Fanciful gastronomic classic on the Sava riverbank
In 2023, Balon celebrated its 20th anniversary – this fact alone speaks volumes about this place. Throughout the years, this gastronomic classic has been enchanting its regular and new guests with its innovative service and varied menus. Balon is definitely a gourmet all-rounder that works for business lunches, family get-togethers, various celebrations, but also for an outstanding gastronomic experience.
The interior of the restaurant is pleasant and unpretentious, in muted colour tones; the restaurant can accommodate about fifty guests. A special forte of Balon is the impressive summer terrace; but even the winter terrace is carefully designed, with various seating areas. In addition to the carefully planned food selection, Balon never fails to attract its guests with different entertainment events.
The service is pleasant and unobtrusive, but always at hand and willing to help and provide information.
What is served?
Here, everyone can select something of their own choosing. There are 7 cold appetizers to choose from, including Dalmatian prosciutto, renowned Istrian Kumparička cheeses, fish and meat tartar, and carpaccio. Out of the 3 soups on offer, one is prepared with a true delicacy, oxtail. Hot appetizers vary from inventive combinations of prawns and anchovies, to classic dishes such as Istrian pasta fuži with truffles to as many as 4 types of risotto – with seafood, with swordfish and cauliflower, with steak and with veal in cognac.
Furthermore, there is a selection of aged steaks, as well as vegetarian dishes.
As for the main courses, eight of them are meat and seven are fish dishes. Meat delicacies include several types of steak, duck breast, lamb prepared in two ways, beef cheeks and the iconic Viennese steak. In addition to fresh Adriatic fish of the 1st and 2nd class, the menu includes various fillets and octopus with unusual side dishes and spices, such as garam masala, crispy cauliflower, pear and ginger, and feta cheese baked in sesame.
The dessert menu includes restaurant classics such as tiramisu and souffle, but also modern recipes such as apple rolls and a hazelnut ball with tangerine.
Every day after 5 p.m., a 3-course evening menu and a 5-course tasting menu are served, which can also be accompanied by wine choice which pairs well with the menus.
Balon also offers a list of selected classic cocktails, but the wine list is really something, with a wide and unusual selection of wines poured open, including a premium wine section poured using the Coravin system. In addition to some fifteen sparkling wines and champagnes, the wine list is very clearly divided by varieties and includes Croatian as well as foreign wines — Italian, Austrian, French, Slovenian, South American.
What our chefs had?
The decision was not easy, because a lot of things on the menu sounded tempting. As a starter, the Delicious Zagreb team opted for crispy anchovies on a bed of orzotto with spinach and cranberries and paccheri pasta with octopus. The anchovies were really crispy because they were breaded in panko crumbs and fried just enough to retain their juiciness. As a counterpoint, we had creamy orzotto with spinach and cranberries which added just the right sweet and sour note. The paccheri with octopus was divine. If you like red sauce pasta, this is definitely the dish for you – the perfectly balanced acid of the tomato, the intensity of the sun-dried tomatoes and Mediterranean herbs, and the Parmesan foam combined with the sweetness of the octopus and robust paccheri. For the main course, we simply couldn't resist their widely known specialty – Viennese veal steak in clarified butter, with potato salad and cranberry jam. The seemingly simplest dishes always require great skills, and this Viennese dish was truly outstanding. With lunch, we had a glass of Austrian Veltliner and Italian Chianti, and for a sweet ending, we enjoyed a modern version of tiramisu.