Zadar is quite westernised for it’s location, about halfway down the Croatian coast. But, it still has enough traditional and Bosnian influenced food and liberating lack of rules to remind you that it sits towards the edge of Europe.
The last time I was in Zadar, with a large gang of cycle tourers last year, we found a great restaurant hidden away at the back of the old city. From the front it looks very unassuming, just a heavy wooden door set into a bare stone wall. There is a faded photo next to a menu of the hidden outside dining area. The image is bleached white and damaged at the edges but it can still be interpreted as resembling a scene of a crumbling ancient Rome. Intrigued as we were on our first visit we stepped in to investigate.
Once you pass through the plain bar area you arrive surprised surveying a beautiful garden. There are large pillars of broken but exquisite architecture strewn about the dimly lit tables and chairs. Vines, flowering trees and plants emerge from gaps in the walls and from chance arrangements of the grand ruins. The garden is completely enclosed inside a courtyard and has a private and exclusive feel. I can attest that the food, service and prices there are excellent and they even allowed our bikes into the garden with us. I don’t remember the restaurants name. If you want to find it you’ll have to explore, which is more rewarding anyway. Also you’ll be able to work up a good appetite which is definitely a prerequisite as they serve squids the size of yer’ arm.