Croatia Part Three: food and drink in Hvar

3 – 6 June 2016

When travelling on a budget and staying in hostels, I always feel like I should be making the most of the kitchen facilities, eating light and pre-drinking in the common areas but now that I am technically growing up (even though my budget might not have expanded as much as I would like – thank you London rental prices), I feel more justified in buying food out as much as possible and checking out the local nightlife. Since Hvar has so many options for both, I racked up quite a decent list during my three day stay.  (If you want to check out what else I got up to in Hvar, where I stayed and how I got around here)

Food

Posteni

After we arrived in Hvar Friday evening, we asked the owner of our hostel to recommend somewhere to eat. He gave us a flyer for a place called Mizarola in the main square round the corner. Here we found a line of restaurants, all with out door seating and ended up at the one next door – Posteni – having been promised free wine by the waiter. This was a promise they stuck to, and we were brought a carafe of white wine, free of charge. So far, we liked Hvar. The menu was displayed in a book with what looked like a colourful photo frame on the front. The food seemed Italian based and was pretty reasonably priced. There is a lot of Italian food in Hvar and I thought this wasn’t the most cultural option but I later discovered that Hvar had been invaded by the Venetians and their influence can still be seen. I ordered a ham and cheese pizza, which was pretty good (not the best I’ve ever had but tasty) and pretty filling. We were handed out blankets, and since we were pretty happy and cosy here, we decided to stay and order more drinks instead of moving onto a bar elsewhere. As we found with several places in Croatia, they sold a litre of house wine for about 100 kuna – so why would we need to go anywhere else?! Once we were finished, we were brought a complimentary aperitif along with our bill. We had certainly got our money’s worth so far!

Leporini

For our second dinner in Hvar, we decided to delve into one of the cute side streets, reminiscent of Dubrovnik’s Old Town. There were plenty of restaurants for us to choose from but with so many people trying to coax us inside, we just kept hurrying passed them. Finally we stopped to evaluate and decided to go back to Leporini. It looked nice and the the staff there had been less in your face. We sat outside, on a slight slope and ordered our now regular cheap litre of white wine. Trying to pour it and judge equal amounts whilst on a slope wasn’t easy. I ordered a meal of gnocchi with beef strips and truffles. I’d seen similar gnocchi combinations on a few menus – so figured it was a local take on the dish – and had been craving it. I wasn’t too sure about the flavour and I didn’t notice many/any truffles (perhaps it just had truffle oil) but it was still nice.

Fig Cafe

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The next morning, we went on a hunt for brunch. One of my friends had read about a place called the Fig Cafe, which was highly rated on Trip Advisor and supposedly a good option for vegetarians – of which we had two in our group. It took us a little while to find it, on the fiddly narrow lanes of Hvar but it wasn’t too difficult once we realised where we had been going wrong. We arrived to find a cute little restaurant just tucked away from the main square. We sat outside and all ordered the vegetarian breakfast burrito for 70 kuna. I can’t remember exactly what was inside it (I know there was egg) but I do remember that it was delicious. It came in a tomatoey sauce, with some guacamole on the side and might well have been one of the best brunches I have ever had. Or at least in my top five.

Alviz

On our last night in Hvar, we decided to go to Trip Advisor’s number one restaurant in the town: Dalmatino. Unfortunately, we arrived to find the tables full and a long waiting list already drawn up. Luckily, there was a helpful waiter on hand to recommend somewhere else to go: Alviz – located behind St Stephen’s Church. We went in and were led to a pretty outside terrace, surrounded by green plants. There were so many options on the menu that I wanted but I couldn’t make myself want anything more than the beef gnocchi. I’d had the same thing the night before but I wanted it again. I did spot a meal being delivered to the table next to be consisting of a slab of meat covered in sauce but I couldn’t work out what it was so I stuck with my gnocchi. This turned out to be an excellent decision because not only was it completely different to what I had at Leporini but it was the slab of meat covered in sauce that I had seen. And it was delicious.

Pizza Feta

Pizza Feta is Hvar’s answer to your post-night out food cravings (although having said that I don’t know exactly how late it is open until). Whilst I didn’t end up there for a late night pizza slice (so couldn’t tell you how good it was), I did go there for dessert after Alviz. During my trip to Croatia, I’d discovered the place does great ice cream and my friends and I had spotted some on offer at Pizza Feta (it was the relatively long queue that drew our attention to it). Thankfully, this stuff did not disappoint as I sat by the harbour licking it. I managed to fit in another trip the next day before I left.

