From scenic waterside eateries to dining spots housed in centuries-old buildings to family-owned bistros down cobbled side streets, Rovinj is blessed with endless great places to eat.
The picture-postcard fishing port on the west coast of Croatia’s Istrian peninsula draws huge numbers of visitors during peak season – most of whom gravitate to the picturesque Old Town with its tangle of charming cobbled streets, bustling harbourfront, chic boutiques, Italian-influenced gelato sellers, and huge array of dining options. Venture beyond the Old Town and you’ll soon stumble upon traditional ‘konobas’ – recognisable by the roasted suckling pig sizzling away on the spit out the front. We’ve picked 10 of the best restaurants in Rovinj below.
When the vast, James Bond lair-ike Grand Park Hotel opened in the hills above Rovinj in 2019, it became the signature property of the burgeoning Maistra Hotels and Resorts empire. And what would a hotel of such scale and eminence be without a restaurant to match? Situated on the hotel’s fifth floor, the Michelin-starred Cap Aureo instantly achieved destination dining status, thanks to the presence of acclaimed Maltese-born chef Jeffrey Vella, who helms the restaurant’s open kitchen, where gourmet cuisine with an emphasis on Istrian dishes and ingredients is served up for a steady stream of hotel guests and patrons who have travelled from miles around to see what all the fuss is about. And what all the fuss is about is inexorably revealed, as dishes such as ravioli stuffed with suckling pig, fillet of turbot with goat’s brie, and lamb belly and roasted beetroot emerge. Tasting menus of up to twenty courses give more indecisive diners the perfect excuse to go large.
Grand Park Hotel, Smareglijeva ulica 1A
The rich fishing heritage of Rovinj is celebrated at this old-fashioned cantina on the waterfront just steps from the Old Town, once frequented by local fisherman who came to drink here after a long day at sea. Housed in an old stone building, the restaurant exudes the look and feel of a rustic wine cellar – which begins to make sense when you discover it used to, indeed, be a wine cellar – amplified by the giant wine barrel that takes centre stage as you enter. Ox yokes and fishing-themed paraphernalia adorn the walls as further testament to the restaurant’s emphasis on preserving its past. As for the food, well it’s as warm and welcoming as the interior, with an equal focus on local culinary traditions, inevitably revolving around food from the sea. Grilled shrimp and salt-baked sea bass are among the stand-out dishes, but quite frankly whatever you order, you’ll have hooked a fine catch.
Obala Alda Rismonda 18
Restaurant proprietors can often ride a fine line between interacting with customers in a way that is entertaining but not overbearing. Happily, at Tutto Bene, an Italian-style ‘osteria’ in the Old Town, the owner lands the needle in just the right spot. When he’s not waxing lyrical about the provenance of his ingredients (almost everything sourced from Istria, he insists), the Italy-born raconteur is repeating amusing English catchphrases. But while comedy acts and conversation are a pleasing bonus, there’s no doubt that the reason this restaurant and its outdoor terrace are perpetually busy is because of the sheer quality of the food. In particular, it is their steaks that stand out above the competitive crowd of dishes – impossibly tender, and accompanied by mouth-watering garnishes, from Istrian truffle sauce to the more internationally-favoured peppercorn variety. Be sure to pop your head inside to admire the stone-walled interior and quirky décor, too.
Ulica E. de Amicisa Via E, De Amicis 16
For French-inspired fare, look no further than this upscale but intimate brasserie set within the historic Hotel Adriatic, overlooking the main square and backing onto the Old Town. Here, guests can enjoy dramatic views of the open kitchen, where chefs concoct traditional French-influenced dishes with a regional twist. Highlights include snails in butter aromatised with garlic, herbs and Istrian Malvaska wine, a signature bouillabaisse fish soup, and filet de boeuf in a bordelaise sauce. Oh, and a word to the wise: if you leave room for dessert in only one Rovinj restaurant, make it this one, where the pastry chef deserves their own Legion of Honour award for services to the sweet-toothed.
