food! They are sweet fritters which will remind you to the little donuts sprinkled with icing sugar and served with melted chocolate – what’s here not to love?! Take one serving and share it with a friend or your loved one, while you are discovering the city.
If you are feeling a little bit more modern, go for waffles served on a stick, with nuts, chocolate or cookie sparkles.
Sarma and sour cabbage in various combinations
The end of the summer, August and September, was always reserved for preparing food for the winter season. One of the most common ingredients was the cabbage, which was put in big plastic barrels together with salt and vinagre and left aside to become acid.
In November and December, sour cabbage was ready to eat, prepared and combined with various food. It was a source of vitamin C and a great way how to keep your body healthy during the winter. Sekeli goulash, black beans with sour cabbage (grah s kiselim zeljem), pork shank with sour cabbage (buncek s kiselim zeljem), sour cabbage with sour cabbage, … You got the point. Probably the most adored combination is sarma, the cabbage rolls stuffed with minced meat and rice. Everybody loves to eat it around the New Years’ and it is said to be a great way how to cure your hangover.
Christmas cookies and cakes
As I already mentioned in a post about Christmas traditions in Croatia, we love to prepare cookies. Like, a lot. Different kuglofs, poppy seed and walnut rolls (makovnjača and orahnjača), vanilla cookies, colorful biscuits, … On a typical Croatian family table, you will find ten or more different types of cakes around the holidays.
When you are not in the mood for alcohol, a cup of hot chocolate is a great way to heat yourself up. Some make it liquid, some almost like a pudding, but the point is to be tasty, sweet and hot. Cold winter days are always better with a blanket, good book and hot chocolate in your hand.
Which winter food do you consider to be your comfort food? Did you try any of these?
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Restaurant week in Zagreb just ended last night. This time, we decided to treat ourselves in two restaurants so last week we enjoyed family lunch in konoba Bracera and this Saturday Jaime booked a table for romantic dinner on a budget in a modern Bistro Lauba, or at least we thought.
Lauba became a big hit several years ago. From a failed factory suddenly there was a nice, renovated space for rent , a gallery and also some fashion shows were organized there. Still, I did not really know what exactly Lauba is, what their offer is and the fact there is a restaurant was completely unfamiliar to me, and to many other citizens of Zagreb. So, when I saw its name on the list of participating restaurants, I totally fell for it. The menu seemed nice, especially because I read many praises about their creative bread with different spreads. Soon enough, we had a table booked for Saturday night.
We arrived at 7, while the restaurant was still almost empty. The waiter told us to sit wherever we like, the only problem was they almost do not have tables for two. There were only 4, of which one was right next to the big table of 8 or so which was full, and the other three were in other, “ugly” part of the bistro, completely isolated. Hm, ok. We sat in one of those three, the brightest one. It seemed like they prefer having big groups over couples. More when they started to move chairs from two other tables for 2 next to us to the bigger ones. For a moment they even put something that looked like folding chairs and they were changing them right in front of guests waiting for the table.
Doesn’t matter, we said to ourselves. We liked the modern decor mixed with industrial elements and the chairs were super comfortable. The menu was interesting and it sounded perfect on the paper. In the end, we came here because of the food, not the table in a prime location.
The menu was already on the table so we decided fastly. The waiter came and asked what would we like to drink, brought drinks and left, not checking if we are ready to order. He did not come back for more than 15 minutes. We felt like they forgot about us and we were even consider leaving when he came again.
The starter came fast. The variety of Lauba signature bread with different kinds of spreads sounded fantastic. We are bread lovers and we were looking forward to it, moreover because everybody on the internet was roaming how good they were. One popular foodie site in Croatia even stated as they are the best little bread in Zagreb. We expected a lot and here’s what we have got.
Honestly, I expected something completely different. I imagined warm little buns, fresh from the bread oven. I could even smell it. You know that appealing smell of a fresh bread? Yummy. Well, the bread was neither fresh neither warm. It was cold and in one piece. We needed to cut it ourselves and, needless to say, we made a mess all around.
Besides two pieces of bread (what a variety, huh?), we got four different spreads. I would love to share which kind of spreads they were, but I have no idea. The waiter did not say a thing, either the menu and we did not consider we needed to ask what are we eating, the waiter needs to present each dish in at least few words. I overheard words anchovies and cuttlefish ink when he was describing the dish to other guests and we could taste olives and cucumber. All in one, not what we expected it to be and we ended up quite disappointed with the appetizer.
