What would a great trip be without great dining? While in Zadar, Miloš and I were able to try out some really wonderful restaurants – and left with a list of a few favorites! Here is a review of some of the restaurants we tried out on our trip.
Konoba Rafaelo – Quite possibly our favorite restaurant for a multitude of reasons. We went here twice, but in hindsight, we wish we had gone more. The food was excellent – well prepared, tasty, and made on a real stone grill. It was definitely the best calamari I had on the whole trip. The dining area was in true Konoba style, with a great view of the marina and sea. They served up extremely generous portion sizes – a larger man would not leave this restaurant hungry. We definitely highly recommend this place! It is located a little north of the old town – near the handicapped beach, but not as far north as Borik Beach.
Giardin Pizzeria and Restaurant – Located just near the bridge to old town, along the sea, this restaurant offers a great view of the marina and old town from your seat. You can watch the boats and ships come and go as you dine. We visited a few times for lunch, and got pizza each time, which was fantastic! The quattro formaggio (four cheese) was really tasty, and had LOTS of yummy cheese. Prices were very affordable, and the service was great each time as well.
Lungo Mare – Located sea-side, just a little north of the pier where you catch the Barka boats, this restaurant offered up great food and service to match. We had a fabulous shrimp appetizer that was especially tasty. The dining area is very comfortable and has nice ambiance (although the table cloth looked like it needed some attending to, as there were a few stains and holes.)
Restaurant Groppo – This restaurant is located in the old town, just across from the tower, behind an area of paintings for sale. It is situated on an open patio area which is raised a bit above the street level. Unfortunately, we got a non-friendly server here, who seemed to have a bad attitude in general and seemed annoyed to help us. (Although from what we could see, the other servers seemed nice to their tables. Perhaps this was just a case of bad luck.) Miloš’ steak was very good and was served in a unique green peppercorn sauce. My calamari was also good, but we preferred these items at Rafaelo.
Amore – If you enter the old town at the entrance near the Barka boats, and then take a left at the first crossroad, you will pass by this particular restaurant. (It’s approx. 25 meters from the Tower.) The food here was okay, but didn’t stick out as especially memorable. The scampi portion was a bit smaller than expected according to the menu. The service was very good, though – friendly and efficient.
Restaurant Kaštel – This restaurant is part of the Hotel Bastion, which is located opposite of the Arsenal, immediately to your right when you enter old town near the Barka drop-off. We dined on the lower terrace, which was really quite lovely – a very romantic atmosphere. Our table was next to a cannon, and the walls looked a bit like a castle. The service was top-notch excellent, and the food was fabulous. Miloš’ lamb was served with a prune glaze/sauce and I had chicken stuffed with prosciutto and Pag cheese. Both dishes were really wonderful – with excellent flavors and preparation. The portion size was good for me, but Miloš would have been happier with a bit more on his plate. Prices were a little higher, but the food quality and service warranted the higher price tag, in my opinion. Personally, this was one of my favorite meals due to the combination of impeccable service, romantic atmosphere, and excellent food. If we go back to Zadar, I’ll want to revisit the Restaurant Kaštel.
Restaurant Kornat – We didn’t think this place was much to look at upon first glance, because of the building it is located in (which is kind of stark and plain-looking), but it was recommended enough times for us to warrant a visit. It is located on the old town peninsula, along the bank of the sea almost immediately to the right when you get dropped off from the Barka boat. We were told it was one of the best restaurants in town, and that the Croatian president eats there whenever he comes to visit. The recommendations proved to be correct! As soon as you enter, you can feel that you are in a very fine establishment. Service was beyond excellent the entire evening. There was even live piano music, which further added to the classy atmosphere. Each diner received a plate of two anchovies on lemon with tomato and balsamic to start the meal. It was my first time tasting anchovies, and they were actually pretty good. We then shared a shrimp and spaghetti appetizer that was simply amazing. The portion of the appetizer could have easily been a meal for one smaller person. Our entrees were also really good – Miloš had the leg of lamb with potatoes and I had the turkey stuffed with gorgonzola cheese and homemade gnocchi. Entree portions were a very decent size, and we would definitely recommend this restaurant to others.