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Mljet restaurant guide

Our guide to the best restaurants on Dalmatia’s most idyllic island

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

Barba Ive
Hotels

Barba Ive

Several venues now line the harbour at Pomena, the slightly touristified haunt of the yachting fraternity near the entrance to the National Park. In business since 2001, Barba Ive is probably the best of them, partly because the fish here is reliably fresh, partly because they grill their lobster over a wood fire, and partly because they’ve just been doing this for longer and have a reasonable idea how to treat customers. The stand-out sea bass is a particular recommendation. Barba Ive also makes a point of serving the best coffee on Mljet, handy to know if you’re staying in one of the four rooms upstairs.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Mali Raj
Restaurants

Mali Raj

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.

Restaurants

Restoran Melita

Once upon a time, when there were few restaurants on Mljet, say a decade or so ago, the Melita was a must-visit. Occupying the terrace of the medieval Benedictine monastery entirely surrounded by the waters of Mljet’s Great Lake, it could hardly disappoint – but today, with half-a-dozen superior eateries in Saplunara, Pomena and Okuklje, the Melita’s tired offering is in need of a spruce-up. The setting remains sublime, but it’s the setting you’ll be writing home about, not the fish soup.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Stermasi
Restaurants

Stermasi

The other contender for best restaurant on Mljet is hilltop Stermasi, overlooking Saplunara on the far eastern tip of the island. Catering mainly to those who plot up here by boat – it has free buoys and you just dinghy over – Stermasi provides much more than standard sustenance to sailors. Great care is taken over the seafood in particular, the squid delicious, the octopus succulent, the platter for two presented as if for a special occasion. Part of the secret is in the olive oil, own-made and sold by the bottle. Meat, most notably goat, is also available if you’re had your fill of fish. The wine selection is first-rate and you’ll be offered a complimentary house grappa to round things off nicely. Rooms and apartments can be rented on site.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants

Konoba Triton

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.

Okuklje Restaurant Maestral
Restaurants

Okuklje Restaurant Maestral

A notch above the other restaurants on Mljet, Okuklje is partly named after its location, by a jetty in a sheltered bay on the north coast of the island. Not satisfied with churning out Dalmatian standards to undiscerning tourists, the Okuklje Maestral creates its brodetto with scorpion fish, sources its mussels from Sobra and, if you phone ahead, can provide peka dishes too, lamb or octopus slow-cooked for hours under hot coals. You can watch your food being prepared in the rustic open oven, tables ranged around the elevated vantage point of a roof terrace, providing far-reaching views of Okuklje Bay as you dine.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants

Kod Ante

Right beneath the wonderful Boutique Pine Tree Apartments, Kod Ante is frequented by hotel guests and sailors. Free mooring is offered to those who dine here – something you’re encouraged to do without too much knowledge of the prices – but provided you’ve got the wherewithal, in cash, you’ll be treated to excellent lobster, octopus and scorpion fish. The view, a full panorama of the Adriatic, is equally unbeatable, though you might feel the waitstaff is gawping with you as food and drinks can take a long while to come.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars

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