Restaurant of the Week: Zinfandel Food and Wine Bar

Total Croatia News

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Zinfandel Official Page

It was only a matter of time before we featured Zinfandel Food and Wine Bar, one of Split’s leading restaurants and wine bars in the gastronomy scene.

Zinfandel opened its doors in 2013 and has since paved the way in terms of service, gastronomy and showcasing Croatian wines. Their menu is focused on sourcing the best local ingredients and delivering Dalmatian cuisine with an imaginative, modern-twist.

I have been dining at Zinfandel for many years now and it was always one of my top recommendations to clients’ when I worked aboard yachts. Its small, intimate nature lends itself to suit most any crowd – from couples to families and large groups. It has been a while since I dined there, so when it came to choosing a restaurant for a surprise birthday dinner for a friend, Zinfandel was an easy choice.

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Credit: Zinfandel Official

Zinfandel’s sister restaurant is Brasserie on 7, on the Riva, they are famous for their cakes, so I pre-ordered a birthday cake and they arranged to have it delivered to Zinfandel for me – how’s that for service?

A few of us arrived early, so we began with the charcuterie platter which had such gorgeous delights as Dalmatian prosciutto, pork sausage with truffles from Northern Croatian, Slavonian black pig sausage (yes, we were informed the pigs are actually black), pancetta and a combination of goat, sheep and cow cheese. This was all accompanied by house-made bread and local olive oil. It was refreshing to see a charcuterie platter taking full advantage of the incredible local produce Croatia has on offer; moving away from the standard: prosciutto, Pag cheese and tuna pate…

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Credit: Instagram, we ate ours too fast!

We also ordered Barba Beer – an excellent craft beer, local to Split. One thing I have to point out here is that not only was the charcuterie platter explained in detail, so too was the beer – why it is called “Barba”.

These are the touches I personally appreciate as it is still very common in many restaurants in Croatia for the waiter to simply place what you ordered in front of you and walk away – this is the difference between ‘hospitality’ (genuinely caring about the patron’s experience) versus ‘serving’.

If you are wondering, yes, I asked him to repeat the story again so I could capture it!

Between 12 – 18:00, Zinfandel also offer a wine tasting for around 150 kuna where you will get to try a selection of four Croatian wines with expert guidance and explanations you would expect in a Michelin-starred restaurant. So, if you have time before dinner, I highly recommend starting with this.

We only ordered mains but there were some clear favourites on the table – my friends who were visiting from Australia ordered the filet mignon with carrot and celery mash, I ordered the lamb fillet with truffle and Padano soufflé with a mint, yogurt dressing and the rest ordered the spinach agnolotti, with prawns, cherry tomatoes and dried cranberries.

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Credit: Tash Pericic, Agnolotti pasta

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Credit: Beef carpaccio

 As always tends to happen at dinner with friends, we all took turns trying each other’s dish. My friends from Australia who have been travelling Europe for over a month said it was the best steak they have had, it was beautiful and tender, cooked to perfect medium-rare perfection. My lamb was the same, cooked perfectly but it was the soufflé and the yoghurt dressing which was the real surprise; light and fluffy soufflés while the dressing was the perfect balance to tie all of the flavours together. The pasta was absolutely divine and I will be returning soon just for that dish! The pasta was 90 kn, the meat dishes around 180 kn; reasonable prices in my opinion as you will pay anything from 180 – 250 kn for a steak in most any konoba.

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Credit: Tash Pericic; Lamb filet with souffle

To drink? The group was Split in terms of mood, some opted for cocktails, I stayed with an R6 Bibich from the local variety Babić. Confusing I know; Bibich is the name of the family and Babić is the name of the grape famous in the Primošten region, thankfully our wonderful waiter was on-hand to explain all of the intricacies of Croatian wine to us.

The night wasn’t over yet, we still had the surprise birthday cake. The staff very subtly steered the table away from ordering dessert and brought out the cake with a giant candle – without my request!

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It was a fabulous evening with friends but it was the food, hospitality and ambience which really made it something special – just look at all the smiles on those faces!

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Did I mention that there was a guitar duo strumming away in the corner? Zinfandel regularly has different musicians scheduled, I have always been a sucker for live music and often choose venues based on this which is why I am surprised more don’t do it.

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If you are a lover of fine food, wine and appreciate excellent service, Zinfandel is for you. Find more information about the restaurant and menus here.


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