If you’re walking after dark along the poorly lit, cobblestone streets here, you might forgo searching for the restaurant Konoba Kod Joze. But stay with your plan: It’s there, opposite a little stone house. You’ll see a covered, split-level terrace that seats dozens of diners drinking bottles of a local wine called domace bijelo, and ordering seafood caught that day. Some of these customers have been coming here for decades. Kod Joze has maintained its place in Manusha, the oldest neighborhood of Split, since 1984.
Konoba Kod Joze sits at the end of the street across from two ever-changing businesses. At the moment, its neighbors are a tailor and a hairdresser, but the restaurant stays unchanged. Natives recommend the family-run establishment because they all go there and the prices are low. Tourists are sparse at Kod Joze and throughout Split.
The food, very traditional Dalmatian, influenced by Italian cuisine, is simplicity at its best. The dishes that emerge from the kitchen — from female cooks — are prepared with lots of olive oil, wine, and parsley. Many menu items celebrate seafood caught in the Adriatic. Davor Basic created the recipes when the restaurant opened and the cooks have never deviated from the original versions. Their specialty, a dish that translates as “green noodles with sea fruits,” is spinach pasta with a garlicky white wine sauce, and mussels, head-on prawns, and clams. The olive oil comes from nearby Brac and the seafood from Vis, two islands just off the coast. Basic prides himself on serving the freshest fish in all of Split.
Another Dalmatian specialty is pasticada, the best version of pot roast imaginable: delicate brisket-like meat that falls apart with the touch of a fork. This dish represents the heartiness of northern Croatian food. Carrots stud the meat, surrounded by a pool of thick, winey cooking juices, accompanied by plump little gnocchi cooked in pig fat. The meat is also braised with apple, celery root, and dried plums.