After a two-hour bus trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park, five hours hiking in one of Europe’s most beautiful spots, with its turquoise lakes and countless waterfalls, and another two-hour ride back to Zagreb, I had certainly built up an appetite. I had also lost any desire to take another step, even to satisfy my hunger, so I had a dinner dilemma.
I had been enjoying breakfasts every morning in the restaurant in the Arcotel Allegra hotel. For every other meal, however, I had been exploring the culinary offerings of Zagreb’s many — and outstanding — local establishments. But with no gas left in my internal tank, I overcame my reluctance to dine in a hotel restaurant and succumbed to the convenient proximity of Radicchio.
Just off the lobby and past the large calming aquarium, Radicchio offers a new menu every four months for patrons to take advantage of seasonal specialties. The warm wait staff welcomed me to the elegant space and soon presented me with a complementary appetizer of goose liver pâté on eggplant with red and green bell pepper slices, which was simply irresistible. The xylophone player in the corner managed to transcend connotations of skeletons chasing Scooby-Doo and Shaggy, setting a lovely mood for me to enjoy what would soon be — to my unexpected delight — my best meal in Croatia’s capital.
Try This: Savor a golden potato soup with slivers of black Istrian truffles and red noodles that bleed into the liquid, forming continually shifting swirls as you work your way down to the bottom of the bowl. You’ll be more than satisfied with an entrée of local duck breast with cheese “pillows” and mild blueberry and ginger cream with wafer-thin crispy eggplant chips. Pair that with a fine red Croatian wine. And finish your meal with chocolate mousse with pistachio paste, crumbled pistachio nuts, and wafer-thin dried orange slices.