Monday, 15 November 2021

Split Winter Tourism at Chops Grill: Chopsylicious Menu, Weekend Music, Christmas Flair

November 15, 2021 - Is Split winter tourism that hard to achieve? Croatia's second-largest city and the star of summer loses its buzz as soon as the seasons change. But it doesn't have to be that way. Our new TCN series looks at the Split businesses working hard in winter to give locals, and visitors, the environment they deserve. Continuing this week with Split winter tourism at Chops Grill. 

I was lucky to be introduced to Jasmina, the owner of Chops Grill, in my early days with TCN. That is something I am grateful for to this day. Not only is Chops one of Split's best restaurants, maintaining quality and culinary consistency year-round, but Jasmina and I have built a wonderful relationship over the years - and she continues to inspire me season after season. 

Chops Grill is not your typical Split restaurant, but a superb steakhouse that rewards guests with the best cuts of meat, American influences, and, of course, a Dalmatian touch. Jasmina and Chops also know no season and are applauded for working tirelessly year-round, adapting their offer depending on the time of year, from unique 3-course menus to on-the-go breakfast sandwiches. 

But what motivates Jasmina, Chops, and sister cafe bar Paradiso to bring the best to guests even in the winter? 

Croatia and Split had booming year-round tourism in the 1980s until the outbreak of the Homeland War, but now the Dalmatian coast sleeps through the winter. Why do you think that is?

First of all, I think we were a more affordable destination at that time. I know this because when I worked for Sunčani Hvar back in 2006, we had half-board offers that were very cheap per person through agencies. 

There also aren't as many big tour operators today. Everything is done online. Tourists do their own research and don't need agencies or operators as much.

And because nothing is state-owned, the prices are much higher, even in the winter. 

Back in the 1980s, many hotels offered health tourism, spas, and indoor pools, allowing older travelers to visit here even when the weather wasn't as nice. Today, we mainly have city hotels that do not have spas or facilities to accommodate winter tourism. 

If flights were not the problem, does Split have a winter tourism offer, and if yes, what is it?

I feel bad for tourists that visit Split in the winter, especially now. The only real options are for visitors to have dinner then drinks in a half-empty bar. Guests ask us what they should do after dinner, and we honestly don't know what to tell them.

The museums here are great and interesting for Croatian schoolkids needing to learn about the history of Croatia, but for international tourists, and even if I was a tourist here, there are no interactive museums where you could spend the day. When it comes to culture, we are also lacking in offering shows. HNK is amazing, but the program is mainly in Croatian, which doesn't tempt tourists - especially when musicals or drama plays are in focus. 

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If I am on a city-break getaway with my husband, I would also want to go shopping, which is a huge problem here. My guests often ask where they can buy certain designer items. The people that come here are minimum middle to upper-class guests. They pay big money for their hotel room - around 300-400 euros. Most people on city-break trips travel without their kids - usually with their significant other or friends. This then targets travelers who want to go to a nice show, dinner, enjoy good cocktails, and maybe explore a museum. But they will also want to go shopping, and there isn't a designer shopping offer in Split. This is a problem we need to start addressing now. The wealthy Russian tourist cannot buy their Chanel in Split but can elsewhere. They could go to Montenegro instead. 

Istria already has a winter tourism offer, but Inland Dalmatia is not yet as developed. If you're coming to Split for 3-4 days, wouldn't you want to spend one day in nature with a local family that will serve you their homemade wines and products? Especially somewhere that is only a taxi ride away from Split? There are few places you can send tourists for that experience, and we see a lot of interest around this idea from our guests at Chops. We already have beautiful villas with pools in Imotski, but a nice family farm or winery where you can spend the day? Our current offer mainly targets Croatian families for a Sunday lunch. It's not a Michelin-star experience, but it's an authentic and local experience, and tourists would love it, too.

Are you aware of any initiatives to improve the winter tourism situation?

Only Paul and Total Croatia News, haha. I've been part of the tourism industry for a long time, and I don't know of anything happening at the moment. Oh, but I do know that the Mall of Split bus is running from the ferry port! 

Give us a few quick wins that could make Split a bit more attractive in the winter months?

Shopping, winery day trips from Split, contemporary/interactive art and museums, and shows. This is what I believe is most important for Split to offer in the winter. There also are not many destinations that offer both the beach and city-break getaways. Maybe Nice and Cannes if we are talking about cities comparable to Split. But what do they have? Shopping, art, and beautiful restaurants - but why? Because they have yachts. They have a similar climate, but it is not swimmable in the winter there either. Yacht owners, however, keep their yachts there in the winter. They check up on them and maintain them in the offseason. They know that bars and restaurants are open and that they can shop. Montenegro is starting to do the same thing. We have a lot of regular guests at Chops that live abroad but keep their yachts here in the winter, but what can we offer them? We also have an advantage compared to similar cities because these guests can easily fly into Split Airport, check on their yacht, and spend 2-3 days in Split. We need this tourism. 

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Are you planning an event(s) of your own soon?

