Have You Ever Tasted Art? Hvar Town's Culinary Back Street
Hvar Town is a culinary feast and the hardest part is choosing from the numerous restaurants. Discover one back street too early and you may never move.
A few metres from Hvar's busy main square, the largest in Dalmatia at 4,700m2 is a narrow street full of gastronomic delights, architectural splendour and historical charm, a combination with enough depth to satisfy the most demanding palate for several days.
Running parallel to the square and to the right of St. Stephen's Cathedral, the street boasts five excellent restaurants within 30 minutes, offering the finest Dalmatian fare in courtyards, roof terraces and authentic stone interiors.
The entrance to the street is guarded by Giaxa, an exclusive restaurant whose website asks: "Have you ever tasted art?" – setting the tone for a quality culinary journey. Food aside, the setting is a delight to behold, a supremely renovated stone interior with exposed stone columns and arches in this 500 year-old palace built in the late Gothic style.
The focus of the menu is on fresh local produce, with home-grown vegetables and the latest catch of the day. With an outstanding island wine list, including the Zlatan Plavac Grand Cru 2006, Giaxa is a feast of Hvar gastronomy, and not to be missed.
A few doors down and a more gregarious welcome awaits at Lucullus, whose chef works under the maxim that the food cannot be quality if the chef weighs less than 100 kilos. With island specialities such as goat with potatoes cooked in a brick oven, cheese with capers and olive oil and fish carpaccio, Lucullus is memorable night out, and the host is not slow at entertaining his guests. With a larger outside space, there are more options for outside dining.
Golden Shell (Zlatna Skoljka)
Across the street in what is believed to have been the birthplace of famous poet Petar Hektorovic, one of the icons of Croatian culture, is Zlatna Skoljka, one of Croatia's truly outstanding slow food restaurants. With an intimate seating capacity of just 30 and an open kitchen, the relationship between diner and host is more personal. The restaurant is the inspiration of Ivan Buzolic, an award-winning gourmand who has created a unique ambience in one of Hvar's old palaces.
The lilac shutters of Luna entice people towards this exquisite restaurant, whose hidden gem is a cute roof terrace invisible from the street. Owned by the same people as Giaxa, Luna has a reputation for quality seafood, excellent service and an affordable wine list.
With a leafy garden right next to the main square, it is not possible to eat closer to the Pjaca and enjoy such a tranquil surrounding as at Paladini, Part of the old Hektorivic Palace, Paladini offers good Dalmatian cuisine at reasonable prices and is a good place to try and avoid the peak season hordes, with its larger outside space.
And once dinner is finished, there is always time for wine. As if this contact street had not produced enough quality in its gastronomic offer, the Prsut 3 wine bar next to Giaxa is one of the cosiest wine bars in Croatia, and a perfect way to round off the evening.