Split restaurants tend to stick to tried & true favourites to please their local customers and the locals love local Dalmatian dishes, not sushi and Szechuan. A few exotic restaurants do exist but the best restaurants do what they do best: grilled fresh fish, stewed meat, homemade pasta and fluffy pizza. These are the local favorites that you'll find on menus throughout town. Split's growing crowd of international visitors have added more vegetarian and vegan options to local menus even though the traditional diet leans toward fish and seafood.
Even though restaurants in Split may lack a lot of variety, the quality usually ranges from good to excellent. Which is why they're often crowded! Reserve in advance if possible.
As everywhere in Croatia, prices are marching ever upward in Split. Before getting in a lather about it, take a look at the prices in a local supermarket. They’re the same as most other European destinations! That is, you can’t expect restauranteurs to give a break to their customers when they’re paying through the nose. Still, you can get good value if you sniff around. Prices can be affordable if you choose carefully. A two-course dinner for two with wine starts at about €40 but can be much higher, especially for fish or seafood meals. (See more on Dining in Croatia). Here are some of the best Split restaurants all located in or near the town centre:
(Ivana Zajca 1, tel 021-389 400)
Tired of tradition? Mad about modernity? Head east to this revamped restaurant which is rapidly gaining a following among Split's gastronomic crowd. The wine cellar is among the best in the region and the chef is unafraid to weave new flavors and imaginative sauces into his dishes. The glass-walled terrace with views across the Adriatic helps the ambiance. The tasting menus (from €35) offer a varied range of delights.
(Kraj Sv Marije 10, tel 091-405 66 66)
It's right next to the fish market with a specialty of--guess what--fish and seafood! The style is smart-casual and the freshness is impeccable.
(Uvala baluni 8, tel 021-399 333)
At the ACI Marina west of the Old Town, this sleek restaurant serves up the freshest possible fish and seafood in an updated Dalmatia style.
(Domaldova 8, tel 021 355 577)
Inspired by the famous market in Barcelona, this family-run restaurant near Split's market is making its mark with idelightful takes on Mediterranean cuisine. The interior is spacious and the wide-ranging menu offers something for everyone, all of it market-fresh.
(Bacvice: Put Firula 14, tel 021-571 513)
Chef Boris Asanović tantalizes the palate from breakfast through late dinner with predominantly Croatian specialties from pork belly to octopus roasted under a bell. It's a great place to sample Croatia's finest wine and cheese as well.
(Obala preparoda 8; tel 021-340 000)
With an impeccable location right on Split's harbourside promenade, this hotel restaurant is a good mid-range choice. Budget options are few but the quality is excellent. Read my review.
Also east of the centre is this classy spot where you can sample the full range of Croatian cooking from Istrian truffles to Dalmatian grilled fish and meat.
(Bajamontijeva 1, tel 098 987 7780)
At the West Gate of Diocletian's Palace, this relaxed place has a comfortable courtyard and a menu that jazzes up Dalmatian classics. Try the risotto with raisins and apples or a fish stew with local sweet wine. Prices are surprisingly reasonable.
(Trg Republike 1, tel 021-341 033)
This classy but fun place livens up Split's central square in the best way. With an outdoor terrace and two floors, there's space for a wide assortment of folks from hipsters to artists to out-of-town visitors. The ambience and service is relaxed and friendly. On a recent visit I was pleasantly surprised by a thick, juicy fresh tuna steak expertly grilled and served over roasted vegetables. Only the presentation could have been improved.
(Sperun 3, tel 021-346 999)
Locals and tourists alike flock here for perfect pasta, tempting tuna, savoury seafood and whatever the chef has in mind. This little place on Sperun square has wormed its way into a number of guidebooks. It’s not bad at all. A portion of your better quality fish will set you back about €12 but that’s a reasonable deal. There’s a full menu of meat, fish and vegetable plates starting at about €7. I had a local speciality, Bacalao, which is salt cod and potatoes in a casserole. I found it a little gummy but maybe that’s par for this dish, Dalmatian-style. Anyway, it was certainly filling. The service is young and enthusiastic but reserve ahead, especially on Saturday night.
(Lestina 3, tel 021-394 440)
In my opinion, no city is truly cosmopolitan unless it has a vegetarian restaurant and Makrovega represents Split's entry onto the veggie-vegan circuit. Unfortunately, the theory seems to be that eating vegetables coincides with an early bedtime as this restaurant closes in the early evening.
(Trumbiceva Obala 11, tel 021-345 223)
This old stand-by is in the newly trendy Veli Varos neighbourhood, the old fisherman’s quarter, now restored and chock-full of private accommodation. Cited in dozens of guidebooks, Buffet Fife remains true to its calling as a cheap eatery for backpackers and tourists at the end of their budget. The quality leaves much to be desired though. See my review.
Konoba Trattoria Bajamont
(Bajamontijeva 3, tel 091-253 744)
Sometimes budget is best, or at least more fun. You'll see what I mean at this bohemian joint. Imagine a place run by your hippie parents who have strange and interesting friends and who also love to eat. There might be music and singing but there's sure to be good cooking Dalmatian-style.
(Marulićeva 1, tel 021-490 992)
Named after the Croatian word for "oil", this cosy, romantic little place honours olive oil in all its permutations. After sampling the delicious treats served up at the table, you can hop over to a nearby boutique and stock up on olive oil, jam, wine and other Croatian gastronomic products.
Marta's Veggie Fusion
For a healthy snack in the heart of old Split it would be hard to do better than this simple eatery. Even meat-lovers would appreciate the hearty and delicious beet-based burger on offer served with homemade fries (When do you ever see that?) For €5.50, it's a steal. The menu also offers a beet polenta, smoked tofu, hummus, chia pudding and a variety of fresh juices.
Last Updated: December 8, 2022