Across from Italy and along the Adriatic Sea, Croatia sits nestled between Slovenia and Montenegro, gleaming with castles and breathtaking scenery. Its major coastal spot, Dubrovnik, holds an old city surrounded by castle walls and buildings straight out of a story book.
What's more: Croatia's multiethnic influenced cuisine is one that reigns specific to local traditions, varying in every city and marking a signature style for each region. After dining ::heavily:: throughout Dubrovnik, I finally decided on the four Dubrovnik Restaurants that rocked my socks off and go down as some of the best Dalmatia meals I've ever eaten. So, in no particular order, here are top restaurants in Dubrovnik, Croatia to DIE for:
For a seafood lunch inside the old town walls visit Dalmatino, a restaurant that I officially declare has the best seafood in Croatia. Designed with outdoor seating within an intimate corridor, we took advantage of some white wine, Dalmatino's seafood platter and one of my favorite appetizers: beef carpaccio.
The beef carpaccio will likely be heavier than expected (or than the average restaurant serves) so, take note if you are one to order a couple of starters before your meal.
Served with greens, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar / olive oil, the carpaccio is fresh, meaty, and rich, and can be ordered as a light lunch on its own.
I highly recommend taking advantage of their daily specials, which for us was an impressive seafood platter served over a bed of cheesy risotto with an array of the day's fresh catch.
Pantarul makes their mark with memorable customer service. I felt like I was visiting family and could stay for the entire day stuffing my face with produce sourced from local farmers, listening to awesome house mixes of my favorite neo-soul and old school music, and chatting up a storm with the owners.
About a 40 minute walk from the old town, Pantarul's menu is hand picked by the owners and a top local favorite. No seriously -- I felt like I discovered the Dubrovnik local scene's best kept secret.
Feel free to ask for suggestions and watch as your waitress or waiter squirms in glee, anxious to share the Dubrovnik cuisine they are so proud of. Recommended dishes include the tuna tartar and homemade bread (I ate three rounds of it), beef carpaccio, veal, and octopus for two people to share. If you're feeling undecided, try their five-course fish or meat tasting menu.
During your Dubrovnik visit, be sure to keep an eye out for their cook book on sale locally, with home cooked recipes to actually die (and resurrect) for.
If you love the food and cookbook that much, visit co-owner an acclaimed Croatian food blogger, Ana-Marija Bujić's food blog too.
For a cozy dinner spot, Azur offers tasty Mediterranean fusion food located inside of the old city walls down a traditional alley. Careful Google maps users: your location will bounce from one alley to the next as you approach the restaurant, adding 1-5 minutes to your transit time if you get lost.
Once you figure out the location and choose whether to sit in their dimly lit, intimate dining room or outdoors adjacent to their daily menu handwritten on a blackboard, try out any of their highly acclaimed fusion dishes. So acclaimed that when we dined at other restaurants, the waiters squealed at how much they love Azur! How awesome is that?
For appetizers, try Azur's salmon ceviche tacos and cashew nut prawns - delightful treats packed with flavor and served fresh. The fresh, pan-seared swordfish in black curry sauce with rice and vegetables serves as a hearty entree if you have a bigger appetite for fish, and the seared tuna served with steamed rice and dressed with black sesame seeds is a tasty, lighter option.
Currently, Azur is completing highly anticipated construction to expand their bar and restaurant and offer a greater selection of dishes. Reopen date is February 2016. Get excited.
If you are traveling with your partner or spouse, Restoran Dubrovnik is the ultimate dining experience. Attentive service and mouthwatering cuisine in a classic, rooftop setting keeps the restaurant busy with patrons eager to grab a reservation. I arrived at 6:30 or 7 and was shocked to see the booming dinner crowd. Not an empty seat in the house! And yet service never wavered.
Before your post-dinner romantic stroll under the warm starry night, indulge in a rich charcuterie platter or cool the night off with tuna tartar followed by a succulent cut of steak. And as icing on the cake, Restoran Dubrovnik's desserts won't disappoint the ultimate fruit and chocolate lover.
Are you going to Dubrovnik soon or know someone who is?
These restaurants are definitely worth the visit and you'll be wishing for more. Let me know which is your fave!
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