Let’s answer the 5 W’s for food lovers: who, what, why, when and where
The town of Omis and its region covers three different territories in Central Dalmatia: Omis Riviera, Cetina river, the canyon and inland – a region on the right side of the Cetina river called Poljica and villages on the north side of Omiška Dinara. The geographical position of Omis region enabled the development of three cuisine types, connected to the sea, river and inland.
UNESCO. Maybe you didn’t know, Dalmatian cuisine is part of the Mediterranean diet which is included in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013 together with six cuisines of Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Marocco and Cyprus.
THE MEANING OF THE WORD DIET. These days we relate the word diet to the way of eating done with one goal, to lose weight. But, it actually means the food and drink we eat or regular basis. The word diet comes from the Greek word diatia, meaning ‘a way of living’.
MEDITERRANEAN DIET So, what’s so special about Mediterranean diet that was inscribed in UNESCO list? Fish and olive oil was the probably first thing that popped in your mind, right? But, it is not only healthy food like fish and olive oil, seafood and fresh fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, dairy and lean meat. It is also about a traditional way to produce, conserve, process and cook food in the harmony with the seasons and consuming, eating in the Mediterranean, in this case, Dalmatian way. On the top of it all, it is about socializing, eating together with family and friends, laughing and singing, celebrating life and happy moments together.
FOOD AS INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE. Food is an inseparable part of any culture. In the times of globalization, we should think of preserving and protecting our autochthonous dishes. Globalization is the integration and interaction of different nations. Our tradition makes us different and unique.
SOPARNIK. The traditional dish from Poljica (inland Omis) soparnik is on the list of the protected cultural heritage of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and protected and issued by the EU geographical origin label. Soparnik is not only very tasty it is also very interesting to see how it is prepared. So, when in Omis, do not miss an opportunity to taste this dish made of dough, swiss chard, onion, olive oil and garlic, baked under ember and hot ashes.
WINE. Dalmatians say that fish swim three times: first time in the sea, the second time in the olive oil and the third time in the wine. Omis is placed in Split-Dalmatia county that covers Inland Dalmatia wine subregion and it is a part of Central and South Dalmatia wine subregion of Coastal Croatia wine region. Inland Croatia has three vineyard areas: Sinj-Vrlika, Imotski and Vrgorac. Central Dalmatia has six vineyard areas Kaštela-Trogir, Split-Omiš-Makarska, Vis, Hvar, Brač I Šolta. Some of the Dalmatian wine varieties are Tribidrag/ Pribidrag/ Crljenak (Zinfandel), Maraština, Plavac Mali, Pošip, Kujunđuša, Zlatarica and others.
The local wine Omiš Rose (a coupage of autochthonous varieties Plavac, Ninčuša and Okatac) and Pribidrag (in Italy known as Primitivo and USA Zinfandel originates actually from Dalmatia) are produced by Omis winemaker Nikša Mimica in village placed on the north side of Omiška Dinara hill, Svinišće.
SPIRITS. Rakija (in English brandy) is not just an alcoholic drink in Croatia, it is also considered to be a cure for many problems. Lowering a high body temperature, disinfection, stomach ache, nausea, just name it… for every problem, there is rakija to cure it. The most common brandies in Dalmatia are Orahovac- walnut, Višnjak – cherry and Travarica – herb brandies.
CRAFT BEER. Beer isn’t traditional Dalmatian drink but that doesn’t mean that we do not have anything to offer to our beer lover guests. Brewery Barilo has opened recently 5 km away from Omis in the small town Dugi Rat. They produce two craft beers named after two historical legends from Omis and Poljica. Golden ale beer Mila and red ale beer Malduk can be found in several Omis restaurants and bars.
Omis and its region have many restaurants, so for the first post on this subject, I shall mention 5 restaurants spread all over Omis region, its Riviera, canyon and inland.
