Saturday, 15 October 2022

Croatian Restaurant Chain Koykan Hopes to Conquer Germany, Austria

October the 15th, 2022 - The Croatian restaurant chain Koykan, known for its so-called ''fast-casual'' style, is set to spread to the German and Austrian markets following a new investment round.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, on Wednesday this week, the Croatian restaurant chain Koykan presented its expansion plans for the wider European Union (EU) market to investors, which includes the opening of as many as fifty franchise restaurants in Germany and Austria by the tear 2025. The Croatian chain Koykan is otherwise quite the unique restaurant concept that offers a wide range range of street food dishes and international cuisine in one place, from Asian and Mexican to Mediterranean and American, all based on high-quality and fresh local ingredients.

In order for the company's ambitious plan to expand its business to the European Union market to come true, the founders of Koykan plan to attract an investment worth one million euros with the help of the digital investment platform Funderbeam, and would-be investors have confirmed their interest in investing in this rapidly growing Croatian street food franchise.

"Funderbeam is a global digital platform that enables startups and developing businesses to raise capital under more favourable conditions than venture capital and other forms of investment at that stage of business development. At the same time, Funderbeam also enables individuals to become part of the business success of innovative and growing businesses as small investors with an investment of as little as 250 euros. This is a significant change in the world of investments, since until now such investments were reserved only for large institutional investors,'' explained Ognjan Despot, the director of Funderbeam for Central and Eastern Europe. He also pointed out that Croatian companies have already raised more than six million euros through various Funderbeam investments, while total investments through Funderbeam amount to more than 50 million euros.

"We didn't just decide to take this step overnight. Over the past decade, we've learned a lot, often from our own mistakes, we've worked persistently, we've developed, and only now are we truly ready for expansion into the European Union markets. With the help of Funderbeam, our goal is to raise one million euros in Series A and with that spring our step, to open up fifty franchise restaurants throughout Germany and Austria over the next three years," explained Boro Milivojevic, one of the co-founders of the Croatian restaurant chain Koykan.

Every company on Funderbeam must have a leading investor who contributes to the campaign's credibility with their investment, and the leading investor in Koykan, Mato Marcinkovic & Partners, emphasised that here in the Republic of Croatia, it is necessary to activate the investment climate in promising companies that plan to expand to a much larger market in Europe.

Davor Bruketa, a partner in the famous Croatian branding agency Bruketa&Zinic&Grey, joined Koykan as one of the investors. "After hearing about Koykan's story a few months ago, I decided to invest and financially support the project. The expansion of the first Croatian fast-casual restaurant chain is also interesting to my agency, so we decided together that Bruketa&Zinic&Grey will help with the design, digital advertising and brand activation for their franchise expansion," says Davor Bruketa.

The Croatian restaurant chain Koykan wants to include all of its fans in this project, therefore both Koykan employees and major suppliers have become investors, and the desire is for customers who like the famous Koykan classics such as their burgers, gyros, wraps and other offers to join in as well. The fundraising campaign on Funderbeam is set to continue for another month, and the currently expressed interest in investing has already exceeded the initial expectations of the founders.

For more on Croatian companies and investments, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Saturday, 2 July 2022

From Continent to Coast, Which Croatian Restaurants Have Michelin Stars?

July the 2nd, 2022 - Croatia is very well known for its varied and extremely rich gastronomic offer which alters dramatically from region to region, but just how many Croatian restaurants have Michelin stars?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, with the new Michelin selection, all previous Croatian restaurants holding the prestigious Michelin star have successfully retained that designation, the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ/CNTB) announced on Thursday the 30th of June.

These are the following Croatian restaurants: Pelegrini (Sibenik), 360º (Dubrovnik), Monte (Rovinj), Noel (Zagreb), Draga di Lovrana (Lovran), Boskinac (Novalja), LD Terrace (Korcula), Nebo (Rijeka), Alfred Keller ( Mali Losinj) and Agli Amici (Rovinj). In addition to ten Croatian restaurants with a Michelin star, the country can also boast of two restaurants with the Michelin Green Star label, which are the Zinfandel (Zagreb) and Konoba Mate (Korcula) restaurants.

