With the beautiful yet barren Biokovo rising high above Makarska, the city is like a small gem as it houses dozens of small original taverns frozen in time against the backdrop of Dalmatian music and scents of Mediterranean herbs. You won’t go anywhere else until your stomach is full and you’re completely content. This is exactly what awaits you in Kalalarga, a tavern as it once was and as it should be. Granted, there’s a peculiar detail. A massive boat-shaped table with a transparent middle section containing fishing equipment!
The tavern’s interior is covered in stone with the exception of wooden beams on the ceiling. The walls are adorned in inconspicuous and tasteful fishing objects, shells, amphorae and old black and white photos. Massive wooden tables are ready to host larger crowds and notwithstanding the small space everything seems breezy and neat. The terrace/alley tables give the most impressive touch given that they are bow-shaped like a boat on the mainland where this tavern is located.
There are quite a few traditional rakia aperitifs (with herbs, figs, sour cherries), but alcohol-free grape juice was a pleasant surprise. The wine list is not too abundant, but still it’s interesting. The house wine, i.e. kujundžuša and Modro jezero (coupage), stems the famous Grabovac winery in Imotski.
Kalalarga has a penchant for starters where they can showcase the full range of seafood. A stone oven deserves the credit for delicious grilled fish as well as homemade flatbread that will, more often than not, reach your table warm. Tender on the inside and with a crispy crust the biggest problem is you’re getting full while having the starter dish. Speaking of starters, raw and marinated fish served with a small amount of grated cheese and seasonal salad are popular these days, so you should definitely try the hake because it’s not completely raw with salt and lemon barely permeating it, which makes it ideal.
You also have other seafood specialties like dried and smoked fish, classic pâté and octopus, all of which are arranged enticingly. In accordance with the tavern’s design, Kalalarga offers a few daily meat dishes based on what they manage to get on the market so you can choose from pašticada, liver, bržola (veal chop), rump steak... Cephalopod dish lovers will have a field day here given that they’ll be able to choose from a phenomenal octopus stew and a sophisticated version of octopus in marjoram with homemade gnocchi – a mind-blowing dish. If you were to capture what Dalmatia is all about in one dish, it would be this one!
When it comes to fish specialties, they have them all ranging from crustaceans, shellfish to buzara, fried prawns, shells, shark, smoked bonito, dentex, John Dory and scorpionfish... Still, tuna is the specialty and it’s prepared in a really uncommon way, but let that be a secret.
Tradition is king when it comes to desserts too. We should definitely point out Makarska rozata and cake Kalalarga with dried figs, carob and chocolate. Life really is beautiful here...
Kalalarga is a modern version of a traditional tavern, but it has managed to preserve originality and the traditional mood. As time goes by, you’ll notice the cool details such as a peka bell used instead of a chandelier, while all along you enjoy Dalmatian music from the 1970s and 1980s. If you come to Makarska and want to have a meal that smells and tastes like the sea in a place where you’ll eat like previous generations did, but also to get glimpse of modern designer details (tuna) and feel good and want to come back again, you more than welcome to Kalalarga. Enjoy your meal!
Author of photography: Miranda Cikotić/Pixsell
Contact number: +385 98 990 2908
Working hours: Summer Monday-Sunday 9-02h, Winter Mon-Sun 09-23h
From 31.12 to 24.2 collective annually
Address: Kalalarga 40 21300 Makarska
Price range: 100-200kn