Located on a narrow strip of coast between hills and the Adriatic Sea, the white-stone capital of Croatia sits protected by turrets and towers. A former city-state, Dubrovnik thrived on the wealth of merchants and ship builders, and has developed a rich culture. Its culinary achievement can make Croatia proud: these ten restaurants are among the best of the country, serving fresh fish and succulent meats with stunning views of the Adriatic Sea.
For those feeling slightly adventurous, why not hop on a boat to escape the hustle and bustle of the city? Villa Ruža is waiting to serve diners on an island just west of Dubrovnik. This island, known as Koločep, is one of the three Elaphite Islands. Matching the stunning surrounding, the restaurant is very romantic, and this is reflected in the original reason for it being built in 1930: it was created as a symbol of love from a merchant to his wife. Rising out of the entrance of Donje Celo Bay, this restaurant offers delicious Mediterranean cuisine, courtesy of owner and Chef Ruđer Jelavić. Villa Ruža is open during warmer months only, May until October each year, but the breathtaking views from its terrace make up for the exclusive calendar.
Villa Ruža, Donje čelo bb, Koločep, Dubrovnik, Croatia, +385 98 443 382
Located on one of Dubrovnik’s charming streets in the Old Town, this restaurant offers diners a degree of privacy and seclusion when taking a meal. Dalmatian elegance exudes from this restaurant and the menu effortlessly blends old and new styles of Mediterranean cuisine. Regarded as one of the top class restaurants in the city, Restaurant Dubrovnik allows diners to step back in time and enjoy their meals in medieval surroundings, the tiny streets teasingly beckoning at customers from the pleasant rooftop terrace.
Restaurant Dubrovnik, Marojice Kaboge 5, Dubrovnik, Croatia, +385 20 324 810
Gusta Me is the place to visit in order to try handmade Croatian wines, seasoned dishes with fresh ingredients and sensational views of the old harbour and the Revelin Fortress. The restaurant has a terrace for those wishing to enjoy the outdoors, and the menu includes a selection of sumptuous steaks, fanciful fish options and wonderful wok dishes to whet visitors’ appetites. There are also various vegetarian options available. Gusta Me offers a selection of healthy breakfasts, light lunches and romantic dinners to cater to all audiences.
Gusta Me, Hvarska bb, Dubrovnik, Croatia, +385 20 420 013
A dream for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, Nishta offers high-quality, reasonably priced vegetarian food. Located in the Old Town, it stands out in a city with many seafood restaurants. The restaurant specialises in conjuring mouthwatering flavours to bring out the essence of each meal, whether you seek salads, soups, samosas or even veggie burgers and Falafel. Toy animals adorn the restaurant, complementing the South-East Asian theme. After an extended winter break, Nishta is due to reopen its doors in March 2014.
Nishta, Prijeko bb, Dubrovnik, Croatia, +385 20 322 088
Nautika is a world-class, highly praised restaurant, with an exquisite cuisine to match its reputation. Head Chef Mario Bunda’s dishes are carefully prepared, with utmost attention to the basic ingredients and final presentation; the seafood here is so fresh it’s almost water-to-plate. Nautika is known for delivering high standards of service, while diners may eat their pureed fish ice cream cones on terraces at the edge of the Adriatic Sea. VIP guests include Pope John Paul II, actor Sir Roger Moore, and members of the Japanese and Norwegian royal families.
Nautika, Brsalje 3, Pile, Dubrovnik, Croatia, +385 20 442 526
Open since 2002, Levanat has been steadily building up a regular clientele, and has received rave reviews from tourists and locals alike. As the venue is located on the Lapad peninsula, dining at Levanat can be a sunny, breezy beachside experience, full of the joys of a holiday in the Mediterranean. The menu consists of refined Dalmatian dishes and local Dubrovnik cuisine and customs, excitingly combined. As well as supplying a number of fresh seafood dishes, diners will be tempted by cheese and honey combinations, exotic meat dishes and delicious desserts. Slightly off the beaten track, this restaurant offers stunning views of the Bay of Lapad and the islets Grebeni and Sv. Adrijia.
Levanat, Nika i Meda Pucića 15, Dubrovnik, Croatia, +385 20 435 352
Lokanda-Peskarija (Mea Culpa Dubrovnik)
While taking a gastro-journey through the streets of Dubrovnik, there are many different options available. In a lovely location near the sea, and right under the city walls, diners can enjoy budget-priced cuisine at Lokanda-Peskarija. Don’t be fooled by the low prices, because the seafood is fresh and good quality. Popular with tourists, it may be best to get there early to guarantee a seat, unless you wish to take advantage of the fabulous outdoor terrace.
Lokanda-Peskarija, Gorica Sv. Vlaha 77, Dubrovnik, Croatia, +385 20 324 747
This historic and highly praised restaurant is said to offer some of the finest seafood in the city. In business since 1886, Proto underwent renovation in 2002 to further enhance the dining experience. The restaurant started out serving fish specialties prepared according to old recipes, which were handed down by Dubrovnik fishermen. These secret delicacies for the palate have remained intact to this day. Fine seafood and high-quality service define Proto. For those seeking alternatives to fish, meat and vegetarian options are also on offer, including the delicious vegetarian stuffed aubergine, baked and drizzled in melted cheese. VIP guests include former British monarch Edward VIII and his wife, Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, actor Richard Gere, and tennis player Novak Đoković.
Proto, Siroka 1, Dubrovnik, Croatia, +385 20 323 234
This beautiful restaurant offers diners the chance to dine on fresh seafood in luxurious sea-front settings. Located on the Lapad peninsula in Orsan Marina, this restaurant is near a yacht club and has a terrace offering views of boats and more across Gruž Port. It serves large meals and is broken down into three parts, with the terrace offering the best views, so it is best to get there early or book in advance. A selection of local and international wines and other beverages round out the seafood menu at Orsan.
Orsan, Ulica Ivana pl. Zajca, Dubrovnik, Croatia, +385 20 436 822
Oyster & Sushi Bar Bota
This delectable oyster-sushi bar caters to the increasing public demand for sushi. Oyster & Sushi Bar Bota is located right in the heart of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, next to the cathedral, offering delicious, fresh sushi and oysters at affordable prices. The interiors exude a ‘West-meets-East’ character as European architecture and simple Japanese designs merge in one place. This is the perfect venue to visit during a tour of the city centre, be it for a snack, light lunch or evening meal, while wandering through the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’.
Oyster & Sushi Bar Bota, Od Pustijerne b.b., Dubrovnik, Croatia, +385 20 324 034
By James Norman
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