Mljet's dining scene is relatively modest; apart from sailors, encouraged to moor for free at certain restaurants, few head to the island for its gastronomy. Relaxation amid the pines, yes, walks around the lakes, yes, but food here has often been an afterthought. For years, dining was limited to the cluster of harbourfront eateries in Pomena and a few isolated konobas dotted around the island. That is slowly changing – Saplunara, in particular, has enough options of real quality to make it worth your while making a long day of it on the far eastern tip of the island. Lobster and scorpion fish are worth seeking out if you have the budget but most places should do a good job with grilled fish. Here ‘fresh today’ should mean fresh today – this is not Dubrovnik, with its limited kitchens, limited storage space and limited delivery access. A number of establishments also now have rooms to hire, so you can make a longer night of it over your seafood platter, order more drinks and move on the next day. Lobster is the stand-out delicacy here, but there’s plenty of meat as well, prepared in the traditional way, slow-braised under hot coals.
The best restaurants in Mljet
Down the main road, some 3km from town, Mali Raj is in the neighbouring village of Ičići – an appetite-building seaside stroll along the Lungomare. Secluded in a cool, woody section of the promenade, on the bottom floor of a tiny, pricey pension, Mali Raj provides one of the prettiest terraces and best meals in a town full of great food and great views. The service is swift, friendly and professionally unobtrusive. They push the top-quality white fish – the fresh, succulent sea bass is worth the price. Splash out on lobster or scallops here with confidence or get equal pleasure from the satisfactory steaks.
The best place to dine in Babino Polje, Mljet’s administrative centre in the middle of the island, is this age-old konoba steeped in tradition. If you’re here for a few days, this is where you might step off the seafood trail and try some meat, venison perhaps. This is not to say there isn’t seafood here, the fish platters is as good as you’ll find most anywhere on Mljet – it’s just that this isn’t one of those gawping-at-the-Adriatic experiences. Traditional Dalmatian music at conversational volume does chivvy things along nicely, though.