Hello 2

After drinks on our last night, we were feeling peckish. Not fancying the pizza at Pizza Feta, we spotted what looked like some fast food options at Hello – a place near the harbour. We asked if they were still serving and were directed to a different branch – the creatively named “Hello 2”. We arrived to find the place looking very quiet but the guy there said he would still make us some chips. I assume they were going to close up soon because he accidentally made too many and so gave us another portion for free – I guess he wasn’t planning on having to serve anyone else that evening. They were really good chips. Bizarrely, they tasted exactly like cheesy chips despite their lack of cheese. Sitting and eating them by the harbour was the perfect way to end our last night in Hvar.

Vita Health Food Bar

On our final morning in Hvar, we decided to grab brunch at a health food place we’d spotted in the harbour called Vita. A lot of the food we’d been served so far in Croatia had been pretty salty so we were looking forward to something healthier. We started off with smoothies (I can’t remember what mine was called but it was delicious, and my friends were all equally happy with theirs). However, sadly the food was not the same. Some of it was still pretty salty and my focaccia bread sandwich, with hummus, pesto and veggies didn’t really taste of much. Still, the waiter was very sweet and helpful so that was something.

Mlinar

Now Mlinar might not be the most cultural holiday option but it was pretty handy for quick and cheap food on the go. During our time in Hvar, we made multiple stops here: for a pre-sunbathing breakfast on our first morning, for boat trip snacks and for food before the ferry journey to Split. Mlinar is a bakery chain which reminded us all of a nicer version of Greggs (which is why we consistently referred to it as Greggs during our trip). On my first visit, I picked up a chocolate filled doughnut – which was tasty enough for me to buy it again on my second trip. On my final visit, I grabbed a big slice of pizza for the ferry, which smelt so good I devoured it before I’d even boarded. I should have got two. 

Drinks

Carpe Diem Bar

Since we didn’t arrive in Hvar until dinner time, we weren’t quite ready to call it a night after our dinner at Posteni. We had wandered along the harbour, in the direction of our hostel, when we heard music coming from a bar at the end. There were several people drinking and dancing around outside to the House music being played, so we wandered in to the bar for a cocktail. The inside was dark with red lighting and the drinks were good (not as cheap as we would have liked but cheaper than London cocktails) but we didn’t end up staying too long. None of us are particular fans of House music – it’s too monotonous for me. Afterwards, having had a bit of a read online, I discovered this is one of the most highly recommended places for a night out in Hvar. As I left Hvar, I spotted an early evening White Party being held there for Yacht Week, where the music was far more pop-y and mainstream. I should have looked to see if they played other music on different nights – that is far more my jam. 

Hula Hula Beach Bar

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Hula Hula was somewhere my friends and I had wanted to go to before we even arrived in Hvar. It was a slight walk out from the centre of town but it wasn’t far at all from the spot we’d chosen for sunbathing so we ended up heading in that direction. Croatia doesn’t have great beaches so Hula Hula is based out on some craggy rocks, overlooking the deep blue sea. It was very picturesque and since we were in the area we decided to grab some lunch. We ordered two platters: the seafood one and the meatier one. The food wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great (hence I’ve listed Hula Hula under “Drinks” instead of “Food” – despite the fact I didn’t drink much there at all). The platters came served on what looked like afternoon tea stands. The menu stated that each platter was for two people and there was an extra charge for extra people but we found that two of the regular portions were enough for the five of us. Annoyingly, the wine wasn’t as cheap as we’d found in a lot of other places so a few of us just ordered a glass each of the cheapest stuff. It wasn’t nice – my student taste buds are used to bad wine but one of my friends took our glasses back and we were served with something new. I think the stuff we originally were given might have gone off.

Fed and watered, we dumped ourselves on one of the bar’s nice sunloungers, which are available to the bar’s customers at no extra cost – this was much better than just paying for a lounger and more for drinks, like we would have had to if we’d stayed at our first spot. We stayed for a few hours and fell asleep in the sun and we weren’t even chased to buy anything else (although perhaps we would have if it had been a busier time of year). We did buy some ice creams though. It was the perfect relaxing afternoon.

