Lobster is the Lastovo speciality, fished from nearby waters and the mainstay of most menus. Grilled over an open flame or smothered in a house-style tomato sauce and served with spaghetti, lobster provides the visiting diner with a perhaps messy but memorable meal. Lamb is also popular, and you may even find goat available at some establishments, the meat prepared in the traditional Dalmatian way, slow-baked under hot coals. Vegetables will be locally produced and organic, the wines too, even cheeses, and certainly rakija brandy, the perfect end to any meal. Where to eat is perhaps more of a problem than what to eat. Lastovo only sees tourists in any kind of numbers in high season, and so venue choice is quite limited.
Lastovo’s relative inaccessibility means that it has far fewer restaurants than, say, Korčula. You’ll find a couple of tourist-friendly venues in Lastovo village, odd spots dotted around the island and one, Porto Rosso, the most exclusive though perhaps not the best, catering to those arriving by boat. Nearly every establishment goes to town on lobster, preparing and presenting it in several ways – grilled or in a tomato sauce with pasta is what you’re after.
The best restaurants in Lastovo
Set in the wooded bay of Zaklopatica around 3km from Lastovo village, this authentic rustic taverna run by the Jurica family specialises in delicious lobsters seemingly kept by the dock as pets. Prepared in the traditional way, under a cooking bell and slow-baked under hot coals, they make for a stellar, leisurely meal. An alternative would be to have the lobster with spaghetti, house-style. The waiter might also recommend the slow-cooked lamb, grilled squid in a signature sauce or fresh octopus salad. Don’t miss out on the excellent home-made wine from the nearby family vineyards.
By the market in Lastovo village, this popular spot doesn’t have to go too far to source its equally popular and varied appetisers, a key reason for coming here in the first place. The setting is also appealing, a tree-shaded terrace-cum-garden that attracts return custom. The main course selection doesn’t differ wildly from what you’d find at nearly every konoba in Dalmatia, except that the home-made wine and olive oils provide a personal touch – as does the family management.
Right on the waterfront in the bay of Zaklopatica near Lastovo village, the Konoba Santor doesn’t rewrite the culinary rulebook – but then again, it doesn’t have to. It has the location, it has the staff, it has the fresh fish, it has the lobster, it has the squid. Order in advance and you’ll find it has succulent octopus, prepared under a cooking bell. It also has own-made red (Lastovski plavac) and white (Lastovska maraština) wines, the ideal accompaniment to whichever variation of risotto or spaghetti with lobster or shrimp you go for.
Unforgivably overlooked by many and hidden away at the bottom of one of the many steep flights of steps leading down through Lastovo village is the excellent Konoba Bačvara. In this lovely, welcoming place with an inviting stone-walled and wood-beamed interior, the Pavličević family prepares favourites such as risotto with scampi as well as local specialities such as chickpea stew and fried sheepshead bream.
This well-to-do restaurant on the west side of Skrivena Luka (‘Hidden Bay’) caters mainly to the sailing fraternity – hence its air of exclusivity and hefty price tag. Overlooking the modern marina of the same name, Porto Rosso goes big on the local speciality of lobster, best partaken with own-made tomato sauce and spaghetti. Meat-eaters may opt for slow-cooked organic lamb, and there’s also the choice of goat, less well around Dalmatia as a delicacy. Accompanying vegetables will also be organic, the bread own-made, the house wines too. Cheeses come from around the island and you can end the meal with a cocktail in the adjoining Fjaka bar amid the pines.