Croatia… A lovely travel destination we hear more about lately. If you are planning to go to the lovely island of Hvar, then this is the right post for you. Each time I visit Hvar, I find even more accomodation options and restaurants, but with all this momentum kicking in, it becomes even harder to pick the real good spot. Giaxa Restaurant was recommended by a friend, and although it is quite new, it offers one of best dinner experiences in the old city.
When walking through the streets of Hvar, Giaxa will most probably show itself to you with its high walls, rather chic design and its central location. You can choose to sit at tables on the street, or inside within its walls. But do not forget to mention this detail while booking. As usual in Croatia, most dishes are either sea food or fish. Having tried many restaurants in different parts of Croatia, Giaxa definitely deserves my credit to be called as a “temple for sea food”. It is different than many other restaurants in Dalmatia as it differentiates itself with a stylish wine & dine concept and a fusion cuisine. Granted, Croation wine is not considered the best in the world, but then who is to tell. The wine offerings for me really match up well with the fresh fish and tender sea food. One of the other things that impressed me was the quality of service; waiters are very friendly and helpful. In other words, to get best out of Giaxa, remember to go there hungry.
Many of you would probably be interested to see what is actually in the menu. For the cold starters you can pick oysters, grilled octopus, smoked shark on eggplant puree, a mixed seafood plate that includes monkfish brujet and raw clams, or beef tenderloin carpaccio, for meat lovers. I was able to taste swordfish carpaccio with wild orange and pistacchio, which was really good. This wide selection should already have given a glimpse on the style of the restaurant. As hot starters, options are a mixed plate (which includes scallops, monkfish cheeks, venus clams and asparagus), linguine with clams, gnocchi with scampi and macaroni with black truffle. I tried scampi tempura, which was served on a bed of caramelised onions and spinach. Nobody at our table regretted this choice.
As the main course, you can order grilled scampi which includes 8 of lovely big scampi. If you don’t prefer to dirty your hands with sea food, I would definitely suggest asking about the fish catch of the day. The chef either grills it, or you can also ask for fish stew cooked the traditional way. Other options for the main course are seabass fillet stuffed with scampi, monkfish tail with cauliflower mousse, and lobster with linguine. If you have stayed long enough at the Dalmatian coast and fed up with sea food, you can try meat courses, such as beef fillet, lamb pasticada, veal shank or chicken fillet. And as a final touch, you can order chocolate souffle, as I did. If you are not a fan of chocolate, other dessert alternatives are almonds semifreddo, apple strudel with ice cream, or the famous almond cake of Split.
In high season restaurants might get pretty crowded, so reservations are recommended. Giaxa Restaurant offers a very good value for money and accepts credit cards, which is not that common in Croatia.