BY DORIS BARIĆ
From avocado sushi to zagorski štrukli, the streets of Zagreb’s center will satisfy anybody’s taste and preferences, and new restaurants, bistros and bars are popping up almost on a weekly basis.
Many manage to hold up with the growing competition only for a few months and soon become replaced by another, more exceptional place catching up with global trends and making it even for locals difficult to try them all out in time.
But the variation of options and diversity of menus slowly lowers when heading towards the other neighborhoods. Even Trešnjevka, Zagreb’s densest populated area, offers besides several delicious pizzerias and traditional barbecue restaurants, only a countless number of fast food corners, and vegetarians especially have difficulties to find something eatable besides pastry and salads.
For vegans, the situation is even worse, but at least the number of organic food stores has increased over the last few years. Thanks to Mitar Pejanović this has finally changed, and since the first of February, Trešnjevka has been enriched with a unique vegan burger and smoothie bar.
His newly opened restaurant is located on Ulica Andrije Žaje 60, right on the Krešimir Ćosić Square and just a five minutes’ walk away from the West Train Station and the Trešnjevka Square. Mitar, who just moved his raw food business from Opatija to Croatia’s capital, used to own a coffee shop in New York, but decided to return to Zagreb to be closer to his family.
“It is much easier to open your own business in New York or Berlin, basically anywhere else”, he explains while peeling some carrots for the day’s menu. “The costs are huge, taxes are extremely high, and it was also difficult to find a good location, especially here in Zagreb. My restaurant in Opatija had a magnificent sea view and the guests could stay for hours enjoying the beautiful weather. Here, everything has to go a little bit faster. People eat on the go and in a hurry, often not even worrying about what they are doing to their bodies.” Groups of people from the nearby business offices peek curiously into the windows as they rush by and Mitar continues chopping piles of fresh vegetables.
“But I am convinced that if you succeed in Zagreb, you can succeed anywhere else too! And my place is not only for vegans, everybody should try one of the burgers. Because the food you can buy here gives you everything you need to get through an exhausting day, but the improvement of your health is for free!” he concludes smiling and turns to the cabinet with several self-made mixtures for his power smoothies.
Inaugurated under the slogan “fresh and raw” the menu ranges from colorful burgers which can be ordered in two sizes and refreshing craft beer to raw energy bars and vegetable chips. It features also delicious daily desserts and a variety of freshly squeezed juices for the ones with a sweet tooth.
A real energy booster is the “Green Dragon”, a nutritious smoothie available in 0.3l and 0.75l bottles. The ingredients are mostly purchased from local markets, resulting in always new, seasonal creations, which will even transform skeptical meat-eaters into regular customers.
So now, there is finally a healthier option to calm your hunger and thirst before heading to a sports event or a concert at the nearby Dom Sportova.