It is difficult to find a better Croatian expert for food and gastronomy than Radovan Marcic. The hard-working reviewer of Dobra Hrana magazine travels across all Croatian regions in search for a perfect bond between meals and service. In Capital of Croatia he recently visited the famous bistro Kod Vukusica. Here are his thoughts on the locality:
Many times have I heard about brothers Vukusic and their culinary expertise. Once I arrived in somewhat apocalyptic premises of their acclaimed inn, I was puzzled by how it looks like. The exterior ambient consists of former industrial facilities. There is a parking lot in front and it was full of middle-aged business people happily debating their everyday errands.
You realize that this restaurant is unique the moment you step into what seems to be a nicely arranged storage space. Here, in the main dining hall, sounds of cheering and genuine happiness can be heard. Guests are enjoying meals on every table, while waiters are delivering in hurry- sometimes as much as three plates in every hand.
The entire experience is reminiscent of old Croatian country inns, especially those that hosted crowds during pilgrimages to Marija Bistrica. One can easily say that Kod Vukusica is really tendering the real “restaurant business” concept, and as such it can be compared to much-praised 360 in Dubrovnik.
I found the owner next to fish display counter, happily observing two dentex specimens of large size. When questioned whether he will make chops of them, he replied that fish will be served uncut. This amazed me, since it was a large quantity of food. However, the owner explained that fish have already been reserved and will soon find their way to kitchen.
Kod Vukusica is known to serve freshly caught fish, so it didn’t take long for my friend and me to accept the chef’s suggestions and order some codfish pate, octopus salad, fried smelt, squids and grilled fish. I also added a portion of sea bream, while my company decided to eat some St. Pierre’s fish.
We also ordered a fish soup and cooked lamb meat. The latter was my decision, inspired by the meal that waiters brought to table next to ours. Unfortunately, none of these arrived. The funny thing is that we ourselves forgot about these orders since two minutes after making them, waiters delivered a basked of fantastic home-made bread with codfish pate and olive oil.
The pate was fine, but nothing above the standards. What followed was an octopus salad that included ruccola, chopped red onions and capers. The octopus was impressive, clearly caught in Adriatic and sliced on small pieces. However, it was staying in vinegar for too long, which made it slightly too wiry. This is a shame, as quality white-wine vinegar is served on the table.
Next were fried smelts. These were made according to highest standards and culinary knowledge. Delicious and having a mildly yellow crust, their taste could rival that of higher-quality fish meat at any time. The real sensation, however, arrived with the squids. Served in perfect combination of soft and thick meat, the calamari were sliced after cooking and seasoned with olive oil.
At the end, I was shocked once more. In my entire career of an avid fish-eater, I have never been served a meal that was halved and cleaned from bones. Such practice is not common, but I couldn’t be angry after all the tasty things I tried thus far. Especially- when I started to eat. The sea bream was roasted perfectly and poured with a few drops of olive oil. This way, the juices have combined with the oil, leading to a delicious sauce. Oh, yes- I will visit Kod Vukusica many more times. I haven’t had a habit of visiting this inn, so I better make up for it.
The wine chart includes the highlights of Croatian wine scene. As for price range, the codfish pate sold for 15 HRK / 2 €. Octopus salad was 85 HRK / 11.40 €, fried smelts went for 40 HRK / 5.30 € and Adriatic Squid cost 270 HRK / 36 €. The fine quality fish sells for 410 HRK / 55 € per kilo and mixed salad was 15 HRK / 2 €. The bistro doesn’t charge for their home-made bread, which is something one can only praise.
Inspired to visit Kod Vukusica after reading Marcic’s review? You can find it in Zagreb on address Slavonska avenija 22D or learn more on the restaurant’s official website.
Based Upon Article by: Radovan Marcic / Dobra Hrana