On Saturday night we had a lot of reservations, due mainly to our Chopsylicious menu, which we have been doing for the last 7 years! Once we announced it this year, the interest was crazy. Everybody wants to try the menu, which is an excellent value for money. Diners can taste some of our products during the winter when they have more time. We have adjusted the menu to the season. For example, we are not selling the wagyu for 200 kuna. Instead, we changed the menu and are using it to test new dishes for next year. We are tracking what guests like and improving what is needed. When next season comes, we can introduce it to our menu. It's a win-win situation. And guests who like the Chopsylicious menu revisit us in the summer or recommend us to friends and family!  

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Besides Chopsylicious, we host two music professors from the Josip Hatze school who play inside the restaurant every weekend. Paradiso will be bringing in some light live music from next weekend, and we will begin decorating for Christmas as part of our winter wonderland. We have done it already for two years, and it's beautiful. This year we are going the extra mile to create a Christmas village. We will once again offer our breakfast sandwiches at Chops and Paradiso, so people will always have a place to eat and drink. 

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Will you close at all this year?

We always close from January 6 to March 1. It gives us a small break, but we also need to use the time to prepare for the season with renovations. We cannot preserve everything and need to repaint, repair the chairs, and the like. We also use this time to create the menu. 

Back in 2020, we had plans to keep Chops open year-round. But, of course, the pandemic happened instead. That remains our ultimate goal, and I don't think we would have much trouble doing business even in January and February.

When winter tourism is mentioned, many locals say that they do not want it, as they are tired after the busy season. What is your perspective as a successful business owner?

We want it! We do need a break; everyone needs a break. I know I do because I have never worked harder on the operational side of things than this summer. But I only need about 15 days. I get nervous after that, haha. I need to do something actively; I cannot just twiddle my thumbs at home and not work because we had a 'successful season'. The Chopsylicious menu and our winter offer keep us busy, and I am happy we have that.

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I would be terrified to close my doors for the entire winter. You cannot keep quality by doing that. Businesses that close in the winter also make the hospitality industry less desirable. It makes us a servant to our tourists. If you can work for an entire year, especially at a restaurant with a lot of business in the summer, and have good business throughout the winter with a year-round salary, then being a waiter is a beautiful job where you can support your family. Who wants to be a waiter only for 4 months? Then it's just a student job. 

We care about our suppliers a lot and try to find a lower-cost product in the winter than the premium products we offer in the summer. With our chefs and their innovation, we create affordable dishes that guests can enjoy in the offseason. For example, the tuna salad on the Chopsylicious menu uses lower-cost ingredients but looks beautiful. The most expensive part of that dish is that someone had to come up with it in their head. If I am looking at that as the owner, the cost of that dish is lower, but someone needs to think about how to create that using the products available. That is why I invest in my staff throughout the year, and that is how you can adapt your offer in the winter to make sense for your restaurant and your guests. 

What are the key steps in your opinion to getting more flights in winter? (Optional)

The Marriott (which will open eventually), Le Meridien Lav, Radisson Blu, and Atrium offer over 1,000 hotel rooms combined. All of those hotels have a spa, which I've already mentioned is crucial for city-break destinations. That's about 2,000 potential guests per day, offered beautiful hotels, great service and food, and indoor pools. If they all got together and spoke to a low-cost carrier about offering and filling these 1,000 rooms, that's a solution. It could almost be some non-formal tour operator. Say, for example, you buy the flight from a low-cost carrier and are offered reasonable rates at these hotels. This is especially important on the weekends when there are no business people from Zagreb in Split. But I truly believe these hotels with indoor pools need to come together; that is the only way it will work. Think - 2,000 people per day is 14,000 potential tourists per week. Those guests will be able to visit the hotel spa and swim, have a nice dinner in town, go to a cocktail bar, and even go to Joker for shopping!

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I would also try to create a promo video for tourists showing them exactly how their 4 days in Split would look, instead of just sharing Croatia's most beautiful destinations from above, usually without people. You could create a beautiful 'day-in-the-life' type of promo video showing exactly what you can expect on your Split trip. We need to show tourists what they can do here and not just share aerial footage. 

Message to other businesses in Split?

If you stay open in winter, the summer will be easier since you can keep your staff. You'll offer better service, too. If you have both of those things, you'll earn even more money. And if we are all open during the winter, buying from our suppliers won't be as complicated!

Some businesses see each other as competition. If you have a city with many good restaurants, people visit for gastronomy, meaning they'll choose a new restaurant every day. Having more quality restaurants means more business for everyone. This would also help us to be recognized as an excellent gastronomic destination. We all need to support each other. Why can't other restaurants recreate the Chopsylicious idea? That is a wonderful idea, and it gives us more places to visit for dinner!

We also need to think about the minds of tourists and understand that they may not want to eat Dalmatian food every day of their trip. While local food should be enjoyed, it is impossible to expect that someone will eat grilled fish and blitva all the time. I know that when I am visiting Mexico, I cannot eat Mexican food every day. Sometimes you need a burger or pizza; comfort food that hits the spot and gives you a taste of home. And that is fine, too.

