Saturday, November 5, 2011

Croatia Part 3- Šibenik Caressed by the Sea

Šibenik has everything I love--It's low key, on the sea, and close to Bibich. Our visit was a marathon of eating; from the wonderful seafood at Dalmatino, to the sublime wine and food parings at Bibich, and finally dinner at Restaurant Marina in Skradin, where we feasted on roasted lamb and vegetables prepared in the traditional peka method in which the dish is covered and placed under hot ash and embers for baking. 

Here is a glimpse of Sibenik's natural beauty and brilliant cuisine, plus a few shots of Waldo from Where's Waldo drinking rakija! {Note: If the video cuts off on the sides you may need to click through to view it on You Tube directly.} 

Upon arrival in Šibenik we checked into Hotel Jadran situated in the middle of town and directly on the promenade where you could practically reach out of your room and grab a glass of wine from one of the many sailboats docked along the seawall. We took a stroll around town with our knowledgeable local guide Vanja Dadić, who had a great sense of humor and was a good sport with all our antics. After a climb to the top of Fort St. Michael for a panoramic view, it was time for lunch at Konoba Dalmatino. 

To say we were spoiled by the bounty of fresh seafood in coastal Croatia would be a gross understatement. I've never had anything close to the supreme delights of the sea that I had in Croatia. The classic seafood repast at Dalmatino was an ode to freshness and simple preparation. The mussels, oysters and clams were just hours out of the water.

Our congenial host Mr. Vinko Pilizota (above at left) was dressed in traditional costume and chef Sinisa Cular seemed happy to be preparing dishes for guests with such hearty appetites as ours. 

We started the meal with a few shots of Travaricia rakija a grape brandy infused with a blend of aromatic herbs. I never found out what herbs the Travarica had in it, but I detected hints of juniper, currents, sage and rosemary. Dalmatino also serves as a wine shop and I was happy to peruse the walls of so many “new to me wines” in between each course. 

Apparently mussels are best served when the moon is full and lucky for us the moon was in it's fullest phase and mussels were the specialty of the house at Dalmatino. The broth of the mussels was incredibly delicious and I greedily dabbed it up with chunks of bread. It's hard to believe it was only parsley, garlic, olive oil and tomatoes. I’m sure there was some other secret ingredient, but no one was giving it away. We had some interesting wines too, including a Debit and a Maristina. The particular Debit we had was strange to me, I found the flavor flat and it seemed slightly oxidized, but the Maristina was bright and lemony with great acidity for the oysters.

The relaxed atmosphere at Dalmatino is like going to your best friends house. (The best friend who knows how to cook, has a great stash of wine, and owns cool hats that is.) We felt so comfortable and at home we found it hard to extract ourselves from the table. But nature, not that kind of nature call, the real dirt and rocks kind of nature call; we were off to visit the waterfalls at Krka National Park. Afterwards we had a dinner date in Skradin at Restaurant Marina. Fortunately all that rushing water stimulated my appetite for the third time that day.

The folks at Restaurant Marina were very welcoming, and we got an up-close view of the peka process in action through the giant plate glass window in the kitchen. The savory lamb at Marina was just the ticket to take the chill off the night air. Later we sampled some sweet wines with dessert and the winds kicked up dramatically. We held tight to our glasses as the patio canopy whipped above our heads and toasted to a day of memorable meals.

P.S: Recently I heard scientists made a startling discovery that the universe was expanding at a rate faster than the speed of light, sounds crazy right?  Well I can tell you it’s nothing compared to the rate of speed my waistband was expanding in Croatia. 


  1. The meal at Konoba Dalmatino was one of the best in Croatia. Highly recommended. And Vinko is wonderful.

  2. Okay, I figured this out. You are coming with us to Croatia either late 2012 or for sure in 2013! OMG! We will schedule on a full moon for sure. LOL. Marcey, thank you for sharing the details. I am so totally jazzed about travel to Croatia. Maybe Pavle needs to get on this for 2012.

  3. Those mussels look amazing. I wonder if the full moon thing has to do with the currents being stronger...maybe they flush out those filter feeders making their taste shine with more clarity?

  4. Whatever you try, wherever you go, who ever you ask, the complete set of herbs in Travarica will never be clear.
    Why ???
    Because everybody makes it slightly different, and my neighbor for instance climbs the surrounding mountains to pick his very own herbs for his very own family recipe.
    This also goes for Orahovic, a liqueur with walnuts as basic ingredient.
    Isn't it great to know you'll never know the secret of it all!

  5. Your blog is really awesome. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I like Croatian cuisine food very much and i have tried many Croatian recipes which i got from youtube and many other website. I like visiting Croatian restaurants in weekend.



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