As this year, due to the lockdown, we couldn’t unfortunately visit Batelina we publish the review and the score by Gault&Millau Croatia 2020.
In Banjole, near Pula, there is a famous Fish Tavern called Batelina, owned by the Skoko family. Their son David, one of Croatia’s best known chefs, continues to cook in Batelina three days a week. The first thing to remember with Batelina is that you must book your table well in advance, as the place is always full. The second thing is that Batelina is closed in August! As the hosts explain the reason is that during this period there is not enough fish to meet the needs of the guests. And the third thing is that you cannot pay by card but only in cash. There is a warm and cozy atmosphere in the tavern. Tables covered with checkered red tablecloths are placed in three small rooms and in one of them there is a fireplace. The waiter came immediately and told us about the daily offer. We tried the excellent crispy skin of sole with dried tomato paste, a classic saor or marinated sardines, an extremely soft octopus salad and a delicious fish pâté. A bonito (or palamide) carpaccio, different shells and a Saint Jacques followed. A delicious combination of raw fresh fish and shellfish slightly marinated in lemon juice, spiced with oil and Mediterranean aromatic herbs. Then they brought us the grilled scampi (langoustines). Big, fresh, perfectly roasted scampi to lick your fingers. You could feel the aromas and the flavor of the sea in all the dishes. At the end we couldn’t resist the sweet canolo stuffed with goat’s milk curd and caramel. We drank their homemade Malvasia which was proper. Like the other guests, we were greeted at the table by Batelina’s owner and founder, Danilo Skoko, David’s father and a famous fisherman who, together with his wife Alda, opened a tavern 20 years ago. This time again, Batelina confirmed the reputation of a cult fish tavern that offers a different gastronomic experience from most Croatian fish restaurants.