L'avis de Gault&Millau

High class. This is what best defines Zinfandel’s restaurant within Zagreb’s most luxurious Hotel Esplanade. Housed in the historic Belle Epoque building, near the main station, the hotel was once intended for the Orient Express passengers. Today it hosts travelers from all over the world and gives them a touch of the Austro-Hungarian atmosphere. You can feel it in the decoration of the restaurant and especially in the professional service. Although chef Ana Grgić was absent for most of the year due to maternity leave, the kitchen maintained its high level, which only confirms that Ana successfully formed her team. Due to the pandemic, in recent months a good part of the restaurant service has moved to the Oleander terrace and to the smaller terrace of the Esplanade bistro. We had the opportunity to dine inside, in the classically decorated spacious hall of Zinfandel’s. From beginning to end, everything went in a coordinated rhythm. First we tasted their foie gras, this time roasted goose liver served with pears marinated in port and black pepper and a small warm brioche. All the flavours and textures of this seemingly simple dish were carefully thought out and formed a harmonious fusion. We also tasted gnudi (a kind of round gnocchi) with beetroot gel and hazelnut pesto in Stilton cheese cream. Another great blend of sweet beetroot sauce with a more intense-flavoured cheese cream and crunchy hazelnut crumbs that perfectly complemented the soft gnudi. We couldn’t resist their legendary štrukle, a local specialty. They make the thin elastic dough themselves, and fill it with young cheese of the highest quality and sour cream. Perfectly baked, creamy exactly as they should be, they confirmed once again the reputation of the best in Zagreb. Then a rhombus fillet was served, together with velvety black garlic sauce and carrots. The taste of the nicely baked fish whose flavour was rounded off by the garlic sauce was softened by the sweet carrots. We ended the meal with a light crème brûlée of elderberry served with fresh strawberries on a thick strawberry coulis. We can only say that Zinfandel’s will give you an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

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