Our choice for this year’s best restaurant in Zagreb, and Croatia, is everything but a conventional place. On the contrary, the atmosphere here is entirely relaxing, which is the merit of the two Apetit chefs. Christian Cabalier came to Zagreb from Vienna. He has been here for six years now, getting better at Croatian by the day.
He talks about the new Apetit’s menu, dedicated to white, green and wild asparagus: “Some say gardengrown asparagus are not good. But I disagree. I cook for my guests, my visitors, and not for restaurant critics. That is the entire idea behind this restaurant, it is a bistro. Zagreb does not have enough interest in high gastronomy. Here every guest is welcome, we treat everyone the same. We are happy when someone comes in just for risotto or a glass of wine, a piece of cake and a prosecco. Our door is open to the widest group of people possible.”
Everything Christian talks about can be sensed in Apetit. What makes it different from other restaurants in the city is its great, relaxing atmosphere. Its approach is what has helped quashed the fear of nice restaurants in Zagreb. The interior of Apetit is refined, elegant, with a fantastic view in both winter and summer, making you feel as though you belong as soon as you walk in. Yet nothing here is pretentious, which explains why young people are the most loyal patrons.
When Christian is asked to pinpoint a meal on the menu that describes his culinary philosophy, he says: “Baby boar with kale, cranberry and potato ravioli quiche: a combination of Croatia, France and Italy.” Sanja Cabalier, Christian’s wife, greets visitors at the entrance. Sanja says she is a born hostess. Her family runs Kornat, a famous restaurant in Vienna.