Le Bistro Esplanade

Michelin recommendation
Gault&Millau Croatia

Ana Grgić
Price range:

In addition to being a place where you’ll find the classic and grandiose Zinfandel’s Restaurant, Esplanade, Zagreb’s most beautiful and monumental hotel, is also the home of Zinfandel’s miniature version. Le Bistro is a quiet and pleasant glazed little place with lush green vegetation located across the botanical garden accentuating its beauty. It’s always ready to accommodate both locals and foreign visitors who expect the food and service to be on a different level. After all, they themselves like to point out that this is a place where Croatian cuisine meets Paris chic.

Ana Grgić is the executive chef at both Le Bistro and Zinfandel’s. The menu is seasonally varied and this is why we barely managed to have a glimpse of what summer has to offer. The offer is extremely varied ranging from the legendary strukli, which could well be Le Bistro’s signature dish, to a wide array of risottos, pasta, Mediterranean and continental dishes... The couvert hasn’t been changed for some time now and the reason may very well be that it’s superb and original. Almost transparent salty snacks and a mild cheese dip make a superb and impressive start before you dig into some of the soups or entrées. You can expect courgette flowers filled with a truffle cream, truffle foam and courgette dust to get things going. You also have octopus salad, rucola gnudi, smoked trout rillettes or goat cheese ice cream with dandelion cream... If you’re by any chance up for some classic dishes such as beef carpaccio or steak tartare, you can be sure that they’ll have them...

The same applies to the main dishes where you can choose from Wiener Schnitzel, roasted onion soup, steak tartare and the creamy, soft and light Esplanade strukli we’ve already mentioned... Followed by a savoury and light asparagus cream soup (you can also choose vegetable consommé with dill) we were ready for the main course and it was a beef T-bone steak served in a wonderful grill pan on a board with chilli, potatoes and roasted corn. Black pork cheeks, veal and John Dory, sea bass and swordfish fillets are also incredibly sought after...

The wine list selection is exceptionally diverse, but we took heed of the waiter’s recommendation and stayed in Istria by opting for Matošević. Ana Grgić has acquired an enviable reputation for her pastry so the scents and flavours of macarons with lemon cream, caramelised nectarines with a basil semifreddo, warm chocolate cake with strawberries will follow you home...

There are plenty of hotels, but there is only one Esplanade. And this is exactly how the great Ana Grgić manages it. Enjoy...

Author of photography: Sanjin Strukić/PIXELL

-- Your Gourmet 365

Contact number: 01/4566 611

Web: www.lebistro.hr

E-mail: lebistro@esplanade.hr

Working hours: Monday-Sunday: 9:00 - 23:00 h

Region: City of Zagreb

Address: Mihanovićeva 1, 10000 Zagreb

Capacity: 100

Price range: 200-300kn

Restaurant description:

Sophistication and attention to detail, fresh local ingredients and flawless scents and flavours are signature traits of high-quality French cuisine. Add carefully chosen spices, plenty of love, care and innovative ideas, a young and charming team of chefs and waiters, a pleasant ambience with an air of Paris chic and some fine wines at acceptable prices – and you've found yourself in Zagreb's Le Bistro. Since its opening in 1986, Le Bistro immediately assumed an important role in the city's daily life and has for decades offered typical bistro-style meals, as well as the world-famous Esplanade strukli.

Awards and recognitions:

Recommended by Michelin Guide 2018
Gault&Millau Croatia: Great Chef of Tomorrow 2018: Ana Grgić
Seasonal menu