La vita è bella when you enjoy proper Italian food, even if you have to go to Vrbani
Every now and then, someone dares to open a quality restaurant outside the city center, like Trattoria Mime's did, in the middle of a housing block of Vrbani. However risky, this kind of venture usually pays off in Zagreb. Especially if you show an effort and design your interior in dark wood, with turquoise seats and a bunch of designer touches here and there, to get a space that is luxurious, comfortable, and homely at the same time. Even if the interior design does not immediately deliver Italian trattoria vibes, the playlist takes you there.
The entire space seats maybe 50 people, with a couple of tables on a small terrace outside, and the service is cordial, warm, and attentive.
What is served
The menu is ample, covering Italian classics, like bruschetta, beef, tuna carpaccio, burrata, Insalata di gamberi, minestrone soup, several kinds of risotto, gnocchi, pasta—all the way down to grilled tuna steaks or beef filet in gorgonzola sauce.
If you are not hungry, or you are dining with your kids, there are a dozen pizzas on the menu, too.
The dessert list covers all the basics like tiramisu, cheesecakes, and brownies, as well as some more interesting choices, like profiteroles.
The wine list is extensive, going beyond just Italian wines, and with a decent list of Croatian wines.
Each table has a bottle of good quality olive oil, and as soon as you sit down, you get warm pizza bread, so you can try the oil—as is the custom.
What our chefs had
We started the meal with a selection of bruschetta, which surprisingly came on freshly baked pizza dough instead of slices of grilled stale bread.
Our second starter was salmon tartare in a cucumber and lime sauce, a refreshing and finely balanced dish we thoroughly enjoyed. Followed by finely sliced tuna carpaccios served with avocado slices and lemon, with grilled bread on the side.
For the primo piatto, we had prawn tagliatelle in bisque and spinach sauce and bucatini cacio e Pepe. Cacio e Pepe is a traditional Roman dish, basically mature sheep Pecorino Romano cheese, grated onto hot, freshly cooked pasta, then doused in olive oil and copious amounts of freshly ground pepper. Amazingly simple and mind-numbingly delicious.
Our second course was chicken breast stuffed with pistachio and goat cheese, served with beetroot, which sounded exciting, but was not that impressive in the end.
For dessert, we had a refreshing Tiramisu in a glass, with distinct coffee and mild mascarpone cheesy flavors hitting us in waves.