I have a profound love for eateries that serve the most incredible food, but are completely unassuming and modest from the outside. The kind of place you probably wouldn’t even notice when walking by, but secretly it’s a highly-esteemed local gem. Some examples include Meat & Go in Krakow, Salumeria da Aldo in Capri, and one of my all time favourites, Alfredo e Ada in Rome. Kantun Paulina in Split is one of these places and you most definitely should not pass it by!
In Croatian, the word “kantun” means “corner”. So today I’m talking about Paulina’s Corner and it just might be one of the best corners in Split! Kantuna Paulina has been a family-run business since 1969 so it has established a credible reputation among locals. Located just outside the old town of Split, the eatery is small, with a tiny bench outside and a standing area for about 8 people to eat inside. Consequently, at peak times the place fills up quickly, but for very good reason!
Ćevapi (pronounced chevapi) is a national dish in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. I had never heard of this dish until I began my food research ahead of my trip to Croatia. Ćevapi are small meat sausages usually made from a mix of two minced meats (beef, pork or lamb). The meat is spiced, hand mixed, shaped into small sausages, and grilled.
At Kantun Paulina, you can get ćevapi two ways: served on a dish to eat individually or in a sandwich. I’m here to highly recommend the latter. The Kantun Paulina ćevapi sandwich is a deliciously filling meal. Five to ten ćevapi are served in a fresh bun and topped with kajmak (Balkan clotted cream), diced red onions, and ajvar (red pepper relish). The bun is light, soft, and fresh; really, it’s a fantastic specimen of bread. The meat is juicy and flavourful, while the cream sauce and relish come together seamlessly to liven up the sandwich. The toppings themselves were really tasty and apart from bringing good flavour, they prevented the sandwich from being too dry.
I have never eaten anything with this combination of flavours before, but I really liked it! I’m a huge fan of this sandwich and would happily devour it again and again! There’s one more thing I loved about Kantun Paulina: the women who cook the food and assemble the sandwiches are local grandmas who know how to cook well. Eating here felt like being served a homemade meal by my own grandmother. The food is genuine, wholesome, and made from the heart. These women know they’re putting out quality food and they’re proud of it. The popularity of Kantun Paulina speaks for itself! I should also add that I had another ćevapi sandwich in Dubrovnik and it didn’t even compare to the one from Kantun Paulina. More proof (not that it was needed), that the cooks at Kantun Paulina have nailed their recipe for a ćevapi sandwich.
While we were enjoying our food inside Kantun Paulina, we noticed that locals were coming in to take away ćevapi sandwiches for the lucky patrons at home. A sandwich will set you back about 35 kuna which is the equivalent of roughly £4.20, 4.72€, $7.23 CDN, $5.50 US… in other words, it’s very affordable for a very filling sandwich! The residents of Split are pretty damn lucky. Apart from ćevapi, Kantun Paulina’s menu includes hamburgers and chicken burgers, but trust me when I say that the only food you need to prioritise here is the ćevapi sandwich!
Address: Matošića 1
Tip: Cash only