THE CENTRE OF OMIS
WHO: Restaurant POD ODRNOM
WHERE: The old part of the town, in the centre, between cute narrow Mediterranean streets. It has nicely decorated interior for those who like to seat inside and terrace for those who like to be in the open air. Adress: Ulica Ivana Katušića 1, Omiš
WHAT: Restaurant’s food offer is basically of Dalmatian and Mediterranean cuisine. It is the place to go when you want to combine traditional food and tastes with new, modern flavours. Restaurant Pod Odrnom also has a charcoal grill in the middle of it, so you can watch your steak while preparing.
The wine list consists of Croatian wines from all over the region. They also offer local craft beers Mila and Malduk.
WHY: Pod Odrnom is a friendly family-run restaurant that gives emphasis on delicious local food and Croatian food products with modern food preparing approach. You can find it in the heart of the old town yet hidden from the crowds.
WHEN: from 11.00 to 1.00 a.m.
WHO: Restaurant BASTION
WHERE: On the main road in Omis, in the part of the walls that used to surround Omis. The big trees on the terrace enable natural shade with light breeze always. Adress: Fošal 9, Omiš
WHAT: Restaurant offers a wide range of food eager to please any food preferences from seafood, fish, meat, pizza lovers and vegetarians. Fish and seafood offer depends on the daily catch of the local fishermen.
WHY: Bastion is a restaurant placed in the centre of the town, a few minutes away from the city beach with a nice terrace where you can enjoy your meal with a view on the sea and the life of the main street.
WHEN: from 11 a.m. to 11.45 p.m.
THE CANYON OF THE CETINA RIVER
WHO: Restaurant KAŠTIL SLANICA
WHERE: In the canyon of the Cetina river, in the gorgeous natural surroundings. You cannot miss it. Just follow the road from Omis to the canyon and you will find Kastil Slanica on your left side just 4 km away from Omis
WHAT: For those who like to explore new tastes, this is a perfect place to do so as it offers food like snails, frogs, eel and seafood. If you do not feel adventurous in trying foods you haven’t eat before, do not worry, meat and fish can also be ordered.
WHY: Kastil Slanica has the most romantic location, right on the Cetina river with a view on the island of love. If you ever wondered where to ‘pop the question’ this restaurant would be a great place to do it.
WHEN: From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
WHO: Konoba KREMENKO
WHERE: In the old Dalmatian village Svinišće, 11 km from Omis on the northern side of Omiska Dinara hill. The ride to the restaurant through the canyon, hill roads, vineyards and villages is experience in itself.
WHAT: Besides the traditional meals like meat prepared under peka (meat and vegetables baked under lid covered with hot ashes and ember), meat and fish on the grill, you can also go for lamb on a spit
WHY: Flinstone-style interior design is definitely something that makes this place truly unique restaurant. So many wonderful details from the famous cartoon Flinstones will take you back in time and remind you of your childhood for sure.
WHEN: Summer working time from 5 p.m. to 12 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 a.m. to 10 p.m.
WHO: Restaurant KOD MIJE
WHERE: Omis Riviera, village Lokva Rogoznica 9 km away from Omis towards Makarska with a nice view on the Adriatic sea and island of Brač.
WHAT: Restaurant Kod Mije is locally known as the restaurant where to go to eat fish, shells, crabs and seafood in general. Beside fresh yummy products of the sea, it also offers meat and other international dishes. Their own produced red wine is something you have to try for sure.
WHY: Good food, good wine, gorgeous view… what else would you need?
WHEN: From 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
We all travel for different reasons, maybe it is pleasure, maybe it is business… but, whatever the reason is, carpe diem! If life gives you the opportunity to experience and learn something new, take it! It will help you to grow a little bit more and feel much better. And who knows, maybe you unlock some culinary creativity while trying local foods on your visit to Omis, maybe you will decide to start eating better and continue to follow Mediterranean diet when you go back home.
So, if you decided to visit Omis, don’t miss a chance to experience the flavours of Dalmatian cuisine to the fullest!
Author and photos: Senka Vlahović