The yearly unveiling of the Michelin Guide is always big news in the food nerd world. While Michelin’s expertise on expensive, upmarket restaurants is well-known, the Michelin Guide has also been criticised for its relevance to ordinary diners. Conspicuous by their absence are more affordable places to eat. However, if you’re feeling flush then read on to find the best restaurants with a Michelin star, or recommended by the guide.
RECOMMENDED: the best restaurants in Croatia.
Michelin star restaurants in Croatia
Noel is a sizzling hot restaurant dedicated to contemporary trends in gastronomy. This upscale restaurant mixes the best of Croatian ingredients with nouvelle experimentation, offering mains like the pork belly with shrimp and passion fruit. Portions are small but well garnished and more extravagant diners can opt for the taster menu - options include four, six or nine courses costing between 220 and 450kn. The decor is polished, and the attentive staff boast military timing.
Standing like an apparition just below the Cathedral of St Euphemia, Monte offers fine dining with an informal, funky feel. This is fusion with Istria at its heart. The ingredients from Rovinj market are given new life thanks to owners Tjitske and Danijel Djekić, who recommend the five- or seven-course tasting menus, each with an array of delicate creations and wines (they have more than 100) to suit each dish. Otherwise, stand-out main courses include the baked fish for two or the grillade of today’s fresh catch.
Hands down the nicest place to eat in central Šibenik, Pelegrini has benefitted from a recent change of culinary approach. Diners may now opt for the 400kn degustation menu that features, as an appetiser, a smoked aubergine and yoghurt dip, moving onto truffle and prosciutto pappardelle with sheeps’ cheese and fresh parsley, smoked oxtail in tempura with salsa, and braised meat with tomato salsa and carrot purée. Chocolate and coffee finish things off nicely. Each dish is accompanied by a specially chosen wine (200kn). Alternatively, there’s an à la carte choice of mains, monkfish tripe with polenta or beef fillet with baked misni cheese, and 150kn lunch option. Outside, the view could hardly be bettered, with tables on the stone steps overlooking the cathedral and a lovely terrace on the roof of the Bunari, the medieval water cistern building, complete with carved well-heads.
Set within the great walls of Dubrovnik with impressive views over the port, 360 effortlessly blends its historical setting with a progressive, forward-thinking menu. Head-chef Marijo Curić has created a fantastic array of Mediterranean-spanning dishes, where the emphasis is very much on well-sourced, well-presented food influenced by the Adriatic. The menu changes constantly but 360 is particularly skilled with seafood, modern Mediterranean dishes and innovations of Croatian classics. This is upscale, sophisticated dining at its best. Without being too stuffy or formal, they pride themselves on providing a casual vibe where creative cuisine takes centre stage. Matched by an extensive wine cellar, great service and a truly superlative location, 360 is the hottest table in town.
The perfect mixture of local gastronomy and the classic French approach to quality cuisine is the hallmark of this hotel restaurant on the slopes of Mt Učka, reached by winding road from Lovran. Fresh local ingredients are the order of the day – as you would expect, Adriatic fish and Kvarner scampi are the stars on the menu, but exquisite lamb and duck options ensure that this is one place where you might consider taking the night off from seafood. Desserts are on delectable, and the view from the terrace is a bit special.
Michelin recommended restaurants in Croatia
Situated just above the coastal path that works its way east from Bačvice Beach, Dvor is a uniquely calming place from which to admire the inviting silhouettes of Šolta and Brač across the water. Sit in the conservatory or venture out onto the terrace shaded by trees. Dvor functions perfectly both as café and restaurant – fish, steak and fowl are fired up on the open grill overlooking the lawn outside, and there’s an excellent choice of Croatian wines by the glass.
Occupying the same panoramic terrace as the former Bekan, the Kadena boasts fabulous views over Zenta Marina towards the distant islands. The tasting menus offer several courses from 270kn to 320kn. The wine list requires a huge cellar. Various bruschette and creative desserts add to a classic Dalmatian menu already given an extra dimension by the imaginative introduction of additional ingredients and sauces.
Set within the ACI Split Marina, the upscale Zrno Soli (‘Grain of Salt’) is a stylish fish restaurant with tables overlooking the bobbing yachts. Prices are steep but not exorbitant, considering the location and quality of the seafood on offer. Service and presentation both come up to the mark.
