Hands down the nicest place to eat in central Šibenik, Pelegrini has benefitted from a recent change of culinary approach. Diners may now opt for the 400kn degustation menu that features, as an appetiser, a smoked aubergine and yoghurt dip, moving onto truffle and prosciutto pappardelle with sheeps’ cheese and fresh parsley, smoked oxtail in tempura with salsa, and braised meat with tomato salsa and carrot purée. Chocolate and coffee finish things off nicely. Each dish is accompanied by a specially chosen wine (200kn). Alternatively, there’s an à la carte choice of mains, monkfish tripe with polenta or beef fillet with baked misni cheese, and 150kn lunch option. Outside, the view could hardly be bettered, with tables on the stone steps overlooking the cathedral and a lovely terrace on the roof of the Bunari, the medieval water cistern building, complete with carved well-heads.
Some 4km (2.5 miles) out of town, on the road to the Solaris hotel resort, family-run Barun has long been a favourite with locals out to impress their new date/in-laws/business associates. Located in a large modern house that is also a hotel, the first-floor dining room has a fantastic view over cultivated fields and offshore islands. The interior is as classy as the view – antique chairs, smart tablecloths and plenty of greenery. Established for over 20 years, Barun has a menu best described as upmarket traditional, with Italian and French influences well to the fore. A popular choice is steak: châteaubriand for two or biftek café de paris. Eight apartments are for rent too.
Sample well-prepared regional mainstays served with creativity at this stylish spot on a small square facing St Chrysogonus’ Church, the town’s oldest. On a hot day, book a table on the tree-shaded stone terrace. The narrow townhouse offers two-floor seating inside elegant but crammed interiors with seashell-themed paintings. Specialities include pašticada (beef with plums in a wine-and-vinegar sauce, served with gnocchi) and ray fish fillet with rocket, courgettes and tomato sauce. Dried figs in wine are the best dessert choice.
Well worth the 8-km (five-mile) taxi ride from Šibenik, this gourmet institution still provides consistent excellence in the seafood arena. The covered terrace has a scenic view to the island of Krapanj, while the interior comes with floral decor. The meal starts with a bread basket and home-made fish pâté, followed by your pick of fish from the big platter at the entrance. If in doubt, order the excellent gilthead sea bream or sea bass with blitva or the fish platter for two. The family also run a small simple hotel behind the restaurant – the half- or full-board here is one of the best gastronomic deals in the Adriatic.
A local favourite in Šubićevac, a 20-minute walk from the Old Town, has been dishing out top Dalmatian food since 1898. The cool patio terrace features a lovely open hearth and vine-covered seating. The glass-enclosed interior has exposed stone walls and an old-fashioned fireplace. The menu covers just about everything in the Dalmatian culinary repertoire although the real star is the seafood: try the stuffed squid.
Set in the former Venetian town hall, from which it takes its name, the GV makes use of its nine arches and splendid terrace view of the Cathedral to provide a superb setting for sampling top local cuisine at prices just above average. In winter, dine inside a small restaurant with a big mirror and crisp white tablecloths, the sort of place you’d take your parents. Look out for the chalked-up daily menu of late-morning-to-lunchtime specials.
Walk through an atmospheric stone passageway and up the steps to reach a terrace wedged against the hillside of the Old Town, with a couple of tables and benches set in greenery. To look at the water instead of the pink decor inside, sit in the glass-enclosed loggia in the back. Quality fish and meat options include standards and offbeat dishes such as fried shark, Dalmatian frogs’ legs in season and Mexican paella with chicken, veal and vegetables. Save space for the baked ice-cream in breadcrumbs.
A younger clientele munches on pepper, cheese or truffle steaks, or one of the gnocchi or lasagne dishes. In the morning, it’s a café; at night, a cocktail bar. The terrace is a pleasant and shady place, embellished by a mural of a braying donkey, and there are two cosy bars up a steep flight of stone stairs. On the second floor is an intimate, four-tabled, wooden-roofed balcony with views of the square and its Gothic-Renaissance church.