Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Three More Croatian Restaurants Awarded Michelin Star

ZAGREB, 7 Sept, 2021 - Three more Croatian restaurants have been added to the prestigious Michelin restaurant guide, bringing the total number of Croatian restaurants with one star to ten, the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) announced on Tuesday following notification from Michelin.

The three new restaurants that have been awarded a single Michelin star are Nebo in Rijeka (housed in the Costabella Hilton Hotel), Alfred Keller in Mali Lošinj and Agli Amici in Rovinj. They joined the seven restaurants that have retained their stars - Boškinac in Novalja, LD Terrace in Korčula, Pelegrini in Šibenik, 360º in Dubrovnik, Monte in Rovinj, Noel in Zagrebu and Draga di Lovrana in Lovran.

In addition, seven more restaurants have been awarded the special Bib Gourmand designation for their remarkable menus at affordable prices. There are now 13 restaurants in Croatia with this designation.

The new Bib Gourmand restaurants are Konoba Mate (Korčula), Dunav (Ilok), Konoba Fetivi (Split), Izakaya by Time (Zagreb), Vuglec Breg (Krapina), Konoba Malo Selo (Buje) and Alla Beccaccia (Valbandon).

All the restaurants are listed in the new edition of the Michelin guide for Croatia for 2021. Another novelty in the new edition is the Michelin Green Star designation, which has been awarded to the Zinfandel's restaurant, housed in the Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, to acknowledge its commitment to sustainable and environmentally-friendly gastronomy.

Commenting on the news from Michelin, Tourism and Sport Minister Nikolina Brnjac said that enjoying food and drink is an important part of the tourist experience, adding that Croatia, as a country with a rich gastronomic tradition, should invest more in its promotion and development in the future. 

HTZ Director Kristjan Staničić said that the award of new Michelin designations is a huge success for the Croatian gastronomic scene and very important for the country's tourist industry, considering various restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

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Saturday, 4 September 2021

1100 Croatian Hospitality and Catering Establishments Stopped Working This Season

September the 4th, 2021 - While it's true that many individual Croatian hospitality and catering establishments such as coffee bars and other cafes finally did well and managed to make some decent money this season, as many as 1100 of them were forced to stop working.

As Novac/Jozo Vrdoljak writes, after many Croatian hospitality and catering establishments were forced to shut their doors on November the 30th last year, a breath of fresh air came in the form of the news that as of September the 1st, with special epidemiological measures, they were able to receive guests again in the closed-off parts of their facilities.

The opening hours of bars and discos remained until midnight, and the direct consequence of the closure of Croatian hospitality and catering establishments with great difficulties and a drop in traffic, is most evident through the number of 1100 permanently closed establishments. It is assumed that these are mainly trade owners who closed their facilities for fear of foreclosure on their properties.

The decision to open up Croatian hospitality and catering establishments surprised many people, but it was certainly welcomed by their owners. However, measures and grants have been being negotiated and looked at again over recent days, with many people needing to wave goodbye to government help.

Bars on the Adriatic coast worked the season with a drop in traffic of 10 percent, and those on the continent with a drop of 23 percent. The realised amounts during the season in restaurants in the amount of two thirds fall on those down on the Adriatic, while in bars this ratio is three quarters in favour of those on the Adriatic.

When you look at the drop in traffic from February to May - it was 38 percent for restaurants and 62 percent for bars. According to the currently available data, there are about 35,000 Croatian hospitality and catering establishments across the country, of which about 55 percent are just bars. It has been estimated that about 7,000 such establishments don't have a terrace at all, so they couldn't operate.

Support in the amount of 4,000 kuna per employee is given to Croatian hospitality and catering establishment owners who had experienced a drop in turnover of over 60 percent, those who had a drop in the amount of 50 percent who received support in the amount of 3,000 kuna, while those with a drop in turnover of 40 percent received 2,000 kuna. Having 70 percent of their employees vaccinated against COVID-19 was also a condition.