"Today, the Republic of Croatia can boast of a total of 84 restaurants that bear one of the prestigious Michelin labels. Given that their system of assigning labels and recommendations is a complex, stringent and very secretive process, this is absolutely great news and a huge success for Croatian restaurants, to whose owners and staff I'd like to send out my sincere congratulations," said the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board, Kristjan Stanicic.

He added that the Croatian National Tourist Board is the main national partner of Michelin and that cooperation with this globally recognised brand, whose recommendation is respected and appreciated worldwide, contributes to an even better positioning of Croatian restaurants on the gastronomic map, and thus reaffirms Croatia as a quality and authentic gastronomic destination for all palates.

In addition to the aforementioned prestigious stars, the restaurant Sug (Split) was also included in the Bib Gourmand list, meaning that a total of twelve restaurants across the Republic of Croatia currently carry this designation, while another 62 Croatian restaurants have the recommendation of that recognised gastronomic guide.

"Inclusion in world-renowned guides such as Michelin is recognition for everyone who continuously works on the level of quality. Our top chefs are putting Croatia on the gastronomic map of the world with their successes, and I'd like to congratulate them on that," said Minister of Tourism and Sport, Nikolina Brnjac.

"Our inspectors paid particular attention to the quality of the restaurant's culinary experiences, the teams proved consistency, showing how important the constant level of high quality is for distinguishing and obtaining Michelin stars", explained the international director of the Michelin guide, Gwendal Poullennec.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Croatian Words and Phrases to Practice at a Restaurant

June 25, 2022 - Although English is widely spoken throughout the country, you may want to impress your partner, children, parents, or friends with some of these Croatian words and phrases when visiting a restaurant during your vacation by the Croatian Adriatic.

It is very difficult, if not impossible, to learn the Croatian language during your short vacation in the country. If you dare, you can probably go home with a few words you heard on the street or from your host such as dobar dan (good day), bok (hello), or hvala (thank you). Again, if you really want to learn the Croatian language, maybe you could enroll in a course or maybe make friends with a Croat. But if you want to look more interesting and improve your Croatian than just saying the magic words, maybe you could memorize some of these Croatian words and phrases that you can use to get by in a restaurant when interacting with a waiter.

- Mogu li vidjeti jelovnik? (Can I see the menu?)

A perfect way to start your Croatian show, make sure the waiter brings you the menu to see what delicacies the restaurant has to offer. It is pronounced like this: MO-gu li VID-ye-ti JEl-ov-nik.

- Mogu li dobiti...? (Can I have a...?)

The cornerstone for ordering your drinks or food. It is pronounced like this: MO-gu li DO-bi-ti. To give you an idea of what you can ask for, these are some of the most common:

  • Pivo (beer), pronounced PI-vo
  • Vodu (water), pronounced VO-du
  • Čašu vina (a glass of wine), pronounced CHA-shu VI-na
  • Malo kruha (some bread), pronounced MA-lo KRU-ha
  • Maslinovo ulje (olive oil), pronounced MAS-li-no-vo UL-ye
  • Parmezan (parmesan cheese), pronounced PAR-me-zan

- Ukusno! (Delicious!)

Croatian waiters and waitresses often ask you how your food is, and if you are really enjoying it, make sure you say this with a lot of conviction. It is pronounced like this: U-kus-no

- Još jedno, molim! (Another one, please!

During the summer, just a beer or a glass of gin won't do the job. You don't have to drink a lot, but in case you want one more, now you know! It is pronounced like this: YOSH YED-no MO-lim

- Gdje je WC? (Where is the bathroom?)

Well, after a few drinks, your bladder will probably ask you for a little break. Don't be shy, since you can ask the waiter or waitress to tell you where the toilets are. It is pronounced like this: g-d-YE ye VE-tse

- Gotov sam/Gotova sam. (I'm finished.)

In addition to asking about your food, restaurant staff will want to ask if you would like something else from the menu, a dessert, or another drink. If you're really full, they won't be offended if you tell them you can't take it anymore. It is pronounced like this: GO-tov SAM/GO-to-va SAM (side note: gotov is for the men, gotova is for the women).

