Dubrovnik, Croatia has many great things going for it: The history, the architecture, the laid back culture, the islands, the crystal clear Adriatic Sea and more recently, the filming location for the Games of Thrones.
Not to be forgotten is that it has some pretty amazing restaurants serving up abundant variety of fresh seafood available right at its doorstep.
Here are our absolute favorites following our recent trip to Dubrovnik and its surrounds. We had 10 days to eat to our hearts content!! During summer time, it is best to make advance bookings to most of these establishments.
This was by far our most favorite restaurant in Dubrovnik!
Transformed from a former boat house, this restaurant has been serving amazing seafood dishes for around 51 years. It was the best quality and most refined seafood dishes we’ve had on the trip. Fish is not my favourite, but I would return to Gverovic-Orsan in a heart beat just for its grilled and slightly salted baby scorpion fish – the fresh catch of the day – and the fish carpaccio.
While there is a good reason why this restaurant’s Black Risotto “Orsan” is so famous, its White Risotto should not be dismissed at all. The rest of the menu, its octopus salad, grilled prawns and scallops and seafood pasta, were stand outs too, but it was just that those earlier mentioned dishes were exceptional!
Another bonus is that this restaurant right on Zaton Bay has its own private beach! After our meals, we played on the beach, swam, sunbathe before ordering desserts. By the time we left, it was after 5pm! Think of this restaurant as a day out rather than just a meal!
A local institution right next to the harbor. Better to arrive slightly earlier to grab a table before the crowds and the tours rush in. The seafood risotto is my guilty pleasure!! We ate here 8 years ago on our previous trip to Croatia, and usually our memory of a dish is always better than the reality when we return. Not this seafood risotto! I was extremely pleased that it tasted just as I remembered it 8 years ago. Other must-tries are the whitebait, grilled large shrimps and the mussels. Everything is served in a large pot so be prepared to share!
The place is supposed to be a tavern or pub right? So why does it serve such great seafood? I have no answer for it other than, go and book yourself a table!! The owner recommended that we try their fresh seabass baked in Ston Bay salt, and while we waited for the fish to bake, share a fish platter and their Dubrovnik-style scampis.
While we loved the platter and the special sauce over the sweet scampis were mouth-watering, the highlight really was the salt baked fish! The meat was silky soft, tender and juicy – not salty at all! We were glad we took the recommendations – the owner certainly knew best!
The word “Kopun” refers to castrated roosters breed exclusively for their meat and are highly valued delicacy in traditional European cooking. This restaurant prides itself of bringing back old Croatian Kopun recipes handed down centuries ago. We ordered the 16th century Kupun recipe – stewed in honey and orange, with figs, apricots, basil and gnocchi – tangy, sweet and delectable!
The other dishes were equally tasty and of generous portions. The kids devoured the traditional Dubrovnik beef pasta that we had to order another portion!
The location right in the piazza is perfect for a lazy meal, and the staff are attentive to kids bringing them drawing paper, pens and toys while we adults enjoy our delectable lunch.
The name of this restaurant is deceptive as it does not serve Indian food. Instead, it is an extremely popular Bosnian locale in Dubrovnik. When asked, the waiter explained that their food is a labour of love, just like the Taj.
The reason is always good when a restaurant is constantly packed – it goes without saying here at Taj Mahal. We ordered all their house specialties and they did not disappoint: The hearty Bey Soup, delightful Cevapi (perfect for kids!), the rolled veal and turkey and the “Genghis Khan” platter. Again there is no Mongolian influence, “Genghis Khan” was purely a way to describe how gigantic the platter is!
Even with all that food, you must make room for the sweets – the candied Baklava and the Tufaija (baked apples filled with nutty and chocolate goodies!)
Komin @ Lapad
This restaurant, located outside the old town walls in the Lapad peninsula, serves a very traditional dish called “under the bell”. It is a traditional Balkan way of preparing meats or seafood, and placing them in a large cooking pan covered with a clay or metal lid/bell and cooked in a stone fireplace surrounded by hot coals.
We ordered the veal and lamb “under the bell” accompanied by a variety of antipasti – and what a feast it was! We had enough leftovers to enjoy another evening of this specialty in the comfort of our apartment.
For our date night in Dubrovnik, we chose this fine dining establishment with fabulous views of the harbor and beyond.
