Tuesday, 30 April 2013

TWINS: The First Cafe on Riva with a Tranquil Private Balcony

Riva is the meeting hotspot in Split and on a sunny day, lines of people wait to catch a seat for a coffee with sea vistas. Although the Riva vibe is special and lively, sometimes I just want to take in the moment in peace so I can be thankful for where I live as I get to observe local life passing by.

I was so glad to discover a private cafe balcony on Riva where there is only space for two, a perfect hideout in the city providing just that serene spot I'd been searching for. The very first cafe as you step onto Riva as you exit Diocletian's basement is TWINS and above its bustling terrace seating is a miniscule balcony which the cafe caters to. I often retreat to this spot as I am still in the heart of the city action, yet away from the city stress; a perfect vantage point for some blogging extravaganza.

The best thing about it is also its proximity to my favorite, Le Maison de Sarah just below, a haven for French bakery goodies. On a blogging-crazy morning, I'll pick up a brioche and venture on to my little balcony office to type away and when a meeting is scheduled, I'll ascend the stairs to the conference room, the cafe seating on Riva.

Other than affordable coffees and a great hideout, TWINS knock out reputable cocktails, gathering quite the hip crowds after sunset.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Nightclubs in Split

After all the downtown venues close at 1AM, the party doesn’t end. There are a heap of places around the city that keep the party going till the early hours. Have a look at the vids we found to get closer to the vibe.

Imperium Restaurant & Lounge
Gat Sv. Duje b.b.
A five minute walk along the harbourfront you’ll find this megaclub on the first floor of the ferry terminal. As a tribute to its location, the contemporary interiors are inspired by a luxury cruise liner; and with the waters edge just a few feet below and and towering ferries just a stone’s throw away, you truly feel as if you are in one. Spanning its floors is a Mediterranean restaurant, two dancefloors, two wrap-around bars, and a terrace with unobstructed bay views. A relatively quiet spot on weekends but they host popular concerts and DJ events on weekends. The event dictates the crowd but expect to be rubbing shoulders on the dancefloor with everything from girls in their teens all the way to midlifers and bikers.

Tropic Club
Bačvice b.b.
The complex on Split’s popular Bačvice beach turns into a thumping party destination after sunset. Tropic’s 180-degree views over the Adriatic just meters away is matched with contemporary interiors, VIP booths, fascinating neon light effects, and fruity cocktails. Depending on the night, house, techno, and Croatian tunes are on the DJs agenda.

Mediteranium Lounge Bar & Restaurant
Put Firula 6
Purple velvet interiors, dimmed lights, Gucci bags and stilettos; welcome to Mediteranium, a lounge and restaurant catering to the city’s elite. Its Saturday night, Sex and the City night and the money crowd have secured their VIP table with vodka and mixers ready to take you into the night as the resident DJ spins local and international hits. Away with the daytime seating and cocktail tables scatter the floor to set the scene for sporadic cliques to form and mingle. Nestled in the forest above the Ovčice beach, the panoramic vistas onto the Adriatic islands can be enjoyed from inside and on the large outdoor terrace.

Treće Poluvrijeme (known as Kuka)
Zrinko-frankopanska 17
Kuka has become a Split institution; the go-to place when all the other clubs start fading out. The last resort. A discreet door on the side of the Cankarjeva parking lot leads you into Kuka, an underground club, a black hole if you will, playing nostalgic hits from yesteryear to a mixed crowd of clubbing orphans. Kuka closes in summer.

Gundulićeva 26
Not a hangout for hunchbacks like the name suggests but for unpretentious hipster youth who like their alternative rock, indie rock, jazz and blues. This off-season mini-club is located on the first floor of a commercial complex near the center.

Put Firula bb
Luxury SUVs take up the curb so the Hugo Boss suits and designer heels can flock to this little boutique club.This black and white club with a mezzanine gallery is THE place to mingle with elite intellectuals, local sports personalities and celebrities. Its little sister, Egoist, next door attracts a similar crowd for daytime coffee chats.  

Vanilla Club
Poljudsko šetalište b.b
Vanilla Club is an all-age fashion parade where crowds range from the 20s to 40s. Its location in the city’s public pool complex is a 20 minute walk out of town, or a five minute taxi drive away. The large indoors centers around a massive 360-degree bar where mixologists work their craft and countless buckets of booze travel over the counter to the VIP section. This post-midnight venue play international hits until 2AM whereafter the music takes a more local persona. In summertime, a huge pool-side terrace connects the club with the outdoors.

O’Hara Music Club
Uvala Zenta 3
To avoid the tourist frenzy at the Bačvice complex, head another two bays away from town to find this seaside local hideout playing every genre under the stars; from reggae and hip hop to Dalmatian tunes mixed with the sounds of the splashing Adriatic. O’Hara's idea to merge a pub club with the best of rock, new age tunes and international DJs results in a varied music loving crowd.

