Zagreb & its inhabitants

Tin Ujevic 

Tin Ujevic

Some people don’t like Zagreb. They find it too busy, too big. I love it precisely for its buzz, and also because of 1000 little details one can discover just by walking around. One of the things that I like about Zagreb are the statues of its inhabitants scattered around the city, capturing them in a moment of everyday life. Tin Ujevic, one of Croatia’s best-loved poets, is captured walking near his favourite cafe’, while Marija Juric Zagorka, one of the first female journalist and the author of many historical novels, is taking a stroll around Gornji Grad (the Upper Town). You will also see Antun Gustav Matos, another poet, sitting on a bench in Gornji Grad (the Upper Town), and August Senoa, the novelist, resting against a post near the main square.

Marija Juric Zagorka

Marija Juric Zagorka

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Eating Zagreb: Kaptolska Klet

Kaptolska klet

Kaptol 5

10 000 Zagreb

http://www.kaptolska-klet.com

During our recent trip to Zagreb, we were recommended Kaptolska klet, a well-known Zagreb restaurant serving a wide array of dishes, including a number of regional specialities such as purica s mlincima or roast turkey with mlinci (a type of pasta strips cooked in turkey juices), and štrukli (strudel-like pasta with cottage cheese). We love both the štrukli and the turkey with mlinci, so we decided to go there for dinner with a group of friends. Unfortunately for us, this turned out to be a rather mediocre dining experience, where fairly good food was spoilt by appalling service.

The restaurant is located opposite the Cathedral, and only a very short walk away from the main square, Trg Bana Jelacica. The décor is uninspirational, and slightly tacky. One highlight would be a few paintings done in the style of Naïve Croatian Art; that is, if you like this style of painting. There was live music there, which was not necessarily a plus – it was too loud, and it didn’t go well with eating atmosphere. Still, we decided to give it a go, because of its reputation, and because we thought it would be nice to sit on the terrace. The latter was a bad idea, since it was a rather cool night, so we quickly moved inside.

When we arrived, just before 8, the restaurant was full, so I made a reservation for 9 o’clock. I received a rather unfriendly welcome by a very young waiter who barked at me not to be late. I disregarded this sign, too, because I was in too good a mood to care that night. Alas, I didn’t know this was going to be our waiter for that night.

Ordering the food turned out to be a bit of a hit and miss situation: unfortunately, they had no turkey left, nor what seemed like half of the other dishes from the menu. In the end, most of us ordered baked or boiled štrukli for starters, and some people had kulen, a type of local spicy pork sausage with paprika, and tagliatele with pancetta and cream. For the mains, we had barbecued pork stuffed with prunes with mlinci or with roast vegetables, ćevapčići, pancakes with nettle stuffing, two types of steak (one of them with prunes), a dish called Merry Zagorec platter (grilled pork with potato and đuveđ, which is a type of tomato risotto), and grilled chicken. I enjoyed very tasty štrukli for starters, and beautifully grilled pork stuffed with prunes as the main course, but my mlinci were a little cold and slightly too greasy, and my prune sauce was a bit overpowering. Apart from the nettle pancakes which were completely tastless and greasy, the food was generally very good: the starters were excellent, tasty and plentiful, and so were the mains. However, we were very disappointed by the level of service. Our waiter was not particularly friendly; he was rather coarse actually, and made many mistakes. Amongst other things, he brought us a wrong dish, and then tried to persuade a man who doesn’t eat mushrooms that he did indeed order a dish with mushrooms, even when he told him he doesn’t eat mushrooms. Then he went back to the kitchen to check, and when he came back, he mumbled to me grudgingly in Croatian that this was an order from another table. No apology to anyone though. Also, my friend’s đuveđ was substituted with a potato side dish – of course, without consulting the customer – so he ended up with two potato side dishes!

So, here is the summary of our experience at Kaptolska Klet:

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Food: 4/5

Service: 1/5

Atmosphere & Décor: 2/5

Would I eat there again: No. I’m sure there are better places in Zagreb than this. I’d rather go and try to find somewhere else.

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