We offer eggs benedict on our breakfast menu and make the English muffins in-house because you cannot find them in Croatia. While we have to put in more work, knowing that our guests have that piece of familiarity is worth it.  We also can't expect that every tourist likes eating fish or can peel scampi! A lot of these experiences may be new to them. That's why we should think about what tourists have available at home and try to recreate it in our way with traditional influences. 

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This is the direction we need to be going in. We should never lose our identity, but let's celebrate international cuisine with a Dalmatian twist. 

You can explore Chops HERE.

If you are a business in Split with a winter program, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject Split Winter Tourism. 

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Split Restaurant Nights: Explore 3-Course Menus at Promotional Prices

October 6, 2021 - As part of the Taste of the Mediterranean Festival, Split Restuarant Nights will be held for the first time this weekend!

As part of the Taste of the Mediterranean Festival, Split Restuarant Nights will be held for the first time on Friday, October 8, and Saturday, October 9, in which 15 restaurants will offer unique 3-course Mediterranean menus and wines at promotional prices.

Participating restaurants include Atlantida, Bajamonti, Brasserie on 7, Bokeria, Corto Maltese, Dujkin dvor, Fantažija, Konoba Fetivi, Konoba Marul, Mazgoon, Laganini, Pandora Greenbox, Portofino, Sidi bar, and Šug.

Split restaurants have already started sharing the 3-course menus they'll be offering to guests this weekend in anticipation of the new event. 

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Konoba Marul, for example, will offer a 3-course menu featuring:

1. Orzotta with shrimp and smoked mussels
2. Octopus tentacles with creamy puree and šalsa
3. Split cake for dessert

Two glasses of wine of your choice (Posip and Plavac mali) are also included, for a total price of 210 kuna.

Dujkin Dvor, on the other hand, is offering:

1. Risotto with Adriatic shrimps, sun-dried tomatoes, and cheese ice cream
2. Tuna pasticada 'a la Dujka'
3. Split cake

This menu includes Posip Smokvica (Korcula) or Plavac Lucic (Peljesac) wines for a total price of 195 kuna. 

Finally, the Šug menu features:

1. Šug plate - pate of shrimp, tuna, shrimps with pistachio, and smoked swordfish

2. Tećada - with white fish, shells, scampi, octopus, and macaroni

3. Split cake

This offer includes Cosseto Malvazija Prima Luce (0,125l) for a total of 210 kuna.

This is just part of the 9th Taste the Mediterranean Festival, which brings together international and Croatian chefs from Michelin restaurants and Gault & Millau accolades.

In addition to this weekend's event, the Split restaurants Dvor, Kadena, Kinoteka, Hotel Park, Zora Bila, and Zrno Soli will host chefs from seven countries who will organize six-course gala dinners together with Croatian chefs, and Noštromo will turn the entire Split Fish Market into a restaurant for one dinner. The festival also includes many workshops and panels at Briig Boutique Hotel in Bačvice, which you can read about here

For the second year in a row, the festival partner country is Spain, which will present its delicacies, wines, and olive oils in Split. Chef Maria Jimenez Latorre and chef Goran Šikić will offer Spanish gastronomic products at a gala dinner at the Briig Hotel, while Dr. Mirella Žanetić will lead a Spanish olive oil tasting.

Part of the festival will be held in the vicinity of Split, as participants will visit Omis, the Cetina River Canyon, Radman's mills, and Arsan Tasting House in Omiš. 

For more on lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Taste the Mediterranean: Split Festival Brings Together World's Top and Local Chefs

September 30, 2021 - Taste the Mediterranean is an international festival in Split, joining the world's best chefs with the local culinary scene through special menus, panels, and gala dinners. 

From October 6 to 9, Split will become the gastronomic center of the Mediterranean. The international festival Taste the Mediterranean brings the top world and local chefs to the city, whose restaurants have been awarded Michelin stars and Gault & Millau points. Chefs from seven countries will be guests at the Split restaurants Dvor, Kadena, Kinoteka, Hotel Park, Zora Bila, and Zrno Soli. Together with the host chefs, they will prepare six-course Mediterranean gala dinners accompanied by top wines, reports Dalmatinski Portal.

Chef Zlatko Marinović Noštromo will prepare an exclusive feast for the festival participants at the opening evening. The city's Fish Market will be turned into an elegant restaurant for the occasion.

For the first time during the festival, 'Nights of Split restaurants' will be held, an event organized by Taste the Mediterranean and the Tommy retail chain, a premium partner of the Taste the Mediterranean Festival, which recognized the value of this event for presenting and promoting Split and Split and Dalmatian gastronomy. The restaurants included in this program, 15 of them, will offer a special three-course Mediterranean menu and wine at a popular price to the citizens of Split and tourists on Friday, October 8, and Saturday, October 9, and provide them with a unique enogastronomic experience. The restaurants include Atlantida, Bajamonti, Brasserie on 7, Bokeria, Corto Maltese, Dujkin Dvor, Fantažija, Konoba Fetivi, Konoba Marul, Mazgoon, Laganini, Pandora Greenbox, Portofino, Sidi bar, and Šug. The tastes and aromas of the Mediterranean will be felt at every step of the city, and Split, as an authentic Mediterranean center of rich cultural and historical heritage, will show a wide range of its gastronomic offer: from fine dining to taverns (konobas).