Red Baron

After having randomly bumped into a girl who three of our group used to live with, we decided to go for a drink – I mean, how could we not?! Our destination of choice ended up being the Red Baron bar. It was pretty quiet when we arrived sometime around 9/10ish and we sat outside, which was a little chilly considering the fact we were right next to the harbour. The cocktail menu was not so much of a menu and more of a book – there were so many choices. A waiter came to take our order and we had to send him off again because it took so long to decide what we actually wanted. I forget what the prices were exactly but the drinks were nice and I’m pretty sure it was a bit cheaper than the Carpe Diem bar.

Lola Bar

Once we’d finished our drinks at Red Baron, we decided to bar hop on over to Lola Bar, on one of the side streets just off the main square. We sat ourselves at a table outside and the waiter brought over our wine and beer order. Inside the bar wasn’t packed but there were still several people in there (I ended up going inside to get our bill as it was taking a while and still had to wait a while to get hold of someone) but all/most the tables outside were taken. Being a Saturday night, the area felt loud and buzzy. From where we were seated, we could hear both the music pumping out of the bar (which was quite pop-y) and the music coming from a burger and champagne bar next door (what a combination) called 50. Which tracks I preferred seemed to alternate between the two!

Kiva Bar

After we said goodbye to our old uni housemate, we popped round the corner from Lola to Kiva Bar. This seems to be the place to go in Hvar if a good night out for you doesn’t just involve drinks but a bit of a dance too – that is if you can find the space. The inside of Kiva is only small. We didn’t have to wait too long for drinks but it was a bit of a fight to get to the bar. The lane outside the place is absolutely packed with people who couldn’t fit inside and this is where we stood. There were various chart tunes for me to dance to but my companions were feeling pretty tired so I bobbed along next to them as they grabbed some of the very limited seats. Being here did make me pretty old and very sober, in comparison to everyone else. In the right situation, I can see a night at Kiva being quite fun but as it was, we didn’t stay too long before we called it a night.

Carpe Diem Beach Bar

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The day after our bar hopping, we decided to rent a boat and spend the afternoon sailing around the islands nearby. Our first stop was not too far away – Carpe Diem Beach Bar (the sister bar to the place we ended up in on our first night in Hvar). Much of the place was closed off and, although there were quite a few people there, it felt relatively quiet. During the day, it seemed like a nice place to relax, on one of the many sunloungers on the rocks, and I think its a good place for a party at night (there was one being held on the Sunday of my stay but we didn’t end up going). Unlike Hula Hula, it wasn’t enough just to buy food or drink here, you had to pay for sunloungers. As we weren’t intending on staying for long, we dumped ourselves on some big beanbags closer to the sea. You still had to pay for these but they were cheaper and we only got two between us. We spent less time here sunbathing and more in the sea. There were steps provided for us to get into the water but since the water was pretty cold it seemed more sensible to just jump right in. It still wasn’t immediately pleasant but I stand by my choice. We spent a while playing around and taking pictures with my friends underwater camera before heading back to shore, drying off and climbing back on our boat.

Adriana Hotel Top Bar

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On our last night before setting sail for Split, we figured we needed to mark the occasion by going someplace nice. We had found the Adriana Hotel’s Top Bar recommended highly online – it was even listed as one of the best rooftop bars in the world. We looked up the prices online and it didn’t seem to be anymore than anywhere else we’d been so we decided to go. We planted ourselves on some outdoor sofa seating and ordered a bottle of prosecco between us. The top level of the bar was in darkness (one of my friends popped up there to check but there was nothing to see) but we could still get nice views of the harbour at night from where we were on the next level down. I have to admit, despite having read so many good things about this bar, to me it felt like a bar on a cruise ship – I don’t know if that makes sense but I don’t know how else to explain it! It was a nice place for a drink but we didn’t end up staying much longer once we’d polished off the bottle.

Teraca Bar

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After we left the Adriana Hotel, we wandered back around to St Stephen’s Square. The day before, one of my friends had spotted something going on on the terrace of the kazaliste – the  big theatre by the harbour. We climbed up a staircase to see what was going on up there and found a very cute bar, complete with fairylights, called Teraca Bar. It seemed quite quiet so we were easily able to grab one of the tables outside and settle down with some wine. We might not have been as high up as we had been at Top Bar but I actually preferred the views we had of Hvar’s fort, at the top of the hill in front of us. Sitting there was peaceful and Teraca Bar quickly became my favourite bar in town. It was a good job we managed to find the place in time before we had to leave the island.

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