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Dalmatian Coast Restaurants

Adio Mare
2 Sv. Roka
Korčula Town , Korčula
Croatia 20260
Tel: 385 20 711 253

The oldest family-run restaurant in Korčula is still a place where locals gather at shellacked picnic tables to devour mussels dripping with oil, garlic, parsley, and white wine. A high-ceilinged, open-air dining room located inside a 200-year-old stone building within the city walls, Adio Mare has stuck to its beliefs even as the lines outside grow increasingly long: no reservations, fair prices, and delectable food.

Dinner nightly: 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Korčula Town , Korčula
Croatia 20260
Tel: 385 20 711 055

This Korčula sweet shop brims with candies, local wines, and liqueurs. The cookies, though, merit many returns. Try a klasun, filled with walnut cream; a handful of amaretti, made with almonds, eggs, sugar, orange, lemon, and rose brandy; or some cukarini, sweet biscuits traditionally dipped in wine. But you need to arrive early or you'll wind up waiting: Owner Smiljana Matijaca seemingly cooks nonstop, but still manages to sell out by midday and then reopens at night after baking another batch.

Closed Saturday. Open 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

34 Vladimira Nazora
Vis Town , Vis
Croatia 21480
Tel: 385 21 711 755

Vis, 28 miles into the Adriatic from the nearest coast, feels more secluded than its sister islands. Kaliopa echoes this sensibility: Hidden in a garden next to an old villa by the sea, it isn't a place you're likely to stumble upon. The owner, Goran Pecarevic, doesn't like crowds, either; in fact, he says his goal is to get smaller and smaller until he's serving only himself. Metaphysical puzzles aside, the food is delicious. Order a bottle of island-made red Plavac Mali, and start with smoked-fish soup or risotto with mussels and shrimp; next tuck into the tuna carpaccio slathered in domestic olive oil and sprinkled with capers. With only 50 seats outside, reservations are essential.

Dinner nightly: 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Donji Humac
Croatia 21423
Tel: 385 21 647 707

You know the food is good when the mix of customers includes white-dusted workmen from Brač's stone quarries and rich yachties who venture off the boat to look for this place on the road between Supetar and Bol. What's the attraction? The lamb: Brač has little grass, so its sheep feed on herbs such as sage and rosemary, dusted with sea salt. When cooked on the spit, those herbal flavors luxuriate with the meat's juices. The veal here is also scrumptious, slow-roasted under a peka, a traditional bell-like cover that acts as a primitive convection oven to keep the meat moist. The indoor dining room has a cafeteria feel, so move to the terrace, with its views of rolling, rocky hills.

Lunch and dinner daily: 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.

20 Ciril-Metodova
Croatia 21000
Tel: 385 21 486 675

You can get a decent meal at the traditional, touristic restaurants in Split's Old Town. But Labirint, hidden on a narrow lane past Trg Gaje Bulata across from Old Town's bustling Marmontova Street, is where the locals go. Labirint's raison d'être is beef, serving arguably the region's best steaks. Our pick: the 23-ounce T-bone served with grilled vegetables and potato croquettes, a great antidote to all the fish you've been eating.

Open daily noon to midnight.

1 Petar Hektorovića
Hvar Town , Hvar
Croatia 21450
Tel: 385 21 741 400

Italians love Hvar, and they especially love Luna—one of the few places on the island that might be described as glam. Owner Tomislav Rudan understands that visitors want a break from the standard fare and rustic ambience, so he serves dishes such as smoked salmon, shrimp gazpacho, and beef tenderloin with a truffle cream and mushroom sauce—a welcome break from picking tiny bones out of your teeth (fish in Croatia is rarely filleted). Located in the center of town, the restaurant has a dining room with a swirl of quirky paintings and a moon-shaped rooftop terrace. You'll hear a babble of languages and see many of the same good-looking folks at Carpe Diem later that night.

Closed November to March. Lunch and dinner.