The festival's main events will take place at the Briig Boutique Hotel, where the participants of the panel ‘Catering during and after COVID’ will gather on Thursday, October 7. The pandemic has hit tourism worldwide hard; not only has it affected the decline in catering turnover, but it has also imposed new rules and models of winning over guests and meeting their needs. Chef Vesna Miletić, Jelena Tabak, president of the National Association of Croatian Caterers, chef Ippei Uemura, Filip Verbanac, director of the Department for Spirits, Coffee and Catering Coca-Cola HBC for the Adria business unit, and Ivo Vrdoljak, restaurant owner, will uncover how professionals from the hospitality sector are coping with new challenges.

The importance of waste management in the hospitality and hotel industry will be discussed at the 'Zero waste' panel on Friday, October 8, and its participants are Nataša Kalauz, CEO of WWF Adria, chef Lionel Levy, president of the French association Gourméditerranée, Suzana Musa, CEO Veneficus, and Francesco Pantalone, General Manager of the Bellevue Hotel in Mali Lošinj.

Exchanging experiences and networking with other Mediterranean countries and the education of pupils, students, and professionals are the main goals of the Taste the Mediterranean Festival. Therefore, the program also includes culinary masterclasses of top foreign and domestic chefs and workshops for students of the private catering school Oliva Allegra, high school Aspira and high school Jure Kaštelan in Omiš.

The panel discussion 'Learn and make your dreams come true' is also intended for young people who want to invest in their knowledge. Kruno Rozić, head of education at the Raise the Bar Academy, will present how young chefs, waiters, and bartenders can win a Coca-Cola Academy Raise the Bar scholarship for training in prestigious world culinary schools. In addition, confectioner Tea Mamut, chef Nikolina Putica, chef Deni Srdoč from the Rijeka restaurant Nebo, and Tonči Drlje, head of gastronomy at the Aspira High School, will all share their inspirational stories of education in an international environment.

Taste the Mediterranean has established extraordinary cooperation with Spain, the festival's partner country, for the second year in a row and brings its specialties, wines, and olive oils to Split. In addition to the cooking show at the Briig Boutique Hotel, Spanish products will be presented by chef Maria Jimenez Latorre. At the Park Hotel with chef Goran Šikić, they will prepare a gala dinner with specialties from their country.

The festival's exclusive wine tastings will be led by excellent wine connoisseurs Alen Gulan, Siniša Koceić, and Rajner Rogulj from Split's Vinolike. At the same time, Dr. Mirella Žanetić will especially present Spanish extra virgin olive oils.

A group of chefs from the French association Gourméditerranée is also coming to the festival to present the gastronomy of Provence and the south of France in the best light, as well as the great world event Gout de France.

On Saturday, October 9, the festival participants will discover the beauties of Omiš and the Cetina river canyon and enjoy the delicacies of Radman's mills and Arsana Tasting House in Omis.

It will be an exciting promotion of Split and Dalmatia as the leading Mediterranean eno gastronomic destination and promote Croatian Mediterranean identity, food, and heritage.

Taste the Mediterranean is held under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, the Croatian Commission for UNESCO, the Ministry of Tourism and CNTB, Split-Dalmatia County, the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board, and the Split Tourist Board.

For more on lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Celebrated Chef Hrvoje Zirojević Leaves Laganini after 8 Years, Moves to Dvor in Split

April 14, 2021 - After eight years at Palmižana hotspot Laganini, established Split chef Hrvoje Zirojević moves back home to lead the kitchen at seaside restaurant Dvor.

Split chef Hrvoje Zirojević invented new genres in Croatian gastronomy and catering at Laganini restaurant in Palmižana. With Zirojević's innovative and passionate but always elegant fish cuisine and excellent service set in the extreme conditions of a beach restaurant, Laganini has become a restaurant institution and a model for many similar attempts.

However, after eight intensive years at Laganini, Zirojević is taking over the kitchen at popular Split restaurant Dvor. He will be succeeded at Laganini by chef Matko Bukovec.

“I felt it was time for a new phase. No less ambitious, just different," Zirojević said for Plava Kamenica.

"Apart from wanting to be closer to my family, I want to apply in a new way everything that has proven to be a winning combination for both work and guest satisfaction."

Dvor, a restaurant in an attractive Firule location that Zirojević will run in cooperation with Split restaurateur Marko Balić, will boast a concept based on a specific interaction of traditional and modern cuisine that Zirojević very successfully established at Laganini, but applied in a different, broader way.

Dvor has an aquarium with live fish, fresh French oysters, and some classic French dishes such as cold duck breast. Still, the menu also includes risotto with shrimp and asparagus and Zirojević's signature dishes such as tuna rolls with goose liver, tartare with timut peppercorns, and onion and ceviche jam.

One of the huge assets of Dvor is a beautiful terrace with a garden on the sea, in which there will be a lounge area. Although preparations for the season are still ongoing, Zirojević is already receiving guests at Dvor.

