5 Authentic Restaurants To Try in Split, Croatia

August 02, 2016
Where to eat in Split, Croatia: 5 authentic restaurants to try


CRUISIN' FOR CUISINE: 5 MUST-TRY RESTAURANTS IN SPLIT


I know all about the perils of being a people pleaser. With Malaysian friends I speak the ubiquitous American accent peppered with 'lahs' and 'mahs' but in Britain I oscillate between sounding slightly Transatlantic to being mistaken for an extra on Downton Abbey (upstairs, naturally). It can be exhausting trying to keep up with one's audiences' preferences - you could say I've developed split personalities. I don't know how Croatian cuisine does it: between their Italian influences (the Croats love a good seafood pasta and risotto), meat platters to rival those of Spain, and octopus so fresh you could've picked it off a boat in Greece; never mind the locals, visitors to Croatia are contemplating mid-bite "Where exactly in the Mediterranean am I?" Culinary confusion aside, this hodge-podge of personalities on a plate makes for a dining experience that is diverse and never dull, as my 'souvenir' of a 3kg weight gain (!) from 5 days in Split will attest to. Lo, here are the five restaurants you must try in Split, Croatia...

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10 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT SPLIT, CROATIA: PART 1 AND PART 2
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASIMINNE YIP USING CANON 6D (50MM 1.4 & 24MM 2.8)

Where to eat in Split, Croatia: 5 authentic restaurants to try
Where to eat in Split, Croatia: 5 authentic restaurants to try

1/ BOKERIA KITCHEN & WINE
I'm not a fan of rejection, but when it comes to being turned away from a restaurant for being extremely popular and busy I'm only made all the more determined to see what the fuss is about. Despite its ancient Old Town surroundings Bokeria is a young restaurant that has never seen an empty table at dinnertime since it opened in 2014 even though it's huge by Split standards: with double-height ceilings, a mezzanine dining area, and outdoor seating. The food is Mediterranean, made with seasonal ingredients supplied from the local produce and fish markets accompanied by a fine selection of Croatian wines. The Blonde Croat (BC) and I missed out on dinner because we didn't make a reservations, so by way of consolation we returned twice for breakfast and ordered the same dishes each time: bruschetta, and the most divine banana bread drizzled in salted caramel, topped with fresh fruit. Reservations essential.

Cosmijeva ul. 2, 21000, Split, Croatia
+385 21 355 577




2/ VILLA SPIZA
Just steps away from Bokeria on the same cobblestoned street in Diocletian's Palace is another Old Town restaurant where you can't get a table for neither love nor money - only patience. Unlike its shiny neighbour, Villa Spiza is a miniscule hole in the wall restaurant with a cozy 'supper club at home' vibe. Come rain or shine, eager diners wait patiently on the bench outside this eatery for their turn to dine from the daily menu. Everything is freshly cooked right before your eyes - whether it's seafood risotto with generous helpings of mussels and clams or a tender veal cutlet gloriously soaked in mushroom sauce with a side of fluffy potatoes - from the open kitchen, where you can watch your meal come to life if you snag a seat at the counter. 



3/ TAVERNA MATEJUSKA 
This traditional Dalmatian tavern is supposedly a local legend. It's certainly authentic - set in a historic stone hotel in a small street on the quiet end of the Riva waterfront, with framed newspaper articles and its infamously raunch cartoons hanging on its exposed stone walls. I really wanted to enjoy Matejuska after reading rave reviews about it online, but as decent as the food was I found it fared less favourably to the other stellar meals I had in Split. Perhaps my comparison is unjust; as Matejuska is a cozy, rustic tavern as opposed to a shiny, glossy restaurant. If you're in Split, why don't you try it for yourself and tell me how I'm wrong?



Where to eat in Split, Croatia: 5 authentic restaurants to try
Where to eat in Split, Croatia: 5 authentic restaurants to try
Where to eat in Split, Croatia: 5 authentic restaurants to try
Where to eat in Split, Croatia: 5 authentic restaurants to try
4/ UJE OIL BAR
If I had to sum up this place in one word it would be MEATPORN. Or smmmmmmmorgasbord. Even the combined forces of myself and the BC (both of us dedicated carnivores) found ourselves bested and suitably humbled by the Uje selection plate: a wooden cheese board heaving with meats, cheeses, the most delicious fig jam, leaves, olives, bread *catches breath* and of course, the olive oil that Uje are so famous for. Uje are local olive oil retailers and delicatessen specialists, and their 'oil bar' is as much their restaurant as a showroom of what they do and why they're so damn good at it, with rows and rows of their products including artisan salts and oils lining the walls - all available to buy, should you want to bring home some of that Dalmatian magic.
Dominisova ul. 3, 21000, Split, Croatia



Where to eat in Split, Croatia: 5 authentic restaurants to try
Where to eat in Split, Croatia: 5 authentic restaurants to try
Where to eat in Split, Croatia: 5 authentic restaurants to try
Where to eat in Split, Croatia: 5 authentic restaurants to try
Where to eat in Split, Croatia: 5 authentic restaurants to try
Where to eat in Split, Croatia: 5 authentic restaurants to try

5/ BAJAMONTI
Uje Oil Bar may have been the meat-loving Blonde Croat's favourite restaurant, but as a seafood enthusiast who loves her luxury Bajamonti is hands down the highlight of my Split culinary experience. Everything about this restaurant was perfection: the pastel pink neoclassical buildings of Prokurative (Republic Square) on each side, flanking a stunning view of the Riva and the Adriatic sea beyond, the seasonal flowers that decorate the table, the attentive and exceptional service (on our second visit the waiter remembered us and our pudding was on the house!), and the food...oh God, the food. I can't decided which was more orgasmic: the scallops baked in cheese, the handmade black noodles with lobster, or the flat noodles with heaps of seafood and cooked in the most incredible fish sauce. Even the 'land food' was amazing - the burrata was creamy and dense, the sliced meats delightfully salty, and the pudding - Ferrero cake and pannacotta - were faultless. *licks Macbook screen in desperation* An absolute must-visit!

BAJAMONTI
Marmontova ul. 3, 21000, Split, Croatia





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