Top 5 popular dishes in Dubrovnik
“Food is the simplest and most delicious way to learn about another culture!“
Living in Dalmatia, a homeland of fishermen, sailors, and captains, is a blessing only locals understand. We might not have large cities and big factories, but we do have something much bigger than that. That richness lies in the nature around us, from the crystal clear Adriatic sea to stunning, endless mountains and meadows. They provide us with health, wellbeing, happiness, and healthy food.
Food that we eat every day since our birth tells us about where we come from and why certain food or culinary traditions are so important to our culture. This shows that food is an important part of the culture, being passed down on generations for decades, centuries and even longer. It is an expression of cultural identity. Can you imagine yourself living away from your homeland and missing those flavors and food your mom used to make?
For us, the best proof of the importance of traditional cuisine is food from our family. When you think of food from your childhood, you remember happy memories, warm feelings and you feel a connection with your loved ones. That food is real comfort food, believe it or not. Not fast food, over-sweetened cake, but your mom’s food. No one makes some dishes better than our mothers, and if lucky enough, recipes are passed down on us, to be learned, practiced and perfected. So one day, tradition can be continued and preserved, as it deserves. Nothing makes mothers more happy and proud!
Traditional food in Dubrovnik can still be found in many places and since we have loads of traditional dishes, we’ve rounded up 5 classics everyone asks about and are
eager to try. Both meat and fish are included, together with some dessert. No meal should go without some sugar at the end. To level up the blood, of course!
1. BLACK RISOTTO
Food in inky tones can’t help but capture the imagination – no wonder, then, that this dish stands as one of must try when in Dubrovnik.
The glossy black ink with that characteristic deep, dark color lends an earthy flavor to it that will unquestinably impress you. The black ink comes from cuttlefish, being the reason why another name for this dish is cuttlefish risotto. It is a common fish in Adriatic and when fresh caught, you can bet in having the best meal of your life.
Even though this dish originates from Italy, today can be found all around Croatian coastline dues to our long and rich history and connection with our Italian neighbours. Now, who makes it better, it is on you to try and tell!
WHERE TO EAT BLACK RISOTTO:
To get to this seaside restaurant, it takes around 40 minutes of a drive accompanied by stunning views of Elafiti islands on your way. It is located in a small village called Hodilje, near a very famous little touristy town of Ston. Ston houses the oldest functioning salt pans in Europe and is home od second oldest defensive walls in the world. Coming here it’s not just about food, but history as well. Their black risotto is exactly what you seen in the picture, and the taste is surreal. If you ask us, it will be definitely enjoyable and most important, so worth it!
The Gverović family opened their restaurant in 1966. In a beautiful bay around 8 kilometers nortwest from Dubrovnik. You can only imagine the guests at that time: Marshal Tito, Russian diplomats, Elizabeth Taylor and the list goes on. The menu was created by the owner’s mother, passed on by the third generation of passionate cooks whose dishes have become “the must” for this kind of experience. We totally understand why it hasn’t been changed for 60 years! Their black risotto is not actually black, it’s color is more of a brown shade and a taste bit spicy at the end. Whoa, can you imagine the taste?
2. MUSSELS ALLA BUZARA
Mussels prepared in a white wine sauce is a very typical dish in Dalmatia. Because of the good quality of mussels, you can find them quite easy, and by a suprisingly low price.
But, what is exactly “Buzara”?
It is a cooking method for seafood all along the Croatian coastline. It is very simple, and yet very delicious. During preparation, you’ll have a lot of sauce in it, and what we like to do, includes a lot of bread. Believe us, you’ll want to dip in that juice all the time. Here they often serve them with boiled potatoes or Swiss chard. The coolest thing of all is that you always need these ingredients that never change: parsley, breadcrumbs, white wine, olive oil, garlic and shrimps, mussles or another shellfish. And there you go, a fantasy created out of simplicity!
WHERE TO EAT MUSSELS ALLA BUZARA:
How to get to Kobaš? Now, we can tell you that this ride will be like a hunt for treasure, where at the end you’ll find this beautiful diamond in a shape of traditional, cute family owned taverna in a quiet bay away from everything and everyone. Literally.
The village Kobaš is situated on the east side of penninsula Pelješac, around 20 nm from the ACI marina Dubrovnik-Komolac or around an hour drive from Dubrovnik. Kobaš’ nature is wild, clean and mesmerizing to watch once you come here.
With sail boats anchored in the bay, people who live here have to offer something others can only dream off. Here you will find tranquility, serenity and feel like time stopped for a moment. Once they serve you the food they make for generations, you will hardly leave and dream of coming back. Their daily menu changes with the catch, so get ready for a lot of suprises. This is a hidden gem well worth discovering!
3. DALMATIAN PEKA
Can you imagine meat and vegetables, all seasoned and ready to be baked, not in the oven but under the hot, iron bell?