28 Pupnat
Pupnat , Korčula
Tel: 385 20 717 109

Pupnat is a small village in Korčula's hills, but make the 15-minute drive from Korčula Town for what might be your crowning meal in Dalmatia. The operative word here is homemade: Everything from cured meats to pasta to cheese comes from the family's land. After enjoying a huge appetizer plate loaded with eggplant pâté, liver pâté, pancetta, sausage, goat cheese, and wild capers, move on to the goat-cheese ravioli, and finish off with pastries and juniper or rosemary sorbet. Be sure to check out the smokehouse, hanging with dozens of legs of pršut. A bottle of herb rakija —Croatian grappa—sits on each table along with a clutch of other liqueurs (mandarin, wild cherry, apricot, fig, rose petal, carob). Best assign a designated driver.

Nostromo Restaurant
10 Kraj Svete Marije
Croatia 21000
Tel: 385 91 405 6666

Savvy globe trekkers know that to find a good seafood restaurant you head for the local fish market. Split's market is worth a wander, with its singing, haggling, and bantering Croats selling lobsters, eels, and squid ink. While Nostromo isn't quite on the water itself, it attracts Split's upper echelon in an wood-bedecked dining room in the fish market that feels like a yacht's galley. The chefs know to leave well enough alone, using a minimum of spices and sauces to let the flavor of the fish come through. Start with a plate of local oysters before diving into the Nostromo plate, which includes sautéed shrimp, squid, mussels, scallops, and clams tossed with olive oil and parsley.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily: 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.

8 Don Cvjetka Marasovića
Vis Town , Vis
Croatia 21480
Tel: 385 21 711 575

Tucked away in an alley in the neighborhood of Kut, Pojoda is renowned for its full-bodied interpretations of ancient recipes. Our recommendation: the brodetto, a traditional stew made with tomatoes, wine, olive oil, monkfish, and lobster. Why is it so good? We don't know: When we asked owner and head chef Zoran Brajčić for the recipe, he said, "Nobody can imitate the dish. Even if you know the ingredients, how can you know how big my pinch is? I've got big hands." Couple the brodetto with a bottle of local Vugava white wine.

Lunch and dinner daily: 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Restaurant Macondo
Hvar Town , Hvar
Croatia 21450
Tel: 385 21 74 28 50

The owners of the increasing number of impossibly expensive yachts bobbing just off Hvar are lured onto land by this spot in Groda, Hvar town's oldest neighborhood. It's not the simple interior of wooden tables that does it, brightened as it is by the paintings of one of the owners. It's the soup, called gregada, so thick you need a fork and spoon to eat it. Originally a poor man's dish using boiled whitefish, potatoes, onions, and wine, here it's classed up with John Dory and sea bass. As often as not, when customers order something besides the gregada, they'll change their minds when a bubbling bowl wafts by, leaking the smell of garlic and wine.

Open daily: 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. No lunch on Sunday.

Hotel Photo
Restaurant Robinson
Mekićevica Bay
Croatia 21450
Tel: 385 91 383 5160

Situated in an idyllic bay, Robinson is about a 30-minute walk along the beach east of Hvar Town's main harbor (after leaving the sidewalk near Pokonji dol Bay, continue on an easy path until you reach Mekićevica Bay). When you arrive—look for a weathered wood sign shaped like a fish—ask the owner, Domagoj Vekić, what's available that day. Chances are he will rattle off a round of delectable choices such as octopus salad, spit-roasted shrimp covered with cheese and served with eggplant, marinated sardines, and fish stew made with tomatoes and garlic. If your choice is the catch of the day, Domagoj will clean the fish from a stone perch above the water and take it back to his kitchen hut to grill. Guests relax on the bleached-white stone beach until lunch is ready. Afterwards, take a dip in the impossibly clear waters. Because the restaurant is open odd days, it's best to call ahead before making the trek down the beach.

Lunch only: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.