Eating and Drinking in Croatia: Stari Grad on the Island of Hvar
The oldest town in Croatia has a wealth of good eateries in the nooks and crannies of its old town, as well as some interesting options across the harbour.
Stari Grad has the best selection of year-round dining on Hvar, with several restaurants open during the winter. The summer season widens the choice considerably, and there are plenty of places to indulge in some of the island's excellent Dalmatian cuisine in authentic surroundings. Here is a quick overview.
Opposite the Old Town: Stari Mlin and Ermitaz
A presidential favourite of Stipe Mesic, Stari Mlin (literally Old Mill) has blossomed since moving from the old town to a less desirable location, swapping the intimate feel of the old town for expanded outside space and a larger interior behind the Kerum supermarket. The restaurant features excellent meat dishes (the Baron steak remains one of the island's best meat dishes and comes with a superb salad).
For location, rustic environment and traditional local fare, it is hard to better Ermitaz, located on the water opposite the old town. Its waterfront location and natural setting in pine trees make it a desirable location to while away an afternoon in the company of good food, wine and service.
Atmospheric Old Town: Antika, Jurin Podrum and Pinetta
The pedestrianised streets of the old town, which date back more than 2000 years, provide a wealth of choice of authentic stone Dalmatian dining. Among the best are Antika, whose tiny interior in winter expands to several tables in the nearby square in season. Check out the cute leafy cocktail terrace on the first floor, Jurin Podrum, the old premises for Stari Mlin, and offering a warm welcome and hearty Dalmatian menu and Pinetta, a new addition to the town's gastronomic offer, a combination of restaurant, cocktail bar and wine tasting venue.
Best Value on the Island: Marko's Pizzeria
For a combination of old town charm, excellent service and great value food, check outMarko's, the local expat favourite and arguably the best value on the island. Open all year, Marko's core offer is pizza and pasta, with a wider Dalmatian menu. Pet and child friendly, there is ample space inside and out.
Cafes and Bars
Tourists looking for raucous nightlife should head to Hvar Town or the more local town of Jelsa, but there are numerous bars and cafes to have a quieter drink. The recently renovated Gradska Kavana is a grand cafe next to the court, a chance to combine wonderful sea views while overhearing hushed legal negotiations conducted over double espressos.
Round the corner is Stari Grad's largest square and home to the palace of Petar Hektorovic. There are several cafes to choose from, with Molo Misto, with its cosy upstairs, and Sokol, with its free wireless, the pick of the bunch. At the other side of the old town, next to the car park, Casper's offers the cheapest beer in town, at 12 kuna.