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As you probably know by now, Croatia is one of the pearls of the Mediterranean when it comes to natural beauties but also food. Bathed in the Adriatic Sea, Croatia has a big reputation for exquisite seafood. One of the highlights is that you can eat seafood all year long and that many places on the Croatian coast will serve you the finest seafood you have ever tried.
So where to go if you don’t want to be disappointed? We will start the grand seafood tour from the top of Croatia to the bottom – from the north in Novigrad to the deep south in Dubrovnik.
Starting from the unique city of Novigrad, settled in Istria, restaurant Damir & Ornella could also be described as unique. Raw fish is the main philosophy of their small, family-run restaurant. The basic principle are these: only fresh Adriatic seafood dressed with olive oil served directly on the table. From raw sea bass, sea bream, raw scampi, squid, and mussels – their menu is, like their kitchen, straightforward but delicious.
A bit more south, there is the pearl of the Istrian coast – Rovinj, known for its picturesque old town but also many great restaurants. From them, we would recommend restaurant Monte as one of the best restaurants in Istria. Restaurant Monte is the proud owner of a Michelin star, and it is well deserved, we might add. The main principle of Restaurant Monte is local, fresh but also creative, and almost theatrical – but the traditional Istrian seafood dishes are well presented in the five-course tasting menu.
Continuing with seafood restaurants in Istria, we could never miss Batelina in Banjole (Pula) – an innovative restaurant that is known not only in Croatia, but also worldwide for the specific approach to seafood. A family-owned restaurant, that is led by famous Croatian chef David Skoko, has no menu and their principle is simple – bluefish is the king and has to be eaten from head to tail – yes, everything is used to create an amazing and delicious dish! They are closed on Sundays, and don’t work during lunchtime – so plan ahead your visit to this special place.
Traveling from Istria more south - Zadar is another destination packed with seafood restaurants. Here, the restaurant Pet Bunara is the one to highlight! Located in the city center (next to the Pet Bunara square) and is usually always busy in the summer so make your reservation on time. The restaurant reached the top of the Croatian gastronomic scene, and it successfully presents Zadar's gastronomy in an innovate way - with its seasonal and organic offers. What to try here? The tuna here is fantastic as well as the cuttlefish stew.
One of the most known seafood restaurants in Zadar is Restaurant Foša! Due to its centuries-old ambiance, located next to the Renaissance ramparts, it is a great place for a relaxing walk but also delicious Adriatic seafood. Restaurant Foša has a tradition of more than 60 years and from the beginning, the chefs had a clear idea – their guests will have the freshest and best of the Adriatic sea. Today, the idea is the same only their menus are adapted to follow the latest gastronomic trends. Their specialty? Fermented fish dishes! In the restaurant chamber, large logs of top-quality Adriatic fish, gophers, tuna, and sea trout are aged for a week or two, so try them out!
Driving on the coast more south – do not miss Šibenik and the great Pelegrini Restaurant. With the divine view of the Šibenik cathedral, located in the heart of the city and offering outstanding seafood meals – you will get the full experience here. Pelegrini has been awarded with a Michelin star – and not without a reason. Focusing on local ingredients, such as mussels, oysters, sea snails, sea urchins, and different types of fish that are carefully presented and combined. Anything you try off their menu will not disappoint you!
In the city that is usually called the pearl of the Adriatic – Split – there are many choices for great seafood restaurants. Starting with the legendary Split Restaurant, Noštromo, located in the city center, opposite the fish market, is a small seafood gem you should not avoid. In a small atmosphere with only 7/8 tables, you will get the real Dalmatian experience. The owner of Noštromo, who is also the chef, is Zlatko Marinović, who was a top diver, so there are almost no fish, shellfish, or crabs, but also seaweed, algae, and even stones that he doesn’t use in preparing meals. Try their blue crab as an appetizer, continue with fish fillet or seafood risotto!
And lastly – Dubrovnik – the most popular Croatian coastal city is well known for its gastronomic scene. From it, Proto, a family-owned seafood restaurant with a long tradition should be on your list to visit. Located in the heart of the old town, it attracts many locals as well as tourists too. From squids, and lobsters to fresh shellfish (from Mali Ston) to daily fresh fish - carefully prepared seasonal seafood dishes are what Proto is all about.
Next on - restaurant Nautika! Located near the sea, at the entrance to the old town of Dubrovnik, you can enjoy a unique view of the Adriatic Sea and the fortresses Lovrijenac and Bokar from the spacious terrace. Nautika is a restaurant that can be described as a combination of tradition, quality, and creativity that creates a new dimension to Mediterranean cuisine. Go for their special lobsters from the island of Vis, as well as other delicacies from the Adriatic Sea.
As our last pick, we are bringing you a fine-dining restaurant Forty-Four. This romantic restaurant, located in the Old Town of Dubrovnik is all about excellence, delicious food, and phenomenal hospitality! Expect premium seafood dishes, fresh ingredients, garden-fresh vegetables, and family olive oil. Try their octopus gnocchi and truffle risotto with scallops or any fish of the day – you will not leave this restaurant disappointed!