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Best Restaurants in North Dalmatia for Your Next Adriatic Sailing Holiday

15. April, 2022

Best Restaurants in North Dalmatia for Your Next Adriatic Sailing Holiday Blog

While South Dalmatia takes the spotlight thanks to the posh party island paradise of Hvar, Diocletian’s empire in Split, and one of the Adriatic’s most famous beaches on Brač, North Dalmatia often falls under the radar - and unreasonably so. With all that North Dalmatia has to offer and more, like national and nature parks, one of the most indented island archipelagos in the entire Mediterranean, and the historical charms of its neighbor down below, this region is a force to be reckoned with on your next Croatian sailing holiday, with something fit for all generations of travelers. And we haven’t even mentioned the food.

North Dalmatia is a playground for gourmands not only because it is the proud home to one of Croatia’s Michelin-star restaurants, but it boasts some of Croatia’s master chefs, standout island kitchens, and tons of feel-good family flair. Bringing a touch of northern soul to the tastes and traditions of Dalmatian cuisine, we’re introducing you to the best restaurants in North Dalmatia.

Momento in Petrčane near Zadar

Located in a stone house on the coast of Petrčane just 15 minutes outside of the better-known town of Zadar, Momento takes an innovative approach to the specialties of the area. Blending classic Croatian cuisine with a sprinkle of contemporary class, Momento owes it all to their meticulous, creative, and experienced chefs who use the kitchen as an outlet to craft magnificent meals guests enjoy from the sea view terrace. Blessed by the mistral wind, each dish is assembled using seasonal, fresh, and hand-picked ingredients to entice your palate, from Mediterranean terrine topped with fried burrata to Pag cheese prawn risotto with strawberries, sous vide pork neck with paella rice, and brown butter Turbot. But that’s just part of why Momento is one of the best restaurants in North Dalmatia.

Exceptional first-class fish, including John Dory, redfish, and sea bream, is a go-to on the seafood menu, while their ​​pan-fried calamari with fava beans and artichoke ragu, pancetta, and lemon will have you pre-booking your next trip to the Zadar area. These colorful plates complement the interiors, where rustic wooden boats decorate the ceiling, and stone arches remind you of the lay of the land.

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Dugi Otok is one of the most fascinating island in the Adriatic 

Konoba Roko on Dugi Otok

When talking about traditional Dalmatian taverns, it’s impossible to forget Konoba Roko, located in the town of Zaglav on Dugi Otok Island. With an old-school sea-facing terrace that peeks onto small fishing boats owned by island inhabitants, Roko takes diners on an adventure of Mediterranean flavors that are rooted in distinct regional dishes and local specialties. The casual ambiance invites you to sit back, relax, and dig into fish caught daily near the Kornati Islands, with homemade sauces enhanced by vegetables and herbs sourced from the owner’s garden. 

Whether you choose scampi, octopus peka, mussels, or lamb from the small nearby village of Žman, you can be sure that Roko sources only the finest from the island to forge their fare. In addition to aromatic wines, Roko offers diners artisanal craft beer and fragrant teas to wash down the piping hot grill dishes or cleanse their appetite for a dessert course of goat cheese. Konoba Roko has undoubtedly earned its place as one of the best restaurants in North Dalmatia, and they even have a B&B and apartments should you like it so much you want to stay!

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Beside its interesting location, Festa has a very authentic setting

Fešta on Žut Island

A one-of-a-kind culinary experience on an uninhabited island, easily visited on your Zadar-Šibenik sailing route? You heard us right. Fešta is one of North Dalmatia’s gastronomy gems. Located on the island of Žut in the Kornati Islands archipelago, not far from the ACI marina, Fešta takes the rustic charm of old Dalmatian taverns, wraps it in hundred-year-old olive groves, and enhances it with native crafts, from fishing and agriculture tools to traditional clothing and accessories displayed where you dine. The sailing traditions of the area are cloaked into Fešta’s menu, where close relationships with the region’s best fishers promise the best quality seafood every day, prepared in many ways, including dishes that cannot be found elsewhere in the country (did someone say conger eel pâté?).

