Gault&Millau: Delicious lunch in Split
Corto Maltese is a breath-taking small oasis in downtown Split you’ll instantly fall in love with. The moment you step inside this freestyle food place, you’ll instantly be taken back to when you were young and countless hours you spent going through all kinds of forgotten comic books and novels. There’s only one difference – Hugo Pratt’s Corto Maltese always was a great comic book, if not the greatest. Given that the walls display drawings from this comic book, the coasters are also inspired by this legendary sailor and that there’s also a children’s section with books and colouring books, for a moment you may not be able to discern whether this is a modern colourful library or a restaurant offering all kind of food. Luckily, we were quick to realise that this is a place where you can grab a bite. And a great one.
The menu corresponds to the overall concept. It’s fun and playful so you can have a blast while going through ambiguous names and wordplay like BreakFast & Furious, Privre Meni, Ružno Pače... Intelligent and witty – starting with four kinds of breakfast served until noon (Egg Zeppelin, Eggoist – egg dishes) to seven different salads containing fish, octopus, buffalo mozzarella and swordfish carpaccio. The selection is quite interesting. Cod fillet and Ragout Against The Machine are especially interesting
Loudspeakers emit superb, yet not to loud rock and roll music. This music is just how you’ll feel when you see your food – youthful, good-looking, dressed up for a night on the town. Ventilators are aplenty in the main section, whereas half of the restaurant occupies the terrace which perfectly blends in with the rhythm of the old paved street.
Even though they offer all beers, Corto gave a chance to a local craft brewer named Barba. They’re also well known for their wide selection of about a dozen kinds of whiskey, homemade liquors, interesting tea brands from around the world and four kinds of freshly squeezed juices. The wine list contains about forty labels from across Croatia. Istrian Malvasia Cossetto is the house white wine, whereas Frankovka Matković is the house red wine. Pošip Nera from Čara on the island of Korčula and Plavac Tomić have also found their place on the wine list...
Ten main courses are varied on a daily basis. The restaurant is twenty metres away from the market. You get the picture... After just short of two years in operation, the restaurant still has that relaxed vibe like you’re hanging out in your living room and it’s pretty obvious that they’re just doing their thing. The daily menu is planned out according to what’s been bought on a given morning. Chef Toni Boban has completely revamped the old menu and goes to great lengths to keep track of season, i.e. to adapt to weather conditions - because it matters that guests are happy and smiling as they come and go. At Corto all the cakes are made inhouse so be sure to check out the original cheesecake, American pie with ice-cream and the local version of paradižot (floating island).
The Corto crew is also in charge of organising San sustipanske noći (Sustipan Night’s Dream) in mid-July when everything has an even more pronounced rock and roll twist to it. Just like with the great Corto Maltese himself, everything revolves around adventurism, freedom, being relaxed... All the dishes are changed on a daily basis, but the phenomenal impression given by this comfortable and witty place definitely doesn’t fade away. All roads lead to Corto!
Author of photography: Miranda Čikotić/PIXSELL
Contact number: 021/587-201
Working hours: Monday- Sunday: 08:00-00:00h
Address: Obrov ul. 7; 21000 Split
Price range: 200-300kn