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Food, Places I've Been, Travel

The best restaurants in Hvar, Croatia

July 30, 2016
restaurants in hvar

This year was my fifth time in the lovely island of Hvar in Croatia. There are many reasons I love Hvar, and the food scene is one of them. The food is simply amazing and despite its small size, Hvar has many great restaurants to offer – no matter your budget and food preferences. Every time we go to Hvar we find new restaurants – either ones we’ve completely missed or new ones that have recently open. Of course, I want to try them all, but that’s not always possible. If you’re planning a trip to Hvar and want some restaurant recommendations, I’ve here compiled a list of the best restaurants in Hvar.

Because I am a vegetarian, I’m not able to eat at all the restaurants in Hvar so I’ve divided this list into the restaurants that I have tried myself and the restaurants that I have heard friends and acquaintances rave about.

My personal favorite restaurants in Hvar:

The Golden Shell
The Golden Shell is located on a small cobble street just behind the big square and it can be hard to miss so look out for the hostess outside. It’s probably one of the smallest restaurants that I’ve visited, with only around 12 tables, but the food is so amazing that we ate here twice during our last trip. They only have one vegetarian meal: a pasta with gorgonzola sauce and apples, and it tastes just like heaven, but they have more options if you eat meat and/or fish. Jacob had the ćevapčići, Balkan meat rolls, in lepinja, a traditional Balkan flatbread, served with onion, a delicious salad, ajvar and potatoes. He absolutely loved it. The restaurant is run by a family. The sommelier/server alone, Antonio (or Toni as they call him), is worth coming here for. He’s charming, nice, has a good sense of humour and knows everything about the food and the wine they serve. As the place is quite small, Toni has the time to chat to his customers (if they feel like it) and explain everything about the food on your plate. While we were there he told two women dining at the restaurant how he himself had caught the seafood they were about to eat, earlier that day. You can hear the knives cutting vegetables in the kitchen, where the chef is never too stressed or busy to deliver a perfect meal. The chef who, by the way, is World Master Chef Ivan Buzolic and sometimes his daughter Maja – both excellent chefs. The food is sourced locally as far as possible and the wine is all local wine. If you’re in Hvar for just one night, this is the place to go.
Where: Petra Hektorovića 8, Hvar.
Website (in Croatian)

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Jacob had ćevapčići at the Golden Shell – the only meat I still miss!

Fig Café Bar
This is a new place in Hvar, opened by an American who moved to Croatia and decided to open up something a bit different than what all the other restaurants in Hvar are offering. Forget the classic Mediterranean pasta, risotto, pizza, meat, fish and seafood and enjoy Mexican pulled pork, pear and gorgonzola flat bread, vegan root vegetables with hummus or a vegetarian Indian curry with raita – food you won’t find anywhere else on the island. The place is small and hard to find, but once you find it you’ll keep coming back. The restaurant with its outside seating is located in a quiet, small street away from the crowds. You can’t make any reservations and it’s often full so either get here early or be prepared to grab a drink and wait a little while to be seated. The food is not only different but tastes absolutely fantastic as well – I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Read more about our visit to Fig Café Bar here.
Where: If you’re at the main square you will see two restaurants called Mizzarola and Ex Rocco. In between them is a small alleyway which can easily be missed if you don’t know it’s there. Walk down that alleyway and you will see the Fig Café Bar logo at the end – then turn left and you’re there.
Website.

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Luna
Restaurant Luna is located on the same small street as The Golden Shell and after you climb the many stairs you can sit on the lovely, cozy rooftop. Luna mainly serves meat and fish but also has a lovely gnocchi with truffles for the vegetarians. We came here early and were the only people there but if you get here later in the evening it’s usually packed. The wine list is filled with Croatian wines and the servers are competent and can help you choose one that goes well with whatever you’re eating.
Where: Petra Hektorovića 1, Hvar.
Website.

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Truffle gnocchi at Luna

Other great restaurants in Hvar

Dalmatino
This restaurant is number one on Tripadvisor in Hvar, so many tourists come here, but it is not a tourist trap at all. The restaurant specializes in fish and seafood and I hear they have excellent service.
Where: Sveti Marak 1, Hvar
Website.

Giaxa
A really cozy restaurant with the most amazing setting on one of the cobble streets, Giaxa mainly serves fish and meat. We ate here a few years ago when they offered to make me a vegetarian pasta, but unfortunately they weren’t keen on adapting their menu this time around. Nevertheless, if you eat meat and fish and want to splurge for an evening, Giaxa is a great choice.
Where: Petra Hektorovica 3, Hvar
Website.