Mutating from a wine bar that did smart lunches to one of the city’s leading gastro-bistros, Pod Zidom marched straight into the 2019 edition of the Michelin Guide and is now pretty much a must-visit when it comes to contemporary Croatian cooking. A lot of the credit goes to head chef Jurica Jantolek and his desire to investigate the creative possibilities of traditional food, retaining the local ingredients but throwing out any formulaic attitudes to their preparation. The menu certainly has an old-school local look about it at first glance, with oxtail, black sausages, duck breast and buncek (pork hock) vying for attention alongside modish bistro-u-like regulars like beef cheeks and white fish. Best way to sample Pod Zidom’s culinary approach is to opt for the three or four-course daily lunches (165-190), composed according to what they picked up that morning at Dolac. The bistro-wine bar informality of the place is well-maintained: the interior is bright, contemporary; service is brisk and informative; music tends towards the serious end of blues and jazz.
This well established fish restaurant stands just outside the city walls in a recently-renovated stone building at the Foša harbour. While the interior is all clean lines, natural woods and pale colours, the outdoor terrace offers an altogether traditional (and rather delightful) panorama of moored boats and distant islands. All the standard white fish and shellfish are served, either with traditional local green blitva and potatoes, or as part of a seafood risotto or pasta dish. There’s also a range of carpaccio dishes, including raw monkfish on a bed of rocket. Other dishes include stewed lobster with polenta, cuttlefish brodet and grilled pork with lentils. Prices are a notch above average, unless you opt for one of the three-course set menus, which deliver soup, fillet of fish and a dessert for a very reasonable 120-150kn.
Befitting its historic, five-star hotel surroundings, the panoramic terrace of the Lešić-Dimitri has significantly raised the bar when it comes to fine dining in Korčula town. The menu, delivered by talented young chef Toni Erceg, celebrates local, seasonal produce and reproduces traditional dishes in a healthy and contemporary manner. The menu changes daily but breakfast features fresh smoothies, home-made granolas or classic cooked meals. For lunch and dinner example dishes include prawns with couscous, platters of Ston oysters, or squid in black ink topped with mashed potato; fillets of tuna, poached white fish, braised beef cheeks and roast lamb. Desserts include a seductively smooth chocolate cake. Informed staff will guide you through an extensive wine list that specialises in indigenous Croatian grape varieties, including some of the island’s best Grk and Pošip – which can be tried by the glass. This carefully conceived approach has ensured LD, for the fifth year running, has been awarded one of Croatia's most "Wine Friendly" restaurants. LD also offers olive oil (some of the local oils are deservedly award-winning) and wine tasting menus, Chef’s Table dining and take-away wines for boat guests to stock-up. With it’s sea and island views this is an idyllic spot to enjoy some of Dalmatia’s finest cuisine.
An offshoot of the Oliva pizzeria just across the alley, Zuzori aims to inject a touch of 21st-century pizazz into traditional Adriatic dining. The designer interior transforms a traditional stoneclad space into pop-art heaven, with a slate grey floor, white and pink chairs and unabashedly loud purple tablecloths. The menu sticks to what the locals do best, with shellfish starters and fillet-of-fish mains taking up most space in the menu. Look out in particular for traditional Dubrovnik staples that local grannies may still make but which have largely disappeared from restaurant menus: notably chick-pea soup (a light affair best treated as a starter; 30kn) and šporki makaruli (pasta tubes bathed in mixed-meat goulash; 80kn).
Here Ston oysters, traditional Korčula pasta, and main courses of classic steak and fowl complement local seafood. The wine list concentrates on local quality, with the best Plavac Mali reds from the Pelješac peninsula, Grk and Pošip whites from Korčula.
Wine, truffles, olive oil, shellfish, wild game and asparagus are among the goodies Buščina offers at konoba prices. This is a family-run restaurant in which son and daughter work the floor and the kitchen. Lamb, veal and beef are cooked ispod peke; fish is too, or grilled. Everything is home-made: bread, pasta, gnocchi, desserts. Outside, two terraces seat about 70. As well as serving their own olive oil, the family has a wine menu with labels including Clai and Kabola.
A renowned family-run establishment in a village just south of Umag, Badi is a dependable address for pretty much everything in the fresh seafood line. It’s set back from the seafront but the leafy garden terrace more than compensates for the lack of a maritime view. Mediterranean cuisine is given an imaginative twist; there are some raw-fish starters, and a list of mains that includes traditional local seafood alongside house specialities such as sea bass in bready pastry crust. The wine list showcases the best of Istria’s boutique wineries.