Monday, 4 July 2022

A Michelin Experience Inside il Ponte - Bridge Connecting People, Food and Wine

July 4, 2022 - On the outskirts of the small but mighty UNESCO city of Trogir, one will find a hidden gem - il Ponte. Take a moment to peek inside and you will find a gastronomic adventure! 

A wooden bridge, connecting the old town to il Ponte, is found just a few steps away. This bridge is key for movement and connection in the town and was the inspiration for the name of the restaurant, translated to Italian. 

Upon entry, you will find a beautiful summer courtyard that leads to the main hall and outdoor glazed terrace, all overlooking the sea and old town. If you dare, peek downstairs, where you will find an intimate wine cellar below sea level! This corner is the perfect opportunity to appreciate endless Croatian wine labels.


Ivan Ivanisevic

Once you've had the opportunity to wine and dine at this captivating location, the experience can be rounded off by walking upstairs to a 4-star ** luxury room waiting for you. 


Ivan Ivanisevic

The focus placed on the cuisine is Mediterranean - based on seasonal ingredients and traditional dishes with a modern twist. The ingredients are procured by local farmers, butchers, and fishermen.  




Chef and co-founder of il Ponte, Stjepan Vukadin is a young ambitious man, who has been prominent in the culinary world for some time as one of the best young chefs in Croatia. He always highlights that ingredients always have to be fresh, local, and prepared with respect. In addition to past Michelin recommendations, he is also a member of the jury of Masterchef Croatia –  a world-renowned culinary TV show. 


Within the first six months since opening its doors, il Ponte has had the honor of receiving a Michelin recommendation for 2022 - Michelin guide Croatia and also been awarded in Gault&Millau guide for 2022 with 2 toques (14,5)

After speaking to the head Chef Stjepan, he has made it clear that his work is underlined by his passion and love for food. He is immensely proud that the Michelin guide has recognised this hard work and passion and looks forward to continuing this journey further. 

This Mediterranean fine dining gastronomic experience and getaway is one not to be missed!

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Can Good Communication Save The Season? Boškinac on Pag Busier Than In 2019

July 13, 2020 - Marc Rowlands interviews Boris Šuljić, owner of Boškinac on Pag, a Michelin-starred restaurant, to try and discover the secret to success in the challenging summer of 2020

Among the neverending doom and gloom of this year, a ray of sunshine through the clouds. At Boškinac on Pag, the restaurant, hotel and winery, business is booming. With better numbers than at this point in 2019, is it possible the luxury sector is suffering less this season from COVID-19? And what is the secret to Boškinac's success so far in 2020?

“I am very satisfied with this year's business,” Boškinac owner Boris Šuljić told TCN with a smile and a carefree tone to his voice. “It's definitely busier than last year. Some days are better than others but, generally, more people are coming.”

An island within an island. Pag's Boškinac is located within a lush green and neighbourless section of the island's interior © Boškinac

In a year where, depending on who you believe and how you extrapolate the info, tourism in Croatia is down by at least 50%, people sit comfortably isolated on Boškinac's large terrace. There, they take in the view of the olive trees and Boškinac's vineyards, with not a neighbour in sight. With special measures in place, seats in their Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant are similarly full. But just where are these guests coming from?

“Most of them this year have been from Croatia and Slovenia,” says Šuljić, not unsurprised. “I'd say the next largest group is foreign nationals, ex-pats, who now live in Croatia. But, also we've had quite a few from Germany, Austria, and Belgium. It's not so difficult for us to get busy. We are a relatively small hotel - 11 rooms, 55 seats in the fine dining restaurant, and 40 seats in our more informal tavern.”

Boris Šuljić welcoming guests to Boškinac with a glass of their own-made wine in summer 2019 © Fabio Šimićev

Šuljić estimates that in total around 60% of 2020's guests have come from Croatia, 40% from other countries, a distinct change in the usual demographic they receive. Awarded a Michelin star in February of 2020, the hotel and restaurant have earned a reputation internationally for high-quality food, wines, service, and an experience much more unhurried and relaxing than that found in many places on the popular island. So, has he dropped his prices to encourage this year's draw?

“No, not at all” Šuljić tells us, “our prices remained normal. We are not so expensive like some other 4 or 5-star hotels in Dubrovnik, Rovinj, or Split. The average room price is around €200. Until 15 July, we arranged some special packages with the room and fine dining. We kept the food at the same price but offered the rooms a little cheaper in combination. It was successful. It seemed to attract people who'd heard of the hotel and restaurant, who maybe decided that right now was the best time to come and look. It's not so far to come here to check us out when you only have to travel from Split or Istria, even Zagreb, which is where many of these guests have been coming from. They stayed for one or two nights and enjoyed our Michelin-starred restaurant.”

