Dining in Dubrovnik: giving you a little taster of the culinary delights Croatia’s capital has to offer…
When it comes to dining abroad, one thing I love to do is try out the local specialities, as well as fresh seafood. Nothing makes me happier than inhaling the sea air and aromatic foods whilst tucking into seafood; from fish soups to the catch of the day. For me, it’s one of the highlights of any holiday and I was spoilt for choice in Dubrovnik.
It’s good to suss out some of the best restaurants recommended by readers on TripAdvisor, though I think it’s great to randomly stumble across some of your own hidden finds and I’ve detailed some of my favourites below.
If you’re staying at the Importanne Resort as I did (Neptun Hotel), or are staying in Lapad (located 10 mins by bus from The Old City), you are bound to have come across a small fountain. Konavoka is located in front of the fountain and is a pretty little family run restaurant with plaid blue and white table cloths and beautiful fuschia flowers lining the outside.
The simple rustic decor appealed to me and I liked family heritage, proudly displayed in a cabinet on the exterior. The restaurant serves a range of seafood and meat dishes as well as toasties for the less adventurous (Adam.) I enjoyed the seafood risotto, which was full of flavour and heartwarmingly filling.
The seafood platter, enjoyed on another occasion, was also delicious and included: mussels, squid, octopus, king prawns and white fish. If only I was better at de-shelling prawns, one of my only dislikes of ordering seafood; it delays me eating it and results in mucky fingers.
Adam enjoyed his staple of beef steak, though found the steak a little too bloody for his taste.
The elderly lady that served us on the two occasions we dined at Konavoka was very sweet and made us feel right at home. If you’re looking to dine in a traditional family run restaurant, look no further than Konavoka.
Šetalište kralja Zvonimira 38,
Tel: +385 20 435 105
Another restaurant we checked out close by to the hotel is Restaurant More. In contrast to Konavoka, it has more of a modern vibe, though still has beautiful stone walls.
The draw for this restaurant is that they serve a chocolate bomb dessert, something I have been meaning to try in a restaurant. They also have a cave bar, open from 10 pm if you want to continue your evening.
To start, Adam chose one of his holiday favourites melon and ham. The melon came thinly sliced and was served with figs and cheese. I was also intrigued to try the Dalmatian ham, a Croatian speciality, which is very tasty and has more of a smoked bacon taste, much richer and saltier in flavour than Parma ham.
I chose crawfish soup with toasted almonds, which was one of the chef’s specialities. The soup reminded me of home, it’s a thick heart warming soup and has an appearance not too dissimilar to gravy. Needless to say, I devoured it and it was nice to try a different soup to my holiday favourite of seafood soup.
For main, I chose beef steak with truffle sauce served with ravioli. I thought it would make a change to all the fish I’d been eating. To my dismay, I didn’t like the dish, though I am a big fan of truffle cheese (who isn’t!), the sauce completely coated the steak and ravioli; much too rich for my taste.
I rarely leave any of my meals due to my upbringing and whilst I ate the majority of my steak (that’s what you pay for according to my Mother) I left the rest. After nursing my sorrows with a large glass of rose (nothing disappoints me more than a wasted meal) I intended on ending the meal on a high by trying the chocolate bomb. I looked longingly at the bomb as our waitress poured on the chocolate and watched its innards concave. Adding to this decadent dessert is Black Forest fruits, giving a rich fuller taste. To my delight, the bomb contained white chocolate.
Adam chose a chocolate soufflé, containing warm chocolate sauce and served with cream and ice cream. The desserts were the highlight of the meal and were worth waiting for.
Restaurant More overlooks the sea with a good view both in the restaurant and in the bar, though, my only negative would be that the school-like strip lighting detracts from the view and lessens the interior of the restaurant.
Ul. kardinala Stepinca 33,
Tel: +385 20 494 200
The Old City
After visiting the Old City of Dubrovnik, located a mere 10 or so minutes bus journey from the hotel (bus number 6 Babin Kuk if staying near the Importanne resort), we discovered the wonderful restaurants of the Old City. You really are spoilt for choice in the Old City with a variety of food available and restaurants entertaining with live music or picturesque views providing the ultimate dining experience.
Cue some of my favourite hidden gems found in The Old City below…
After scouring the restaurants, observing the various menus and being as indecisive as ever, we spotted a cute little garden balcony terrace overlooking the Dubrovnik Cathedral just off the Stradun (main avenue).
Villa Ruza really is the sweetest restaurant and the perfect setting for a romantic meal. Dining around 10 pm we had no problem being seated and our waiter Josip kindly prepared a table with a view for us.
As it was relatively late in the evening, we decided to skip starters and go straight for main courses, sit back and enjoy our surroundings. To our surprise, Josip appeared minutes later with a canape serving of tuna, soya, capers and pink mayonnaise. Josip explained it is traditional for restaurants to serve this appetiser course, known as ‘amuse buche.’
Adam devoured his serving within seconds, to my bemusement, particularly, as this is not something he would ordinarily order. It was a lovely surprise and an enjoyable dish.
Adam chose chicken stuffed with mozzarella and wrapped in Dalmatian ham with dauphinois, which looked yummy and he devoured before I’d got a look in.
Returning to a firm favourite, I chose the fish fillet of the day, which was swordfish served with dauphinois, spinach and prawns. The mains were beautifully presented and the swordfish was cooked to perfection. I was in food heaven and the swordfish was hands down my favourite meal in Dubrovnik.
