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L'avis de Gault&Millau
On a beautiful location, in the old town of Šibenik, overlooking the famous cathedral, there is Pelegrini, one of the most famous Croatian restaurants. Owned by the award-winning chef Rudi Štefan, Pelegrini is known for its seasonal changes of the menu. According to the chef’s philosophy, in cooperation with the small Croatian producers, they want to create the recognizable fresh seasonal flavours. That was the main reason we opted for a tasting menu that contains multiple courses, each providing some surprise. Creative and interesting dishes really delighted us. It is worth mentioning the couvert with three bites that announced the beginning of an inventful experience. On an oblong piece of wood they served a dumpling, like a large, open raviolo of homemade dough stuffed with delicious meat ragu, a fragrant piece of focaccia with pesto and anchovies, and a mussel with a sparkling emulsion of egg whites and olive oil. This was followed by an oyster from Šibenik canal with onion foam and toasted prosciutto. An unexpected blend of familiar ingredients. Unforgettable harmony and fullness of taste. A new surprise greeted us with veal meatballs in salsa and horseradish sauce. The creaminess of the salsa and sauce softened the taste of horseradish, and highlighted the veal meatball in the best way. The other primi piatti, such as octopus brodetto (broth with pieces of octopus) with chives and melon as well as a chickpea dish with zucchini julienne, beetroot and toasted pumpkin seeds impressed us by the creativity, intertwining and harmony of textures and flavours. All dishes were served on unique plates made exclusively for Pelegrini, of earthy gold and dark colours, with a visible signature. After the cuttlefish ink pasta served together with a reinterpretation of čevapčići and kajmak (traditional grilled sausage meat balls and a unripened new cheese from the Balkans) we moved on to the main course, lamb on sweet corn and chanterelles base. The home-grown lamb was soft, delicious and full of flavour, and the breaded mushrooms and sweet young corn cream complemented that memorable dish. For the sweet end, they served first a small pannacotta with an olive oil emulsion and a melon sorbetto. A refreshing combination and a nice transition to the next dessert. Fig sorbetto, figs, fresh cheese and vanilla cream. Sweet enough, but not too much, full of aroma, creamy and exciting. The wine was selected by a lady sommelier who recommended Bibich brut and a pleasant Alta shyrah made for Pelegrini. The wine list is extremely rich, especially with the wines of the best Croatian winemakers. We must say that the presentation of the food and the visual effects contributed to the full enjoyment of this unique gastronomic experience. Nicely decorated dishes, served on attractive ceramics, with beautiful utensils and elegant glasses, and above all professional waiters. Pelegrini is a must for the true gourmet that come to Croatia. Don’t forget to book some weeks in advance.