Mali Bar, a small bistro in Zagreb, is one of our favorite restaurants in Zagreb. Whenever we are in Zagreb, we try to eat at Mali Bar. The atmosphere is always convivial, the place is always busy, and the food is always fresh, seasonal, and yummy.
But before we tell you more about Mali Bar, we need to tell you a bit about Zagreb courtyards (something that deserves an entire post, and we plan to write it soon).
Zagreb is full of interior courtyards. Many buildings in the Upper and Downtown hide wonderful courtyards behind the facades; the entire squares where social interactions take place.
One such courtyard, off Vlaska Street, hides two awesome places to eat and hang out with friends: pizzeria Karijola, the best pizzeria in Zagreb making a thin crust pizza with unusual toppings; and Mali Bar, a bistro we intend to write about in this post.
Run by Croatian star chef, Ana Ugarkovic, Mali Bar is a cozy and unpretentious place that serves bistro food and has a great selection of Croatian wines by the glass, Croatian craft, and international beers.
The interior is designed with earthy and warm colors. The bistro has seven wooden tables and mismatched wooden chairs that create a playful and easy-going atmosphere.
Food is simple, a fusion of yummy Croatian and Asian dishes, and super-fresh. The chef buys her ingredients daily at a local green market, or directly from local producers, and the menu changes accordingly.
Our experience at the Mali Bar Zagreb
We've eaten here on many occasions, every time at lunchtime. And every time the food was simply mouthwatering.
Ana's spring peas soup is one of the best we've ever eaten. Thick, and creamy, this soup came with raw young green peas, basil, and chamomile.
Chinese pot-sticker dumplings filled with meat, shrimps, and bok choi are delicious. The veggies' tempura is always light and delicate. It consists of fresh asparagus, zucchini flowers, carrots, and parsley. I don't even like parsley, but found it delicious when made this way.
Feeling like something more traditional? Taste grilled tomino cheese on a bed of endive, radicchio, and lettuce. Simple and yummy! Or, roasted cod fillet served with potato & green garlic mash and a spicy tomato sauce. We've also eaten here the best fish & chips … ever. A hake fish was fried in a beer batter. Fish was light and crispy on the outside, and moist and soft on the inside. Really, really excellent!
Desserts here are also great. You can always find three to four different daily desserts. We've tasted passion fruit crème brulée, carob & chocolate cake, and white chocolate & hazelnut cake.
Final verdict: We are seriously in love with Mali Bar's food. This place simply speaks to us. Many of our friends complain that portions here are way too small, and prices are high. However, I think they are missing completely the point. The food here is super-fresh and yummy, innovative, but yet simple. Yes, portions are small, but who cares! Price range from 35 Kn to 120 Kn, and the majority of dishes cost around 70 Kn. House wine, Pilato's Istarska Malvazija (white wine), and a blend of teran and Cabernet Sauvignon (red wine) cost 10 Kn a glass. Other Croatian wine costs around 25 Kn a glass.
Expect to pay around 200 Kn per person for a meal with a glass of house wine.
Mali Bar Zagreb: Location & Contacts
Working hours | Mon-Sat: 12 pm-12 am | Sunday closed
Further reading: We often visit Zagreb and have written quite a few articles about the town here at our blog. Start with our Zagreb Travel Guide, then plan your days out in Zagreb with our guide on things to do in Zagreb, best restaurants in Zagreb, and our ultimate Zagreb itineraries for travelers, not tourists. If you look for a place to stay in Zagreb, check our Guide on the best accommodation in Zagreb. Find out the best local places to have a yummy and cheap lunch in Zagreb.
What kind of restaurants do you like? Any other Zagreb restaurant you'd like to recommend? Let us know in the comments below.