Giaxa, the restaurant’s name, stems from the name of the noble family Jakša whose palace today houses an homage to modern cuisine and wines. The space lets us into a sophisticated, intimate fairy tale of one of Croatia’s most stunning islands. Naturally, everything is accompanied by perfectly arranged food and wine. The stone wall that keeps the tables safe from the noise and bustling streets take us back to the 15th century when Hvar was the main Venetian port in the eastern Adriatic. Palace Jakša, built in Late Gothic style, come to being in that period.
As they put it in the restaurant, Giaxa is a place where the scents of lavender and rosemary meet Serenissima, the most serene Venice. The modern approach that pays attention to the island and the surrounding sea, i.e. a living pantry the chef draws inspiration from, is what makes their food preparation so special. This is exactly what a guest coming down from his yacht in search of culinary treasure is looking for. And they’ll find it in a stone palace under an impressive chandelier of a stylised swordfish that has blended in with the interior and unforgettable dishes. Regardless of whether it’s food or wine we’re talking about, feel free to take the house recommendation - friendly waiters will let you in on the secret regarding which fish is fresh.
There are also mainstay dishes of local cuisine such as Hvar gregada or the shrimp, octopus and fish broth served on polenta. Monkfish with green beans, tender lardo di Colonnata, shrimp reduction and briskly grilled fennel is one of the dishes you definitely need to try. A barrage of flavours and textures. Tender fish meat, baked in the outside, lively on the inside with “al dente” vegetables and a slice of lardo just to remind of the mainland where we came from to enjoy the island of the sun. In line with the appeal of harmonious opposites, you’ll get a glass of Pošip from the wine-rich island of Korčula. With a shiny golden-yellow colour this is the first Croatian white wine that has been awarded the protected designation of origin.
Like a welcome (or farewell) message in a bottle, you’ll get a dessert wine, prosecco Hektorović made by the great Croatian winemaker Tomić. His prosecco goes great with desserts. The orange cake’s freshness will make you think of island citrus fruits at their best. The pungent aroma, crunchy almond slice and a glass of fabulous wine work their magic by composing a symphony that you’ll remember for a long time after you leave this historical temple of scents and flavours.
Author of photography: Ivo Čagalj/PIXSELL