Jelena Tabak, president of the National Association of Caterers, noted that the season will mean little to nothing if Croatian hospitality and catering establishment owners aren't allowed to work until the very end and without any restrictions.

''Even though they can work now, not all establishments will just open and start working normally straight away. It's impossible to just start to work at full capacity after not working for nine months. On that note, it would be proper for the state subsidies to remain in place in the hospitality sector as well, because our sector has been seriously affected by the coronavirus crisis. In addition, people's habits have changed and now a large number of people are actively avoiding being in enclosed spaces.

As such, there are still serious limitations to the operation of Croatian hospitality and catering establishments. For example, four square metres per guest limits the work of these places quite a lot. Some of them, however, still managed to do great job this season, but there are a large number who didn't,'' explained Jelena Tabak, who admitted that the general situation is still much better in Croatia than in some other countries.

Tabak explained that the financial growth of the income of Croatian hospitality and catering establishments is partly due to a significant rise in prices.

"It's true that some establishments have done very well this season, but cumulatively the hospitality sector is recording a serious drop in turnover. The fact is that our colleagues on the continent are in a very difficult situation, and now comes the period when even those on the Adriatic will have reduced income. What follows now is a period in which we won't have a significant number of tourists, but we'll still generate some income thanks to Croatian guests.

The problem is also that Croatian hospitality and catering establishments can’t organise parties, so they can’t create an atmosphere that will attract guests. Hospitality rests on social interaction. A restaurant does well if it creates an atmosphere and attracts guests, and owners have been deprived of that due to the measures,'' explained Tabak.

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

Monday, 8 February 2021

Italians on Cafe and Restaurant Ban in Croatia: 'You Will Die Without Tourism'

February 8, 2021 – "The rules are awful," "You will die without tourism," commented Italians on the cafe and restaurant ban in Croatia.

The Italians, our loyal guests who are getting out of the lockdown, were asked by the journalists of Glas Istre what they think about the ban on the work of cafes and restaurants in Croatia.

The Italian government has determined the rhythm of vaccination by region. The region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, visited by Glas Istre journalists a few days ago when cafes and restaurants reopened, is due in mid-February. The plan is to vaccinate the population older than 80 years first, then the younger age group, but still older than 55.

Italians' opinions regarding vaccination are divided. The older population believes in the effectiveness of the vaccine. About two million Italians have been vaccinated so far.

"If the vaccines are free, then I will get vaccinated, and if not, I will carefully think about it," one middle-aged Italian told them.

"No, I'm not going to get vaccinated. I just don't trust the vaccine," one young Italian told them.

"When it's our turn, we'll get vaccinated," one married couple told them.

With masks required, reporters enjoyed a walk around town. If you do not have a mask, passers-by will immediately warn you that it is mandatory to wear. By doing so, they automatically realize that you are a foreigner unfamiliar with their law, but also with draconian punishments.

Thus, in a walk through the city, they witnessed a lively and loud discussion of two gentlemen, typical of Italians. After concluding their political discussion, they introduced themselves to them, and the conversation began.

"Your Croatian rules are awful now. It's unbelievable that without a test I can't go to Umag, that beautiful city whose bars and restaurants overlook the sea, and those same bars and restaurants are now closed. You will die without tourism, my people. I even called a Croatian consul, I protested, but he is also powerless. We can buy tests here for 25 euros in a pharmacy. Your government is really not normal, because even when I get tested, what should I do in Umag when everything is closed," said retiree Paolo.

The Italian government intends to vaccinate the entire nation by June, citizens claim. Then we guess there will be a final normalization, both for them and us.

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Friday, 8 May 2020

How Will Cafes and Restaurants in Croatia Work from May 11? The Details

e May 8, 2020 - The Croatian Institute of Public Health published detailed recommendations for catering facilities in Croatia on Thursday morning as cafes and restaurants can re-open from Monday, May 11.

