American striploin combined with charred asparagus, beef steak with roasted baby carrots, wild sea bass with zucchini flowers filled with lemongrass cream, and guinea fowl breast with porcini mushroom cream are just part of the new menu in which Chef Ana Grgić Tomić blends carefully selected and fresh premium ingredients into fantastic courses that will make you want to stay in Zagreb and visit the Zinfandel’s Restaurant.
If you have ever wondered what makes Zagreb’s Zinfandel’s Restaurant so authentic, perhaps the time is ripe to search out the answer by tasting irresistible dishes marked by creative concepts of food preparation authored by Chef Ana Grgić Tomić.
This multi-award-winning chef deservedly received at the beginning of the year the award for New Talent in the Mediterranean Region, according to the prestigious list of La Liste Mediterranean 2023, while at the award ceremony for Michelin recognitions at the beginning of this summer season, Zinfandel’s received the important green Michelin star for the third time in a row, thus reconfirming its status of a premium and sustainable kitchen.
The charming and experienced Ana reveals that she and her team prefer to use the herbs grown in the small garden on the Oleander Terrace, but also adds that her choice of ingredients is directed at supporting small producers who can keep up with their quality and delivery.
“We could all use a touch of the Mediterranean, especially in the hot summer months when we all crave the sea, so there is no better way than to transfer guests’ wishes to the plate and bring them closer to what truly makes them happy and inspired, right in the heart of Zagreb”, highlights the Chef and adds that she pays special attention to sustainability and minimal processing so that the ingredients retain their original taste.
“I would single out the confit tomatoes that I get from a small private family farm, which I combine with basil gel and olive oil powder along with roasted burrata and lacto-fermented strawberries. Since it is the end of strawberry season, I still want to offer our guests the ultimate pleasure of Zagreb strawberries, so I fermented them with whey, honey, salt, and water to get the necessary acidity and freshness that completes the dish.
On the other hand, crab is now in full season, and it will certainly be a sought-after choice on this menu, since I combine it with sorbetto made with yoghurt that I also get from a tried and tested family farm from the region of Lika, giving this dish an especially refreshing taste. An essential ingredient of this dish are marinated cucumbers, which are prepared by first smoking them and then marinating in homemade apple vinegar, while the cucumber skin is not thrown away but fried to obtain a powder with an interesting taste. Our primary goal is to make the most of each and every ingredient, since the entire menu is based on sustainability”, said Ana Grgić Tomić thus successfully justifying Zinfandel’s green Michelin star. She often emphasises how her entire team are all jointly responsible for that accolade.
“Another summer favourite is a foie gras appetizer, but this time in a slightly different form. Since it’s the summer months, I try to avoid fat and use it minimally, which is why this time I decided to make the foie gras in the form of an ice-cold cream, adding marinated raspberries to it, which in combination with cocoa and black sesame crumble emphasise the flavour of foie gras. In the preparation of dishes, we are greatly helped by fresh domestic herbs that we grow ourselves on the Oleander Terrace without pesticides, so I often use dried nettles and parsley, and this time I am using them with lamb tartare.
Among other herbs, we grow basil, thyme, mint, rosemary, lavender, and chilli peppers. Salted sea bass carpaccio will surely be the choice of many guests, and the entire preparation process is very specific. I try to extract all the liquid from the sea bass and make a complex marinade of salt and sugar. On the other hand, I also added crunchy quinoa, which is extremely healthy, and mini sea asparagus that grow along the coast. They are very thin, watery, and full of salt, and the goal was to blend the flavours of this dish into one specific sea story.
Among the favourites on this menu are the indispensable Kvarner Bay scampi, which have been coming to us from the Velebit channel for many years, with HBO dedicating to them a special episode of the documentary Zero Waste Chef, telling their story through the sustainable kitchen concept. The scampi are fresh, I prepare them with minimal processing, they are simply fantastic and melt in your mouth, and I definitely recommend tasting them.
This time I am pairing them with white asparagus, scampi velouté, and pickled elderflower. Although elderberry season has passed, we picked it just in time, while it was in full swing, so one part was processed into cream, the second part was well dehydrated, while the third part was pickled. These are summer ingredients that last a short time, but whose shelf life can be extended with certain preparation techniques”, the Chef added.
The Dessert Menu is the icing on the cake of the sweet story of the culinary experience of Zinfandel’s. The new gourmet treats are inspired by summer and the flavours of the Mediterranean, and it needs to be emphasised that they are exclusively gluten-free desserts with a reduced sugar content – which is all aimed at putting healthy desserts into focus. Fig ice cream is an absolute hit at the Zinfandel’s kitchen this season, and is sure to be a highly sought-after dessert on the menu.
“It’s interesting to note that we boil the fig leaf in milk to further enhance the sweet taste of the fig, while on the other hand, we add creamy chocolate and Earl Gray tea namelaka, so as to enhance the bitterness and fuse all the different and opposing flavours into a fantastically refreshing treat. In addition, there is the unmissable yoghurt panna cotta to which we added an interesting ice cream made from my favourite vegetable – fennel and lemon and pine nut crumble with powder of dill.
All fans of citrusy summer notes will be delighted by the icy lemon cream with white chocolate and olive oil ganache, to which we added a special aroma using oil powder with lemon and rosemary, as well as foam jelly with lemon and caramelised pistachios”, the Chef said. The selection of delicious desserts prepared by Ana together with a team of excellent pâtissiers led by Mirjana Špoljar includes divine tonka and vanilla mousse with elderberry crumble. The refined flavours of strawberry melt with basil in this sweet combination, that few will be able to resist.
Zinfandel’s Restaurant, with its modern ambience and magical Oleander Terrace offering a view of the city, is a meeting spot and premium culinary location where guests happily return. Combined with Ana’s innovative courses and charming and professional staff, the restaurant has been an unmissable spot on the gastronomic map of the city for many years. For the full experience, a sommelier will carefully select the best wines and chilled bubbly to perfectly round off your fine dining experience.
The à la carte offer is available at Zinfandel’s every day for lunch and dinner from 12:30 pm to 11 pm. On Sundays at Zinfandel’s, traditional brunch is served from 12.30 pm to 3 pm at a price of €59.73 (HRK 450) per person.
Book your table by phone at +385 1 4566 644 or by email at [email protected]. Zinfandel’s Restaurant pays special attention to guests’ specific diets, which is why dishes according to halal standards of preparation, vegetarian dishes, and those that should not contain gluten are specially marked.