Lucullus
An excellent restaurant as well, with classic Dalmatian cuisine. We used to come here a lot when they had vegetarian options but  they didn’t have them this year so we skipped it. Still, it’s one of the best restaurants in town with excellent food and friendly waiters.
Where: Petra Hektorovića 8, Hvar (same address as Golden Shell above, but they’re right across the “street”.)

restaurants in hvar

Black Pepper with its checked tablecloths (Photo from Black Pepper’s Facebook page)

Black Pepper
A new restaurant that has quickly gained raving reviews among tourists and locals alike. They serve dalmatian classics with a twist and in a lovely setting. Didn’t eat here because of the lack of veg*n food on the menu but again – for meat and fish it’s perfect.
Where: Skaline od Gojave 11, Hvar
Facebook page.

Paradies Garden
Though Paradies Garden is not a new restaurant in Hvar, I hadn’t heard of it until now – maybe they just upped their marketing budget? Either way, it seems to be a place where people enjoy seafood, fish and meat as well as local wine and great service.
Where: Groda bb, Hvar

Do you have any favorite restaurants in Hvar that you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments!

Food, Places I've Been, Travel

Fig Café Bar – The New Kid in Hvar Town

July 27, 2016
restaurants in hvar

Before traveling anywhere I research the restaurants in the area. Researching restaurants started when I became a vegetarian and found it hard to find places to eat – especially while I travelled. But with time and my growing interest in food, it’s become a way for me to find new, great restaurants and to not get stuck with the mediocre tourist traps while on vacation. So I check Tripadvisor, Yelp, google and different blogs and make a list of restaurants that I want to visit. Fig Café Bar was one of the places I found researching new restaurants in Hvar and what really drew me in was the menu. It’s a very untraditional menu – not a single Croatian meal in there and good options for veg*ns – I had to try it!

We went there early and had some trouble finding the place. It is located in a small alleyway behind the main square and we had no idea how to get there so I had to read the instructions on Tripadvisor (thank you fellow travelers!). There’s a small (very small) alleyway between two pizzerias on the main square. You go through there, up some stairs and see the Fig Café Bar logo – turn left… and there you are. Although we were there early (around 19), there was only one table left and just 20 minutes later, 5 people were waiting for a table.

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Once you see this, you go left.

We ordered our food and some wine by the glass and just sat there and enjoyed the music softly pouring through the speakers. I ordered an Indian vegetable curry with raita and flatbread while Jacob ordered the Mexican pulled pork with flatbread. The food was there soon enough and it was absolutely delicious!

restaurants in hvar

My dish – the Indian vegetable curry…

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…with raita on the side. Make the dish vegan by ordering without raita.

Jacob decided to try the Mexican pulled pork and he was over the moon. He loves spicy food and although he’s not a big meat eater he looooved this. Ask your server about how spicy it is as this may vary from day to day.

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The Mexican pulled pork with sour cream, grilled flatbread and a salad.

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Lovely setting too – I just had to take a pic and Jacob’s all embarassed 😉

We were absolutely delighted with both the food and the service and came back a second time. I tried the vegan root vegetables with hummus and it was delicious as well, so I can recommend that too – though the Indian curry was more up my alley.

INFO:
Fig Café Bar
Address: Stjepana Papafave 35, Hvar
Reservations not possible, arrive early or be prepared to wait.
Serves breakfast from 10am.

Places I've Been

7 Reasons Why I Love Hvar

July 7, 2016
Hvar

When I try to sum up why I love Hvar, most of the time I just can’t. It’s inexplicable. Hvar has to be experienced in its full glory. It’s just the many small details that do it, like restaurants with gardens of orange trees hanging above you, like the dogs who run around on the square and play together, like the grandmas who live in the old town who stretch out their soaking wet laundry from the window to air dry, the beaches on the rocks, and that special color of blue, purple, and pink that the sky gets right before sunset. It’s the welcoming people who live here, the amazed travelers who stop by, and of course those of us who wish we could buy that small house above the beach where we could live with our cats, reading good books and swimming in the ocean (see how I’ve planned my life, already?). But I can’t explain all that to you and I know that a picture says more than a thousand words. So here are 7 pictures that all represent the reasons why I love Hvar, and why I’ll keep returning here for many, many years to come.

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The riva, where all the yachts are docked for all the curious ones to see and envy.

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All the narrow little streets in the old town – some of them leading to restaurants, others to nothing in particular.

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The infamous black cat on the square. I first met this cat back in 2011 – it’s a resident of the art gallery in the square and usually comes out during the evening to quietly judge you. You can pet him/her, if s/he’s up for it but do not try any funny business!

