There's not a whole lot of Croatian restaurants kicking around. Take a gold star if you can name a single Croatian dish. Two if you can pronounce it correctly.

Croatian brothers Natko and Ino Kuvacic set up Dalmatino in Port Melbourne determined to put this little-known cuisine on the Melbourne food map – albeit in a cloak-and-dagger manner. They tactically publicise a ‘classic European’ menu which is supposedly a more diner-friendly label. They shouldn't. The goods are solid.

Welcome to the land of spices and slow sticky braises.

The charcuterie platter appears suspiciously Italian to the untrained eye – prosciutto, Reggiano cheese, olives, gherkins and the like. But in reality there’s Croatian dried meat thrown in the mix. The kulen is a flavour-packed salami made from low-fat pork that’s spiced with hot red paprika.

Splitska pašticada translates as beef cheeks slow cooked with prune, apple and red wine, served with handmade potato dumplings. The beef is so tender that you could cut through it with a spoon, and the dumplings have a chewy texture and suck up that rich sauce like flavour guided missiles. Go the punjene paprike too if you're working up a layer of subcutaneous fat for winter. Capsicums are filled with a lamb and beef mince that's cooked in a tomato sauce. It's all served with a satiny smooth potato purée.

Finish with the parfait od maraske i bijele čokolade if you can wrap your mouth around those syllables. The sour cherry and white chocolate parfait is creamy with just the right amount of bite.

Dalmatino has all the charm of a family run establishment.  Antique lockers and old, leather-bound tax return books add rustic charm, and the waiters are more than happy to pronounce the dishes you can't.

Set sail for Port Melbourne, adventurers. A brave new world of delicious awaits.

Want to attend the Melbourne Food Awards?

First published on . Updated on .

By Christina Wylie   |  

Dalmatino details

Address
280 Bay St

Port Melbourne 3207

Telephone 03 9645 6584

Price per person including drinks Up to $50

Open Mon-Sun 11am-late

Dalmatino website

Port Melbourne area guide

Restaurants near Dalmatino

Balderdash

79m - This place is a straight up coffee haus from Mark Knapp and Nick Edgar, who...

Hunky Dory

278m - Set sail for this high-energy neighbourhood hot spot. It blows most seedy...

Ciao Cielo

330m - Ciao Cielo may be one of many new restaurants popping up in Port Melbourne,...

Bars & pubs near Dalmatino

Rose Diner and Bar

136m - At Rose Diner and Bar, you can get your Little Creatures with a side of...

Harry and Frankie

165m - Named after the kids of co-owners and best mates John Tennent and Tom Hogan,...

Prince Alfred Hotel

305m - Established in 1867 the renovated and restored Prince Alfred Hotel balances...

Other venues near Dalmatino

Around Port Phillip

144m - The City of Port Phillip is located south of Melbourne's CBD and next...

A Simple Affair

180m - Despite its namesake, there’s a lot going on at this wellness centre, with...

Princes Pier

248m - Newly refurbished Princes Pier was once an integral part of Victoria's...

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus
 


© 2007 - 2014 Time Out Group Ltd. All rights reserved. All material on this site is © Time Out.