Anthony Bourdain in Croatia: 7 Spots Where Tony Ate
There’s something wonderful about seeing someone you care about visiting a place that’s special to you. For many of us, Anthony Bourdain was a person we cared about – and he opened the world to us, showing destinations that we might have heard of (or even have family from), but maybe never thought to visit.
As a person with Croatian heritage, I loved watching the way that Tony saw the place my ancestors called home – and highlighting the foods and people that make the area special.
Anthony Bourdain visited Croatia to film episode 3 of season 8 of No Reservations; it was his only visit to Croatia and indeed the only part of the former Yugoslavia that he visited. Nevertheless, he did it right: he explored the Croatian Coast, which is the name of that episode.
If you want to follow in the footsteps and forkfuls of Anthony Bourdain in Croatia, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re of Croatian ancestry like me or just keen to visit one of the many fantastic beach destinations in Europe, Tony is the perfect guide to discover the incredible flavors of this country on the Adriatic Sea.
Want to watch the episode where Anthony Bourdain visits Croatia?
The No Reservations episode is available on Amazon, Hulu, and AppleTV.
Anthony Bourdain starts his exploration of Croatia by heading out on a boat – fitting as the name of this episode is “Croatian Coast.” He heads to “Mollusk Alley” with chef Mate Janković, famous for Master Chef in Croatia. Once there, they pull up fresh shellfish to enjoy at an informal floating dock “restaurant;” they savor raw oysters with grappa, followed by mussels in white wine with parsley on top and more grappa.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the kind of experience you can easily replicate – but it should inspire trust to try the delicious local shellfish you can find on many menus in coastal Croatian cities.
Konoba Mondo (Motovun)
Next, Tony heads to the region of Istria and the town of Motovun, unofficially called “truffle town” to do a bit of truffle hunting before his next meal. At the time of his visit, white truffles cost roughly $55 per ounce (compared to over $200 per ounce today), so he’s able to enjoy a nice meal with lots of truffle – and knows exactly where it came from thanks to the dog who helped find it in the forest.
For his truffle-laden meal, Bourdain heads to Konoba Mondo. There he has an omelet with white truffle and sausage, pasta with butter, ham, and truffles, and a healthy amount of Grappa.
Batelina Konoba (Banjole)
After sampling the inland flavors of Croatia, Tony moves on to Banjole, another town in Istria. There he dines at Batelina Konoba with Chef David Skoko and his mother Alva, who were featured on Master Chef. They enjoy a variety of other flavors from the area, including Bonito roulade with sesame seeds; lightly prepared lobster tail; shark liver with onions on bread (far better than the shark he ate in Iceland!); and fish tripe with tomatoes, garlic, onions, and more.
Bluefin Tuna Farm (Zadar)
Next, Bourdain has another non-restaurant meal off the Croatian Coast – but it features fresh seafood you might want to try if you’re visiting the same area. Off the coast of Zadar, Tony visits a Bluefin Tuna farm, where prized fish are raised for global markets.
There, he has a chance to try sardines, anchovies with lemon and spicy Croatian olive oil, and different parts of an insanely fresh-caught (by Tony!) tuna: both fresh tuna sashimi with soy and wasabi as well as tuna steaks.
Hotel Boškinac (Pag)
Continuing to sample the cornucopia of fresh ingredients and flavors that can be found along the Croatian Coast, Anthony Bourdain continues to explore by visiting Pag Island, a rocky lunar landscaped island known for its cheese – but with so much more to offer.
There he visits Hotel Boškinac for a multi-course meal that includes octopus stewed in a clay pot with tomatoes, garlic, potatoes, and white wine; lamb tripe (a Tony fave) simmered with shallots, pancetta, and carrot, topped with local cheese and parsley; slow-cooked lamb “goulash” with hand-rolled pasta; dried octopus frittata with potatoes, beans, wild asparagus, and arugula; and lots of Croatian wine.
For dessert, he tries the island’s famous cheese with fig and grape marmalade, honey, and olive oil.
BIBICh Winery (Plastovo)
As if that previous meal wasn’t indulgent enough, Bourdain has another insanely delicious-looking meal – this time at BIBICh Winery. Here he has a 12-course meal with wine pairing, which includes fresh oyster with lemon dust foam; trout roe and cucumber sorbet; scallops with goat cheese; smoked yogurt with olive oil and lemon and garlic foam; and veal ragu with four other cuts and rice plus fresh cheese.
While this molecular gastronomy experience wasn’t available to the public when Tony visited, you can book a table for a similar meal today – be sure to check their website if you want this pseudo-El Bulli meal.
Sandra Konoba (Kornati)
Last but not least, Bourdain has one last meal of light, fresh flavors you can find in Croatia; he visits Sandra Konoba in Kornati Islands National Park. There he has fresh sardines and mullet grilled with lemons, caper, and olive oil, plus ham, local cheese, and anchovies – all delicious foods and ingredients you can find when exploring the Croatian Coast for yourself.
Have any questions about these places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Croatia? Let me know in the comments.