- Mogu li dobiti račun? (Can I have the bill?)

If you think it's time to make a move, make sure the waiter or waitress sees you and make a gesture for them to come over. Once they approach, this is the most formal way to ask for the bill. It is pronounced like this: MO-gu li DO-bi-ti RA-chun

- Gotovina/Kartica (Cash/Card.)

Immediately upon asking for the bill, they will ask you if you want to pay with cash or with a debit or credit card by asking: Gotovina/kesh ili kartica? It is pronounced like this: GO-to-vi-na/KAR-ti-tsa

After using these Croatian words and phrases, rest assured that you will have made a great impression in front of your companions, and most likely the restaurant staff too!

 For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Trattoria La Pentola in Rabac Ranked Among Best in World on TripAdvisor

June the 19th, 2022 - Trattoria la Pentola in the beautiful Istrian town of Rabac has found itself ranked among the world's absolute best, winning the Travelers' Choice 2021 international award.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Valamar Riviera's restaurant, Trattoria La Pentola in Rabac, has won the Travelers’ Choice 2021 international award, making it one of the ten percent of the world’s best restaurants on TripAdvisor. This new award will not only see this restaurant and Valamar gain more attention, but will further position the gorgeous Istrian peninsula high on the list for would-be tourists.

Users of the world's leading travel and tourism quality assessment portal, TripAdvisor, have recognised the value of Trattoria la Pentola in Rabac, awarding it this sought-after title based on the continuous excellent reviews it has always received from the global travel community.

“Our specialised and carefully designed offer can satisfy every guest, from those looking for a light snack or bruschetta accompanied by a glass of quality wine, to those with slightly higher gastronomic aspirations. At Trattoria La Pentola, we offer daily Mediterranean dishes prepared with ingredients sourced from local family farms (OPGs) in which the stamp of Italian cuisine can be clearly felt.

We also offer our guests hand-made homemade pasta, excellent pizzas, and barbecue dishes, homemade burgers, fish specialties and a selection of craft beers and local wines are available,'' said Dario Kinkela, the director of the food and beverage sector at Valamar Riviera.

It's worth mentioning that Rabac's award-winning Trattoria La Pentola is part of Valamar's famous modern gastronomic concept which, in Rabac together with Craft beer & grill and The Beat beach club, combines traditional recipes and modern cuisine, which raises the gastronomic offer of Rabac and its surroundings to a much higher level.

For more on local acheivements from all sectors, make sure to check out our dedicated Made in Croatia section.

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Will Croatian Restaurants Raise Prices Amid Rising Energy Costs?

February the 8th, 2022 - Will Croatian restaurants be next in line to raise their prices as costs continue to increase in almost all sectors? Some claim they won't, but that answer might not be entirely honest...

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, just about everything is becoming more and more expensive, and we'll all likely be paying more for holidays this year as well. The Family Accommodation Community, which brings together the owners of the popular ''zimmer frei'' brigade, estimates that prices will rise by an average of 10-20 percent. The head of that association, Marina Nimac Kalcina, is aware of how unpopular such announcements are, but, she says, that's the reality.

''Unfortunately, our economic situation is such that it will be a problem for some Croatian guests, but the season lasts only a few months, the costs are rising, and the hosts have to make a living from something,'' said Nimac Kalcina, revealing that the reservations being made by foreign visitors in January was almost like it was back in pre-pandemic 2019.

''If the coronavirus pandemic doesn't additionally complicate the situation, there are great chances for a good summer tourist season. With almost no interest in the pre-season, most reservations are for the summer months and there are also already some for the post-season. Money isn't as much of a problem for foreign guests, and according to some research, they're ready to spend more on holiday than they did last year. For Croatian guests, it's fortunate that there is a wide range of prices in the family accommodation segment.

Last year, for example, a family of four in Dalmatia could choose an apartment for an average of 70 to 250 euros per day. This summer could be different, but in any case, guests will need from a few euros per day to a few tens of euros more than they did last year. As a rule, hotels are a more expensive option, but they contracted with partners last year on prices for 2022, which are higher by the amount of inflation expected at the time of two to three percent.