In addition to the very attentive service, we were treated to artfully prepared dishes which were extremely well thought out and constructed. The way the smoked mackerel was prepared and presented was unique and delightful. My pigeon main course was married with foie gras and pickled peach, while Jeff’s turbot was paired with a crab croquette – a surprise at every turn!
The most fascinating part of the evening was when the sommelier introduced us to the Istrian region’s “orange wine” – which is a blend of white grapes using the same methods and principles as making red wine. The result is this golden liquid with honey and fruity aromas. Undeniably yum!
Proto is often listed as one of the best seafood restaurants in Dubrovnik. We also visited 8 years ago, and even with this recent visit, it didn’t strike a chord as the other restaurants on this list. Don’t get me wrong, the food was great and the quality exceptional but perhaps, as the “best” with prices to match, I expected Proto to rise above the rest.
With all the seafood consumed, the meat eaters in our family demanded that we have some beef! In Dubrovnik old town, Domino is a well-known family-run restaurant serving local beef. After enjoying the tender steak filets or t-bones, you must try the flambee raspberries to end a perfect meal!! It’s cooked right in front of you with the flames and all, just turn your eyes away from the butter, sugar and cream!!
Great for an afternoon drink and snacks. In the evenings, sip some of their creative cocktails while enjoying the music and songs from their live bands.
The best place in Ston to sample the local delicacy, the European Flat Oyster. At 9 KN (US$1.40) an oyster, order a few dozens to share around the table! If you’re not so hot for oysters, there are plenty of delicious seafood dishes on the menu. Try the octopus salad, the black or seafood risotto, mussel Buzara and anything with prawns/scampis.
Not a seafood type, don’t despair, you won’t be disappointed with the mixed meat grill either! For kids, the Milanese and Bolognese spaghetti are done especially well, they will love it! We visited Konoba Bakus twice on our trip, as we couldn’t get enough of the oysters and the seafood dishes!
We stumbled upon this restaurant as we stepped off our ferry ride from Dubrovnik. It offered a great deal for lunch and we took it up without another thought. What we didn’t expect was such high quality food and exquisite presentation for that price! What a pleasant surprise! Must try the marinated oysters a la Bugenvila, the chilled tomato gazpacho and the pan-fried fish of the day. Apparently, dinner here is a treat! We will be back!
Konoba Mareta @ Old Town
Hidden in a little alleyway, this restaurant boasts of patronage from Marco Polo who loved the food there. As it is away from the tourist strip of restaurants, it also boasts an excellent menu with reasonable prices.
The bruschette, fish platter, calamaris, avocado with prawns are all fresh and delicious. But the dish I would return for is the fried prawns with garlic and cognac!! We had to limit the kids or else they would eat it all! Finger licking good!!
Grill Sedar @ Kravice Falls
This little cafe has tables with uninterrupted views of the Kravice Falls making it the perfect lunch spot. The menu is varied with western staples such as burgers, pizzas and salads. The hidden gem, however, is the scrumptious and juicy cevapcici!! Cevapcici is the national dish in Bosnia and is akin to a skinless mince pork sausage, often served with chopped onions and Ajvar, a red pepper condiment. It may not look much but the Cevapcici here were the best and most juicy ones we’ve tried in our travels (even better than Taj Mahal mentioned above)!!
Bella Vista @ Mostar
We arrived in Mostar after lunch at Kravice Falls so didn’t try any restaurants, but this place is a wonderful location for a refreshing drink while enjoying the Mostar bridge and river views.
Restaurant Vrelo @ Blagaj
This Bosnian restaurant is the only one at Blagaj (15 mins outside of Mostar) where you can enjoy the most beautiful and unique scenery of the Buna river flowing out from under the rocky mountain with the historical Dervish monastery situated right at its edge. Make sure you book a table on their terrace to enjoy an uninterrupted view!
The plates for 2 on the menu, whether fish (Kalamari or Vrelo) or meat, are their house specialties with locally sourced fish and meats. Whilst delightful, don’t be fooled – the portion of those plates can feed at least four people! Down your Bosnian feast with some easy to drink local Bosnian wines!
My only warning is that after you’ve tried some or all of these restaurants, you will notice changes to your waistline! But that shouldn’t be a reason to deter you – my mantra:
“Eat first; Deal with the effects later!”