As Korčula sizzles this summer, check out some of the coolest places to dine, drink and relax, with a range of traditional Croatian options, seafood, and mediterranean fare. Read on for our insider's guide.
Where to eat out in Korčula
Set a few steps from the western entrance to the Old Town, the terrace of Hotel De La Ville captures the days of Korčula’s belle époque. Since 1912, this was the spot to enjoy coffee and excellent wine from local vineyards, where the captains of the docked ships gathered, as they do now regularly at a table near the hotel entrance, reading the papers, discussing the weather and political developments among Korčula’s smart set, beneath the shadow of blooming oleanders. These days, the terrace is just as grand and pleasant and the charm of its bygone past is well preserved, although the menus are updated with trendy summer cocktails featuring gin from the bar’s extensive collection. If you find yourself lingering long after the first drink, preferring the natural shade to the heat of beach, the daytime bites provide excellent replenishment, from the high-grade local pršut, cheese and Torkul olive oil, to the chocolate, carob and orange flavors of the Arula cake from the bakery. At night, the bistro serves traditional dishes with a contemporary French-inspired twist: the handmade Žrnovo makaruni pasta, the risottos, among them a delicious blacker-than-black cuttlefish option, and a selection of fresh fish dishes keeps visitors happy as they watch the sun disappearing on the horizon, followed by orange-infused crêpes or the refreshing lemon sorbet.
Among all the islets in Korčula’s archipelago, Vrnik has a singularly laid-back air to it, with a town beach of small pebbles and hues so vivid you’ll have trouble deciding between taking a tip or observing the turquoise waters from the docks. Vrnik Arts Club offers great food on the tranquil terrace in front of what was once the school of the island. Opened in 2018, the chef and menu has changed in the last two consecutive summers, but the excellent quality of the food has remained the same. While some patrons stay for dessert, others opt for another swim or a round of the boules game to the left of the town church, before boarding their vessels and leaving for the day. Much to the joy of fortunate visitors, the church occasionally hosts choir and classical music concerts in the evenings.
Arula is not the most ornate spot in town, yet its location at the start of Korčula’s flowery western promenade makes a pretty sight. The sweets they sell are authentic and outrageously good - but stop by on the early side, before the apple and cherry pies are long gone. The bakers here still make traditional sweets like the Kašluni biscuits and the Utopljenik (drowned man) sweet bread, many of these distinct to Korčula. But choices are tough to make and you are inevitably tempted to take at least a few to go, as you should also try the satisfying, old-fashioned marmalade doughnuts, or indulge in the ultimate treat - the Arula cake, a delightful mix of chocolate, oranges and carob - all at prices from a pre-touristic era.
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.
A bit of an institution, Adio Mare is Korčula town's oldest-family run restaurant and little has changed since it opened in 1974. It's a friendly, buzzy, hearty Dalmatian restaurant showcasing tradition rather than innovation. Book a table on the shaded terrace upstairs and enjoy the brodet fish stew with polenta, the grilled meats or the pasta with beans. There's a decent enough selection of local wines. Baby-seats are available if needed.
This ranch-style restaurant, run by the family Marelić, is up in the hills 8km from Korčula town. It’s the place to eat peka, lamb or goat slow-cooked under smouldering charcoal, ordered in advance. Turning up on spec, try a grilled dish. Pretty much everything they serve is local, including the succulent home-cured pršut. Home-made grappas provide an aperitif. Seating is in a spacious garden planted with herbs and figs. It’s a cosy retreat in winter with wood-burning fire – call ahead first to see if they’re open.
Known to Korčula regulars by its original name of U Maje i Tonke, this kooky and creative restaurant was re-launched as Aterina in summer 2014. The recipe for success remains the same: inventive use of local ingredients, married to modern, bistro-style presentation. The only potential drawback is its popularity – come here in August and you might have to wait for a table. The konoba built its reputation on cooking up Mediterranean main courses and nibble-food (‘Dalmatian tapas’ is the way they describe it) with anything that can be locally grown, caught or picked. Soups of the day, marinated fish, aubergines with goat’s cheese, pasta dishes with home-made pesto and creative cakes are among the treats in store. There’s a great outdoor terrace with views of the swaying palm tops along the harbour.
This arresting blue-and-white striped pavilion stands beside the roadside midway between Račišće and Kneža, right next to a beautiful pebble-fringed bay. As well as serving local wines and spirits they also have a full menu of food, much of which is cooked on an open grill.
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.
Surrounded by olive groves and pine trees, this is the most alluring dining spot in the area. Reliably delicious specialities include octopus and baked meat (peka), as well as a range of dishes made from ingredients grown in their own farm.