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The best night view of Hvar is without a doubt from the rooftop bar at the Adriana hotel, where they have some pretty amazing cocktails as well (and mojito pitchers!). It’s the perfect place to grab a drink and enjoy the view before you head out partying.

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Hello there! Okay, so I am not another reason why I love Hvar but I do love sitting in a bar, watch people and the city come alive at night, while sipping on a glass of wine or a drink.

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Hula Hula Beach bar is by far the most popular spot among young foreigners. You won’t find many locals here but you will have a good time! Every day around four o’clock the DJ turns up the music and the party starts!

Places I've Been

In Sunny Hvar

July 4, 2016
hvar

Although it was hard leaving a five star hotel with a swim-in bar, we did look forward to visiting Hvar again. The first time we were in Hvar back in 2011 we had only planned a 3-day stay but were so mesmerized that we decided to extend our stay another three days. Since the place we stayed in sucked we found a new place down the street and the moment we got on that balcony and saw the view of Hvar’s city center and the Pakleni islands, we knew we’d found the right place. We’ve been staying in the same place ever since, and this is our fifth time here. Hvar has become somewhat “our” island. Just last night the owner of our favorite wine bar Prsuta Tri recognized us, even though we haven’t been here since 2014. Since our last visit the tourists have increased but Hvar still remains a little gem on the Adriatic ocean that must not be missed should you find yourself in the area. It’s fairly easy to get here by boat from both Split and Dubrovnik, so you have no excuse not to visit. Besides, it’s perfect for everyone; the couples looking for a romantic getaway, the group of friends who like to party, or the family who wants to try something new and genuine.

Read more about Hvar in my post ‘8 Reasons to Visit Hvar in Croatia’

The day after we arrived we headed down to Hula hula beach – a beach club that we always visit when in town and that never lets you down. 125 Englishmen were gathered for a wedding on the island the day before and were ready to party it up! Everyone joined the party and by four o’clock we were all day drunk, dancing to the music and cooling off by jumping in the water. We continued the party later on and danced all night in our favorite bar called Nautika down by the harbour. Those of you who follow me on Snapchat probably saw a few updates and those of you who didn’t can add me here.

Of course I’ll update more about our stay during this week – we’re going on a wine tasting tour on Thursday – but since we’re just heading out for the evening I’ll leave you with some pictures from the last few days. I really love Hvar!

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Cheers from Hula Hula!

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Hula Hula is divided into a bar area and the beach are with sunchairs.

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Nothing better than reading a book in the shade with a glass of white wine!

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Cheers!

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Yesterday we only sat in the bar and went for a few swims but the day before this whole place was completely packed with party people.

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Our nights are spent out eating lovely dinners and drinking lots of drinks ; preferably a Lynchburg Lemonade for me. please!

Places I've Been

8 Reasons to Visit Hvar in Croatia

November 10, 2015

The first time I set foot on Hvar, I had no idea I would fall so deeply in love with this small island off the Adriatic coast. We had planned to go island-hopping that year, 2011, and after 4 days in Split it was time for a short stay in Hvar. We arrived with the catamaran, which takes around one hour from Split, and already when we stepped off the boat it all looked very promising. We had planned to stay there for 3 days, but ended up staying a week. Since then, we’ve been back in Hvar 2012, 2013 and 2014. Next year, we are (hopefully) going back to visit Hvar, our favorite island.

When we’re in Hvar, we’re always renting the same apartment, one with amazing views of the city and the small Pakleni islands, 5 minutes by foot to the main quare, 10 minutes by foot to our favourite beach bar Hula hula. I selfishly won’t tell you the name of it, because it’s always booked so early, but I suggest renting an apartment in Hvar city (with air condition!) through booking.com or hostelworld.com.

So what’s so magic about Hvar? What makes us go back year after year?

  1. The beauty. Hvar is really, really beautiful. It was spared during the Balkan wars, so all the old buildings are still intact. The main city, also calles Hvar, has a small city centre with narrow cobblestone streets, small shops selling clothes, locally made shoes, jewellry – and even a specialized vegan/vegetarian shop! It is full of amazing restaurants, cocktail bars and ice cream parlors. If you travel outside of the main town, you will be met by lavendel fields, olive tree fields and vinyards. Not to mention the beaches! The whole island is truly beautiful.
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    View of Hvar town.

