The place that serves food everyone inZagreb ate when they were little
Ficlek, meaning a tiny piece, a sliver in the original Zagreb dialect, was created as an authentic local eatery. In this place, locals and tourists can enjoy the atmosphere and the food of an old Zagreb inn with a view of the cathedral.
The interior hits all the right notes, the wall tiles are old-school white squares, bread baskets are made out of wicker by hand, sausages are hanging from the ceiling, and the serving dishes and plates with retro designs clearly evoke the bygone era.
A mature waiter and an experienced cook with an honest smile work in synergy with the interior. If we ignore that more than one waiter is needed to serve 30 people, the wait is a bit longer. That is how it used to be in the golden days, so even the wait is part of the concept.
What is served
The food comes from Dolac, the largest open market next to the restaurant. Everything is made from fresh ingredients, like đuveč, a ratatouille-like vegetable stew often served with rice, or faširanci, ground beef patties, in which old bread soaked in milk is added, to bulk them up and make them crispy when deep frying.
Classics like pork sausages with sauerkraut, sour cabbage rolls filled with ground beef or pork, deep-fried breaded chicken, calf's liver, oxtail, and tomato soup.
If you want a flavor journey through central Europe and its history, google every dish on the menu to discover their Turkish, Austrian, Hungarian, and other roots.
Traditional desserts like kaiserschmarrn, plum, and apricot dumplings in fried bread crumbs, or Schupfnudel, a finger of potato dough, cooked and then fried in breadcrumbs.
The drinks list is smart and short, covering different herb liqueurs and homemade spirits (rakije). The list goes on with multiple styles of Zagreb craft beers and concludes with white, red, and rose house wine produced in local vineyards, just outside Zagreb. If nothing else, try the Bermet, a locally produced fortified wine, Pelinkovac, a bitter spirit flavored by the bitter Artemisia plant called pelin in Croatian (muggwort in English).
What our chefs had
As it should be, when in Zagreb, we started our meal with a plate of eingemachtec, a rich chicken soup with carrots, peas, chunks of meat, and pasta. The one at Ficlek was superb.
Next, we had štrukle, traditional dough pockets filled with fresh cheese, and then cooked or baked. Tasty, well done, and fresh, very enjoyable.
As one of the mains, we had Trganci, a hand-torn (trgana) pasta chunks in chanterelle sauce with bits of bacon, onion, and wine, just so it does not overpower the earthy wild mushroom aromas.
Second main we tried was pork loin stuffed with dried plums, prepared the Stubica way. Extraordinarily rich, served with trganci pasta chunks in rich, white wine sauce.
If you are in for an authentic sliver of Zagreb gastronomy, give Ficlek a try.