Some capacities have already been sold off at their previously published prices. As for the "unsold" beds, all large hotel companies are using so-called revenue management software that changes prices on a daily basis depending on supply and demand, ie the availability of capacity in its own sales,'' explained the director of the Croatian Tourism Association, Veljko Ostojic.

''When it comes to the price of food and beverages in Croatian restaurants and facilities that provide à la carte services, there will definitely be an increase depending on the movement of prices of input materials; groceries, drinks, energy etc. At this moment in time, it's too early to say how much those increases will be, more will be known in the second half of March,'' added Ostojic.

In the hospitality industry, everything is more or less clear. We will pay more for coffee, juices, beer in cafes, and of course, most Croatian restaurants will get new price lists, writes Vecernji list.

According to Nikola Eterovic, president of the National Association of Caterers, each restaurant has its own specific situation, but he also believes that, for example, the coffee we now pay ten kuna for will increase ten to 30 percent, so by one to three kuna, and there is a simple explanation for the fact that some Croatian restaurants are announcing that they will not raise their prices.

''Either they've already done so in the past few months, so now it is a marketing ploy with them saying they aren't going to do it, or they're working against the tide of the economy at the moment. There is no third option there,'' said Eterovic, adding that lower VAT, which is a now very old request of Croatian restaurants and other hospitality and catering facilities, would be of great help to the industry.

For more, check out our business section.

Friday, 15 October 2021

Best Croatian Restaurants in 2021 Receive Michelin Awards

October 15, 2021 - The Croatian National Tourist Board and METRO, Michelin's official partner for Croatia, presented the prestigious Michelin awards to the best Croatian restaurants included in the Michelin 2021 guide at a ceremony organized at the Belaj Castle in Istria.

The Croatian National Tourist Board and METRO, Michelin's official partner for Croatia, presented the prestigious Michelin awards to the best Croatian restaurants included in the Michelin 2021 guide at a ceremony organized at the Belaj Castle in Istria, reports HrTurizam.

Recall, this year 10 local restaurants earned stars, three more than last year, this globally most important and most recognized restaurant guide. Among the best Croatian restaurants featured are: Agli Amici Rovinj from Rovinj, Alfred Keller from Mali Lošinj, Nebo from Rijeka are the new Michelin star winners, while Boškinac from Novalja, Draga Di Lovrana from Lovran, LD Restoran from Korčula, Monte from Rovinj¸ Noel from Zagreb, Pelegrini from Šibenik and restaurant 360 from Dubrovnik kept their Michelin star.

A total of 55 restaurants deserved Michelin's recommendations for 2021, while the list of winners of the Bib Gourmand award, which is given for a great price-quality ratio, included 13 Croatian restaurants.

“With more than 100 years of experience in restaurant selection, Michelin’s guide is today an international reference for fine dining and therefore the undeniable importance of such a single recognition for our gastronomy. We realize that creating great cuisine is a tough sport: always competitive, always challenging. Therefore, our partnership with Michelin confirms our desire to be the preferred partner of the HoReCa sector. We create unique products under the brands Metro Chef and Metro Professional: they are designed and perfected together with chefs - made for the best chefs in the world'', said Imre Horváth, President of the Management Board of METRO Croatia.

The importance of Michelin recognition in the development of the domestic gastronomic and tourist offer has been recognized for years by the Croatian National Tourist Board, which was once again a partner of the event.

"Tourism and gastronomy are closely related tourist products, so the awarding of prestigious MICHELIN labels to Croatian restaurants is of great importance in the further promotion and positioning of Croatia as a quality destination with a rich and diverse gastronomic offer. With this award ceremony in the beautiful Istrian ambiance, together with our partners, we want to further emphasize the exceptional success of our recognized restaurants, which were included in MICHELIN's guides and received great honor and recognition for their work. Today, our country boasts a total of 10 restaurants with a MICHELIN star and a total of 68 restaurants with some of the labels of this prestigious gastronomic guide", said the director of the Croatian Tourist Board Kristjan Stanicic, adding that all Croatian regions are rich in diversity, which makes our country recognizable. as a prominent European gastronomic destination.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Tvrtko Šakota Named Croatia's Best Chef this Year!

