The Best Restaurants in Hvar, Croatia

The Croatian island of Hvar is a rising foodie destination
The Croatian island of Hvar is a rising foodie destination | © Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
Natalia Lusinski

Famed both for its lavender fields and status as Croatia’s prime party destination, the island of Hvar is also making waves with its world-class restaurant scene.

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As you make your way through Hvar’s charming cobblestone streets, you’ll be struck by the diverse gastronomic offering: from traditional Croatian cuisine such as gregada (fish stew) and pašticada (slow-cooked beef in a rich sauce with prunes), to innovative international fare. Just don’t forget to finish it all off with some homemade rakija, Croatian fruit brandy.

Konoba Menego

Restaurant, Mediterranean, European, $

You’ll recognise Konoba Menego by the barrel outside the restaurant door, which will be your first introduction to the place’s charming decor, complete with stone walls and floors. If it looks like a house, that’s because it is one and once belonged to the owner’s family. To get there, you’ll need to climb up the main staircase between the main square, by St Stephen’s Cathedral, and Fortica Španjola. But it’s worth the climb and will give you a hearty appetite to try one of the many Croatian dishes, such as their pašticada s njokima (gnocchi in a signature tomato sauce with tuna) or vepar na lovački (wild boar ragu). Pro tip: try some wine, too, which is family-made. And for dessert, try the pijane smokve (figs soaked in rakija).

Konoba Luviji

Restaurant, Croatian
Konoba Luviji is yet another restaurant setting that will make you think you’re in a fairytale, and comes highly recommended by Katarina Matković, who owns local handmade souvenir shop Forko. Much of the appeal comes from how old-school it is: whether you sit inside or out, the old stone walls ooze with charm. There are also no menus. Instead, choose from two appetisers and five main courses, which include items like fish or meat carpaccio and octopus goulash. Plus, the food is sourced locally, and the wine and goat’s cheese are homemade, too. “I love everything, but the goat cheese is a must-try,” says Katarina.

Fig

Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, Mexican, Mediterranean, $

If you’re in the mood for food that uses Croatian products, but is driven by Californian and Australian influences, Fig is the place. “We noticed that a lot of guests – ourselves included – like a bit more variety when eating out,” says Geoff Bratton, chef and co-owner of Fig. A few dishes have become synonymous with Fig over the years, says Geoff, like their burrito mojado, Mexican pulled pork and the flatbread with fig, fresh cheese and walnut. “We also introduced our sweet potato fries with house-made sriracha, garlic mayo and roasted peanuts to the menu last year, and they’ve been a hit,” he says. In addition, their breakfast items are a real draw. Bratton’s pro tip: try the California toast with fresh guacamole, grilled tomatoes, poached eggs and fresh-baked lepinja (a local Croatian bread). As for finding Fig, “It’s hidden down a little alleyway away from the crowds and that lends an intimate feel to the dining experience,” says Geoff. “Our little place is a bit rustic with the oak tables and centuries-old limestone walls, but we think Fig has a certain charm to it that people appreciate.”

Mediterraneo Restaurant

Restaurant, Croatian
If you’re looking for a relaxed and romantic ambience in the centre of Hvar port, you’ll find it at Mediterraneo Restaurant, which has been around since 1953. You’ll also find plenty of local, authentic and locally sourced food options, explains Nathalie Schnell, their PR manager. “Every day, you’ll find fresh grilled fish, such as dorado (mahi-mahi) and sea bass, in addition to octopus salad and fresh salmon carpaccio,” she says. For non-fish fans, choose steak or hand-made gnocchi, one of Nathalie’s favourites. On hotter days, you may want a lighter meal, like a Greek or caprese salad with a glass of local white wine, Zlatan Posip, or red wine, Plavac, she suggests. Of course, don’t skip dessert: Nathalie recommends the homemade chocolate cake or chocolate sphera with ice cream on top. As for who’s behind the culinary scenes, the main chef is a woman named Marija Mravak, who has been with the restaurant for around 10 years.

Robinson Restaurant

Restaurant, Croatian, $
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle, take a short hike and find your way to Robinson Restaurant, secluded and situated between Hvar and Milna. Not only will you find authentic Croatian dishes, but also a quaint beach while you eat under a centuries-old olive tree. “Our traditional dish is hvarska gregada – called Crusoe’s Pot on the menu – which is a kind of fish stew with potatoes and onions prepared in a traditional way,” says Lea Ive, the wife of the restaurant’s owner. To go with your meal, you can try the homemade red or white wine. As for when the best time is to visit? “Robinson Restaurant has the most beautiful sunset, especially if you want to have a late lunch,” says Lea.

Pachamama

Restaurant, Croatian
You’ll find another idyllic setting at Pachamama, where visitors can dine on the shady terrace and look out at the Adriatic Sea, then go for a swim afterwards. Food-wise, Pachamama caters to carnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike, and the menu changes daily depending on the fresh fish, meat and vegetables of the day. There’s also tuna pâté, as well as fresh olive oil that they make themselves from their 120 olive trees.“We make Croatian dishes, like buzara and gregada – types of fish stews with big pieces of fish inside, typically from the island,” says Manuela Delise, on of the chefs. “We love what we do,” she says. “People like to come to Pachamama because the energy of the place is very easygoing and gives you a peaceful feeling, like being at home. It’s something I can’t explain – you just need to come feel it for yourself.”

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