The Brač restaurant scene isn't straightforward. Of course, the busy places in Bol and Supetar fill around their respective harbours. However, it is not here that you will fall upon the best restaurants, but in the centre of the island. Finding these places may take a little work but once there you’ll get a real taste of what Brač is all about. Drop in on a place with a hand-made wooden sign advertising local wine and liqueurs. Stop in and speak – however broken the conversation may be – with locals about what it took to get your meal on the table. You won’t be disappointed.
Brač restaurant guide
Around the corner from the car park for Zlatni Rat beach, this could easily be a tourist trap. In fact, prices are pretty reasonable and you get free parking thrown in. Along with the grilled langoustines and the seafood salad it’s genuinely good Dalmatian food. The setting sells it: an expansive terrace with the greenest grass you’re likely to see in Croatia, divided up into various sections by well trimmed hedges, manicured firs and stone troughs brimming with plants and flowers.
If not the best restaurant on the island, certainly it has no rivals in the realm of lamb, served with a Forrest Gump-like dedication and in every way imaginable. There’s lamb soup, lamb on the spit, boiled lamb, lamb chops, lamb steak, lamb pâté and the local favourite: lamb under the peka. The clientele includes well-heeled tourists pointed here by locals and workmen still dusty from the nearby marble quarry, visible from the restaurant’s multi-levelled and shaded terrace. Above, on an open-air and wooden-roofed stone patio, you’ll find owner Ivo working the grill and the mechanised spit, which turns with a bike chain. Beyond is an expansive, renovated indoor dining room. But back to the lamb. In July and August there’s a lamb buffet (170kn) and guests can try every variety mentioned above plus lamb liver, local cheese, salted anchovies and lentil soup with smoked ham. Don’t leave without trying the vitalac, which one should do without the nuisance of vegetarians. It’s an island speciality: lamb liver wrapped in the intestines of a lamb which has just drunk milk. There’s also seafood and other peka dishes, and their own bread is baked freshly every day.
This is another jewel off the beaten tourist path, in the village of Dol where other konobas offer authentic local food and mood. However, it's hard to beat the Kaštil Gospodnetić, with a history as rich as the island's. This big house overlooking Dol and the surrounding valley was built in the 16th century, and its furnishings date back to the 1800s. The hosts will gladly give you a tour of the estate as you wait for your meal. Dishes are presented in a series of different menus, allowing you to choose between octopus or meat grilled or ispod peke (slow-cooked in coals). There's also grilled and roast lamb, and pašticada, a Dalmatian beef stew with gnocchi. Any of these come with an appetiser: different pâtés, cheese, prosciutto, then followed by dessert and a glass of wine, all included in a single price. The property sits atop a small hill in Dol, so it should be easy to find, but do ask for directions if need be when you call to reserve your table – or even book your specific meal.
The first restaurant you come to as you step off the boat from Split but don't let that put you off - the Palute will be the best meal you'll have in Supetar. It's not just the setting, though that helps, tables spread out where harbourside Porat juts out into the sea. That irresistible aroma that helped persuade you to pull up a chair is wofting over from the traditional grill tucked just inside - staff of 20 years' experience bring out plate after plate of expertly prepared bream, bass, lamb and veal, all with classic Dalmatian accompaniments. Given location, service and customer satisfaction, prices are more then reasonable, even with generous measure of drinkable house wine.
On a secluded point right on the beach and away from the busy harbour terraces, this big house is a great place to grab a seaside table for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Watch windsurfers cavort as you choose from a konoba-style menu with a wider-than-average range of fresh fish, including john dory, grouper and mussels. Meat lovers can devour the usual Balkan grilled classics and there are vegetarian options among the pizzas. This places offers rooms for rent too.
This tranquil old building on a steep street offers authentic Dalmatian food, primarily from the sea. The family has a fishing boat and produces its own olive oil and wines, red and white. The dining is housed in two rooms, one newly refurbished in modern style but with elements of traditional Dalmatia, like the wooden boat in the centre. There’s also a new, more expansive menu to match: smoked tuna with olives and lemon, for example; and a larger list of top wines.
This legendary konoba stands in the 800-year-old house of the Michieli-Tomić family, whose wines and brandies are sold all over Croatia. Practically everything served is home-made, grown or reared on the property, from pršut ham to lamb, plus, of course, the wine and varied fruit spirits. If you are there in the autumn, you may be lucky enough to watch the family make wine the old-fashioned way in a hand-turned press. You can visit the farm, too. Prices are reasonable for the quality and authenticity. Succulent octopus is prepared ispod peke, under a cooking bell with hot coals. Order this, and your table, in advance. Tomić is near the airport, north-east of Bol.
One of the beauties of Brač is that there are many places besides the main touristy spots worth visiting. One of them is Sutivan, a few kilometres from the main ferry port of Supetar. Away from the seasonal fuss, one particular place to enjoy this small-town atmosphere is Bokuncin, at Sutivan's old port. At first sight, this is standard Dalmatian fare, but here there are a few twists. All the pasta, bread and pastries are home-made, right there in the kitchen. As well as healthy breakfasts, there are main dishes with plenty of vegetables, such as courgettes and aubergines. A homely atmosphere completes the picture.