Who is behind Ćiri Biri Bela?
We are a family business, established in 2018. The owner, Ćiro Sabljic, is not only the head chef of the restaurant but also from „Cucina Mare“, which offers cooking classes, private events, weddings, parties, and tastings. We also run a street food store called “Frit de Split“ specializing in homemade sausages and fries. Taking it a step further, Ćiro has ventured into agriculture on his parents' land in Imotski, enabling them to offer a wide range of products from their own farm with an organic quality. We also support regional farmers and incorporate locally sourced ingredients into our menu. Our mission is to welcome people from around the world, showcase authentic Croatian products, and portray Croatians as a hospitable nation to the global community.
To understand the origins of this story, we need to go back to the beginning. Ćiro, the son of Croatian farmers from a small village near Imotski, located 60 km from Split, was born in Germany in 1977 while his parents were working there. Although the family moved to Germany in the 70s, they spent their holidays in Croatia, allowing Ćiro to develop a strong connection with the Croatian people and culture. As a child, he spent a significant amount of time with his grandmother in Croatia, who taught him how to cook typical Dalmatian dishes. That’s when he fell in love with cooking. After completing his schooling, Ćiro embarked on a three-year chef training program at a 5-star hotel in Mainz. He obtained his diploma at the age of 19 and now boasts 25 years of experience as a chef, including 15 years as a head chef in well known hotels and restaurants in Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland. Prior to returning to Croatia, Ćiro owned and served as the chef at "Culatello" restaurant in Darmstadt, which was ranked as the best restaurant in town on Tripadvisor and was subsequently sold to facilitate his plan of moving back to Croatia.
In 2008, Ćiro met his wife, who brought new experiences and ideas into his life. Both being food enthusiasts, they began traveling together, exploring cuisines from around the world, from Brazil to Lapland, and collecting culinary ideas and flavors. These journeys inspired Ćiro to develop his own recipes and ideas, influenced by his diverse travel experiences. Together, they started the business in Croatia, sharing various responsibilities. Ćiro, being in charge of Food & Beverage, continues to cook in the kitchen, teach the staff, and develop innovative food ideas. His wife oversees HR, Design & Marketing for Ćiri Biri Bela & Cucina Mare, as well as managing the social media activities. Of course, none of this would be possible without a dedicated staff. The team consists of permanent and seasonal workers, including a French manager named Lison Chapon, who has been with them since 2020 and has been an invaluable asset.
Returning to the beginning of the story, one day Ćiro made the decision to return to his homeland and find the perfect location where he could offer homemade, delicious, original Dalmatian dishes made with love. He sold everything he had in Germany and fate led him to a house that perfectly fit his vision. After six months of hard work, he opened the restaurant in July 2018. Together with his wife, they created a place for food lovers from around the world and friends to enjoy great food, sleep, shop, and have fun, all while surrounded by positive vibes.
Why it's called Ćiri Biri Bela, you ask? Well, it draws its name from an old, catchy Dalmatian song that resonates with both young and old, just like we hope our restaurant and the experience will captivate you.
Now, as Ćiri Biri Bela enters its 6th season, it continues to shine among the top 3 restaurants in Split. Private life is also flourishing as Ćiro and his wife embrace the joys of parenthood, with their small Frida adding even more happiness to their lives.