Kameleon Day & Night Club
Petra Zoranića 16, Solin
Located in Solin just a short drive from the city center, Kameleon is housed in the Guliver Energija complex and caters to gym fanatics during the day and party-goers by night. This joint really exuberates a funky club vibe with an impressive neon light show and an active event calendar throughout the year. They are particularly known for their After Work Parties on Thursdays but other popular events such as Diktatori, Deep South, Bubblegum also fill up the party calendar.

Hemingway Bar
VIII Mediteranskih igara 5
Five Hemingway Bars exist across Croatia and they have gained quite a popular following amongst highbrow society. With contrasting black boudoir-like interiors and white exteriors, this cult seaside club attract the younger elite of Split. Many must-be happenings fill the winter calendar and come summertime, the massive terrace with private VIP tents hosts filled-to-the-rim events featuring international DJs and animators in the mix.
Tuesday, 12 March 2013

FIGA Food Bar Hosts Penis Caricature Exhibition

FIGA is a great place to come for a light snack and a neon cocktail and why not enjoy all the great flavours in the company of penis art hanging on its walls?

The penis caricatures each have a funny name that definitely draws associations to people we have met throughout our lifetime such as Liar, Mommy's Boy, Poisonous, House Type, and the list goes on.

Its unsure how long the exhibition will be on display but pop in for a look around, even if you don't plan to order off the menu.

FIGA Food Bar is located on Buvinina 1 at the end of the popular Dosud street in the palace.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Grand Opening: The Split Circus Rakija Joint Branches Out with an Underground Club

Split Circus, a.k.a. the smallest but craziest joint in town, brought something new to the streets of Split by infusing it with local spirit as they list a tempting selection of rakija (local grappa) offered in more than 25 smashing flavours at 9-15KN a pop! 

Now the circus expands with the opening of a new venue, aiming to provide a new home to those escaping the upperclass clubs with high heals and shiny buckles. 

Krvavo Kopito, meaning bloody hoof, is the creative (slightly morbid) name of this underground hide-out near Bacvice, which will surely be a popular chill-out for alternatives and cool misfits. Krvavo Kopito's quirky interiors, eclectic color combinations and wall graphics brings you right back to your teen DIY basement hangout; an extended living room where no parents are allowed.


The Grand Opening of Krvavo Kopito (Split Circus II) kicks of this Friday February 15th at 20:00 in the basement of Jadranska 1 as DJ Roo and Voodoo Jukebox spin a varied repertoire spanning all the popular decades of the last century.

So join the circus and bump shoulders into the night in what will be THE coolest hangout to hit town.

Addriess - Jadranska 1, 21000 Split

Monday, 8 April 2013

FIGA Food Bar: A Hipster Hangout in the Palace

(Bavinina 1; +385 (0)21 274 491)

Figa Food Bar is without doubt the funkiest one-stop going out spot in the palace. It has gotten a cult status from its days as Puls and the same crowd have been popping into this hip dungeon for more than 15 years.

When the owners gave Puls a facelift in 2012 they added food on the menu and converted it into Figa Food Bar. To locals, Figa will always remain as Puls in their heart, a cocktail hangout with thumping tunes after sunset; and it still remains however, Figa has attracted the tourist crowds by cleverly adding food on their menu without compromising on the venue’s identity.

The venue has been owned by the same family for 50 years and originally, it was a restaurant, then pizzeria, and as the war broke out in the 90’s, sourcing food became harder, and hence Puls was born. Next generation owners and hipsters, Linda and Toni have added their creative flair to the new(ish) joint by merging original palace walls with quirky art and euro-hip interiors. The sweetest surprise is in the basement, which boast a living room vibe with eclectic revived furnishing.

The menu provides a tempting selection of bites you can enjoy on the outdoor steps such as the pogača, crispy bread topped with Mediterranean vegetables. Its tough to find a good breakfast in town but Figa’s affordable breadbaskets with all sorts of egg combos are a nice surprise. Figa produce all their pastas themselves and this year they have rolled out with enticing seafood dishes such as the skartoču, where various white fish have been baked with vegetables in baking paper. At the entrance is a daily selection of cakes and cupcakes to lure you in.

Figa recently launched a new wine list which pays tribute to Dalmatia with representations of the region’s most loved grape varieties produced by Duboković from Hvar, Bibich from Skradin, Senjković from Brač, and others.

Throughout the day and night, Figa is a hotspot at the foot of Dosud street as people fight for a spot on their charming steps, whether it be for one of their killer cocktails or mocktails, sumptuous bites, coffee, or a summery rosé.



Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Vagabundo Restaurant and Bar: The Culinary Nomad Returns Home

Restaurant Vagabundo opened its door in summer 2012 and has since then mainly catered to the hotel guests of Hotel Split in Podstrana where it is housed. Somehow, they have managed to stay off the local foodies' radar but after my recent discovery of this gastronomic gem, I hope that hedonists like myself will now add this joint to their list of places to get their memorable culinary injections with a little luxe on the side.

Proprietor and chef, Vinko 'Vice' Marinkovic travelled to the Americas to master his culinary craft, serving as executive chef in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the United States. After 12 years abroad, he returned to his native Croatia and brought with him international experience and a myriad of new recipes. The result was Vagabundo, a restaurant that represents his nomadic food travels, which he opened in Bol, on the island of Brač. After the success of this vibrant eatery placed on a Croatian island, he expanded by opening Vagabundo in Split, following the same concept.

The interior of the restaurant is quite small and perhaps lacks identity with a black and white contemporary feel and bare walls overlooking a modern courtyard garden however, the real surprise is the killer rooftop terrace that can serve 180 diners in the summer with unobstructed west-facing seaviews.

The culinary genre of Vagabundo clearly represents the Mediterranean with classics such as tomato soup, Caesar salad, and homemade gnocchi dotting the menu however, most dishes have added flair and most importantly, Chef Vinko's execution is simply spot on. No canned tomatoes, no 'homemade gnocchi' from a supermarket, actually freshly baked breads, and no dressings from a tube; just pure ingredients combined to make a wholesome dish. Skimming the menu, a few dishes catch my curiosity such as  the vegetable filled pancakes topped with a tomato concasse and basil cream sauce, the linguini with mussels and Chorizo, Champagne risotto, brandy-flamed tournedos, and bruschetta selection.

My friend and I came for dinner at Vagabundo on a quiet Thursday evening and Chef Vinko had, to our positive surprise, already devised our menu so we just had to sit back and let our palates explore his culinary creations.

First up was a litte octopus salad contististing of a few thick slices of tentacles from what clearly must have been from a monstor-sized octopus, topped with a home-marinated anchovy, a raw jumbo shrimp, capers and drizzled with olive oil. Every restaurant here has an octopus salad but most do an overkill of onion and potatoes where you have to dig around to actually find a decent piece of octopus. Vagabundo's approach brought the dish back to basics with two other seafood dimensions; good play.

The simplicity and naughty deliciousness of the next dish was just what the doctor ordered; breaded shrimps with a Dijon mustard honey dip. The texture of the crispy shrimp paired perfectly with the sweet and pungent sauce, although two pieces was not enough more me; this was straighforward comfort food galore.

Before we got cracking on the pasta, we got a heartwarming roasted butternut squash soup, drizzled with olive oil. I enjoyed that the soup was not grainy in the slightest and it was served steaming hot but perhaps a crostini on the side and an aromatized oil (instead of olive oil) would add some flair.

Another Dalmatian restaurant classic is the black cuttlefish risotto and for our pasta course, we got a reinterpretation of this; homemade gnocchi in squid ink with baby cuttlefish. I was surprised as I had never tried baby cuttlefish and admittedly, my sidekick was first drawn back at the thought of baby cuttlefish but we both dug in and were delighted that the texture was very soft, almost the same as the gnocchi; a perfect match.


As a maincourse we got a mini tuna steak, served on a stack of vegetables; roasted capsicum, egged potatoes dauphinoise, Swiss chard, a grilled chantarelle, and a baked cherry tomato. This dish was another tribute to 'back to basics' where the distinguishing flavors each ingredient combined well with the bite of the tender tuna. 

To end off a good night, Chef Vinko handed over the grand finale, dessert. The nameless fluffy dessert combined raw meringe and almonds with a mouthwatering sabayon sauce, topped with strawberry sauce; simply delicious, and again I wished the portion was double in size.

After a shot of carob liquer and a cappuccino we drop back to Split in delight as we realize we have discovered something new and competitive on Split's 'upscale' dining scene.

Restaruant Vagabundo on the lower floor of Croatia's only eco-friendly hotel, Hotel Split in Podstrana, just 8 kilometers south of Split along the coast highway.

Chef Vinko owns and management four restaurants, two on Bol, one in Split, and one in Zagreb. Additionally, he owns Dalmatino Catering & Personal Chef Services where he fully caters to weddings and special functions, corporate events, private dinners in your home, and conducts cooking classes. 

Vagabundo Restaurant & Bar

Hotel Split

Strožanačka 20, 21312 Podstrana

tel.: +385 21 420 420



Page 3 of 3