Originally Konoba used to be a cellar or part of the family house where wine was stored. Besides wine barrels, you would always find some smoked prosciutto, salty sardines, cheese and olive oil there. Families used to prepare their food in konoba, and slowly it became a place where friends and families were getting together – eating, drinking, playing cards, singing and laughing. These customs are preserved until today and you can really find yourself in one of previously mentioned konoba situations and as such it definitely represents one of the main Dalmatian symbols.
Slowly, as years passed by, konoba developed another meaning by offering its products – simple local food – to people, both local and tourists. Nowadays, there are more and more konobas along the Dalmatian coast and it represents a restaurant where traditional meals are served in a very authentic atmosphere. It is very likely that you will not find any menus in these places – the dishes of the day will be kindly presented to you by the waiters or the owner of konoba themselves.
Common meals you will be offered in konoba are Pašticada (something like a beef stew, prepared in a traditional Dalmatian way), Pašta fažol (pasta and bean stew), grilled fish or meat, octopus salad, fish brodetto, stuffed peppers or sarma (stuffed cabbage/vine leaves rolls with minced meat, rice and different spices). Homemade prosciutto and cheese, olives, marinated anchovies, capers and salty sardines are usually served as starters. This is all really great food, which tastes even better with a glass or two of wine. In the past, konobas used to serve homemade or locally produced wines, which were not in the top wine selection class, but things have significantly changed in the last decade, so you might be pleasantly surprised with the wines offered in Dalmatian konobas.
Besides local food and wine, one of the best trademarks of real konobas is their great (read: sometimes surreal) atmosphere. If you can imagine a place where local fisherman and farmers would come to eat their marenda (a rich meal between breakfast and lunch) after their hard work on the sea or in the fields and picture your summer nights ending in such places of an easy-going and authentic atmosphere, drinking a few extra glasses of wine with such people around you whose laughter, singing and funny stories will awake the real spirit of konoba.
In the end, one thing is certain – Dalmataian konobas should remain what they used to be – a simple place that serves great local food and drinks, a place where everybody knows your name and welcomes you at their very best. Simply the place that will fill all your senses, warm your heart and make you feel at home.