Gariful on Hvar, Connecting Celebs with Fish, Big Game, Sushi & Peskafondo

Total Croatia News

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Restaurant Gariful
The new Gariful G Spot sushi bar
The new Gariful G Spot sushi bar

When I moved to Hvar back in 2002, I had no idea that it was a hot spot for celebrities. Living in my idyllic sleepy bubble in gorgeous Jelsa, I rarely ventured further than Stari Grad, and I could count on one hand the number of times I visited Hvar Town over the next 9 years. Indeed, when Prince Harry famously fell into a nightclub swimming pool in 2011, I only heard about it after reading the story in the UK media – despite me writing for Google News at the time. 

All this changed in 2011 with my decision to write a guidebook about the island, and subsequently to launch the Total Hvar blog. Hvar Town was a fascinating place on so many levels, and the celebrity story was just one aspect of the town’s very rich offer. A few days after Prince Harry made Hvar globally famous, Beyonce also did her bit, showing off her baby bump for the first time while holidaying on Hvar. She then named her baby Blue Ivy, after a tree she fell in love with on Hvar. From Orson Welles filming on Hvar in the 1960s to the visit of Magic Johnson last year, it seemed that my adopted island was truly a celeb destination. And one where celebs could walk freely around without being harassed, as Tom Cruise showed in 2012 when he went for a stroll along the riva and then stopped for a coffee on the main square. 

And my guidebook research quickly showed me that if I wanted to include the celebrity angle, I just needed to focus on one place – Restaurant Gariful on Hvar.


(Jon Bon Jovi left the ultimate tip on Hvar – a signed guitar) 

A local restaurateur who took over the family business almost 20 years ago, Gariful on Hvar today is possibly the best-known exclusive fish restaurant on the Adriatic islands, with the most extensive wine list (including a breathtaking list of Champagnes), and it was almost a mandatory stop for celebs visiting Hvar.  And with owner Ivan Gospodnetic keen for the world to know the famous names sampling the freshest Adriatic seafood, the restaurant’s celebrity reputation has grown considerably. I remember from those early days that the likes of Bill Gates, Roman Abramovich and Giorgio Armani made it into my first edition guidebook, with Armani listing Gariful on Hvar in his top 7 restaurants in the world. 

But the relationship between Gariful and the sea goes far beyond merely serving seafood to exclusive guests. Indeed, my first encounter with the restaurant soon after I started Total Hvar was far less glamourous. In late October, 2011, in an effort to extend the season and celebrate the local traditions of the sea, Gariful launched a new event called Peskafondo, a squid-fishing tournament, run from the restaurant and with food, wine and music to accompany the event.


(Charlize Theron at Gariful on Hvar)

While I agreed to promote the event, privately I wondered if anyone would turn up to such a thing, and I was very doubtful that it would become a thing. There were just 7 teams in the first year, and about 40 people in the restaurant for the after-party. 

Fast forward a decade, and Peskafondo by Gariful on Hvar 2021 had grown into a 3-day event, including big fishing, with an incredible 72 teams taking part, and over 1,500 people turning out in the rain in November, a time when the island is usually very quiet. Not only that but the teams came from all over Croatia, as well as Poland, Italy, Slovenia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and Serbia.  I chose Peskafondo as our first CROMADS experience and sent 3 dubious Kiwi remote workers to go and experience the event in the rain. They were blown away by how good it was (see the video above). 


Big Game fishing is another connection to the sea that Gariful on Hvar brings for its guests. The restaurant prides itself on the best catch of the day on the island and works with 7 local fishermen to select top-quality fish each morning. But for some guests, merely enjoying a luxury fish dinner is not enough, and the option to take to the high seas and fish for your dinner now exists. It is an exciting and high adrenaline day out, ending of course with a fish extravaganza at the restaurant. 

The core business of Gariful on Hvar is serving its guests at the restaurant, however, and this is where it excels. From its underfloor aquarium and waterfront location, Gariful has had a style of its own for years, quietly expanding its footprint from its prime location at the end of Hvar’s elite waterfront. Villa Gariful was added a few years ago, which has become a favourite for celebrities who can move effortlessly from villa to restaurant away from the glare of the paparazzi. A terrace was also added to expand the restaurant capacity. 

And earlier this month, the opening on the latest Gariful seafood offer – the G Spot sushi bar, which is introduced by the restaurant as follows:

By combining carefully selected and fresh ingredients, we bring the flavors of distant lands to your plates. Positioned in the center of beautiful Hvar, within the luxury restaurant Gariful, the new sushi place Gariful G spot will delight you with its diverse offer and high-quality service.  What makes us distinctive from the others is the always fresh fish in sufficient quantities. We offer a diverse sushi offer as well as refreshing summer cocktails. Follow our social networks because once a week we offer live events and the best dance show in town.


Our mission is to provide you with the best dining experience, by offering the best catch of the day and delicious sushi, outstanding wines – both local and international, a stunning view from our upper terrace and a level of service which will amaze you. Enjoy your meal with the sea view from the terrace and find your G spot.


The Gariful G Spot sushi bar has been open a few days and is already proving to be a hit for those looking for the very best sushi, combined with refreshing summer cocktails, unbeatable views and live entertainment, including dancing with a star every Tuesday and Friday. 


Gariful is not cheap, and nor does it claim to be, and stories of Russian guests getting excited over the exotic menu and wine list which contains extremely rare French Bordeaux classics and Champagnes are legendary, but as an all-encompassing introduction to the very best that Adriatic seafood has to offer, it is hard to beat. And if summer sushi is out of your budget, why not return for the squid fishing celebrations in October, which are very affordable and great fun – just one more Gariful insight into the wonderful world of Adriatic seafood. 

You can learn more about Restaurant Gariful on Hvar on the official website

For more about magical Hvar Town, check out the Total Croatia Hvar in a Page guide






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