Continuing up the coast, wine lovers shouldn’t miss the Split area, notes Virtuoso advisor Amy Rasmussen, who recently visited Croatia. “I had a wonderful experience tasting wine in the hills above Split at Putalj Winery
,” she says. “That’s the area where they discovered the ancestor of the zinfandel grape known as crlenjak kastelanski
in Croatian. It’s a stunning location with a lot of wonderful wines.”
Farther north, in the medieval town of Sibenik, Pelegrini
is a refined restaurant opposite the UNESCO-recognized cathedral of Saint James. Self-taught chef/owner Rudi Stefan practices sustainable gastronomy, working with small, local producers to create sophisticated fare, such as smoked tempura oxtail and truffle- and prosciutto-laced pappardelle.
Gastronomy in the Heartland: From Humble to Haute
Zagreb, Croatia’s capital city, is finally coming into its own as a center of good eating. RougeMarin, once a lightbulb factory outside the center of town, has a casual atmosphere, but takes on Croatian fare with worldly flair in dishes such as marinated pork loin on an amaranth rice cracker, and panko-encrusted monkfish. Go traditional at Kod Pere, a neighborhood spot within walking distance of Zagreb’s main square that serves up hearty central Croatian fare in large portions – think blood sausage and schnitzel. For something more stylish, one-Michelin-starred Noel’s softly lit, modern space sets the stage for chef Goran Kocis’ elevated regional fare: grapefruit-accented sea urchin risotto, say, or foie gras with Dalmatian raisins. Pair your meal with local wines, an artisan cocktail, or a recommendation from sake sommelier Ivan Jug; the restaurant also offers tea tasting menus that match teas to each course.