We always try to find something authentic on every location. Best locations on the waterfront rarely have to best food and service. That makes sense cause they don't need to work as hard to get customers, and keeping them often is not needed since location will bring others. Of course, we don't want to generalize but that is what we believe.
Island Vis opened to tourism in 1991 when army left, before it was closed teritory for visitors. Slowly first tourist started to come and they were looking for a place to eat . In the beginning there were no restaurants, noting official at least. Family Roki came back to the island from Australia in the 70's. Their house is in tiny village Plisko Polje, the only flat part of the island, which was used as the airstrip for English planes in second World War.
"When we came to the island, i was four and didn't know a single word of Croatian" says Oliver Roki, now the owner of the restaurant and the winery. He is running the place with his sister Monika. "When first tourists started to come in the 90's we realized that is big oportunity for us. They were asking for some food and wine, and we said ourselves, why not? We have both...." Now the restaurant is first on Tripadvisor, and competetion is quite big on Vis..... "First of all, we are winemakers, but tourism got so big that now our primary occupation is the restaurant, of course we make enough wine for the restaurant and some for other restaurants in Croatia" says Oliver.
Restaurant is making only one dish, which may sound strange but when you try it than you realize there is no need to for more. The meal is called Peka, it's actually traditional baking bell made of clay or metal, used when cooking on the open fire and finally covered with hot coals. A few type of food can be prepared under Peka, Roki's offers next: lamb, octopus and fish.
Our lamb was excellent, peaces were falling apart, no need for knife at all. Veggies as well, all flavours were combining...A trully memorable experience..... We had red wine Mali Plavac, sort of grape related to Zinfandel. It blended very well with our Peka. We had no room left for deserts but couldn't say no to their excellent carob cake. What a treat!
As we chat with Oliver, first drops of rain started to fall....Nobody even cared, all the guests were so relaxed, that is the magic of this place. Slowly the waiters prepared the tables inside so everyone moved in a 200 years old wine cellar.
Another interesting fact about this place is cricket, sport that isn't even known in the rest of Croatia, how come we asked Oliver: "Sir William Hoste brought cricket to Vis, he had a base here during which his soldiers played cricket just here in this field. I decided to renew that story and founded a local club. Now we gather many local kids and play tournaments all around Europe. Also, every spring we organize a tournament just here , many clubs come to play . They stay on Vis and share the story all around the world. That is very valuable for the whole island"
What is next, we ask Oliver, the plans for the future? "Well i think we reached one level we wish to keep. It won't be easy but neither was coming to this. We will focus on new technology of wine making, restaurant will follow that i am sure"
Time passed so quickly, Oliver was really good company and Mali Plavac helped a bit....We rolled down to our boat and thought how we will visit this place again very soon...
More about Roki's restaurant and winery you can read here: https://www.rokis.hr/