The centre of Pašman's feasting is certainly the tavern Mureta, a place of true island flavours. We came to it while a strong bora was blowing outside, and with the fire from the fireplace, it is not difficult to feel at home. The stone walls of the tavern, enriched with a wooden terrace and interior, attract from afar to a real Dalmatian lunch that strongly deviates from the already usual restaurant offer for guests on the Adriatic. And while we listen to what is on offer, we enjoy the excellent brandy made from herbs, a product of the Promina region and the art of the owner Boško Stagličić, who creates a sweet-bitter brandy.
Boss Boško also does other enticing things that both the people of Pašman and their guests enjoy. In addition to red and white wine from Primošten grapes, he offers homemade olive oil from drobnica and orgula sorts, which come to the table in beautiful small stone jars to feel the spirit of the past when the oil on Pašman was stored in such items. Prosciutto, dried in the bora and smoked, is an inevitable addition to the tavern, with a fullness of meaty aroma and salty taste. In addition to cheese, there were also marinated anchovies, which the owners put in water with lemon overnight and then in jars with oil. Anchovies are great and give the much-needed different note to the classic cheese and prosciutto appetizer!
The richness of the seabed around the Adriatic islands has been known since the ancient Greeks who painted monstrous creatures from the depths on their pottery. One such creature has long been on the island's table - the octopus. This limby catch is prepared in various ways, mostly on salad and under the baking lid, but also stewed in wine and with vegetables, cooked and baked. It used to be a dish of the poor, enriched with broad beans and artichokes, and today it is considered a top delicacy of the Mediterranean. In the Mureta tavern, they prepared it for us in a typical Pašman way: grilled octopus arms.
It is an octopus dried in the bora, and they are turned on the grills so that every remaining drop of the sea comes out of them. The arms are then cut into rings, seasoned with virgin olive oil and pepper, and eaten using toasted bread instead of cutlery. The smell of the sea and octopuses permeate the plate as we grab this appetizer, looking slyly under the eye of who will get stuck for the next bite. We are watched with a smile by the two Marys who serve us and who know well why we are in seventh heaven.
There are already fritters on the table next to us, faithful companions of the cold days of the year, but it is not yet time for sweet endings. Kunjka, shells that are a symbol of the Pašman Channel and were fed by generations of Pašmans, especially those from Tkon or Kun, after which they got their name, arrive on the grill. The story of Kunjka is a bit mysterious because it appears and then disappears, it has not been in the sea for years, so it comes again as a big and delicious surprise.
The southern part of Pašman is especially good for Kunjka because a good sea current passes here and helps to flourish this excellent shell full of meat. For the Kunjka, the grills turn so that the embers reach the shell as soon as possible and then they bring us the clean smell of the sea and delicious meat on the table. We rushed to enjoy them, not paying too much attention to the warnings that the Kunjka is also a famous aphrodisiac!
Although we were slowly giving in to gastronomic delights, which could be seen by commenting on the pictures and the beautiful terrace overlooking the Pašman waterfront and the island of Babac, we received octopus and broad bean maneštrun, a great dish in which all tastes are recognizable, along with homemade pasta. Once this was an everyday dish on the island: today it is rightly offered as a delicacy enjoyed only by select connoisseurs of the hidden flavours of the Adriatic.
There was simply no more room for fritters, although we reached for two or three sweet snacks. Return to Mureta is guaranteed because the Stagličić family obviously makes sense to offer them the flavours and aromas of an old Dalmatian tavern. Those who find it too much can step into the neighbouring restaurant or cafe De Loro, since it is all owned by the same family. The commitment to traditional flavours, however, is second to none. Mureta is simply a great place for island cuisine!
Pašman 68, 23262, Pašman
+385 (0) 23 367 933, +385 (0) 95 910 2272
Photos by: Cristiano Diaz