I spend a lot of time researching the best restaurants around the world for my clients, namely the Michelin starred restaurants where I have to sell a limb to reserve a table. Recently there has been a surge in ‘Foodie’s’ travelling the globe for the ‘pop up’ restaurants they have heard about via social media and closed groups circles. My job sourcing the best restaurants around the world is getting harder, for a start, there are so many at the top of their game. Most recently the most desired are those which are secretly hidden down a cobbled side street which only the locals know about. The locals who try desperately to keep their ‘finds’ hidden from the masses. So, now, not only am I in a position to sell limbs for Michelin Starred restaurant reservations, but I shall also be running from the locals for shouting about their sacred treasures.
I am hoping I can get away with the café culture, as today, I want to share with you my favourite coffee shops in Croatia. Coffee culture is highly competitive, forget Starbucks and Café Nero and make way for the quirky art shops with abstract sculptures and bookshops serving “posh” coffee. The Croatian coffee culture has been developing under the Italian and Turkish influences. However, did you know it is in fact Arabic coffee that is most popular in Croatian homes?
Walking downtown you breath in the Mediterranean lifestyle, an afternoon stroll ‘getting lost in the Croatian culture’ could bring you down a quaint little side street where shops and cafés are bustling in the afternoons. Match the slow steady murmur of the hot Croatian afternoon sun with Croatia’s coffee culture and the most beautiful settings you can find in the Dalmatian cities and villages along the coastline, you may just be in caffeine heaven. Enough to keep you going until Espressotini’s post 9pm!
Fusion in Rijeka is found downtown in the Science and Technology Park. A great setting to serve famished science lovers, especially as the café is often used to host scientific seminars and multimedia presentations. A great place to find yourself in an intellectual conversation with a lecturer from the local university. If you prefer to grab a coffee and ignore what’s around you – take advantage of the automatic massage chairs. The coffee served in Fusion is based on the ‘Seven Origin Blend’ (meaning it consists of seven distinguished Arabica’s). Think high-tech university café and you will be on the right tracks.
Café Bar Batel, Rovinj
Café Bar Batel, found in the historical old town of Rovinj, a favourite with the locals. Not only is it said to do the best coffee in Rovinj, but the Mojitos and Cuba Libres are rumoured to be rather moreish. Friendly staff, clean and excellent music to accompany. Add Café Bar Batel to your list!
Porec Tea & Coffee House, Porec
Nestled in a side street away from the roar of Porec’s bars and restaurants, this tea and coffee house offers an urban retreat where one can order tea from a carefully selected list, after which, the staff will check how your leaf tea is brewed, making sure it is made to your liking. It goes without saying that Porec’s Tea & Coffee House serves up a mean coffee, best accompanied with the dark chocolate cake, and is a great place for breakfast. Make sure to say hello to Danijela – the owner whose passion clearly shines through her tea, coffee and cake!
Café Festival, Dubrovnik
Café Festival is inside a 17th century building, in fact, stop by for a coffee here and you could find yourself in the same seat playwright George Bernard Shaw once sat at. This café is not so exclusive to the locals, located on Dubrovnik’s famous street – Stradun it is in prime tourist position. A great place for people watching and whiling the day away. When the sun is at its highest, try one of their special iced coffees, it will never have tasted so good.
Velvet Café, Zagreb
Velvet Café is a fantastic place to visit, the owner Sasa Sekoranja is a hoot. An illustrator who may just sketch you whilst you unwind with your newest novel (this is a “replace the Kindle with the old school paperback books, smell the pages and take in the history” kind of place!). Want to be part of the ‘in crowd’? Make sure to visit for ‘Zagreb’s Noir Festival’ where Velvet Café is the host and locals dress up like private eyes and femme fatales.
Celine Renaud is Head of Sales for Leo Trippi.