The flair with which Boškinac on Pag use their fresh, locally-sourced and premium ingredients earned them a Michelin star earlier in 2020 © Boškinac

Always keeping on top of developments in Croatia's gastro scene (you can stay updated on our Gourmet pages), one of TCN's most recent reports from Boškinac noted the venue's fluctuating success of the 2019 season. The summer's unusually variable weather was considered as perhaps one factor in the lack of footfall. With the sun shining reliably on Pag this summer, could it be that visitors care more about the weather than they do about Coronavirus? Is sun-seeking really a greater deciding factor for those looking at Croatia holidays than the ever-updating COVID-19 situation? Šuljić thinks not.

“I definitely think we're busier this year because of the Michelin star,” he says. “People seem to really recognise this international sign of quality. We got a lot of attention because of this. I think it is also because of our communication. We capitalised on the attention and we have been sending out very positive messages. We have every reason to be optimistic and it is this optimistic message we have been sending out; we are here, we are a small place, isolated, we have no neighbours, with allocations for relatively few people, but with lots of room and air and enough terrace for everyone. This is not the usual kind of busy hotel that's packed with people. We are very passionate about our food and our hotel experience. Ours is a business that concentrates on quality, not quantity.”

A platter of distinctly Dalmatian delights, an example of the food on offer at Boškinac on Pag's less-formal tavern restaurant © Boškinac on Pag

Though Šuljić's international recognition, unique premises and isolated location undoubtedly offer an advantage in attracting high-end clientele, could other Croatian businesses learn something from the clear and optimistic communication Boškinac has been sending out since the season's start? Well, it's an option to all but, since opening in 200, Boškinac's message and communications have been of premium importance to the business.

“We were very ambitious as soon as we opened, especially with our food,” remembers Šuljić. “But, at that time, this kind of fine dining experience was not so much recognised in Croatia. It was a very high cuisine for the time. People didn't understand what we were trying to do. Slowly we grew with our guests. It was a journey we made together. It was a gradual process. On our part, a mixture of good social media communication, some PR and word-of-mouth recommendations from previous guests was what worked best.”

Spectacular presentation, one of the many wow factors attracting curious visitors to Boškinac on Pag © Boškinac on Pag

Of course, it's too early to tell if Boškinac will maintain its story of success through summer 2020. Šuljić is aware of this. And, even though it is even more difficult to predict the rest of the season than in any other year, he remains decidedly unworried because of their experiences so far.

“It is really interesting,” he says, when asked about future bookings for this summer, “I've never known anything like it. We have so far not had any bookings further than three or four weeks in advance. It's much more week to week. For instance, right now we have zero bookings for August. Usually, I would be concerned. But, it was the same one month ago and now we are almost full. All of the bookings are last minute. People are making their decisions based on the status and the quality of the information available. They check the news and the websites for advice, make a decision and then off they go.”

© Boškinac on Pag

For the best and most up-to-date information on Coronavirus and travel to Croatia, bookmark the Total Croatia News news page.

Total Croatia News is the best-read English language news site covering Croatia for people across south-east Europe. If you want to get your message across to those booking last-minute visits to the Croatia in summer 2020, contact us at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for you.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Michelin Guide Main Cities of Europe 2019 Includes Two Croatian Cities!

Each spring, Michelin publishes their printed edition of the Main Cities of Europe Guide, and in their 2019 edition for the first time, two Croatian cities found their place!

The Guide website says that there are three cities included in the prestigious guide for the first time, and two of those three are Croatian cities: Zagreb and Dubrovnik (the third one is Reykjavik from Iceland). The site, explaining Croatia's amazing placement in this year's guide says the following: 


Croatia is featured in the MICHELIN Guide Main Cities of Europe for the first time this year, gaining one star for trendy Noel in Zagreb, to go with its existing starred establishment, 360°, which is built into Dubrovnik’s historic town walls. Zagreb also gains two new Bib Gourmands: Agava and Tač. Draga di Lovrana, located in the old town of Lovran on the western coast of the Kvarner Bay, also receives a star this year. The kitchen is led by the talented young chef Deni Srdoč, who has a strong connection with the local terroir and gives a subtle Italian-French influence to his technique.

The guide is often called "The Michelin Red Guide", and it brings the readers the reviews from the select restaurants from 38 European cities in 22 countries, including Vienna, Budapest (both featured prominently in Main Cities of Europe 2019 promotional materials), Bruxelles, Athens, Stockholm, Oslo, Dublin and others.