"We started calmly and quietly; the situation is still uncertain due to the pandemic; it requires experience and caution. But regardless of that, I think that the restaurant must promote quality first of all, and we still have a lot of plans in that segment. If you are really good, you will find people wherever you are," says Zirojević.

Dvor, however, will not be difficult to find. It is located in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Split, behind one of the most beautiful terraces in Split, and has one of the best Croatian chefs.

For more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Thursday, 18 March 2021

The Wait is Over: Chops Grill in Split Reopens Terrace for All Steak Lovers!

March 18, 2021 - Chops Grill in Split has reopened its spacious terrace for all steak lovers in the city!

"The spacious and airy, unique and pleasant ambiance of #ChopsGrill restaurant is perfect for birthday celebrations, baptisms, first communions, and Confirmations, as well as business gatherings with colleagues and partners. Share unforgettable moments with your loved ones and enjoy the top gastronomic delicacies of our chefs."

It's the moment we've all been waiting for... Chops Grill has reopened their roomy terrace for all meat lovers in Split! 

From Thursday, March 18, at noon, the doors to Split's famous steakhouse will welcome you with open arms, the highest safety standards, and the juiciest cuts of meat. 

Whether you'd prefer a veal ribeye, Black Angus ribeye and beef tenderloin, T-Bone, striploin, or tomahawk on the bone, Chops' vast selection of meats has a cut for everyone. 

But it isn't only about the beef. 

Guests can begin with scampi & shrimp pate, bruschetta topped with mozzarella, tomatoes, pesto, or a chilled and tart tuna carpaccio with shallots, rocket, pomegranate, and citrus. 

A light apricot risotto served with a pea cream or linguine prepared 'buzara' style with shrimp, shells, and the freshest fish available will make you forget you're even at a steakhouse. The mango-dressed salmon filet with chickpeas, sea bass filet in a red paprika sauce, or grilled local bluefin tuna can do no wrong, while the beautifully grilled monkfish soaked in a truffle sauce is a delightful, delicious, and dangerously good option you won't be sorry you chose. 

Classic soups and salads are readily available to lighten the load, and a dessert selection from sorbet made in-house to traditional egg flan, mirror-glazed cheesecake, or chocolate souffle are just a few of the ways you can end a stellar meal. 

You can explore the full Chops Grill menu HERE.

For all info and reservations, call +395 91 365 0000.

Chops will work every day from 12 pm to 10 pm.

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

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Spring at Split's Brasserie on 7: All-Day Brunch and Special Lunch Menus from Monday!

March 14, 2021 - The weather is warmer, the terraces are open, and Brasserie on 7 is back with a spring offer you won't want to miss. A look at what's on this spring at Split's Brasserie on 7.

To welcome the new season, sunnier weather, and any excuse to get outside, Split Riva hotspot Brasserie on 7 is sharing their terrace with you this spring to enjoy all-day brunch and lunch specials that'll make you coming back for more.

Namely, from Monday, March 15, sit back and soak up the sun from B7 while savoring an all-day brunch menu with freshly brewed coffee/tea and your choice of French toast, Eggs Benedict, or an Acai Bowl - for just 60 kuna to boot!

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And B7 doesn't stop at brunch. 

Bring your lunch break to B7 for a standout menu including the custom beef-blend burger, seafood risotto, or chickpea salad dressed in a grilled lemon vinaigrette, all served with a complimentary glass of wine or beer.

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Recall, Brasserie on 7 appointed French / American Alexandre Ange as Chef de Cuisine last month.

Classically trained in French cuisine, Alex has spent the past 12 years working in some of the top restaurants in France & the United States, including the famous L’Atelier in Paris, run by Chef Joel Robuchon (the chef with the most Michelin stars in the world). Alex made the move to Split, together with his family, with an exciting vision on how to expand and improve on the imaginative and inventive À la carte menu that B7 is already famous for:

“I strongly believe in using local ingredients and supporting Dalmatian producers. My vision is to bring our guests an exceptional and memorable dining experience by introducing a renovative food menu that satisfies the taste bud of local and international guests”, pledges Ange.

This spring, the new B7 Executive Chef will be introducing subtle changes across the menu, while using the very best produce Croatia has to offer.

“Delicious exciting changes are coming to our breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus - including vegetarian and vegan dishes, but we will let you discover them when you visit us at Brasserie on 7 in Split this season," invitingly says the front of house Ivan Rabadan.

For the last seven years, Brasserie on 7 has become known for its world-class breakfast in an iconic Riva setting, a casual upscale café vibe for lunch, and a refined coastal French-inspired Adriatic dinner to both tourists and locals alike.

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

Thursday, 4 March 2021

People also ask Google: Is Dubrovnik or Split Better?

March 4, 2021 - In our latest People also ask Google series, we attempt to tackle the impossible - is Dubrovnik or Split better?

Ah, the tale of two ancient cities, both breathtaking in their own ways. One, the Adriatic Pearl, the other, Dalmatia's bustling capital - but both full of pride that there is no better place. 