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    The marina and the old cathedral in Hvar

  2. The possibility to explore. Hvar island is worth exploring, but there are also many nearby small islands and caves to explore. There’s the Pakleni islands, the Green cave, the Blue Cave and Vis, amongst others. Book a guided boat tour through one of the tourist agencies or directly from the tour guides when they’re available during the evenings on the promenade.
  3. The people. There’s something special about the small Hvar population. They are very friendly, laid back and social. They will help you as much as they can, and if they can’t, they will help you find somebody who can. The population alone are worth the visit.
  4. The food. Take it from a foodie: the food here is just EXCELLENT! Hvar is famous for its fish and seafood, but since I don’t eat that, I’ve had to find other good restaurants to visit. My first year there, I was a bit afraid that I wouldn’t find anything vegetarian, but boy was I wrong! Most of the restauarants have someting vegetarian, but it can be a bit hard to find something vegan, as many of the vegetarian dishes are based on cheese (greek salad with feta cheese, parmesan over the spaghetti pomodoro etc.), but thankfully most restaurants will custom make something for you, if you ask nicely. On my last trip, in 2014, a small vegan shop had opened, with all sorts of vegan goodies, so the healthy vegan lifestyle is spreading to even the tiniest islands on the Adriatic cost.
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    Truffle pappardelle

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    Another truffle pasta… (I eat truffles a lot!)

  5. The wine. Croatian wine might be the most underrated wine in the world, and frankly I am surprised, dissappointed, and happy all at once that not all wine bars all over the world offer a range of Croatian wine. Surprised and dissappointed, because how can they not have tasted a Dingac Riserva or a Plavac Mali wine? Happy because then I get to have it all for “myself”. It’s a special treat whenever we land in Croatia, tired and sweaty, and head down to the local wine bar to get a glass of Dingac. In Hvar town, you will find my favorite wine bar in the whole world, Tri Prsuta, which has the best wine list, the most amazing atmosphere and two extremely kind and knowledgable owners who will pour up a glass of any wine you like, in front of you, while you enjoy the music on the small benches outside on the tiny little street where it’s located. I am only sharing this with you because I think the owners behind this little gem deserve all the success they can get – I’d much rather have this little place stay “my” secret, but here you go 😉
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    Jacob & I at the wine bar Tri Prsuta

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    A glass of Dingac Riserva (Matusko) and some traditional Pag cheese

  6. The Pakleni islands – the Pakleni islands are a cluster of islets which you can reach by boat. If you don’t have your own yacht to cruise in, you can always take one of the taxis running from the harbour right in the centre of Hvar town. From here, you hop on an excursion boat, pay around 40kn (around EUR 6) for a round trip, and head on to one of the beautiful beaches. Beware though, many of the beaches are for nudists, so unless you’re all for that, make sure to find the non-nudist beaches. When you’re ready to go home, you hop on one of the boats again – simple as that. My favourite beach is on Palmizana, on the Sveti Klement island. Here you’ll find a few nice restaurants, a small secluded beach and the beach club Laganini where you can relax in comfy beach beds, or have a mojito in one of their cool treehouses (tree terraces might be the right word for it). Get to the islands early though, as all the best spots are taken first.
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    Look at that clear ocean!

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    From Pakleni Islands

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  7. The parties. Hvar is my favorite party place because it’s down to earth and over the top at the same time. Whether you party it up at your fancy yacht, the famous Carpe Diem bar or one of the small bars where you sit on the outside stairs with a cheap glass of vodka lemon you’re guaranteed to have a good time. You simply can’t be bored, over- or underwhelmed by the party scene and that’s what I love about it. You see, sometimes I’d rather not be around people, sometimes I want to talk to EVERYONE I meet, sometimes I just want a really good mojito and a chat with Jacob and then there are times when I feel like drinking too much, dancing with strangers and have a sing-off on the way home at five in the morning. No matter which of these moods I’m in, I always manage to get what I’m after in Hvar. You can party all day at Hula Hula Bar, get a fantastic mojito pitcher on the rooftop bar of the Adriana hotel (PS. I don’t share mojito pitchers but you could 😉 ), grab a table by a stranger by the harbour bars (or go inside for dancing), get your hard-partying on at Carpe Diem or Veneranda or have some good cocktails by the yacht parking to the left side of the town square.
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    Mojito pitcher on the rooftop bar of the Adriana Hotel

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    Partying all night! 🙂

  8. The beaches. Although most of the beaches are pebble beaches, which I’m not a particularly big fan of, the clean waters sure do make up for that. I love coming down in the morning, where you are able to see absolutely everything on the bottoms of the ocean. Be careful though, there are many sea urchins around Hvar (which is actually a good sign, as they only stay in clean water) so buy those rubber ocean shoes if you want to be safe.
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    On the Pakleni Islands

    Hvar beach

 

Have I managed to convince you yet? If so, maybe I’ll see you there next year!

 

Hvar island Croatia