Restaurant Marina Novigrad is definitely my new found gem. Vera and I were just blown away with a fabulous dining experience we had at the restaurant Marina Novigrad. Restaurant Marina is an intimate 30-seat establishment located across the street from the marina.
We had an unfortunate first visit to this restaurant. We arrived without a reservation. And since the place looks more like a family house than a restaurant, we were a bit confused. But at the parking we saw lots of people, and some of them waved us in, to the parking. Once we parked, still not sure that we are at the right spot, we asked if this was the restaurant's parking. It turned out that it was.
But that day a family member died and the restaurant was closed. All those people at the parking came to say their goodbyes. I don't need to tell you how awkward and embarrassed we felt. However, we haven't given up on trying this place out. So we just came back few weeks later.
The restaurant is situated at the first floor of what looks like a typical family house with a yellow facade. From outside you would never guess that inside you will find yourself in the exceedingly elegant and refined interior.
The menu is short and simple – there isn't one. You can never be sure what is going to be on the menu because they only use the fresh seasonal ingredients and change menu accordingly. However, one thing is constant – the dishes are absolutely awe-inspiring.
Restaurant Marina Novigrad is run by a young couple: Davor & Marina. Davor is in charge of the front of house. He is your host, waiting tables, serving and describing dishes, while Marina is in the kitchen cooking and preparing delicious dishes. Marina's cuisine is innovative, yet simple and unpretentious. It is accessible and enjoyable for all. The entire dining experience is refreshing and completely different from most restaurants in Croatia.
My experience at restaurant Marina Novigrad
On arrival, Vera and I were greeted by the owner (waiter) who explained right away that they only serve seafood. Perfect for us! When we expressed his interest in eating a little bit of everything, the waiter was absolutely happy. That's exactly the approach of the restaurant Marina: a multiple course diner without fixed menu.
The only question the waiter had was if they eat raw. The rest was left to the cook. No questions asked. We indulged in the adventure of 7 course meal chosen by the chef.
The couvert included fresh cheese with sun-dried tomatoes and zucchini. The first course opened with raw sea-bass served on the bed of black venere rice, red cabbage and lavender flowers. The fish was juicy and rice and cabbage crunchy. Delightful combination! The second course included raw scallop with orange and purple potato chips. Playful dish with bright colors from the orange potato chips perfectly complimenting the flavor of a raw scallop.
The third course brought in a plate of smoked octopus with olive oil and tomato coulis seasoned with black salt. Octopus was lightly smoked without overwhelming the natural flavors.
The fourth course was a black truffle (black polpetta) made of shrimps, integral rice and veggies and covered in black sesame seeds. We could eat 20 of these without a problem.
The fifth course included home made squid ink pasta with clams. The pasta was perfectly cooked al dente and it was slightly spicy. Again, it might sound like a common dish but like everything served at the restaurant Marina, it went absolutely beyond ordinary taste.
The sixth course was a sea-bass fillet cooked with local wine Malvasia and served with mashed sweet potatoes. Sea-bass was light with subtle flavors, although slightly under-cooked for my taste. However it was still delicious.
Finally it was a dessert time. I chose a chocolate tart with olive oil and lemon emulsion, while Vera chose chocolate ganache with strawberries, pistachio and green onions. What a delight!
Restaurant Marina is a wine friendly restaurant, offering excellent choice of Croatian wines. This is one of the rare restaurants in Croatia serving at the moment local wine produced by Leonardo Palcic. Frank recommends you to taste his Malvasia or Merlot. At restaurant Marina they also have a good choice of wines by the glass. Beside the wine, restaurant Marina offers a variety of the best local extra virgin olive oils. At Frank's table they had choice of Chiavalon Ex Albis, Belic Casaliva and Cervar olive oil.
The total price amounted to 50 € per person without the drinks. Excellent value for money.
Restaurant Marina Novigrad just made it to Frank's top of the list of restaurants in Croatia. The only suggestion that Frank has for the restaurant Marina is: although there is no menu (which is absolutely fine), write down a small description of the number of courses and the price to avoid any confusion for fellow diners. We will be back for sure.