Their vibrant history more or less defines them. Dubrovnik's roots trace back to the 7th century when it was founded as Ragusa by inhabitants of the ancient Greek colony of Epidaurus (present-day Cavtat). Split, on the other hand, founded as the Greek colony Aspálathos only a bit earlier, in the 3rd or 2nd century BC. 

Centuries later, both cities are certainly known for their turbulent history and historic cores - Dubrovnik, a town wrapped by medieval defensive walls, and Split, a city that boasts the 1700-year-old Diocletian's Palace, the former retirement home of Roman Emporer Diocletian.

While it may be humanely IMpossible to decide which is better, we do know one thing: these ancient artifacts have turned two coastal cities into tourism champions in much more recent years, where history mixes with the mood of the Meditteranean to make for one stellar holiday. 

Is it better to stay in Dubrovnik or Split?

We recently covered how many days you should spend in Dubrovnik, much like the magic number for Split, but where should you stay in both cities? 

Dubrovnik abounds in 5-star hotels and villas, attracting luxury travelers thanks to its deluxe amenities. From the Excelsior, Rixos, and Sun Gardens to the centrally-located Hilton Imperial and lavish Grand Villa Argentina, tourists with higher spending power really have their pick when it comes to the upper echelon of hotels in the area. And that's without mentioning ultra-luxurious villas, like Sheherezade.

 

Private accommodation in Dubrovnik, however, can get a bit tricky. While basic old-town offers in the summer can cost you an arm and a leg, literally and figurately (remember, endless flights of stairs and NO elevators), apartments outside of the center, while more affordable, are less accessible. Yes, taxis and Uber do exist, but so do narrow roads and summer traffic, both of which plague Dubrovnik in the peak season. 

Split, on the other hand, is still a bit behind in the luxury hotel world. And to compensate for its lack of hotel rooms, the city has seen a boom in private accommodations over the last few years, with things getting a little out of hand.

But there is hope.

The newly-opened 4-star Amphora Hotel has done a significant job adding to the hotel capacity in Split with 206 rooms, while newcomers like briig boutique hotel add flair to the Bačvice neighborhood. The Birkenstock-owned Ambasador will add 101 rooms to the West Coast sometime this year, while the Adris Group will step into the Dalmatian market with the hopeful opening of the 'new' hotel Marjan in 2022.

Lovers of luxury hotels can currently only choose from the 5-star Le Meridien Lav hotel, located about 15 minutes outside of Split in Podstrana, or the beloved Bačvice-based Hotel Park. However, the history-rich-heritage hotels in the center make up for any missing affluence (check out Palace Judita, Heritage Hotel Antique, or Jupiter, for example). 

Does Split or Dubrovnik have better beaches?

Bačivce or Banje? It's unlikely you'll spend an hour in either city without hearing their names. 

Bačivce, Split's public beach, is located about a 10-minute walk outside of Diocletian's Palace. A sandy beach popular for speedo-clad picigin players, Bačivce boasts views that extend out to Brač during the day, while it is the hub of Split nightlife in the evening, where young partygoers let loose until sunrise. Needless to say, things can get a bit messy (and crowded). 

On the other hand, Dubrovnik's public Banje beach is a short walk from the old town, with views onto the city walls and harbor. While you'll be hard-pressed to find a more unique swimming spot, it is penetrated by thirsty tourists in the summertime, making it often impossible to claim a lounge chair. 

 

Fortunately, Bačice and Banje aren't the only beaches in Split in Dubrovnik. Split's coast is decorated with beaches, as is Marjan Hill, where you'll find Kaštelet, situated just below the Ivan Meštrović Gallery, or Kašjuni, boasting a deep bay with the cliffs wrapping around you. 

Šulići is just a short walk from the Pile Gate in Dubrovnik, while the family-friendly Copacabana beach in Babin Kuk offers a restaurant, water sports, and cocktails for the adults. And if you have a car? Head 30 minutes south of Dubrovnik to discover the best beaches in Konavle!

Is Dubrovnik or Split nightlife better?

As someone who just crossed over into her 30s after a vibrant decade of partying in her 20s, the answer to this one comes quite easily. One thing young travelers visiting Dubrovnik often mention is the lack of nightlife in the city. And as it should be, because Dubrovnik's beauty shouldn't be embraced with a hangover. However, you can't deny that people want to let loose on holiday, whether they're at a pub or a club. So, where to? 

 

For those who enjoy partying until the early morning hours, there is one special place to go - Culture Club Revelin. It even made DJ Mag's Top 50 Best Clubs in the World. Located in a 500-year-old medieval fortress, it'll be hard to find another setting as unique. Just like it'll be hard to find another club Dubrovnik. 

And if you're not the clubbing type after all? Dubrovnik flourishes with cafe and wine bars, and there are even a few Irish pubs!

Split, on the other hand, has become a hotspot for Croatian nightlife. After the wine-bar-boom came the craft-cocktail-bar boom, and there is a nightclub for all types of partygoers. Bar crawls also rule summer nightlife, and all roads eventually lead to the Bačvice beach clubs, where you can enjoy a sunrise swim if you stay long enough.

 

Split's live music scene also thrives most of the year; you can catch up-and-coming Croatian acts or touring international DJs if you're lucky!

