Split eat list

The best Split restaurants

Croatia's second city has become a gastronomic destination of international standing – while its traditional establishments continue to thrive year-round. Our local experts pick out the best Split restaurants

By Time Out contributors and Justin McDonnell
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The Split restaurant scene's culinary revolution is a recent phenomenon and one that's still booming. Decent and diverse eateries seem to be opening on an almost monthly basis, making Croatia's second city a gastronomic destination equal to almost any in the country. Split is not only a tourist playground – it's a living, breathing, dining-out city for locals too.

The best restaurants in Split

NoStress Bistro
© NoStress Bistro

NoStress Bistro

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Bistros Split

There are very few places in Split that can beat the location of NoStress, right at the busiest part of the city’s main square. This should be the perfect spot for a tourist traps. However, NoStress is far from that. Ever since owners Žana and Željko Alfirević hired experienced chef Željko Neven Bremec, NoStress turned into one of the most innovative eateries in town. Its cuisine is mostly created from local ingredients, with ever-changing seasonal specialities such as wild asparagus in spring or home-made sausages in winter. NoStress is thus one of the real leaders in the new wave of Split’s gastronomic scene, experimenting with re-interpretations of Dalmatian culinary traditions. Probably the best example of this is the dishes made from boškarin, a cattle breed raised in the traditional way in of Istria, and certified for authenticity. Žana and Željko are also very dedicated in reviving some of the nicest elements of Split’s urban traditions, with regular events such as open-air dancing to nostalgic tunes of the 1970s and 1980s. Recently, they put on smooth live music on weekend nights. If by chance you stumble upon NoStress in the morning, it’s also one of the most popular coffee-sipping spots in town.  

ma:Toni

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Mediterranean Split

The former home to the Enoteca Terra restaurant and wine shop, and then the Tinita tavern, this stone-clad basement of a century-old building behind Bačvice now houses a brand new venture: ma:Toni. ‘Matoni’ was opened late 2014 by a couple: Toni Arnerić, the chef, and his girlfriend Tisija Prohić, responsible for hospitality. Ma:Toni quickly became a hot spot and might be one of the biggest discoveries of the 2015 season. Unlike those at many other venues with orthodox traditional Dalmatian cuisine, ma:Toni’s menu brings non-conventional creations, with dishes ranging from vegan, to fish and meat. These feature home-made pasta with beef cheeks, gnocchi with duck breast, bull’s tail with mashed carrots and lamb-liver stew. Imaginative vegan-inspired dishes include palako pear: pear in black tea with vegan chocolate and ice-cream. With a location just metres from Bačvice beach, ma:Toni has potential in spades, and its dungeon-like setting provides welcome refreshment on hot days, especially when combined with a soundtrack of jazz, funk and bossa nova.

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Mazzgoon Food
© Mazzgoon

Mazzgoon

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Mediterranean Split

Another small but mighty stronghold of Split’s new gastronomy scene is owned by young spouses Sara and Toni Vrsalović. It’s based right next to the Iron or Western Gate of the Diocletian’s Palace, which was designated to be used by the Roman emperor's guard. Now, there is this contemporarily designed indoor space, beside a shady and pleasant terrace in the backyard of one of Split’s medieval palaces. Mazzgoon is named after Dalmatian word for mule (mazga), known for its never-say-die persistence. Its cuisine is also a combination of traditional regional dishes and international influences. You’ll find excellent Dalmatian brodetto, with home-made pasta from Korčula, but there is also a shrimp burger and street-food varieties. Mazzgoon is also a source of new happenings in town: its menu is also a monthly magazine called Mazzgoon Times, with news about Split’s culinary and clubbing scene. Nice touch.

Korta
© Korta

Korta

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Split

A small enclosed piazza that almost feels like a private courtyard, Poljana Grgura Ninskog is one of the cult spots of Split’s Palace precinct, hidden from outsiders but a regular short-cut for locals heading from Silver Gate to Golden Gate. Hip bar Planet Jazz used to occupy one corner of the square; a spot now taken over by Korta, a soothing restaurant that mixes Dalmatian tradition with modern culinary style. There’s a good balance on the menu between fish, meat and pasta. Korta is one of the few places in Split to serve San Servolo, the delicious beer crafted by a boutique brewery in Istria.

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Boban
© Boban

Boban

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Mediterranean Split

Opened in 1973 and praised in Croatia’s top gastronomic guides, Boban is tucked among residential buildings a short walk up from Firule – the taxi driver will know it. Specialities include home made gnocchi filled with scampi and prosciutto, filet mignon in red-wine-and-truffle sauce, and monkfish fillets wrapped in pancetta and served on rice with a cream sauce. Expect the best local wines.

Bistro Toć
© Toć

Toć

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Mexican Split

A five-minute walk from the Riva, this smart but affordable neighbourhood konoba is a good place for traditional Dalmatian lunches, with squid risottos, simple fish fillets and homemade-pasta-with-goulash combinations frequently chalked up on a board outside. Under its previous incarnation as Bistro Black Cat, it was the kind of place that served foreigner-friendly dishes that proved highly popular with incoming backpackers – and exotic items like chili con carne, tortillas and the odd vegetarian choice are still on the menu. Whatever you eat, be sure to include dessert in your dining plans – the home-made cakes are in a class of their own.

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Noštromo
© Noštromo

Noštromo

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Kvarner

Simple traditional fare, including some very "old-school" dishes. A pleasant garden and terrace, with somewhere for the children to play.

Šperun
© Šperun

Šperun

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Mediterranean Split

This great little Dalmatian bistro is just behind Sv Frane church near the Riva. In a neat rustic interior, a table groans with Adriatic goodies – little fish, fresh vegetables, olive oils and so on. Prices here are completely reasonable – even for a blue fish mixed grill, grilled tuna fish with capers or oven-roasted sea bream with olives – and the portions generous. Marinated cheese and octopus salad feature among the many starters – or let the waiter recommend something from the cheap-and-quick daily specials.

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Samurai
© Samurai

Samurai

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Japanese Split

Opened by retired engineer Masahiro Okamoto in 2013 this is pretty much what central Dalmatia was crying out for, a sushi bar that’s welcoming, inexpensive and serious about producing quality sushi. Samurai’s sushi makes the best use of local ingredients - you can have pršut sushi roll (8 pieces 75Kn) as well as more traditional shrimp and salmon varieties. The other Japanese dishes on the menu - beef sukiyaki bowl, mixed tempura bowl and several noodle dishes – are ideal light-lunch material. 

Restoran Kadena
© Kadena

Kadena

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Mediterranean Split

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.

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