September 21, 2021 - Tvrtko Šakota earned the prestigious Chef of the Year title this year in the Good Restaurants (Dobri Restorani) selection held at the Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb last night. 

Last night at the Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb, awards were given for the best restaurants as part of the 10th edition of the most famous Croatian gastronomic selection, Good Restaurants (Dobri restorani). The awards were organized by Jutarnji List and the magazine Dobra hrana, and under the auspices of partners Croatian National Tourist Board and Badel 1862. This concluded another selection season promoting the best of the Croatian restaurant scene for a decade. Over the years, it has pointed to individuals and restaurants whose time is yet to come and are today crowned with numerous international awards for excellence. In addition to recognizing the great potential on the stage and encouraging the public to provide an opportunity to these new faces in gastronomy, as well as the hidden pearls of Croatian hospitality, the selection from year to year rewards the consistency in the top quality of the offer and the attitude towards guests of already known and recognized gastronomic addresses throughout Croatia.

This year, recognitions were awarded to restaurants in one of a total of four categories, namely Traditional Restaurant, Haute Cuisine Restaurant, High Category Hotel Restaurant, and the Creative Urban Cuisine Restaurant. Jutarnji visited and evaluated each restaurant according to four essential criteria, i.e., the quality of food and service, the ambiance, and the overall value for money. The final decision on the ranking of the three best restaurants by category was made by a four-member jury after several hours of deliberation and argumentation. The awards were given by the leaders of Jutarnji List and partners, and were enhanced by numerous guests from the gastronomic sector and public life.

Chef Tvrtko Šakota earned the prestigious title of Chef of the Year this year as well, after 2019, which was equally successful for him, thanks to his uncompromising work and courageous departure, but also his return to tradition. After opening his Zagreb restaurant Nav, with each new tasting menu, chef Šakota delights gastronomic connoisseurs and gourmets again and brings a dose of excitement to the local restaurant scene and awakens hope for the future.

You can see the full list of winners below:

Best Haute Cuisine Restaurants

2nd place

3rd place

Best Hotel Restaurant of High Category
Mali Lošinj

2nd place


3rd place

Best Traditional Restaurant

2nd place
Mošćenička Draga

3rd place

Best Creative Urban Cuisine Restaurant

2nd place

3rd place

2021 Chef of the Year 

NAV, Zagreb

MANO, Zagreb



For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

25th Edition of 100 Leading Croatian Restaurants Presented

July 9, 2020 - A true gastronomy lover will rarely miss the edition of "100 leading Croatian restaurants and their recipes". For 25 years now, Karin Mimica, the leader of Gastronaut, has published this important issue, which informs all those interested about the best gastronomy Croatia has to offer.

Leading restaurants will be presented with text, pictures and recipes of home specialties and information on what is worth seeing and experiencing in their surroundings. In addition to restaurants selected from among a hundred leaders, the book presents quality and top products that can be found and destinations with their gastronomic and oenological advantages, says Mimica, who launched the project back in 1995 in collaboration with the then Croatian Economic Forum.

The project "100 leading Croatian restaurants - Restaurant Croatica" has been implemented continuously for 25 years and is the oldest national brand of quality in catering. The titleholders and leaders are also united in the Gastronaut Club project, which has so far organized over 120 thematic gastronomic gatherings and advocates the presentation of destinations, potentials, culture and history through the prism of gastronomy.

s kadić (2).jpg

During November and December last year, in the first part of the election, guests voted for restaurants through the portal (there were over 2400 restaurants in the competition), and in the second part, caterers. The final word was given by the Honorary Committee of the project by checking the data related to the offer and service of restaurants and determining the list of restaurants that we can be proud of at the state level and which is the basis for a guide through 100 leading Croatian restaurants and their specialties.

Selected restaurants also become titleholders of Restaurant Croatica 2019, and in addition to a plaque, they are also awarded a sticker that leads to the online edition of the book in Croatian and English via QR code, concluded Mimica.


The print edition will be distributed to bookstores, larger kiosks and post offices in early August. Awarding the Restaurant Croatica plaque this year has been postponed to October 6, 2020, so that the caterers can join after the main season. By no means should you miss this valuable publication, and everything else that happens will be finger-licking good.

