I’m not a picky travel eater. As a lifelong vegetarian and vegan for most of my 20’s and 30’s, I’m also a natural carbatarian. Give me pasta, pizza, french fries or a white wine spritzer and I’ll be just fine anywhere in the world.
Croatia in general has been a pleasant and tasty surprise in the vegan food realm, and my quick island hop over to Stari Grad for the weekend embodies this delicious experience.
Quick note: many many shops, cafes, wine bars and restaurants that look darling and worth a visit are currently closed – due to a combination of late-in-season and Covid times. So I’m sure there are a ton more good eats and drinks here! This is just my quick non-scientific experience during an early weekend in October 2020.
My friend Abby and I took the ferry over from Split. It docked at 1030 in Stari Grad, and by 1130 we were checked in, unpacked, and wandering the cute + very old streets of Stari Grad.
Like I mentioned above, a lot of places were closed, so we stopped at one of the first spots we found. I don’t remember the name, but that’s not too important because this was a mediocre food experience. But! I took photos and in an effort to better share – and make the monthly Google storage fee I pay worth it – I will share them here.
Here we go:
Pizza – when in doubt at any restaurant in the world, order pizza without cheese. But here’s something I just learned – if it comes with olives, you probably don’t need to order an additional side of olives, because they will just plop a few adorable whole olives on your pizza. 😀
Boiled potatoes – thought we’d branch out from bread for a different carb experience. These were good, though I think they may have boiled in butter, not oil (oops)?
Grilled vegetables – Chard is a very popular dish here, which makes my leafy green loving heart happy. Wasn’t sure what vegetables were on this dish (a fun part of ordering meals off menus in different languages), but I figured they’d either be:
a) delicious; or
b) vegetables I don’t like but will gamely try.
The answer is…. b.
I do not enjoy eggplant (texture! taste! ugh! – unless it’s smoked and in baba ghanoush, and then it’s a distant second to hummus but I will eat it) or zucchini (unless it’s in bread with chocolate chips, or as an ingredient in ribbons/shreds in other dishes) or tomatoes (unless it’s in a sauce, or again, in smaller pieces as part of a larger dish). I know, I’m annoying to eat with, especially as a lifelong vegetarian. And these vegetables are always such filler veggies – they’re like the international Basic Veggie Starter Pack.
So anyway, I tried the eggplant and zucchini. Pass.
Total cost of this meal:
- 1 pizza
- side order olives
- grilled vegetables
- 1 coffee
- 1 glass of wine
- 1 bottle of mineral water
198 kuna/$31 usd (+ tip)
After lunch some wandering definitely happened, followed by napping in the sun and a quick dip into the sea. Finding our way back into town, we tried a local beer: Karlovacko (a subsidiary of Heineken).
The perfect beer to drink after a warm afternoon of sun and a salty dip in the sea.
Abby and I rented bikes to explore Stari Grad Plains (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). After very bumpy roads and very very very cool sightings of ancient agricultural land that has been farmed since the 4th century BC (!!!!) – mostly grapes (!) and olives (!), we biked back into town, hungry and tired.
And then! I ate the best food EVER. Seriously. I am prone to hyperbole, but this was in the top 3 meals I have ever eaten. Beyond the menu description and photos, the food was lovingly prepared in taste combinations not usually found. And the cocktails – oh my. So creative and amazing. And Dee, the co-owner and server, is a delight and made us feel welcome. And Ruby, the dog, is a dog (need I say more?).
Go here: Nook.
“Non PG Tea” actual description: Hendricks gin, green tea syrup, lime, orange, cucumber, served cold in a tea pot – pour over spherical ice cube with (edible) bougainvillea blossom. Come ON.
This cocktail was so good I wanted to try something else from the menu – but I couldn’t decide – it all looked good! So I asked Dee to surprise me.
Dee brought me the Bourbon Cooler: Jack Daniels and Apricot Brandy. Sounds simple. Tastes divine! I adore apricot anything, and bourbon is always a good friend to me.
On to the food!
Sample platter: Abby and I ordered the Veggie Sample Platter – vegetarian as is, but can be veganized. To veganize, leave off the samosa (contains feta), and ask for vegan sauces. Leaving off the samosa will also give you more falafel and some surprise spring rolls.
Menu description: carrot and cucumber sticks, (the best ever) hummus, spicy mayo, truffle mayo, mint mayo, spring rolls, falafel balls, tomato and garlic flatbread, truffle fries, close up of falafel ball. Fun fact: truffles (the mushroom) are indigenous to the area so you can find white or black truffle infused dishes around every corner.
After we ordered this huge sample platter, Abby turned the page in the menu and we found more options! So of course we ordered more!
Fried Fake Chick: had to try this – the menu says tofu but it was actually soya chunks. The asian-style slaw was incredible!!
We ordered so much food and
spent so much money contributed generously to the local community, we couldn’t finish it all. As Abby pointed out, the total cost for this one meal (which, with leftovers, ended up being dinner and breakfast the next day) was $78, which is the total cost of both nights of accommodation on the island ($77). Ha. So about $40 each for 3 meals. Shrug. Worth every penny.
Dee stored our leftovers for us (#islandlife), and Abby and I took off on our dusty and rusty bikes to another swimming hole. My bike got a flat tire, so we stopped and found a spot right by an old church, changed into our swimsuits, and went for yet another salty dip. Bliss.
After our dip and sun bathing, we changed and biked back into town to pick up our leftovers – and of course one more drink! Dee told us they are starting Sunday High Tea next week and gave us a muffin sample to try: cranberry walnut. Still stuffed, I managed to fit one in my mouth.
Then we walked our very very full bellies, flat-tired bikes (well, mine) and leftovers back up the hill homeward.