A restaurant that embodies Dalmatian fjaka ideology: Rougemarin Hvar on Jerolim

9 minute read

On the island of Hvar, only a handful of places evoke the memories of my childhood summers

The true essence of leisure, with salt-kissed hair and barefoot wanderings. Among these cherished spots, some remain secret and dear to me alone. . However, this particular location, mere kilometer from Hvar’s scenic promenade, is a place you simply must visit.

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Jerolim returns in all its resplendence, as it was always meant to be.

Jerolim, to me, embodies the authentic essece of Hvar – devoid of bustling cafes and the blaring of speakers. Instead, the cicadas serenade so loudly that one is lulled to sleep the moment foot touches the island’s soil.

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On the southern coast, a delighful bar awaits, with a few sun-kissed souls on the beach, and the extraordinary, vibrantly green flora unique to the Pakleni Islands

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A few steps away, a newly unveiled gem appears. Restaurant under the guidance of Marin Medak: Rougemarine Hvar – an epitome of Hvar’s essence brought to life by a man who has seemingly unlocked the island’s very soul. On a sun-drenched day, we sat at one of the tables, as Marin narrated his vision for his Hvar restaurant.

It was a difficult task to suppress my smile – I witnessed perfection coming to life.

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Make do with what you have

Long ago, on the island of Hvar, people prepared food from whatever was available. Times have changed, rules have shifted, and the task of creating a fish restaurant that serves freslhy caught fish, whatever the day’s catch may be, is no trivial endeavor. As Marin presented the menu – intricate as a Japanese crossword puzzle – he unveiled the ingenious method he envisioned.

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The fish courses are served with mathematical precision, presented through a harmonious array of 12 exquisite pillars of Dalmatian cuisine. Though I was nodding in understanding but not knowing all, Marin deftly dictated the list, thereby averting my potential embarrassment.

Salt, oil, vinegar, wine, grilled, fied, skewered, pan-cooked, barbecue fire, lemon-infused, carob-tinged, almond-accented.

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The Hvar omakase method

You will be offered the choice to savor two, four, eight, or even twelve exquisite sequences od dishes, all meticulously fashioned from the freshly caught fish of the day, whatever it may be. This culinary practice, known as the “omakase” method, places trust in the chef to curate the crucial ingredients, granting in return a superlative amalgamation of dishes.

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This reminded me of my grandma’s kitchen, my mother’s culinary artistry today, and, I believe, the presence of the omakase method in every island home – a celebration of making the most of what one possesses for the most gratifying dining experience.

Superbly crafted, locally-sourced ingredients

Medak’s approach to dive in with the local community, with a fervent commitment to use as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible, inspired awe. Thus, gracing the tables at Rougemarin Hvar are an array of homegrown vegetables, locally-produced oil, wine, and vinegar, while the fish hails from the trusted fishermen dotting the southern Dalmatian coast.

One of the dishes sampled during our visit was the ingenious combination of handpicked, locally-sourced ingredients. A delightful delicacy of shrimp tempura and blanched “motar” handpicked from the shores of Jerolim. It was a testament to Chef Medak’s vision, who relocated with his family to the island for this very season.

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“We’ll work diligently to prepare everything for the upcoming season, making connections with local producers, and crafting the puzzle pieces that will create a haven where one can savor delectable fare, unwind after a good meal, and even organize weddings or similar events. All of this shall rest on the foundation of slow living, harmony with nature, and the fusion of Asian and Dalmatian cuisines – an irresistible allure to the discerning guests of Hvar.”

Chef Medak, Rougemarin Hvar

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Tango for 120 souls

Following its 2021 renovation, the restaurant now accommodates approximately 120 guests across two terraces, boasting a captivating panorama of Hvar’s town through the lattice of pine foliage. The pines stand where they do, their branches artfully framing the view – but rest assure this a true essence of island life. Rougemarin Hvar glides in graceful harmony with the island it graces – like a dance of passionate tango.

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Dalmatian brunch called marenda, straight from the paradise

“Marenda” holds a significant place in the Dalmatian identity – a reward for toil, a sweet interlude before short afternoon sleep. Amidst the dense pine forest that drew me in instantly, with the sea gently whispering behind the pine fronds, one can savor a specially curated meal called “marenda” or simply put – brunch of the day, complemented by a glass of wine. With the taxi boat (barkarijol) blue ticket, including transport to Jerolim, this heavenly repast shall cost a mere 25 euros.

Please, sign me up for the entire season.


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Fjaka Forest – Rougemarin Hvar’s ingenious homage to Jerolim’s island roots

Capturing the true essence of “fjaka” on the island is a rare feat. Often, it is marred by overbearing music, an excessively expansive menu, or a lack of the right ambiance.

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“Fjaka” embodies the island’s culture – a haven where time flows leisurely, unburdened by haste or obligations. A place where the sweltering heat calls for languid hours, and swimming is not an immediate concern. Here, one can sit, gazing intently at a single point as thoughts drift effortlessly. That is fjaka, right there.

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Here, everything falls into an exquisite arrangement, exuding elegance through the plush loungers from the Croatia’s own brand Qushin, amidst wooden pavilions with billowing white curtains dancing gracefully in the breeze. You will experience the “fjaka” here, and deeply understand the meaning of it.

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Soon, I’ll prepare a step-by-step recipe for Rougemarin Hvar’s signature dish – the divine shrimp with wild samphire called motar. Until then, you can find me in the “Fjaka Forest” on Jerolim.

More details on Rougemarin Hvar social media.

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