I’m always sceptical when I’m recommended a restaurant which is number one on Tripadvisor. Will it be excessively touristy? Will it lack authenticity? Are the reviews real? Dalmatino is top of list on Tripadvisor for Hvar. And, despite my hesitation, I did end up going because not only had my colleague loved it (and been twice in three days), but Rob managed to sneak there for lunch while I was doing bridesmaid duties, and he came back raving about it as well.
So then I had to go. Nothing would stop me, not even when my friend who tried to make a reservation for us was told that it was fully booked all night. I just called them and pleaded. And begged. And somehow that seemed to work, and the five of us got a table downstairs which was perfect. I think it’s better to sit outside (as always tends to be the case in warm holiday destinations like Hvar), but beggars can’t be choosers.
First thing to mention is the service. All the waiters there are extraordinarily friendly. In a very genuine, unforced way. They are clearly proud to work there (taking you through the menu with care and dedication), and happy to help you in any way possible. Their aim is to make your evening enjoyable. And they completely succeed here.
But you come here for the food. And I didn’t really think Croatia did food like it (on the whole, I still think Croatian food is a poor version of Italian cuisine). But Dalmatino blew us all away. From the stunning, fresh tuna and avocado tartare, to the shrimp and orange tartar – the starters were healthy and delicious.
But the dish which blew us all away was the black truffle and shrimp gnocchi – so rich, so creamy and so opulent (photo below does not do it justice). The portion was massive but there’s no way you will leave a morsel.
The setting is simple, right by Hvar’s marina, down a little side street. It looks unassuming, unflashy – in contrast to the superyachts moored around the corner. But it will be full every lunch and night this summer, so if you’re in Hvar you must go, and make sure you book ahead. Unless you’re not afraid to beg.
Sveti Marak 1,
Photo credit: Dalmatino