Eating like locals in Croatia

Many travelers ask us where to get true local dining experiences but we do not always offer nor suggest those places. Several reasons to that but main is that “normal” restaurant offer in Croatia is fairly plain and boring: meat and potatoes is what is all about. Many places also serve great grilled fish but that became too expensive for most locals in the recent years.

Lamb on a spit with scallions, Torcida

Another reason is that the service is not always there so we prefer really nice places serving more imaginative dishes based on local traditions. Peka, lamb on a spit, grilled meat… this is most of the cuisine of the region served in the restaurants. Grilled fish I get better at my own gradele so I rarely eat it in the restaurants.

Of course, there are a lot of great places that are very popular with locals for the quality of food. Here, I will name just a few that I like to visit for consistent quality.

Torcida in Vrpolje near Šibenik is THE place for lamb on a spit. People from Split will argue that Klis is better but that is simply not true. Torcida rules and their home baked bread is another reason to stop or to make a detour. The place itself is nothing to write home about but the consistently great lamb is simply spectacular! Combine it with Velebitsko pivo and you will proper and authentic Croatian food experience to remember.

Next place I know I will have a good meal at is Propeti Poni (or the The Prancing Pony from LOTR) in Šibenik.


Constant quality of their meat dishes, fast service and great selection of pre-cooked meals, make Propeti Poni one of my favorites.


They used to have a great selection of international beer…

There are several great places in Split like Pimpinella near Firule hospital but I really like Ćiba. A friend of mine took me there last spring and as soon as I noticed the owner carrying a banana box full of home grown potatoes, I knew I found my local favorite.


This place is known for its grilled dishes selection.

Stuffed burger


Most of these meat dishes are found in the entire region and are common all over the Balkans. Pljeskavica, čevapčići, ražnjići..all classics!

Besides these few places, I am regular for tripe at Veseljak in Sukošan as well as at Joso just across Skošan marina.


Of course, these are just a few places in just one region but I will be adding more as the season approaches and we start exploring more places for our restaurant recommendations. As one can see, not very creative cuisine but surely seriously tasty dishes! Tastes worth exploring if you are interested in real local cuisine.


Restaurants in Split – eating out in Split

So this was an exciting summer for all of us who like eating out from time to time. There are many newly opened restaurants in Split following the booming of tourism and increase of number of travelers who choose Split as their destination.
Most of the restaurants are trying to have something other than boring, classic offer like grilled meat and fish and one major new trend is “Dalmatian tapas”. The finest example of small bites with good wines is Pikuleca by Dino Galvagno. We simply love that place although the portions are small and not exactly inexpensive but this is my favorite choice for late night, light food. The tastes are simply superb and unlike anything you can eat on the coast but still respecting the tradition and local ingredients. I would only prefer that it is more Dalmatian and without Istrian wines.

Octopus - at Pikuleca
Octopus – at Pikuleca


So, this summer we had opportunity to eat at:
newly opened F de Mar on the western promenade which was ok as the service was sloooow,
Bokeria – God knows what that was. The interior, however, is stunning.
Brasserie on 7 – EXCELLENT burgers (served only till 7 PM grrrrrr)
Uje Bar – quite ok. Will eat again.
Villa Spiza – great as usual
Chops Steak & Grill – Superb steak selection and great service!
Korta – always great!
…and few others.

We particularly enjoyed newly opened Paradigma as the  best (the only?) choice for fine dining in Split with superb dishes and great wine selection. This is their version of octopus!

Octopus - at Paradigma

Turbot - at Paradigma
Turbot – at Paradigma

One of our favorite lunches was served at Restaurant Dvor, Firule neighborhood of Split. Located in a finely restored classic Split  house by the sea, Dvor offers one of the most romantic settings in all of Split. 
The food is always good but the staff seems to be a bot more relaxed than they should. It does not bother me but would prefer more professional attitude. We always enjoy their ginger and carrot soup! 

Ginger and carrot spicy soup at Dvor restaurant
Ginger and carrot spicy soup at Dvor restaurant

And I also like how they serve classic soparnik for couvert.

Soparnik with olives and olive oil
Soparnik with olives and olive oil

The best seafood we ate at Matejuška tavern. Just a tiny place for locals has been made quite popular due to top position on Trip Advisor. Not sure if they will be able to maintain the quality, but everything we had (tuna and flaunder) was simply superb! This place is also quite inexpensive as the 5 of us ate for 100 Euros (three courses with house wine).