Michelin summarizes that 382 restaurants in Europe have been awarded one star (44 of those have been newly awarded). There are fewer two-star restaurants in Europe, of course, just 92 (seven of those have been newly awarded). The highest honours, the coveted three stars, are given to 23 restaurants in Europe (just three of those have been newly awarded). 

Croatia has waited patiently for our first Michelin-star-awarded restaurants, and now there are 5 one-star restaurants in Croatia. Two have been newly awarded, Noel from Zagreb and Draga di Lovrana from Lovran, while Šibenik's Pelegrini, 360° from Dubrovnik and Monte from Rovinj have maintained their stars. Noel and 360° certainly played an important role in assuring their cities found their place in the MICHELIN Guide Main Cities of Europe 2019.

8 Croatian restaurants can now be found on Michelin's Bib Gourmand list, a distinction given by the Michelin inspectors to restaurants that offer a good quality menu for less than HRK 260 (€35) for three courses. Newly added ones are Batelina in Banjole, Konoba Vinko in Šibenik, and Agava and Tač in Zagreb, joining Konoba Mate (Korčula), Dunav (Ilok), Vuglec Breg (Krapina) and Konoba Fetivi (Split) on the list.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Croatia Receives Two New Michelin Stars!

Croatia now boasts five restaurants with Michelin stars!

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Croatian Restaurants in Anticipation of Michelin Stars Announcement

We are getting closer to mid-February, and the Croatian restaurant owners and chefs are getting more and more nervous: will there be new Michelin stars, will the current three be confirmed or perhaps even reinforced with additional ones, will the list of about fifty recommended restaurants be expanded? In the past two years, this was the time of the year when Michelin announced the names of restaurants that deserved a star or a recommendation, so the feeling of anticipation is quite understandable, reports Večernji List on February 10, 2019.

The first Michelin star in Croatia was presented in early 2017 to "Monte" in Rovinj, while the year later the acknowledgement for the quality of food, cooking skills and creativity was awarded to "Pelegrini" in Šibenik and the Dubrovnik restaurant with the unusual name "360°".

In addition to these three restaurants which many knew were great even before they received the stars, Michelin inspectors concluded a year ago that more than fifty Croatian restaurants deserved their special recommendation. The list was almost doubled compared to the previous year, so everyone is now waiting for the opinion of Michelin's inspectors for 2019.

Although the representatives of the world's most famous and most respected gourmet guide are still silent, it is expected that this year the first Michelin star could finally arrive in the Kvarner region. Industry insiders were surprised that in the last two years Michelin skipped this region known for its excellent restaurants and good food which is the reason why, in addition to Croatian guests, people from Italy, Slovenia and Austria often come to Kvarner for just a day or two.

The Kult Plave Kamenica writers have drafted a list of eight potential candidates for this year’s Michelin stars, which includes two restaurants from Kvarner, “Plavi Podrum” from Volosko and "Matsunoki" from Lošinj. The local restaurant insiders believe that Michelin might also award the "Boškinac" restaurant on Pag, and well as “Laganini” in Hvar, "Zinfandel’s" and "Noel" in Zagreb, "Batelina" in Banjole, "Lemongarden" on Brač, and "Vine Vault" in Rovinj.

We will know soon enough. The impatience is also growing due to the rumours that some of the restaurants have already received notices that they will be on the list of recommended restaurants. All Michelin awards bring more guests, and they are great news for tourism because more and more people want to eat top-notch food on holidays and some even choose the destination they will visit according to the quality of restaurants. The number of tourists who opted to visit Croatia primarily due to the gastronomy reached 29 per cent in 2017 when the Institute for Tourism conducted its latest research on the habits of guests.

All this is accompanied by the pressure and the stress for the restaurant owners who receive the Michelin stars. It was nice to see how delighted the owner of Rovinj's "Monte" Danijel Đekić was when two more Croatian restaurants received their stars, relieving him of the responsibility of being the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Croatia.

More news about restaurants in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Radmila Kovačević).

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Michelin Guide to Istria 2018: Who Made the Cut?

This year's edition of the Michelin guide to Istria was expanded to include top wineries and olive oil producers

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Michelin Guide 2017: Michelin Plaques Given to 11 Zagreb Restaurants

The Michelin Guide has awarded 34 Croatian restaurants with the so-called Michelin plates and one Michelin star to Monte restaurant in Rovinj.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Croatia 365 Gourmet: First Michelin-Starred Workshop A Success!

The ”Croatia 365 Gourmet" workshop, which was successfully held in Split yesterday, attracted hundreds of participants.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Rovinj Restaurant Receives First Michelin Star in Croatia

Monte restaurant in Rovinj is the first recipient of the prestigious Michelin star in Croatia, which was announced in the world culinary Michelin guide and confirmed by the Ministry of Tourism.