Kaštela – flavours of Dalmatian cuisine
The Dalmatian cuisine is a combination of Mediterranean cooking and the traditional customs of Dalmatian lifestyle.
The traditional Dalmatian diet consists of regular intake of cereal, fruit, vegetables, beans and nuts, with plenty of olive oil, fish, red wine and dairy products. The preparation of food (boiled, grilled) and the intake of fish, olive oil, vegetables and fresh herbs are the reasons why Dalmatian cuisine is considered to be very healthy.
Fresh sea fish is a major source of nourishment in the area (e.g. common dentex, gilt-head bream, grouper, mackerel, hake or pilchard), and is usually grilled or cooked, but can also be marinated, prepared in a stew or fried. Fresh seafood is just as popular: molluscs (octopus, squid, calamari), crab (shrimp or lobsters) and shellfish (mussels and oysters)..
Apart from the sea, the fertile land in Kaštela has also been the source of food for the local population since ancient times. In addition to being skilled fishermen, the generations of locals worked hard in their groves, producing olives, figs, almonds, walnuts, cherries, grapes and wine. These are the preconditions that have through centuries created the traditional meals of the area.
One of the distinctive Dalmatian products is prosciutto, dry-cured ham smoked and dried in the cold north wind (bura). Traditional spit-roasted Dalmatian lamb is also a favourite, as well as roasted 'peka' dishes – the standard of Dalmatian cuisine.
The 'peka' is made in the large clay (or metal) cooking pot, heated in the fireplace on fire made from local wood. The food is placed on a shallow plate and covered by an iron bell. This is the most common way to prepare meat, calamari or octopus with vegetables (potatoes and onion).
Cooked vegetables are part of the traditional menu in Dalmatian restaurants, especially Swiss chard with potatoes, spinach, cabbage or tomato sauce.
Broad bean is one of the most popular foods in Kaštela, now confirmed by the "Vicia Faba Feast", held in May in Kaštel Kambelovac. Popularity of the feast confirms that the traditional cuisine is all the rage. You are cordially invited to come to the broad bean feast and taste broad bean with squid, broad bean with lamb, broad bean pâté and other delicacies prepared with this tasty bean.
When going out to eat in Kaštela restaurants, make sure to try grilled fish, grilled calamari, roast veal, octopus salad, mussels stew (buzara), black squid risotto, white risotto and other specialties recommended by the staff. The traditional festive dish prepared in Kaštela is marinated beef with gnocchi (pašticada), home-made sweet treats (kroštule, sweet fritters, croquant, rafioli), almond cake (Kaštela cake) or walnut cake. To make the celebration complete, you should finish the meal with a glass of Kaštela wine. The most popular varieties are red wines Plavac Mali, Babica and crljenak, and white wine Vlaška.
Excellent Dalmatian dishes are served in these fine restaurants in Kaštela:
Konoba Intrada in Kaštel Novi is located on the seafront, with an excellent view of Kaštela Bay. Enjoy meals prepared with fresh fish and seafood, grilled and 'peka' dishes, lasagne, pizza, gnocchi, risottos and spaghetti in a cosy and pleasant atmosphere.
Restaurant-pizzeria LABINEZZA is located in the old town on the seafront in Kaštel Stari. The menu has a respectable selection of specialities of national and international cuisine, with a wide selection of home-made gelato.
Konoba-pizzeria Stari Dvor is located on the seafront in Kaštel Stari, offering excellent food in an intimate setting, with great view of the Kaštela Bay.
Restaurant Villa Žarko is located in Kaštel Lukšić, in a pretty seafront setting. The menu is based on fresh ingredients coming from local food producers.
Restaurant Bimbijana in Kaštel Gomilica is located in Marina Gomilica and has a great view of the sea. The menu lists excellent Dalmatian specialties prepared in a traditional manner.
Restaurant Baletna škola in Kaštel Kambelovac, located only a few meters from the sea, guarantees genuine gastronomic experience in a beautiful natural setting. Fun fact: in the last century at this very spot the first ballet school was opened in Dalmatia – and this is how the restaurant got its name. Restaurant Baletna škola is a must for all fans of Dalmatian cuisine, as well as first-time visitors.