Seafood lunch at Konoba Matejuska
Seafood lunch at Konoba Matejuska

There are definitely many great additions to Split restaurant scene and I am glad the town is slowly becoming an interesting place to eat out. Split  – and its guests – deserve it!

Travel in Croatia



Hercules of Brac – in search of ancient quarries

Few weeks back, a friend of mine organized a group to go to Brac Island and learn more on the Roman quarries of Brac. The group was led by an authority on Roman quarries, Dr. Mate Parica who is THE person to go to if interested in ancient quarries. Not only that he has seen the most of the quarries in the region, he also did a lot of research on rock quarrying and ancient techniques. Brač is still the best place for getting quality stone and the tradition is ancient. Only a short ferry ride away, Brac  makes a great place for historic research and what better place to start from but the Museum of Brac at Skrip village.

The Museum of Brac at Skrip
The Museum of Brac in Skrip

We started at the museum as it has a lovely collection of Hercules reliefs – something very closely connected to ancient stone masons and quarry workers.

The thumb of mother of Constantine the Great.. at least a theory
The thumb of mother of Constantine the Great.. at least a theory

The workers  – usually slaves and prisoners of war – working at the quarries had to be tough and strong: just like Hercules. Thus so many representations and altars dedicated to this ancient hero.


Skrip Museum is a lovely place telling the story of the most ancient times on the island. There is also a megalithic construction behind the actual building. Probably an ancient fortress. All those unique layers, make Skrip simply a must see for everyone visiting!

And then we moved on in search of actual quarries and more Hercules statues…

The quarry of Rasohe
The quarry of Rasohe

The quarry of Rasohe was particularly impressive and it was interesting to see that local community made an effort to actually clan everything and put signs to it. This is the place where stone for Diocletian’s Palace was actually taken from. Hundreds of slaves must have worked at this place and quarries were probably the worse places to work at back in those days… I could think of few worse ones (like mines and underground aqueducts) but this was very difficult and demanding work. The Rasohe quarry is quite impressive but Mate told us of a quarry on Vrnik island near Korčula being much bigger and far more impressive than this one! A place to visit!

Mate Parica explaining basic techniques for excavating stone
Mate Parica explaining basic techniques for excavating stone

Mate also explained a lot on how the stone was taken out and transported to the sea and on the vessels to modern day Split. We were also explained the techniques and methods of getting the best stone. Quite fascinating as Roman engineers did not take any chances and were using only the best stone for the most important buildings. But we were not alone! Beautiful  four-lined snake (Kravosas in Croatian) was hiding and waiting for us to go away.

Europe's largest nonvenomous colubrid species
Europe’s largest nonvenomous colubrid species

Before we left, we had to see  Hercules of Rasohe Quarry. The image does not give a proper feeling of the beauty of this great relief and it simply has to be seen in real life to be appreciated. The art work is not the greatest and it is generally considered that this was done by one of the slaves, with basic tools and not too much time. . But the Hercules also suffered from the weather in all this 1700+ years it has been out there…

The Hercules of Rasohe
The Hercules of Rasohe

Our next stop was at beautiful Lovrečina bay. Not just another of many beautiful bays and inlets of Brač Island.

Lovrečina bay
Lovrečina bay

The remains of an early christian church (5. or 6th ct)  in this bay are one of the most interesting in the country for it’s baptistery and nicely preserved wall paintings. Nothing fancy – just a simple color pattern – but still a valuable evidence of original traditions. Brač is also known for numerous ancient churches and chapels scattered all over this beautiful island but we are leaving those for another visit.

Remains of an ancient church
Remains of an ancient church

Brač is a great destination for both culture and nature lovers. It is like a small continent with amazing wealth of all sorts of sites dating back to the first inhabitants of our Adriatic coast and continuing with Romans, medieval settlements, villages hidden deep in the interior hiding from the pirates and danger. It is also a place of great culinary traditions so we stopped at quite popular Kopačina restaurant, before getting back on a ferry, for some traditional food and great local wine.

Kopačina Restaurant
Kopačina Restaurant

Only 50 minutes back. Enough for a nap. The ferries connect Split and Supetar many times a day year round.

Ferry back to Split
Ferry back to Split

Another great visit to this beautiful island…

Travel in Croatia