Are Split or Dubrovnik restaurants better?

Both Split and Dubrovnik have upped their culinary game in the last few years. Dubrovnik currently boasts 10 Michelin-recommended restaurants, while one restaurant, 360, carries a Michelin star. And because it is a luxury destination, you'll notice more fine dining options in Dubrovnik than Split. 

Split cannot currently boast a Michelin star, though it does have five Michelin-recommended restaurants and many trendy newcomers that add flair to classic Dalmatian cuisine. 

 

Long gone are the days of only ćevapi and pomfret (though you'll still find it on most konoba menus), as both cities have become creative in their culinary offers, with many international options on the table too. If you're after the flavors of sushi, Mexican, Thai, or Chinese, or want to keep it traditional with grilled fish, black risotto, and octopus salad, you'll be pleased eating in either city. 

Would you choose Dubrovnik or Split in October?

Ah, the offseason debate is back again!

If you'd like my personal opinion, both cities are a gem in October, that is, if you're not coming to Croatia solely for the sun, sea, and swimming. October weather could also surprise, and you may find that Indian Summer comes out to play.

Best-case scenario - you're swimming in slightly cooler sea temperatures with fewer boats and emptier beaches. Worst-case scenario, you're stuck in the rain and have to schedule your outdoor activities around when it's dry - so you get to sit in a cafe and people watch or enjoy museums to kill time instead. Is that really so bad?

 

Realistically, most everything remains open in both cities throughout October, making it easier for you to enjoy what you'd plan on doing in summer without fighting sweaty bodies wanting to do the same thing. 

October is also a good time to enjoy emptier roads, so why not take a road trip from Dubrovnik to Pelješac for wine tasting? Or from Split to Omiš for ziplining over the canyon? The opportunities are endless. 

In conclusion: Is Dubrovnik or Split better?

The real question is - which city is better for you?

One might suggest that if you're young, looking for vibrant nightlife, good food options, and easy access to the islands, you'll fit better in Split. And if you're a Game of Thrones fan looking to tick tourist attractions off your list? You'll likely choose Dubrovnik. But both cities offer something for all ages and all members of the family, and because they're only 3 hours apart by car, you don't really have to choose at all. 

Illustration by Little Shiva

To follow the People Also Ask Google about Croatia series, click here.

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Iconic Split Riva Venue Brasserie on 7 Reopens with Exciting News!

February 27, 2021 - The iconic Split Riva venue Brasserie on 7 reopens with a new French/American Chef de Cuisine!

One of Split’s most attractive dining venues, Brasserie on 7 is reopening Monday, March 1st, for the 2021 season, with an exciting new chapter, by appointing French / American Alexandre Ange as Chef de Cuisine.

“After such a tough 2020 for the tourism and hospitality industry, I am thrilled to welcome Alex as our new Executive Chef. Sparked with passion for Mediterranean cuisine, we are absolutely delighted that Alex is joining our team, thus helping to further develop our culinary story! “ – says with excitement Maria Mustapic, one of the two owners of Brasserie on 7.

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Classically trained in French cuisine, Alex has spent the past 12 years working in some of the top restaurants in France & the United States, including the famous L’Atelier in Paris, run by Chef Joel Robuchon (the chef with the most Michelin stars in the world). Alex made the move to Split, together with his family, with an exciting vision on how to expand and improve on the imaginative and inventive À la carte menu that B7 is already famous for:

“I strongly believe in using local ingredients and supporting Dalmatian producers. My vision is to bring our guests an exceptional and memorable dining experience by introducing a renovative food menu that satisfies the taste bud of local and international guests”, pledges Ange.

This spring, the new B7 Executive Chef will be introducing subtle changes across the menu, while using the very best produce Croatia has to offer.

“Delicious exciting changes are coming to our breakfast, lunch and dinner menus - including vegetarian and vegan dishes, but we will let you discover them when you visit us at Brasserie on 7 in Split this season, we are very eager to reopen on March 1st” invitingly says front of house Ivan Rabadan.

For the last seven years, Brasserie on 7 has become known for its world class breakfast in an iconic Riva setting, a casual upscale café vibe for lunch and a refined coastal French inspired Adriatic dinner to both tourists and locals alike.

„Our goal, as always, is to provide a memorable dining experience for each and every one of our guests. And with the addition of Alex I am confident that Brasserie will reach new heights“, says Korana Bucic, the other half of the power duo behind B7' success.

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Born and raised in Australia, childhood friends Maria Mustapic and Korana Bucic returned to Croatia in 2006 and made waves when they opened the first registered hostel in Split. Then they just kept going, opening a second hostel, Charlie's backpackers bar, Zinfandel food & wine bar and – in March 2014 – adding Brasserie on 7 as the crown-jewel of their business portfolio.

ABOUT CHEF ALEXANDRE ANGE

Classically trained in French cuisine, Alex Ange has spent the past 12 years working in some of the top restaurants in France and the United States.

His career started in New York City, working as a stagiaire in various restaurants as a summer job during high school. After graduating, he decided to pursue cooking as a profession, and returned to France to begin a professional culinary apprenticeship under chef Joel Robuchon (the chef with the most Michelin stars in the world) at his restaurant L’Atelier in Paris.