That way of cooking is called Peka: ingredients in a pot or a tray are put into the embers of the fireplace, that many houses in Dalmatia have. Ecpecially in the countryside, people have a special place for that in front of their house, to grill meat and fish, but mostly to prepare Peka the right way. If we talk about homegrown vegetables and seasoning like rosemary, bay leaves and, of course, meat, peka is a modest dish that will make you feel like a king once you try it. All rural households on our website serve this beauty!
For family gatherings or important celebrations, we always make Peka because the amount can feed from 8 people and more, depending on its size. Meat used in preparation can be veal, pork, chicken, lamp and even octopus. Most popular type is made of veal and that is the one we recommend you to try at Koračevo. When made by someone who really knows their job, meat will be incredibely soft and juicy!
WHERE TO EAT MEAT PEKA:
WHERE TO EAT OCTOPUS PEKA:
If you want to rest your soul in this oasis of peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the city, their family house and restaurant Caput is located 36 kilometers south from Dubrovnik. Here is all about tradition and history, from the view of the Konavle field to the mountains full of cypresses under the watchful eye of the 14th century Sokol tower.
All the delicacies are created by the avant-garde approach and lucidity of their chef, but under the watchful eye of Mrs & Mr Caput, and are based on decades of hospitality experience and the traditional way of cooking.
This peasant, traditional food they make is prepared with love and taste like heaven. As we said, food is reflection of our culture and we are most proud to support people like them. Peka the way they make it comes with octopus and is out of this world. You must try it!
Another meat dish, but much different than Peka, is Pašticada. It is a slow-cooked beef prepared in rich tomato sauce, usually served with gnocchi ( njoki ) or homemade pasta.
If you follow any traditional recipe, it takes up to two or three days to make. Why? Because meat has to be marinated first, in a vinegar preparation and then braised with vegetables on a low heat for up to 6 hours. That really gives a perfect flavor to is. Once you blend those vegetables, you get a thick sauce in which meat is cooked until tender.
The origins of this dish are not entirely known, but it’s assumed that is related to variants from Greece, Italy and France. Again, another reflection of historical , but also an element of Mediterranean cuisine because we all use similar ingredients and seasonings. The resault: very delicious food!
WHERE TO EAT PAŠTICADA:
Renaissance was the most inspiring period of cultural enrichment in Croatia, and Dubrovnik itself is a town where still today you can find stunning Renaissance architecture while walking through the Old Town. That period of famous Dubrovnik Republic gave us a heritage you can find in art, books but food as well. This restaurant gives you both: tasty food that is inspired by history, tradition and as the name has it, art. Located in a small, hidden street within the walls, they have romantic ambiance with a pinch of art that will make any dinner a perfect one. Pašticada from their kitchen is everything we talked about, and more. Take a short walk from the main street and you’ll find this cozy, al fresco restaurant waiting for you!
And now finally something for sweet lovers!
Being a dessert halfway between creme brulee and flan, Rozata is a traditional medieval dessert originally from Dubrovnik. Even though being very old, it is still served in various restaurants, showing its importance as a symbol of locals pride for generations.
Its main ingredients are sugar, milk and large quantities of eggs. Rozata is usually served topped with caramel sauce which gives it a final touch. Local Rozata has this interesting flavor because it contains a sweet liquor made from brandy and rose petals called Rozulin. Many Dubrovnik women will tell you that you need to leave a bottle of Rozulin on the window for 40 days in the sun before consuming it. It’s something you must taste!
The recipe for Rozata dates back to the end of the 15th century which makes this delicious caramel custard one of the most important desserts in traditional Dubrovnik cuisine. According to history, Rožata crowned the end of conflicts between Venice and the Hungarians, and then between Venice and the Ottoman Empire. Today, we use it to spread love and create friendships with everyone who visits our beautiful city!
WHERE TO EAT ROZATA:
If you ever try to translate the name of this restaurant, you’ll probably get it wrong. Lucin Kantun in translation goes something like this: “A corner of a girl named Luce”. Refering to the small, cozy piece of street away from noise and too many people located in the heart of the Old Town. This place has such a romantic vibe, being very relaxed and homely. The small interior space of the restuarant is full of light and from amost every table you sit, you can see a chef preparing a meal in their open kitchen.
It started as a diner with interesting entrees or so called “tapas”, small portions of usually larger meals. It’s a real thing to try if you are interested in testing different dishes. Lucin Kantun has slowly become the right place for adventure-minded tourists and locals as well. With their friendly and attentive service, you will definitely want to come back!
If you feel even a bit hungry, our job here is done. We are happy to share with you the best of our local cuisine in and out of Dubrovnik, giving you different possibilites and choices to have the best food experience while coming here. Life is always easy when there is good food and happy people!
For more restaurants, we recommend to check out https://dubrovnikeats.com/restaurants/ where you can browse them by cuisine type. For more deep search of what you are really interested in, simply take our quiz and you’ll find the right place for you!