“National boundaries are one thing, but Gastronomical boundaries are endless”. Zlatko Puntijar.
After our walking Tour of Zagreb, the day before the International Wine Tourism Conference, we headed back to the hotel to thaw out and prepare for the evening’s event. Because it had been snowing all day (and there was a major accident blocking traffic in the direction of our proposed visit) plans had to be changed. So we got to stay in the city and visited a restaurant; but not just any restaurant…
Dating back to 1838, Stari Puntijar is the oldest restaurant in the Zagreb district of Gracanska Croatia which has been passed down from one generation to another. We were warmly greeted by Mr. Zlatko Puntijar, the fifth generation and his lovely daughter Matea (sixth generation) who are just as passionate as their fore fathers before them. The family name first appeared in documents dating back to the 16th century (1581), and Ivan Puntijar, the great grandfather of Zlatko, opened his first Inn and store in Gracani in 1838. The dishes made for the restaurant are family recipes in which are improved upon by each generation.
With this kind of dedication to tradition, the Puntijar family has learned and truly believes that “a restaurant has two souls – one in the kitchen, and the other in the cellar.” The family Puntijar boasts of a fairly extensive collection of Croatian wines in their cellar, as well as home produced brandies. The wines are carefully selected to accompany the regional foods that are prepared for their guests. While in the cellar, Zlatko Puntijar sabered a bottle of Champagne with finesse. Other wines that we got to taste during the dinner were Croatian.
Mr. Puntijar and his daughter, Matea are also very proud to show guests their collection of cookbooks, which by the way is the oldest and largest in all of Croatia. They have over two thousand cookbooks from all over Croatia and around the world. Their pride and joy is a small cookbook that fits on two fingers and have 100 recipes on 160 pages. Apparently, it is one of four still in existence and was published…..
Another area of importance is their dining room that they call The Knights Hall. Here there is a full size suit of an ancient Armor in very good condition, a small drawing room, a library with books on the history of Croatia and Zagreb, and a study room readily available to guests.
Address: 65, Gracanska cesta, Zagreb Croatia