By Jasminka Sikic
If you are a pizza lover, then that’s something you shouldn’t miss when visiting the Croatian capital. Zagreb is famous for good pizzas that come within the budget, and its art of pizza making has significantly increased over the last decades.
Classical Croatian pizza is still being served at the legendary ‘Purger’, ‘Dvojka’ or ‘Stara Sava’, but the taste of pizza lovers went from typical thick base to more Roman thin and crusty style, and the first name that pops out in everybody’s head these days is – ‘Duksa’.
What makes this place so special? Located near Maksimir park, in Duknoviceva street, this pleasant environment revokes family and neighborhood history to the extent that the picture of the owner’s grandparents is incorporated in a painting on the wall, and the back of the menu gives tributes to all the friends coming here, including their dogs.
A part of baking pizzas in the wood-fired oven, all the ingredients are sourced from small private suppliers, the tomato sauce is being produced especially for ‘Duksa’ and from organic sorts, and the level of care that goes into each ingredient goes so far that suppliers are even removing the smallest bits of bones from their homemade pancetta.
Even the names of pizzas are given with special care and creativity, so you can have ‘When lambs don’t silence’, ‘There’s a half of garden in this one’, ‘Shiitake happens’ or ‘Better a branch on rocket lettuce then a pigeon on the branch’.
Among the amazing pizzas I’ve tried there I need to single out ‘Dado is going nuts for this one’ and ‘Sort of with the truffles’, made with cheese with truffles. Their trademark is fresh basil that grows in pots on the tables.
The prices range from 49 to 64 kunas, which is more than acceptable for the quality you are getting. Drinks are not expensive either. There are 25 different sorts of beer, costing from 11 to 23 kuna. They offer exclusively high-quality Croatian wine, and all of them are being served by the glass, with the prices from 9 to 18 kunas. Altogether, the title of the best pizza place in Zagreb is definitely deserved. By far.
The second pizza place you can’t miss in Zagreb is ‘Karijola’. When it first opened more than ten years ago, it was considered to be the best in town and it still kept most of its previous glory.
I had tried their specialty ‘Karijola’ in Vlaska street in central Zagreb. Its thin base with fresh ingredients and plenty of rocket salad on top make this pizza very light and eatable, but they seem to have relaxed with years and one can’t find that much effort or creativity in this place anymore.
The prices for pizza range from 62 to 82 kuna. They offer Skrlet Miklauzic, Grasevina Grozdanovic, Grasevina Ilok and Malvazija Coronica by the glass, and Vugava Lipanovic and Chardonnay Krauthaker by the bottle, with prices from 13 kunas for a glass to 180 kunas for a bottle. Considering their old glory, they are still number two on this list.
The third pizza place that came as a nice surprise is ‘Spizza’ in Palinovecka in Voltino, near Jarun lake, or ‘Zagreb sea’, as we call it. Very convenient for music festival goers or family meal after the walk around the lake, this place offers good value for money.
I had a pizza with prosciutto and it was very rich and got me stuffed. The atmosphere and the staff were very pleasant. Their prices range from 41 to 69 kuna, with the most expensive for a pizza with a beef steak topping. Also, you can choose between thick and thin base for each pizza.
The drink list is pretty much usual as you could expect in a neighborhood pizzeria. Altogether, a good place to visit after a stroll in Jarun.