A Fine-Dining Guide to Split, Croatia

Split’s fine-dining scene largely focuses on Mediterranean food, but isn’t afraid to play around with the classics
Split’s fine-dining scene largely focuses on Mediterranean food, but isn’t afraid to play around with the classics | © sanga park / Alamy Stock Photo

With the shimmering Adriatic and charm of Diocletian’s Palace, few cities come close to the romance and splendour of Split. Croatia’s second city has predictably become a magnet for fine-dining aficionados, with a roster of gourmet restaurants.
Split is a fun city, but it certainly has a serious, more refined side. This is abundantly true when it comes to food, and the Dalmatian capital is fast building a reputation as a top-tier fine-dining destination. There are few restaurant experiences more romantic than a five-star meal in full view of the Adriatic, after all. Split’s fine-dining scene largely focuses on Mediterranean food but isn’t afraid to play around with the classics, serving up some exciting takes on traditional dishes and pairing them with a bevy of local wines. Gourmet cuisine here remains relatively inexpensive too, which is always a bonus.

1. Zrno Soli

Restaurant, Mediterranean, Seafood

You’re looking for food in Split, a city famous for its coastal setting, so the least you can expect is some marvellous fresh fish. Zrno Soli (a grain of salt, if you’re practising your Croatian) serves the freshest fish in town. This marina restaurant frequently tops Best Restaurant in Croatia polls. You’ll almost certainly have to make a reservation ahead of time, but it is well worth it. If you close your eyes and dream of a seaside restaurant in splendid Split, Zrno Soli is what you are imagining.

2. Mazzgoon

Restaurant, Mediterranean

Diocletian’s Palace is Split’s main attraction, and the centuries-old network of narrow streets and secret alleys is home to a wide variety of restaurants. Mazzgoon is one of the best, a Mediterranean marvel that prides itself on being particularly stubborn (their words) when it comes to preparing food. Everything from homemade pasta to shrimp burgers (yes, shrimp burgers) is on the menu, and the list of Dalmatian wines is just about as good as anywhere in the city.

3. Konoba Nikola

Restaurant, Croatian

Located just 10 minutes or so away from modern Split, the village of Štobrec has plenty of history in its own right. People have been living here for millennia, but the people of Ancient Greece will be kicking themselves to have missed out on a restaurant of Konoba Nikola’s quality. This place takes the down-to-earth atmosphere and family feel of a traditional konoba (tavern) and allows the masterful cooking to elevate the experience, serving gourmet cuisine in a welcoming environment. Its black squid risotto is one of Croatia’s great culinary extravaganzas.

4. Augubio Congo

Restaurant, Croatian

The life and times of Diocletian himself often get lost in the beauty of his most-famous creation, but the good people at Augubio Congo are keen to keep the history alive. This charming restaurant references the exact place in which Diocletian spent his final day, although that commitment to history is juxtaposed with a menu that is just about as creative as it gets. Augubio Congo is a beautiful restaurant in a stunning courtyard, with tantalising dishes and no small amount of history.

5. ZOI

Restaurant, Mediterranean

Named after the Greek word for life, ZOI knows that good food is imperative for a fulfilled existence. Food, history and enjoyment go hand in hand (in hand), and this Michelin-star spot is famed for creating an environment in which all three can flourish. Local ingredients and traditional recipes are given new life by adventurous kitchen staff, while the view of the harbour is more than enough reason to book a table here.

6. Kadena

Restaurant, Mediterranean

Kadena is self-styled as a place where food becomes art and it is difficult to disagree. This isn’t just a restaurant where one comes to enjoy the dishes, enjoyable as they are. This is an experience – an assault on the senses that leaves the diner overwhelmed in the best possible way, dizzy with delight. One of just four Michelin-star restaurants in town, Kadena also happens to boast some truly spectacular views out to sea.

7. Konoba Fetivi

Restaurant, Croatian

Many modern restaurants in Split have tried to recreate the history of the city (with varying results) but there is no substitute for authenticity. The family behind Konoba Fetivi has been living in this neck of the woods for more than three centuries and with time comes experience and knowledge, all of which are manifested on a menu that stays true to Dalmatian heritage. This is a restaurant that understands what makes Split tick and serves it in abundance, all at refreshingly inexpensive prices. Simple cooking and spectacular results means this Bib Gourmand spot offers some of the best value for money you’re likely to find.

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