Hotel Adriatic, Obala Pina Budicina 16
Nestled in one of the Old Town’s many quaint side streets close to the harbour , Veli Jože lays claim to being one of the oldest restaurants in Rovinj. And its long heritage is celebrated proudly inside, where the walls are decorated with antiques and marine-themed bric-a-bracs from the past, lending the eatery the look and feel of a living museum. But far from resting on its long-standing laurels, the acclaimed restaurant continues to serve up simple but traditional Istrian-style dishes, including specialities such as shellfish lasagne, crab with truffles, cod in white wine and baked lamb with potatoes. For streetside dining, there’s also seating on a pavement terrace outside.
Ul. Sv. Križa 1
Tekka by Lone
‘East meets Istria’ doesn’t have quite the same ring as ‘east meets west’ – but it’s the most fitting way to describe Tekka by Lone. After originally opening in the city of Zagreb to great fanfare, Tekka launched its second Croatian outpost in Rovinj in 2021 – bringing high-end Japanese cuisine to the town. Located on the lower floor of the ultra-swish Lone Hotel, around a 15-minute walk south of the Old Town, the elegant design-led restaurant serves up high-quality, innovative dishes that combine regional ingredients and Japanese food preparation techniques. Don’t miss the white fish and shellfish tartare, tuna and asparagus pattani, salmon and chicory sake buri, nigiri with marinated sea urchin, to name just a few delicacies on offer. A refined outdoor terrace allows guests to enjoy views of the lush lawns surrounding the outdoor pool area while they dine.
Hotel Lone, Ul. Luje Adamovića 31
There’s a reasonable argument to be made that in a country like Croatia, the best food is simple and comes with no fanfare. But sometimes – just sometimes – there’s no substitute for the bells and whistles of a true fine dining experience. If the craving for gastronomic transcendence comes over you in Rovinj, then Monte stands ready to satisfy your most indulgent food-based desire. Situated in the stonewalled courtyard of chef Danijel Đekić’s birth house, at the foot of the Church of St. Euphemia, the symbol of Rovinj, the rustic-chic restaurant was the first in Croatia to receive a covered Michelin-star thanks to its stunningly imaginative dishes that combine interpretations of world cruises with a focus on local Istrian ingredients and culinary traditions. Prepare your palate – and, let’s be honest, your wallet – for impact.
Ul. Montalbano 75
Authentic Istrian food in Rovinj is ten-a-penny, but to find an authentic Istrian food experience requires a little more research. Derived from the Latin word ‘canaba’, meaning a hut or a shed, konobas are prevalent across Croatia, and typically take the form of small, rustic eateries, often family-owned and located in town suburbs. They are also often easily recognisable for the suckling spit-roast pig or lamb cooking up a smoke and flashing its flesh enticingly at passers-by outside. In Rovinj, one of the most well-regarded konobas, Konoba Jure, can be found perched on the outskirts of the Old Town, surrounded by holiday apartments. The setting may be a touch insalubrious, but is more than made up for by the food. Pick from a short and simple menu where special daily dishes using local produce feature heavily, and wait to see what delights away you.
Cademia ul. 22
When it comes to eating out in a place like Rovinj, it’s easy to be swayed by a picture-postcard setting and end up paying through the nose for a memorable view but distinctly unmemorable food. Step forward the widely-acclaimed Puntalina, a gastronomic knight in shining armour that’s come to spare you from this oh-so-common miscalculation. Tucked away on a rocky spur in the Old Town, steep steps lead down to three terraces a mere stone’s throw from the sea. Here, against a backdrop of mesmerising views and the gentle patter of waves lapping the rocks, diners can enjoy simple yet delicious fish-based dishes and other seafood, including scampi buzara (Croatian-style shrimp) and Galician octopus. The prices are high, but unlike so many other Rovinj establishments, you’re paying a fair price for the enticing mix of beautiful scenery and top-quality food.
Ulica Svetoga Križa 38
If you wind your way north along the seafront towards Rovinj’s Old Town, you’ll come across Maestral, a seasonal, outdoor eatery set right up on the water. While many choose to keep walking, anticipating finding an even more scenic spot closer to the historic district, those in the know will walk no further. Ultra-family friendly, the slightly out of town restaurant combines a delightful waterside setting with a varied menu of popular dishes including clams and linguine, filleted sea bream, fish in truffle sauce, and chilli gamberi with rice. Umbrella-covered tables provide plenty of shade during day-time dining, and the boats bobbing about on the waves while you tuck in to your meal add to the overall charm.
Obala Vladimira Nazora