Even with the tourist influx of recent years and sudden arrival of top-quality bistros, the budget-conscious traveller can still find places to dine in Split without having to overload the credit card or resort to pizza. In and around the historic centre is a selection of spots usually preferred by Croatians, with an ever higher ratio of foreign visitors in summer.
A perennial classic cheapie, Fife stands at the St Francis end of the Riva promenade, tucked in just behind the church. Straightforward and homely, it offers standard Croatian dishes such as grilled meat, squid and pašticada stewed beef at knockdown prices. Once the haunt of local regulars, Fife is now inundated with backpackers all though summer but has avoided the temptation to charge significantly more kunas.
Konoba Kod Jože
These kinds of places were ten a penny before tourists decided to stay and Split discovered the bistro. Konoba Kod Jože, or Joe’s Tavern, is an honest-to-goodness family-run eatery just outside the historic centre, no more than five minutes from the statue of Grgur Nin that guards the Northern Gate. Platters of grilled seafood, fish or meat are served with a side of vegetables and a smile. There’s usually a couple of tables outside but you may want to enjoy the bustle and timeless culinary smells within.
Though a couple of notches above the average tavern, Šperun keeps its prices reasonable, particularly if you plump for the daily specials. The fish is fresh, the seafood too, and you’ll always find a decent variety of vegetables to accompany. Here, the little details matter, so the olive oil is top-quality, the staff attentive and the wine of good standard.
The Diocletian’s Palace is full of cafés and restaurants. Hardly any overlook the sea, but this one is the golden exception. The Tri Volta comprises a small courtyard and terrace gazing out onto the Adriatic and a wooden cabin of a bar in one corner. It’s not a restaurant as such, more a friendly local that serves preposterously cheap lunches and enormous sandwiches filled with ham sliced from the hock on the bar counter.
Right next door to one of Split’s most renowned seafood restaurants, alongside the city’s main fish market, Zlatna Ribica is a handy little find for those on a budget. A bar with a kitchen, it produces plates of grilled sardines, squid or smelts in next to no time, charging a few kuna and providing an equally cheap glass of cold beer or house wine to accompany. ‘The Golden Fish’ opens early in the morning to cater to those working in the market.
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