Dubrovnik teems with restaurants, but the city’s culinary reputation isn’t very good. Investors have opened sub-par restaurants beside classic restaurants, and, between the menu and the decor, it can be tough for the visitor to tell the two apart when deciding where to eat in Dubrovnik. To help weed out the bad from the good, I compiled this list of restaurant recommendations on my recent trip to Dubrovnik. I was happy to discover that you don’t need to spend a lot to get an excellent meal.
The local culinary scene is 100% Mediterranean in style, with dishes focusing on shellfish, squid, small white fish, tuna, and sea bass. Oysters are especially coveted, and there’s nothing better on a hot day than sitting down to a plate of freshly caught oysters and a glass—or bottle—of local white wine. Some of the best local whites come from the nearby island of Korcula and feature the posip grape. The prices can be surprisingly descent.
Dubrovnik restaurants seem divided on the concept of tipping. When I dined outside of the touristy city center, the waiters said that a tip is totally optional. In the inner city, waiters said that tips were required, but would not give me a set percentage. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend tipping 10-15% at all fine dining restaurants, and tipping 5-10% at all others, depending on the quality of service.
Some traditional dishes that I highly recommend are the oysters, the octopus salad, the soups, the black risotto, and the grilled or baked fish. Make sure to finish baked or grilled fish with some of the olive oil that you’ll find on your table. The flavor combination is sublime. Wines to look out for include the stolid plavac mali (relative of zinfandel) and the light and minerally whites, such as those made with the malvasia, posip, and grk grapes. For an after-dinner drink, don’t miss the famous rosolio, a rose-petal-infused liqueur.
Where to Eat in Dubrovnik
Restaurant Recommendations Outside of the Old Town:
Restoran Porat – $$
This is a local’s restaurant, and it’s located in the Gruz neighborhood. The outdoor dining room, where smoking is allowed, features small tables with plastic tablecloths. Inside is nicer, but don’t come to this restaurant for the décor, come for the food. From the octopus salad to the shrimp scampi, the dishes are simple and traditional. The vegetable soup, in particular, stands out. It’s made using the consommé method, resulting in a full-flavored broth, and the vegetables are nearly diced so that they melt in the mouth.
Obala Stjepana Radica 30
Orsan Yachting Club Restaurant – $$-$$$$
You’ll find all the yachting folk here. This restaurant, known for serving the freshest of the fresh seafood, sets its tables right at the edge of Gruz Bay, and diners can look out on the bobbing boats and hear the gentle lap of waves during dinner. The price of fish by the kilo can get expensive, however, the oysters are surprisingly budget-friendly, as is the house wine, which is pretty descent. Seafood risotto and rib-eye steak are also recommended. The portions are large, so be careful not to over order. This restaurant is located in the Lapad neighborhood.
Ivana Zajca 2
Restaurant Recommendations Near the Old Town:
Nautika Restaurant – $$-$$$$
This high-end restaurant has a budget-friendly lunch menu that features innovative cooking techniques and eye-candy plating, not to mention one of the most beautiful seaside dining rooms in the city. The dishes are rooted in tradition, and Chef Mario Baunda is best known for his salt-encrusted fish that is served at the table a flambé. I got “Menu II,” which featured a deliciously rich fish soup, calamari, which was grilled perfectly, with a cake of diced cauliflower and parsley, and a glass of posip white wine. Total cost: $21.
This restaurant excels in serving traditional food in huge portions for low prices. It will take care of any ravenous appetite, but it’s not the place to find artfully prepared food. Located near the Cathedral-Treasury, you’ll eat seafood just steps away from the fishermen who are unloading the next catch. One warning: The service is atrocious. Also, don’t over order: these plates are seriously huge. Recommended dishes include the Cuttlefish Risotto, aka Black Risotto, the Fish Platter (Riblja Plata), and the Mussels. Skip coffee as it’s overpriced.
Na ponti bb
Taj Mahal – $$-$$$
Focusing on Bosnian food, this is the best place for beef and lamb as well as vegetarian dishes. The servings are enormous. The Vegetarian Plate features a selection of seasonal vegetables that are grilled to perfection. The Taj Mahal specialty is spiced beef served with cheese and mushrooms inside of a baked pastry. Arrive early, as seating is limited.
Nikole Gu?eti?a 2
Proto – $$-$$$$
This restaurant is an icon of Dubrovnik, known for serving perfectly executed, authentic seafood dishes. Open since 1886, it looks quite humble, but go inside and ask to be seated in the terrace dining room. Prices are high, but the set lunch menu, at $15, is a great deal. If you want to taste old-style Dubrovnik cooking, this is the number-one place.
Written By Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com