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Classic Dalmatian Coast seafood grill

Recipe from Nino Zoccali's cookbook The Venetian Republic

This is a classic example of Mediterranean cooking and can be found all along the Dalmatian coast in a form that’s basically identical to what is seen in Venice. What I most love about this dish is how it allows the quality of the seafood to speak for itself. In Croatia, this dish usually includes a whole fish and, in fact, there’s often more than one different type. Croatians understand that eating fish on the bone is really the best way to enjoy seafood, and I couldn’t agree more.

Classic Dalmatian Coast Seafood Grill

PREP TIME 20 minutes
COOKING TIME 1 hour 45 minutes

300 g (10½ oz) octopus
500 g (1 lb, 2 oz) whole snapper, cleaned and scaled
4 large whole prawns, cut in half and left in shell
250 ml (1 cup) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for the lemon and to drizzle
1 lemon, cut in half
Wild herbs, to garnish
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


With a heavy meat mallet or rolling pin, beat the octopus for about 20 seconds to tenderise.

Place the octopus into a pot of salted water. When the water comes back to the boil, turn the heat down to medium and cook for 90 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the cooking liquid. Drain the octopus and cut into individual tentacles.

Preheat a chargrill or barbecue to medium heat.

Lightly coat the seafood with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the snapper on the grill and cook on each side for approximately 6-8 minutes (the cooking time varies with the size of the fish and the heat of the grill).

Five minutes before the snapper is ready, add the octopus, turning after two minutes. Add the prawns and scampi: these will take about 2 minutes to cook.

Brush the cut side of each lemon half with olive oil and grill until caramelised.

Serve the grilled seafood on a platter with the lemon and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Garnish with any wild herbs.