Back in 2004, Ino and Natko, who were born in the Dalmatian city of Split, realised a life-long dream when they first opened the Dalmatino restaurant in Australia’s second largest city Melbourne. The restaurant, specialising in Croatian cuisine, has developed into an extremely popular eatery, not only for the large Croatian community based in Melbourne, but also with Australians and even the odd Croatian celebrity, Croatia’s famous singer Oliver Dragojevic has dined at Dalmatino whilst on a visit to Australia.
The Kuvacic brothers have a deep love and understanding of food and wine as their maternal ancestors were one of the largest wine merchant families throughout the 18th and 19th centuries in coastal Croatia, with wine shops throughout the Habsburg Monarchy.
Their paternal ancestors were proud Croatian farmers, working the dry Dalmatian land that consists mainly of rock and only a little soil. They weren’t able to produce much, but what they lacked in quantity, they made up for in quality and flavour. All this has helped the Kuvacic’s understanding about how essential it is to use produce of the highest quality to create a delicious dish, and this is integral to the Dalmatino menu.
Ino learnt to cook from his family and some of the dishes on their menu are made using his grandmother’s traditional recipes. He loves that Croatian food consists of so many influences throughout its various regions and believes that Dalmatian wines are among the best in the world.
The choice of making seaside suburb Port Melbourne the home for Dalmatino was no accident – Ino wanted to bring it closer to the Dalmatian ambience that is ingrained in his heart. If your ever in Melbourne, this place surely needs to be on your must-visit list to try their famous Brujet Fish Stew, Pasticada or Chocolate Dumplings.