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Restoran Fešta, Zagreb Winter Fairytale Restoran Fešta, Zagreb Winter Fairytale

The most prestigious of the Adriatic

The impeccable concept behind restaurant Fešta combines traditional and modern, be it visually or on the plate. The restaurant, which recently celebrated 25 years in the business, is one of the brightest stars on the culinary map of the Adriatic. Built on the uninhabited island of Žut, right next to a centuries old olive orchard, the restaurant is the brain child of Mirko Mudronja. His son Krešimir took over later, and turned the once unimpressively small restaurant into a serious place for serious eaters. The restaurant complex now includes a mooring sport welcoming up to 30 boats, five luxury glamping tents, facilities designed after those in modern luxury resorts, several outdoor terraces, crab tanks and three wine cellars. The itnerior is decidedly traditional, inspired by trattorias of the past, with traditional fishing and farmer tools, and traditional clothing of the region on display, as central part of the décor. Many a guest has noticed the restaurant seems a mirage: the wilderness of Žut seems scary at first, as the island has no sources of fresh water and isn’t covered by the national electricity grid, but the family ingeniously powers the restaurant and the complex by solar energy and uses desalinated sea water. Chef Zoran Jajac says he finds inspiration in the wilderness itself: Fešta is obviously best known for fish, and among guest favorites have long been mullet prosciutto, black truffle, fig and sea fennel carpaccio, ray salad with apricot reduction and angler fish tripe. The wine list is equally impressive: guests can select domestic (Dalmatian, continental or Istrian) or imported white, red and rose wines. ‘I still like to play in the kitchen’, says chef Zoran. ‘I love to play with ingredients, see if I can find a different perspective when it comes to traditional Croatian dishes. I find ideas everywhere, including stone masonry – the other love of my life, in addition to food. I am currently working on a very old house, and as I am slowly bringing it back to life, memories spring into my mind – old dishes and techniques, like for example cooking with dried peas, dried fish or buttermilk, used instead of water in these parts. Before coming to Zagreb, I picked some wild chard and rose hip/pomegranate. You can’t find those ingredients everywhere’, says the soon to be guest of FairYtale. Cheg Jajac pleads allegiance to the Opatija culinary sphere – it was in restaurant Bevanda that he first fell in love with gastronomy as profession. Later, he was head of Bizon on the isle of Murter and Murter in Zagreb, and has been with Fešta for five years now. FairYtale is the last gig of the season, says chef Jajac. ‘I’m looking forward to cooking in the capital. I like the idea behind the fair – bringing together all that is beautiful in life. Fine food fits perfectly into the world of luxury. I can’t wait to cook, eat and mingle. Also, many of my younger colleagues have contacted me, asking if I needed help with the prestigious event.’