Croatia #2: Exploring the City + Worst Japanese restaurant ever!

It’s time for part 2!

I’ve been brainstorming about my Croatia series and I think this series will be a mix of travel diaries, (food)reviews and maybe even some recipes.

Our second day in Split consisted mostly of exploring the city.  Our appartment was situated near some local markets, so logically that was our first destination. Our first stop was a small vegetable market, where you could find all sorts of locally grown vegetables and fruits. Everything smelled so nice and the veggies were gorgeous. Too bad we always go out to dinner when we’re on vacation. In the end we bought some grapes and peaches. They were juicy and sweet!

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Our second stop was a fish market located in the city center. By the time we got there it was already 23+ degrees, but the fish didn’t smell fishy at all! It was a fun experience and a visit is recommended!

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After that we bought some chicken wraps for breakfast and we took a stroll down the boulevard. What I love about Croatia is the crystal clear blue sea. It’s not clearly visible on photographs, but trust me it’s brigther than your future! As you walk along the boulevard you will walk past Diocletian’s Palace. It really is an impressive building and it reminded me of Rome. After some googling I discovered that the ancient palace was built by the Roman emperor Diocletian, that figures! In the picture below you can see the Palace’s peristyle. The best time to visit the palace is during the evening, because every night you can find lots of people sitting on the stairs while they’re enjoying a glass of wine or some ice cream  and usually there is live music. It’s so cozy at night and sometimes the peristyle turns into a da-a-a-a-nce floor!

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I think the Old Town is my favorite part of Split. The palace, the palace walls, the shiny marble-like pavement, the narrow alleys filled with shops and restaurants and the vibrant atmosphere. It feels like a place where time has stopped.

While looking at the picture I remembered that it was a scorching hot day (33°C). Opposite the cathedral of Saint Dominus you can find  an ice cream parlor, Pumparela. And to be honest, the ice cream that Pumparela sells is waaay better than what I have tried in Italy (shock). The ice cream in Italy can be overpowering and so so sweet. Texture wise, Pumparela’s ice cream is lighter /more aerated and the flavors are spot on, rich and refreshing! The pistachio and hazelnut had tiny pieces of nuts (yes!). But my all time favorite was lemon: creamy sorbet like texture, right balance between sourness and sweetness, and it tasted like the best glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day.

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For dinner we went to a Japanese restaurant near the Boulevard: Samurai. And it was the WORST Japanese restaurant ever. It may sound harsh, but it really was bad. Before I talk about the bad stuff (food), I must say that the interior of the restaurant was nice and cozy and the staff was really kind. Let’s go down to business!

 

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For starters we ordered a mixed sushi plate. I don’t even know where to start. The sushi rice was really bland and it had many pieces of uncooked rice grains, which gave it an unpleasant texture . The salmon, ebi and tuna were quite fresh, but again it was bland. And lastly, the avocado gunkan… the brownish avocado mush tasted quite nice, but it wasn’t appealing at all. I think the uncooked rice ruined everything for me.

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My father ordered the Chicken Curry. The curry sauce was flavorful and luckily the rice was cooked well. What my father did not like was the fried chicken cutlet, because it was dry and it tasted a bit burned. Also the portion is small, so if you’re a big eater this dish is not recommended.

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I ordered the Gyudon Beef bowl (right). The sauce was good and they were generous with the onion. I lovee caramelized onion! Only the meat was… overcooked and dry.

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Onto the last, and probably worst dish, the Pork Ramen. This dish was a total disaster and I felt really bad for my little brother. By the time he got his dish everyone already finished their meal. I think he waited more than 30 minutes AFTER we got our meal. You could imagine that everyone was excited/relieved when the waiter walked towards us with this big bowl of noodles. But our happiness turned into disappointment within 3 seconds. The first thing we noticed was a familiar smell and my dad immediately said:”Those are instant noodles”. We didn’t believe him at first, but it was confirmed after I took a bite. It tasted exactly the same as the world famous Nissin Instant Noodle (we eat them all the time).

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So yeah, everyone was bummed. To make it even worse: the noodles were cooked to mush and the soup had zero flavor. Like how? Instant noodles are always packed with MSG. WHERE DID ALL THE MSG GO? The only good thing in this dish was the tamago. The egg yolk was runny. It’s totally understandable that you can’t make fresh ramen noodles everyday, but at least do a better job at cooking some instant noodles which takes less than 5 minutes… My little brother was a real hero though, he did not complain, ate his bowl of mushy noodles and asked for the check.

This was our second day in Split. It may not have ended on a high note, but we really enjoyed this day of exploration! There is more exciting and beautiful stuff coming up, so make sure you don’t miss out the rest of this Croatia series.

Split you later!

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