Quiet, relaxed, and moderately formal without being too forced, Primošten is one of one of Zagreb's best south-of-the-centre venues for a leisurely taste of Adriatic cuisine. Fresh fish forms the backbone of the menu: it can be grilled, baked, stewed, or served gregada-style in a white wine sauce, depending on your wishes. There are also fillets of fish served in a range of imaginative sauces (such as sea bass with Roquefort cheese, or gilthead with prawns and fennel). Everything that comes out of the kitchen is well presented, portions are on the Croatian side (ie large), and solicitous service is never very far away. The desserts are outstanding, and the Sava river embankment is a short distance to the south – providing you with an excellent opportunity to walk it all off afterwards.
Despite a location overlooking the sea from the Primošten peninsula, the Konoba Papec (Splitska 9) offers all the Dalmatian favourites at pre-boom prices. Don’t miss the pre-dinner samples of local specialities at this rustic tavern, one of Primošten’s oldest and most photographed townhouses. The small, dark interior with thick stone walls is decorated with traditional costumes and wine-making equipment. Outside, wooden benches and wine-barrel tables provide lovely sunset seating. The friendly owner, born in the house, brings out reasonably priced bite-size portions of goats’ cheese soaked in olive oil, prosciutto and olives, paired with a glass of Babić wine or a shot of rakija, all own-made in the local villages.
Opened in 2016, Agape Kitchen & Wine Bar has a more modern approach to cuisine than the more traditional and longer-established taverns surrounding it. Here, meals may start with tapas, which come in four varieties, Agape (with Dalmatian smoked ham, bacon and cheeses), Dalmatian (a chef’s choice of seafood), Primošten (with swordfish, tuna and truffle cheese) and marino (a platter for four featuring grilled octopus, salmon and stuffed squid). Steak and lamb feature heavily on the main menu but if the tapas have done the job, then you can opt for a lighter fillet of monkfish with cauliflower purée and sun-dried tomatoes. It’s also a wine bar, you’ll find quality Pošip Čara from Korčula, Plavac Mali from Brač and Babić produced nearby.
Tucked in from the seafront on Primošten’s prominent headland, the Konoba Galeb is a godsend for those holidaying on a budget. Dalmatian favourites – grilled meat, seafood risotto, scampi – are piled high in huge portions, meaning that you can save yourself for one meal a day. This may as well be the evening meal as, given the Adriatic-facing location, you can take in the sunset as you chomp into your škampi na žaru, served with a side of chips and a salad. Throw in a glass of house wine or a cold beer, and your affordable dining experience is complete.
At the Restaurant Kamenar, a well-equipped Welcome Bar extends your dining experience from a notch-above sit-down meal to a notch-above sit-down meal prefaced by a glass or two of local Babić complemented with a plate of prosciutto, Dalmatian cheese and sardines. Then, when you and your table are good and ready, comes the sea bass or grouper, john dory or bream, steak in scampi sauce or anglerfish with lemon. Of the two dining rooms, pick the one in the back with family bric a brac: black-and-white snapshots, an old radio and aerial photos of Primošten from the 1960s. If you’d prefer to dine outside, mulberry and acacia trees shade the terrace. Guestrooms are also available if you’d like to stay over.
Tomahawk Steakhouse is one of the few places in this part of Dalmatia where you’ll be served Simmental meat, from a rarer breed of cattle originally from Switzerland. Tenderloin from Argentina and Chicago Black Angus are also on the menu, all meats prepared on a charcoal grill and embellished by a choice of four types of sauce: green-pepper, truffle, champignon and spicy chimichurri. Younger guests might wish to sink their teeth into a burger, made with Black Angus beef, and pescatarians accompanying carnivores can opt for seabass or tuna. All takes place in a sturdy stone house done out in the traditional Dalmatian way, with views of the harbour from the terrace.
Named after an ancient musical instrument and echoing the Dalmatian roots of this nearly 20-year-old restaurant, Torkul offers tables by the beach, in full view of the fabulous sunsets over the bay between the Old Town and the Raduća peninsula. Alternatively, there are seats on the shady green terrace on the other side of the building, near the tiny church. All the standard Dalmatian fish and steak dishes are offered, as well as top-quality shellfish and octopus slow-cooked ispod peka. Live music accompanies satisfied dining most evenings.
Pick a table by the beach for great sunsets over the bay or sit in the shady green terrace near the tiny church. All the Dalmatian fish and steak dishes are on offer and there’s also a budget meal of the day. The Konoba Jerko came under new management in 2009 but the style remains the same.
Right on the waterfront, the Marina Tavern sits above four well-located apartments, its menu dominated by the freshly caught bounty of the Adriatic. Here, lobster, crab, clams and mussels are the order of the day, fished from nearby waters and prepared in the classic Dalmatian way. The high-quality virgin olive oil used in the kitchen is also locally produced, and brings out the finest flavours of the fish also on offer. Vegetarians are treated to seasonal greens and fresh produce, while carnivores may accompany sizzling steaks with Babić wine from surrounding vineyards.