Overlooking the sparkling blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik attracts visitors who come to see the city's infamous stone walls and portal gates. In our previous articles, we covered many of the exciting things to see and do during your Dubrovnik private tour. Now, we'll take you on a gastronomic journey of this incredible seaside city.
Dubrovnik has hundreds of restaurants to visit, so to help you find the most authentic places, hiring one of our Dubrovnik private guides is your best choice. Our guides are experienced locals with knowledge of the most genuine and satisfying culinary delights of Croatia.
With the Adriatic lapping beneath the walls, one can look forward to a variety of seafood dishes in Dubrovnik. So why not start off with some tasty grilled fish, Croatian style? The traditional way is to brush freshly-caught sea bream or sea bass with olive oil, sprinkle on some lemon juice, and grill the fish over smoldering embers served with vegetables or potatoes. When you’re in the Old Town, Restaurant Portun is a recommended place to try this mouth-watering seafood treat. To complement the fish, try a side order of blitva - pan-fried potatoes, Swiss chard, and slices of garlic seasoned with salt and pepper. This would also be a great opportunity to try some Croatian white wines, always a great pairing with seafood.
This wonderful concoction is a delicious and healthy stew featuring shellfish. Mussels are the prime ingredient, though clams and shrimp are often added. The ingredients are stewed in a pot with olive oil, wine, parsley, bread crumbs, and sometimes tomatoes with fresh herbs Enjoy this finger food while looking out at the sea from the terrace of Dubravka Restaurant near Pile Gate.
Now here’s a dish to put color in your teeth. Black risotto gets its name and color from one of its ingredients; squid ink. The rice is topped with cuttlefish or calamari and flavored by garlic, butter, onions, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. This is one of the most popular dishes among the lists of recommended foods in Dubrovnik, and can be found in just about any restaurant around town. Order up a dish at Mama's Pot Tavern, a restaurant specializing in traditional Dalmatian cuisine and located in the Old Town.
Though the name is sure to raise an eyebrow, šporki makaruli, which means ’dirty macaroni’, is a hearty ragu-style macaroni dish. Quite simply, it is meat and tomato sauce prepared with onions, olive oil, red wine, garlic, and a little nutmeg or cinnamon. When the sauce is poured over the pasta, it makes the macaroni look dirty, hence the name. It actually originates from an old practice of serving the last guests macaroni with leftover meat sauce, in effect “dirtying” the macaroni. This is a dish that has been passed down over generations and one of the best-known in Dubrovnik. Some of the best places to order dirty macaroni are Restaurant Kopun, Orsan Restaurant, and Lucin Kantun in the Old Town.
A dish frequently encountered during special occasions such as traditional Dalmatian weddings, pašticada takes a long time to prepare but has an out-of-this-world flavor. Slices of beef are stuffed with herbs and marinated in vinegar overnight. It is then slowly cooked until beautifully tender. A sauce is prepared with wine, vinegar, cloves, and prunes, giving it a somewhat sweet taste. Served with gnocchi or pasta, this is a well-rounded and very satisfying gastronomic delight that has been around since the 15th century. The previously mentioned Kopun is one place to try this special dish, but you can also find it at Konoba Dubrava (among others).
Oysters, Cheese, Olives & Wine
We’ve covered a few of the most popular main dishes in Croatia. However, some highly-recommended menu items that you should also try includes freshly harvested oysters, the many varieties of domestically produced cheeses, delicious olives, and of course the famous wine. Croatia is home to many wineries, so be sure to partake in sampling some Mediterranean grapes. Contact one of our Dubrovnik private tour guides to plan your wine tasting (and snacking) excursion today.
Perhaps the most famous desert in Dubrovnik is rožata. Made with eggs, milk, sugar, and covered in caramel, it looks just like crème brûlée or caramel flan. However, this pudding is different because it has a secret ingredient – homemade rose liqueur, giving it a flavor unlike any dessert you may have tried. If you feel the delicate flavor needs some kick, try one with some added rum. Restaurant Gverovic Orsan comes recommended as a place to try rožata, but it is served in most restaurants around town.
Our final taste treat is not a staple menu item but a popular confectionary that can easily be made at home. Narancini (a.k.a. arancini or orancini) is a traditional sweet made simply with orange or lemon peels and sugar. The peels are cut into strips, soaked in water for a few days and then boiled until soft. Next, they are coated in sugar and left to dry for a few more days. The result is a deliciously sweet citrus treat. Narancini traces its roots back to Roman times, and today it remains a popular treat around Christmas and New Year’s when it is often given as a gift. You can find this treat at many of the markets that dot the city and country.
Dubrovnik’s specialty and traditional foods are bountiful. Our list has introduced just a few of the more popular dishes. If you’re traveling in town or visiting Croatia for just a few days, you already have a good start on the menu. Those who are there for a longer stay, you’ll find so much more to please your palate. Having a personal guide with you is a big asset when it comes to knowing the best places to eat, so be sure to check out our Dubrovnik tours. Our Croatia tour guides will be more than pleased to introduce you to the tastes of their country.