In addition to an in-house aquarium, Fešta honors carnivores by preparing their meat dishes ‘Kornati-fisherman style’, seasoned with their own olive oil and house-made condiments. No meal is complete unless it’s served with homemade bread, coming straight from their built-in bread oven, while two outdoor terraces allow guests to embrace the aromas of the wood-burning barbecue. Whether you choose swordfish carpaccio with grapefruit and arugula or Tatar swordfish steak, the Mudronja family takes pride in every part of the Fešta experience. And did we mention they have a spot for your boat to dock?

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Motivated by appreciative guests, Konoba Smokvica offers diners a relaxed environment. 

Konoba Smokvica on Vela Smokvica Island

And if you’re already sailing the Kornati, you’ll have to stop by Vela Smokvica Island and pay a visit to Konoba Smokvica, named after one of the archipelago’s most stunning spots. Led by the careful hands of Masterchef and owner Andrija Kero, Konoba Smokvica is guided by the simple philosophy of using the natural world around you, finding solace in ingredients that are ‘edible but simple and raw.’

Motivated by appreciative guests, Konoba Smokvica offers diners a relaxed environment where breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served. Smokvica promises hand-picked fruits and vegetables from their local garden, homemade island olive oil, and a menu that praises Kornati traditions, from Bluefin tuna carpaccio and tataki to pasta with sea urchin roe or crab meat, seafood stews, oysters, lamb, and beefsteak. Konoba Smokvica is galvanized by seasonality, creativity, and the freshest and most quality ingredients available. And don’t worry, they’ll make sure a berth is available for your boat, too!

Pelegrini in Šibenik

While we’ve mentioned Michelin-worthy restaurants thus far, we finally meet the 1 Michelin star jewel of North Dalmatia - Pelegrini. Located in Šibenik, the only town in Croatia with two UNESCO World Heritage sites, Pelegrini boasts views of the Gothic-Renaissance Cathedral of St James - but it’s so much more than its location. Earning its first Michelin star in 2018, the same year it was named Croatia’s best restaurant, Pelegrini is led by ‘chef of the year’ Rudolph (Rudi) Štefan, who carefully followed the masterchef hands of his grandmother to cultivate his culinary craft.

Pelegrini is founded on simple yet critical ideas that take precedence in the kitchen - gastronomic heritage, seasonal and local ingredients, and small Croatian producers. Driven by this philosophy, Pelegrini honors the flavors of the land to design contemporary Dalmatian menus where diners can choose from 14 cold, hot, mains, and desserts to create a 4-course menu. And if you don’t want to overthink? Tasting menus with wine pairings are also an option.

From meat and seafood to a thoughtful selection for our vegetarian friends, Pelegrini is more than a Michelin masterpiece and one of the best restaurants in North Dalmatia. The restaurant also kicked off Chefs' Stage, an international congress of gastronomy and catering, and the Budi Foodie Foundation, which educates young talents in the kitchen!

Konoba Boba on Murter

Fusing traditional ingredients with modern techniques, Konoba Boba is one of the best restaurants in North Dalmatia for many reasons, but its cuisine rooted in the Kornati’s identity certainly takes the cake. Located in the heart of Murter island, the owner and one of Croatia’s top chefs, Vjeko Bašić, evolves Boba’s gastronomic style thanks to the native ingredients of the island and the Kornati archipelago.

In addition to a standout selection of first-class, fresh fish, Boba ensures that all ingredients are organic and carefully sourced to construct outstanding plates meticulously designed and refined by wines. Compelled to live by the island and for the island, celebrating seasons, harvests, and local suppliers, Boba also boasts their own garden where the aromas of immortelle, oregano, basil, rosemary, olives, tomatoes, and more are freshly picked for your meal. Boba's ambiance is hard to top, too, with room for 50 guests inside and another 80 in the stone-clad Mediterranean garden and courtyard. But when the traditions and ingredients are this good, you just need the inventive mind of someone like Vjeko Bašić to do the heavy lifting.