For mains, we had a duck confit served with bread puree seasoned with blue cheese and beetroot chips. After tasting the best duck in my life in Julija, a wonderful restaurant in Ljubljana, I can say this one was just ok. The bread puree was weird, I think you can imagine how wet bread tastes like haha. We could not feel any taste of the cheese in it, it also lacked salt. The beetroot chips were such an excellent idea, but also without taste – it would be wonderful if it was seasoned well and served with some aceto balsamico. I left the most of it and Jaime ate my duck…
When they brought the mains, they did not clean the table – they left the whole appetizer on the table. There was no way we are going to eat it all and it was just occupying the space. I must mention they did not ask if we would like to keep it or no, they just assumed. This is how the table looked like… and we stopped eating the bread 20 minutes ago.
At this point, we were just waiting to go home. Our table was finally cleared and the dessert arrived. We were scared how is our next course going to look like, so we waited for it covering out face. 🙂 Luckily, served in a cute jar, beneath which was a plate from Ikea, the Lauba sensation with honey and rice flakes was really tasty. The highlight of the dinner, definitely.
To sum up our experience in bistro Lauba I will write just two sentences, which are saying more than the whole this text together. I work in a hospitality industry and we always leave a tip. This time, we did not.*
(*tipping policy in Croatia is way different than in the USA and some other countries. It is not mandatory, neither expected, but it is highly appreciated. Since I am a hospitality worker and I like receiving tips, I also always leave one in the restaurants.)
ps. Photos are the same quality as the restaurant 😀
Prilaz baruna Filipovića 9
website | TripAdvisor
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Two times a year, many restaurants in Croatia unite and participate in unique promotion – a restaurant week. Second weeks of March and October are reserved for delicious meals in some of the popular restaurants around the country. What is even more popular is the price – 100 kunas for a three-course menu per person (around 13€)! Normally, in every participating restaurant you can choose between one of three set menus, or you can choose one of three offered appetizers, main courses, and desserts. Some places even include a glass of wine. This bi-annual food event became one of the most popular gourmet manifestations in the country and, if you find yourself around, you should most certainly try the creative menus of the participating restaurants.
This October, we decided to treat ourselves to a meal in a restaurant we did not try before. We really wanted to visit Le Bistro in hotel Esplanade, but we they were already full when we called to make a reservation. I had some other secret wishes, but none of the restaurants from “my wishlist” were participating. Some menus were very appealing, but I let mom choose the restaurant where we would have a meal all together.
She went for Bracera, a cute konoba (a type of traditional restaurant characteristic for the region of Dalmatia) in the heart of Zagreb. It was a marathon Sunday and Jaime was running the whole morning, so Bracera’s location was unbeatable. It was just across the Cathedral, less than five minutes away from Zagreb Main Square, where Jaime just finished the race.
Jaime ran so fast we came almost an hour earlier than the reservation was made. I decided to take a chance and ask if there was a table for four available at that time. Lucky us, we were seated in no time. Since Restaurant week is highly popular, the specially designed and printed menus were already on the table.
As I mentioned before, konoba Bracera offered three different appetizers, three main courses, and three desserts, from which you could choose and compose your own menu. Since we were four, we tried to order as much diverse as possible to try different dishes. Tried. 🙂
We did well with the appetizer and ordered all three. The smoked tuna prosciutto served with Grana Padano cheese and rocket salad was simply delicious. We never tried tuna this way before so we were pleasantly surprised by this dish. I went for duck liver mousse, toasted focaccia and leak and apple chutney. If you are a liver lover, this dish would be perfect for you! The mousse was fantastic, very decadent and tasty, but what I loved the most was the chutney. The leek and apple combination was superb, I never expected it to be so pleasant. It was the biggest surprise of the lunch.
We tried hard to order different dishes, but somehow we all ended up ordering the same main dish. There was one vegetarian option, one fish and one meat dish, so the meat was a logical choice for us. The lamb cutlets with pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, and fresh cheese croquettes sounded appealing.
The main dish arrived (too) soon and left us unpleasantly surprised. The looks were great, but the portion was extremely small. Two tiny lamb cutlets, one-half of cherry tomato and five croquettes. Five. For us ladies, the portion could (maybe) be enough, but the male part of the family was left hungry. The meal was well prepared and tasty, but it was just so small. We ate the whole portion of bread to fill up the holes in our stomachs.
After delicious, but still disappointing sized main dish, we were all looking forward to the desserts. While dad decided to try the eclair, the rest of us went for the chocolate pastry with caramel sauce. The eclair was big and dad really enjoyed it. Our dessert was a bit smaller but still yummy.