Note: Only eight Slavonian restaurants were on the list of the best. The newest ones have not yet had a chance to prove themselves, but they should not lose hope. A great refreshment is certainly restaurant Zlatni lug from Donji Emovac near Pozega, which with its top offer of food and wine in an authentic cellar (with decent prices) stands out significantly from all restaurants in the area. Other restaurants are: Visnjica from Visnjica, Schon Blick from Vetovo, Krcma kod Ruze from Osijek, Josic from Zmajevac, Kormoran from Bilje, Baranjska kuca from Karanac and Dunav from Ilok.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.  

Friday, 20 March 2020

Can Delivery Service Only Really Keep Croatian Restaurants Afloat?

With the new set of Croatian Government measures introduced and now fully in force, cafes and restaurants, among other facilities deemed unnecessary to be open, have had to close their doors. Croatian restaurants with delivery services can still function, but can they really keep their businesses going relying on delivery alone?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes on the 20th of March, 2020, while cafes have absolutely no choice but to wait for the coronavirus crisis to peak and for better days to come, many Croatian restaurants are planning to keep going with their delivery services, despite the fact that their profits are trimmed by it.

Although everyone has to undergo registration and meet the minimum technical requirements for food delivery, Croatian restaurants often find it pays more to simply shut down and lay staff off during these harsh work ban conditions with reduced traffic, unless of course the Croatian Government passes more concrete measures to help retain these jobs which are now very much just hanging in the balance.

This was stated by Marin Medak, President of the Croatian Hospitality Coordination Group, when he was asked on Thursday if Croatian restaurants could keep their businesses running relying purely on deliveries and whether they were properly trained for the concept.

As is well known, new coronavirus spread prevention measures are now firmly place, which include the closure of all catering/hospitality establishments, with one exception being for the preparation and delivery of food. For starters, about 10 percent of restaurant workers have given up or quit because they are at risk and want self-isolation, Medak claims.

"It's either people who have some chronic illnesses, are older, or have a family member that is in a vulnerable group, and we can't count on those people. Others are keen to keep the business going as much as possible, some are shutting down, most will agree to a minimum wage, everyone wants to participate in resolving the situation,'' revealed Medak, who plans to use recently introduced government measures and hopes that the criteria for the payment of minimum wages from the state budget will soon emerge.

But for other measures, those in the Croatian restaurant industry say they simply aren't adequate.

"Our projections say that if the situation normalised by May the 1st, which is difficult to imagine, 5 to 10 percent of people can be expected to get fired. If it lasts until July the 1st, that is a drop in turnover of about 30 percent and a third of hospitality workers will lose their jobs, and if we welcome September still in this then we're already at 80 percent reduced turnover and it will be devastating,'' Medak explained.

This would mean that from an annual turnover of around 15 billion kuna, the hospitality industry would see their revenue drop massive to around 2 billion kuna, realised only during 2020's first two months.

Half of the revenue is generated by tourists, while the rest is generated by domestic guests, who are still not travelling.

"We need a lot of traffic from deliveries to cover all the costs. At first, we don't expect that to blossom, because people have purchased supplies for their homes, but when this panic subsides, who knows, maybe they'll start wanting deliveries,'' Medak concluded.

Drazen Boban, head of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce's caterer's association and the owner of the Vinodol restaurant, pointed out that the transition to food delivery will be better handled by those who have already done so and have experience in it.

"Delivery services take a pretty high commission and the ones that have had their own delivery services previously will do better out of this,'' he noted. Otherwise, Vinodol closed three days ago because there were no guests, and they are already at a loss.

Boban hopes that the government will revise the measures to help the economy that are complicated and insufficient, and even with minimum wages given, without some write-offs, there will be no results for the state.

''Zagreb has an advantage here, unlike in Dalmatia where there are fewer people and the habits are different. Therefore, we need to develop different models and come up with solutions, which we're working intensively on,'' reveals Stipe Jelicic, Boban's deputy at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.

Follow our dedicated section for rolling information in English on coronavirus in Croatia.