Index.hr reports that to prevent the spread of infection while visiting catering facilities with and without terraces, and catering facilities in accommodation facilities, it is necessary to ensure a physical distance between visitors and between visitors and employees.

Working hours from 6 am to 11 pm, and work will be allowed inside, as well

Organization of work: Working hours of catering facilities are possible from 6 hours to 23 hours. In the facilities, tables are kept empty until guests arrive, and utensils are served when guests sit down. Menus should be displayed at the entrance or another visible place, and in plastic, that is, classic forms of the menu should be removed. Visitors can be given a verbal recommendation, or something similar, to express the food and drinks offer.

Limit the total number of visitors: The limit on the number of visitors can be achieved by setting the tables 1.5 m apart. The entry of guests is regulated in such a way that the next visitor or group of visitors can enter only when the previous group of visitors leaves. The physical distance between individual groups of visitors must be at least 1.5 m. Tables should be arranged to maintain a physical distance of 1.5 m between the tables, or between different groups of guests. Organized groups of guests can sit at tables, and the distance between individual groups of guests in the facility must be at least 1.5 m. For example, members of one family sit 1.5 m away from another group of guests, even if it is a long table that is intended for seating multiple people.

Serving food and drink: Visitors can also order a meal or drink in the restaurant, which they will take with them and consume on the terrace or outdoors. When ordering, a physical distance of at least 1.5 m between customers waiting in line must be observed. It is possible to order and pick up food or drink at the bar without delay, i.e., you cannot stay at the bar. Also, it is possible to serve standing guests if they keep a physical distance, without high tables, with consumption by hand.

Employee that serves guests on the outside of the facility: One employee is appointed who serves a pre-determined number of tables to minimize the mixing of employees and guests. Between charging for the service and serving individual visitors, the employee must disinfect their hands.

Hotel policies

Special rules for catering facilities in accommodation facilities and others that serve buffet-style: In these facilities, it is recommended that visitors maintain a physical distance of 1.5 m during their stay, and especially when serving meals in a buffet manner, unless they are members of the same family when members of the same family don't need to maintain a distance during their stay in the restaurant. It is recommended that the buffet mode of serving be carried out so that there is a partition between the guests and the food and that one employee serves the guest's food according to their choice. Other measures of physical distance related to family or other groups of visitors who use the services in the group are the same as for all other catering facilities.

Health protection of visitors and staff; Refers to sales and staff service: Everyone should always have a disinfectant available to disinfect their hands periodically. If possible, it is recommended to provide a space of at least 1.5 m between the server or cashier and the customer when issuing goods and paying for goods, or if possible, install a protective barrier at the place of service and at the cash register, which will physically separate the cashier from the customer. Contactless payment by bank cards should be encouraged.

No handing out newspapers or serving snacks at the tables

Caterers should adhere to the highest hygiene standards and wash their hands with warm water and soap as often as possible with the use of hand sanitizer, certainly before serving guests to each new table. Adapted to the epidemiological situation, it is currently recommended that air conditioners be out of use and that the space be ventilated.

After the departure of each group of guests, the table, chairs, and other surfaces that the guests touched must be wiped with disinfectant, i.e., the tablecloths must be removed even if they are not visibly soiled.

It is forbidden to serve snacks in bowls, and salt/pepper, oil/vinegar, and other spices cannot be left on the tables, but new, previously washed or disinfected dishes are brought for each group of new guests.

The use of shared newspapers, magazines and other printed matter in catering establishments is prohibited.

Cleaning and disinfection of the space: At the entrance to the facility, visitors should be provided with a hand sanitizer dispenser and a clearly displayed notice that it is mandatory to disinfect hands when entering. Also, the entrance should clearly display a notice that it is mandatory to maintain a distance of at least 1.5 m between visitors and between visitors and staff. Door handles and handrails, handrail surfaces, and door edges on refrigerators, as well as other surfaces that are noticed to be frequently touched by customers, should be continuously wiped with alcohol-based disinfectant or other means according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Indoor areas where guests are staying should be regularly ventilated.

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