Dubrovnik Food Diary
Known more for Game of Thrones than its history, Dubrovnik is situated on the Adriatic Sea hence its other name, the Pearl of the Adriatic. The first thing you’ll notice about the Adriatic is how many shades of teal, blue and turquoise you can see. Though the beaches are rockier than their Mediterranean counterparts, you will be stunned to silence with the crystal-clear waters and crisp, cool waves. I stayed at the tourist infested Old Town when I visited which was something I wouldn’t do again, but is worth a visit at least once.
The Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the world’s most perfectly preserved medieval cities, with areas where you will feel like you’ve taken a step back in time. Surrounded by the city walls which soar up to 80 feet high, the Old Town is a mix of residences, shops, restaurants, bars and monuments. Due to the number of tourists that now visit Old Town each year it has become a bit of a tourist trap as the number of locals who live there has gone down from 5,000 in 1991 to around 1,000 in 2017.
You can see the influence of neighbouring countries like Italy, Austria, Turkey and Hungary in Croatian cuisine. However, what is unique here is their seafood and grills.
Definitely our best meal in Croatia. This restaurant requires a lot of commitment and courage because it’s located on the highest level of the city which means you’ll need to climb about five flights of stairs before waiting in line for at least an hour as they don’t take reservations. You can smell the barbeque as you sweat it out on the steep steps to reach the little home and its garden that has been converted into a restaurant. Most of the menu features freshly grilled fish, steaks and sausages which are definitely worth the wait.
Azur is a cute Asian/Mediterranean restaurant which houses a little secret! After your meal of coconut curry, grilled eggplant and mussels step out to your right and you’ll find a narrow passageway. This will lead you to a cliffside bar called Buza Bar where you can watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand while kids dive into the ocean and others worship the sun.
Banje Beach Club
Located a 15 minute walk outside the city walls, Banje is a beach club where you can eat, drink, tan and party. We spent the day here (note that the beaches here are very rocky so always carry shoes) and enjoyed their decent repertoire of Dalmatiaon and European dishes. One thing you’ll find in most restaurants is that the menu is mixed with pastas, pizzas and local dishes.
It’s hard to find a truly local restaurant in the Old Town owing to how touristy it has become in recent years, and Kopun was the closest thing to local that we were able to find. Located up Cersei’s shame steps you’ll find the Church of St. Ignatius on your right and Kopun on your left. Run by a local couple, you can try traditional Croatian dishes such as kopun (grilled cockerel), crni rizot (black risotto made with squid ink) and pasticada (a marinated and braised beef fillet).
Oyster and Sushi Bar Bota
To be honest, Croatian cuisine can be a bit bland for Asian palettes and so we decided to treat ourselves to some sushi. Bota is an upscale sushi bar located just off one of the main squares where you’ll often find musicians performing in front of the cathedral. The food here is exactly what you’d expect from any international level sushi restaurant and works as a nice break from the local fare.
When visiting Dubrovnik, I highly recommend taking a cable car up almost 800 metres to get unspoiled views of the city and surrounding areas. There are tons of sea kayak trips and tours being advertised and we really enjoyed ours. The tours usually take you around Lokrum, a small island visible from Old Town before taking you toward a little cove or lagoon where you can snorkel and tan.