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This opened many doors and enabled him the opportunity to work with some of world’s best chefs, including Thomas Keller and Philippe Tessier at The French Laundry in California’s Napa Valley, Joshua Skenes at Saison in San Francisco, Daniel Boulud at Restaurant Daniel in New York, as well as Marcus Samuelsson.

ABOUT BRASSERIE ON 7

Owned by business power-duo Korana Bucic & Maria Mustapic, Brasserie on 7 is located on the most sought-after location in Split, on the stunning Riva, overlooking the Adriatic Sea.

Since it opened, in March 2014, B7 has been run under the competency of Ivan Rabadan as front of house.

The operation is reinforced by quality with multi award winning barista Matea Vuletic, and an inhouse pastry and bakery team run by the talented Ivana Bradaric since 2015. Known for its sweet Tuesdays on the Riva.

B7 staff has been constantly improving on their skills, by enrolling in work experiences in Zagreb, Marseille, London, as well as many culinary and Food&Beverages workshops and courses. The team won Gourmet Expo in 2019.83227788_2677696605651889_3343719579959427072_o.jpg

Brasserie on 7 takes pride in being part of the community and contributing whenever they can, including the humanitarian fundraising of up to 90,000kn for the children’s ward in Split. In the recent crisis of COVID, both B7 and Zinfandel restaurants took part in cooking for the medical staff and most recently their chefs showed homage to the citizens of Petrinje, affected by the recent devastating earthquakes, by joining the 300 volunteer chefs that cooked for them.

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

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Run Rudolph, Run! Chops Grill Announces Photo Adventure Around Split

December 23, 2020 - Run Rudolph Run! Chops Grill has announced a prize game starting today, December 23, until December 31, 2020.

Because we should still enjoy the perks of Advent while we can!

Chops Grill is helping you enjoy the beauties of Split while taking photos next to the sights indicated on their Run Rudolph, Run map, just in time for the holidays. 

To participate in the prize game, post a photo on your Instagram in front of one of the sights with a drink or delicacy from the Chops TO GO offer and tag @ChopsGrill restaurant. Every day, Chops will reward one post with an Advent breakfast TO GO!

ChopsGrill has made sure that this year's Advent on Marmontova did not pass without their favorite Christmas delicacies at promotional prices.

Open every day from 7.00 to 22.00, eat your way through Split at Chops TO GO, with breakfast treats such as savory croissants stuffed with scrambled eggs, pancetta, or salmon, eggburgers, and cheese toast.

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Later in the day, dig into homemade sausages and bakalar to get into the Christmas spirit.

Follow Chops on Instagram to explore the offer and more! 

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

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Chops Grill, Your Go-To for Birthdays, Baptisms, Business Lunches and More

November 7, 2020 -  Chops Grill Steak & Seafood is here for you beyond the beef. It's your go-to for birthdays, baptisms, business lunches, and more!

As we approach the most wonderful time of the year, when spending time with family reigns above all, it's good to know that family gatherings don't always have to mean we're stuck in the kitchen.

Enter Chops Grill, who will do all of the heavy lifting for you. 

"In the unique and elegant ambiance of the Chops Grill Steak & Seafood restaurant, spend moments with relatives, friends, or business colleagues that will forever remain in your memory. An exceptional offer, friendly staff, and top gastronomic specialties are what make Chops Grill Steak & Seafood restaurant recognizable.

In the #ChopsClassic or #ChopsSuperior lunch offer, we offer services for organizing birthday parties and baptism celebrations, as well as business events and socializing.

Give your loved ones and business partners unforgettable celebrations at popular prices and spend a pleasant afternoon with the flavors of the culinary magic of our chefs!" 

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Namely, for 250 kn, the Chops Grill Classic menu begins with a selection of prosciutto, cheese, bruschetta, scampi pate, and steak tartar. You then get to choose between shrimp risotto and macaroni with prosciutto with truffle, or homemade soup with noodles, boiled beef, potatoes, carrots, and šalša. 

The main course includes a Chops meat platter with beefsteak, aged rump steak, veal chops, and grilled chicken, with a side of baked potatoes with ham and onion, grilled vegetables, and seasonal salad, OR, veal prepared peka style (under the bell), with potatoes and seasonal salad. 

The Chops Grill Superior menu, which is 300 kn, also begins with a selection of prosciutto, cheese, bruschetta, scampi pate, and steak tartar, followed by creamy Vichyssoise soup, and shrimp risotto and macaroni with prosciutto with truffle.

For the main course, guests can enjoy the Chops meat platter with beefsteak, aged rump steak, veal chops, and grilled chicken, with a side of baked potatoes with ham and onion, grilled vegetables, truffle mashed potatoes, caesar salad, and beef wellington (with a mushroom and goose liver cream, wrapped in puff pastry). 

Both menus end with dessert and include juice, beer, and house wine!

So, how about have your next celebration at Chops?

For reservations and more info, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit their Facebook page, or call +385 91 365 0000. You can also visit their website for all menu options here.

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

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