On a high from our main, we weren’t ready to leave just yet. The restaurant serves some traditional desserts and we asked Josip to explain in more detail. I chose the Dubrovacka Rozata Semifredo Twist, which is a traditional Croatian cake. Though, Josip explained they had transformed into a frozen dessert to give their twist to the classic pudding. A great way for the restaurant to diversify themselves from other nearby restaurants serving the same classic dishes. The pudding was really creamy and tasted like melted toffee, very refreshing and was a sweet end to the meal.
Adam chose the chocolate & carob tart, a rich chocolatey cake with a velvet finish (I had to try it too for blogging reasons!)
The whole dining experience was wonderful with delicious food, great service and the most amazing views of the Old City. A must if dining in the Old City of Dubrovnik!
Stonska ul. 1,
Tel: +385 91 456 7098
I love pizza, though Adam is not so keen, therefore being able to dine in a pizza restaurant is not always easy. I’d spotted a few others tucking into a slice of pizza whilst sightseeing in the Old City and had to admit I was dying to try it out for myself. After a day exploring Lockrum Island *more about that to follow* and with only around an hour to spare before we climbed the City Walls, I managed to convince Adam to share a pizza from a restaurant I’d had my eye on a few days before – Pizzeria Castro.
As time was of the essence, Adam agreed and we shared a pizza with a mozzarella base topped with ham and olives. The pizza was already halved for us (no sneaky additional slices for me) and had a selection of green and black olives.
Thin crispy bases are my favourite and Adam really enjoyed his half too, a little to my dismay as I wanted to get my hands on another slice. All of the pizzas being served looked amazing, not that I was staring…
Pizzeria Castro is also conveniently located at the botton of the Jesuit Staircase, which if like me you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you will recognise as the steps that Cersei began her naked walk of shame in Season 5.
Gundulićeva poljana 5,
During our time climbing the city walls we overlooked a BBQ restaurant with a queue outside. After some investigating, we discovered the restaurant had the intriguing name Lady Pi-Pi and observed a statue outside with a lady, you’ve guessed it…Needless to say, I didn’t want anyone reading this post to be put off their food but all I can say is it’s an old grotesque statue giving a clue to the name of the establishment and you can Google image it by clicking here.
It’s a restaurant understood to be given the thumbs up by Rick Stein, if it’s good enough for Rick it’s good enough for me. Upon arrival at Lady Pi-Pi we found a relatively large queue and for a restaurant so hidden away at the top of the labyrinth of streets in the Old City, it did appear very popular. No reservations are taken at this restaurant and it’s first come first served.
We decided to return on our last full night in Dubrovnik and found the easiest way to find Lady Pi-Pi (without climbing approximately fifty thousand steps) is by entering the Old City via the Cable Car gate archway, taking an immediate right and going straight until you see the restaurant.
We knew the restaurant opened at 6.30 pm and we decided to beat the rush and arrive at 6 pm, which proved to be a good idea. The seats on the top terrace with views over the city had already been occupied, with Adam and I seated on a two-seater table on the next level down.
The restaurant is spread over a split-level two-tiered garden terrace, with an overhead canopy of grape vines overlooking a stunning view of the Old City. Whilst the view was lost on us, seated below, we did appreciate the pretty flowers and plants adorning the garden.
The food is cooked fresh on an open barbecue, with grilled meat and fish dishes being the speciality here.
After the usual deliberation, we chose to share the mixed grill for two, which included chicken, pork, sausage and Croatian Cevapcici (grilled ground meat) served with fries (we opted for wedges) and grilled vegetables.
We were amazed at the size of the platter when our food arrived and Lady Pi Pi certainly delivered on the food front. The mixed grill appeared to be a popular choice with other diners too. As the sun began to set, it cast a glow of orange on the diners faces as they tucked happily into their grilled dishes.
Service was a little slow as our waitress forgot our drinks and our order due to the quickly filling tables. Though very apologetic, this did not in any way dampen our dining experience at Lady Pi Pi and we were glad to get the opportunity to experience this cult al fresco restaurant for ourselves. A hidden gem indeed.
Antuninska ul. 23,
Tel: +385 20 321 154
Website: No Website but TripAdvisor link – Click here
It’s not a dining in Dubrovnik post without commenting on the city’s sensational ice cream selection! With every flavour under the sun, choosing is not something done easily. After enjoying a chocolate orange and bubblegum ice cream, as well as sampling some of Adam’s mint chocolate, I can now tell you my favourite is the pistachio.
Don’t go to Dubrovnik without buying an ice cream!
The Old City market in Ivans Square is held daily, from 7 am until around 1 pm, which has traders selling regional delicacies, including: seasonal fruit and vegetables, traditional Dubrovnik sweets (candied) orange peel), dried figs, candied almonds and local fruit brandy, which I am told is very strong indeed!
Now, eating all this food can be thirsty work and my last tip if visiting the Old City is to make sure you take an empty water bottle with you. Why I can hear you cry! Well, all of the cities fountains contain clean, fresh and drinkable water which is a god-send, particularly if you’re visiting during the warmer months. Bringing your own water bottle also saves tons of money and let’s face it when you’re on holiday every kuna counts!!
Stay tuned on the blog for my all my Dubrovnik sightseeing tips as well as a review of my hotel.
Have you dined in Dubrovnik and do you have any recommendations for my next trip? I’d love to hear from you.