I must say we had better experiences during previous restaurant weeks. There was nothing wrong with the dishes in konoba Bracera, but we could eat the whole lunch once again with no problem. During this manifestation price for the menu is really a bargain, but we are all aware it should and could be a fantastic way to promote a certain restaurant. Two times a year, they completely fill their restaurants and, certainly, still earn a lot.
The thing is that Croatians, in general, do not like small portions. Dear restaurant, except if you are offering spectacular five-course tasting menu, such small portions are a big no no. Especially if you are trying to promote yourself to a wider audience. Konoba Bracera offered a great menu, but we would love to know if this is a standard size for main dishes, or they are normally a little bit bigger. If they are, we would consider coming back.
Overall, our experience was good (but nothing more than that), we liked the food and the service, but not the portions sizes and how fast they were serving course after course. The restaurant was only half full so we did not feel like they were trying to get rid of us, but they were just too fast.
Kaptol 5 (in front of cathedral)
website | TripAdvisor
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Outside is a wonderful day, Sunday, and we are on the way to the city. The autumn is approaching fast and we are fully aware we need to fulfill every sunny day. It is beginning of September and Jaime has been in Croatia for a year already! Like we needed a reason to celebrate, we decided to explore some less known areas in of Zagreb’s Upper town and grab a nice lunch afterward.
Even I have a list of ten or more restaurants I want to try in Zagreb, Jaime is more in for some ethnic food. We are debating if we want to eat Mexican or try some other cuisine, as he remembers a cute Korean restaurant, just off the main square. At first, I am not thrilled, but I decide to go along with his choice and try some Korean food in Zagreb.
The restaurant is almost empty when we enter. We are obviously the only non-Asian guests, and we stayed the only ones until the end of our meal. I cannot understand people who do not try the local food on their travels! Every person who enters this restaurant is a Korean, except us. Why they do not visit authentic Croatian restaurant?! But from the other side, they seem to really like it, so the restaurant must be good!
We are greeted by a young waitress and given the menu. As much as most of the meals do have some explanation, it still doesn’t mean much to us – we would definitely appreciate a photo next to every meal on the menu since we are not familiar with the food. We check out “a guide” how to eat SSAM and we are intrigued, even if we have no idea what that is. In the end, we ask the waitress for her recommendation and personal description of meals.
For the appetizer, we decide to try mini delicacies from the grill and mandu Korean dumplings. Dumplings are tasty and offer nice intro in what we can expect from this lunch. If it continues this way, we will easily fall in love with this place. However, the delicacies are the way to expensive for what’ve got! Six fried pieces of vegetables (zucchini, mushrooms, and onion) should not cost 45 kunas. When we placed the order, we expected to try something new and unusual, so we were ready to pay for it. But cmon, this is just not worth it.
We love the way they serve food. The food is arranged on big platters and placed on a stand with a candle inside. Like this food stays warm, continues to cook as you eat it and, of course, looks very attractive!
As soon as we finish with the appetizer, the main dish arrives. Jaime decided to try pork SSAM and I went for chicken bulgogi SSAM. As the menu explains, SSAM is a Korean BBQ and it has a special way of serving and eating. That’s exactly why we wanted to try it!
Meat is served the same way like the appetizer, on big plates heated by the candle. The main plate is surrounded by many small pots filled with different garnishes like the rice, cucumber, lettuce, and ginger. To eat it properly, you should take a piece of lettuce and fill it with meat previously dipped in soy sauce, then add rice and other garnishes. Then roll it and eat it like a taco! 😀
Jaime ordered spicy pork so I was not able to try it, but my chicken was made in heaven! It was soft, with wonderfully balanced spices and it was not spicy it all. I am not sure what was it, but the red garnish was too spicy for me so I generously ceded it to Jaime.
Eating Korean food this way is so much fun! We enjoyed it and learned something new. I will never forget the moment when I realized there is no regular cutlery, just the eating sticks! I have no idea how to use them hahaha! I tried and I failed big time. We were laughing up to tears when I was asking the waitress for a fork or otherwise I would definitely stay hungry. Even it was super fun, they should definitely place the cutlery somewhere on the table.
To sum up, we loved the presentation of the food and food itself. Location of the restaurant is fantastic as it is easily accessible. However, we did feel a bit uncomfortable being the only non-Asian guest. They should definitely develop a website and organize various events to attract more local visitors and get them to know Korean culture better. The more detailed menu with photos would also be of great help!
Cro K restaurant
Pod zidom 4 (right across Dolac, just steps from the Main Square)
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