What to Eat in Dubrovnik: 10 Treats You Should Not Miss
Flying into Dubrovnik Airport and excited to get started? Dubrovnik is a great place to enjoy traditional dishes that you can only get inside the Dubrovnik city walls. Some of the best restaurants in Dubrovnik feature authentic Bosnian food and traditional Croatian food from seafood dishes to candied orange peel to satisfy your taste buds as well as your sweet tooth.
If you are looking for fast food like pizza or homemade pasta, you can find it there at one of the local pizzerias and if you want the best fresh seafood, ask the local fishermen. Old Town Dubrovnik has many restaurants with Mediterranean cuisine and quality fish. Check out vegetarian restaurants in Dubrovnik with chefs who create savory dishes made with local ingredients.
You can find what you want here whether you are in the mood for meat dishes featuring fresh seafood, the best street food in Dubrovnik, or grilled fish at a Michelin-starred restaurant. The delicious food at D'vino wine bar in old town Dubrovnik makes it a very popular restaurant and it has both indoor and outdoor seating.
Each traditional dish you eat in Dubrovnik should be followed by a traditional dessert and you will have no trouble finding a prime location to enjoy both. But first, find a safe place to store your belongings with Bounce luggage storage. Located in and around Dubrovnik, many are found conveniently nearby. Then, get ready to dine!
Dubrovnik Food: Zagorski Strukli
The national dish of Croatia, Zogorski Strukli, came from the Zagorje region of Croatia and has two varieties. The boiled variety is the most traditional but the baked variety is the most popular now. The most important ingredient in this delicious savory pastry filled is the fresh cottage cheese.
This is what Americans would call comfort food and is pretty easy to make, especially if you use prepackaged dough. Otherwise, you start with thin pastry dough, as you use for strudel. Then, fill it with eggs, cottage cheese, butter, and sour cream, and top it with cheese, sour cream, or butter. Bake for 45 minutes at 400 degrees F or boil for 20 minutes and then top with your favorite toppings.
Originating in 1589, this basic dish became a staple of the Croatian and Slovene diets and was entered into the Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2017. The original was made with a tarragon filling although today you can find it in sweet or savory flavors from apple to poppy seed.
Dubrovnik Food: Fresh Oysters
The most simple food in Dubrovnik is also the most popular. Oysters can be found in almost every eatery from fast food joints to fine dining establishments. In the small town of Ston, there are hundreds of oyster farms as there have been for centuries. And all they do before they serve these oysters is clean them.
Actually, the story of how to farm oysters is a long one. First, the farmers toss nets in the water. One year later they pull them up, toss the young oysters back, cement the others to a rope, putting them back into the sea. After another two years, they are ready to be eaten.
The Bay of Mali Ston up the coast from Dubrovnik gives this particular seafood a distinctive briny flavor due to the many nutrients in the waters there. Salt is another commodity farmed in Ston and the two go together as the salt in the bay makes for the most delicious oysters.
Dubrovnik Food: Green Stew
Also known as Zelena Menestra, this dish is served at almost every eating establishment in Croatia, especially in Dubrovnik restaurants. It has three main ingredients including cabbage, potatoes, and meat. The cabbage is often alternated with other greens such as swiss chard or turnip greens, which is where it got its name.
The meat varies depending on where you get it and what meal you are serving. For example, you may see a breakfast green stew with sausage and bacon for brunch or maybe dried mutton, pork, or beef for dinner. Today, you can also find this dish made vegan with carrots and tomatoes or with beans and corn as a vegetarian dish at just about any vegetarian restaurant in Dubrovnik.
This delicious meat dish has been mentioned in recipes dating back to 1489 and was traced back to the Donavle area. During the cold months, menestra was a staple food in less fortunate families because of its inexpensive ingredients that can vary. Some of the earliest cheap eats were made with beans and hocks while today you can find them with sea bass, steak, or prosciutto.
Dubrovnik Food: Octopus Salad
The name says it all in this tasty appetizer because it is indeed made with octopus. However, you may hear it called salata od hobotnice in Croatian. They are typically served cold with boiled octopus dressed in red wine vinegar and olive oil. You can also expect to find minced parsley, olives, chopped red onion, potatoes, and other fresh produce.
You can often find this seafood dish as a starter or appetizer although it can certainly be eaten as a meal. Because seafood is so abundant in Dubrovnik, this is one of the local specialties that can be found just about anywhere. You may find it with fresh sushi, lemon peel, or topped with oysters or shrimp.
Europeans have been eating octopus since ancient times in a habit that may have started in Greece, just down the coast from Dubrovnik. The city of Athens is one place mentioned in history. However, this tasty tentacled meal can be found all along the Dalmatian coastline. In some cultures, eating octopus or squid while still alive is considered a delicacy.
Dubrovnik Food: Dirty Macaroni
Although it is called dirty, there is nothing dirty about this dish. Made of pasta, chopped beef, garlic, red wine, tomatoes, cinnamon, and chopped onions, this macaroni dish, or Sporki makaruli, is a hearty meal typically served for large family meals or get-togethers. Similar to mostaccioli, meat sauce is the main ingredient.
Some of the best restaurants in Dubrovnik offer this dish with white wine and crusty bread to dip in the fresh tomato sauce. You are likely to find it on the menu at the Taj Mahal, which has two locations inside the city walls. Although they serve Bosnian food, other traditional Croatian dishes are served there.
The tradition of eating sporki makaruli started in the 1600s during St. Blaise Day to celebrate the Feast of Saint Blaise. The saint was a bishop during the 4th century who helped those who were sick, particularly those with throat disorders. Still celebrated today, the hostesses usually spend the whole day before the feast preparing the meat sauce.
Dubrovnik Food: Black Risotto
This is a truly Croatian dish made from squid and cuttlefish with the risotto colored black by the ink. The rice dish is also served with other seafood like clams, mussels, oysters, and other shellfish. The best place to get this meal is often at a family-run restaurant that still practices the original tradition.
Often seen as crni rizot in Croatia, it starts with white rice bathed in olive oil, butter, and white wine and then paired with the calamari or squid. Since so few dishes are served black like this one, black risotto is often seen as strange to visitors. But if you like seafood, it is a must-try.
One thing to note about eating this dish is that it will likely turn your lips, tongue, and teeth black. The ink sacs on the cuttlefish or squid are removed prior to chopping and cooking so you can make a paste out of the ink. The ink paste is then stirred into the rice just before serving.
Dubrovnik Food: Mortadella Pizza
Named for its main ingredient, this pizza is one of the most popular on the list of what to eat in Dubrovnik. Topped with several thick slices of mortadella sausage as well as shredded mozzarella and ricotta, the pizza is then covered in a tangy sauce with hints of garlic, onion, and pistachios.
One of the best Dubrovnik restaurants to find this delicious pie is Papillon Pizzeria where they serve it with truffles, roasted pistachios, and kalamata olives. Another great place to try this pizza is at Pizzeria Mirakul. Enjoy outdoor seating where you can see the best of Old Town Dubrovnik.
Although mortadella began its history in Italy, this savory pork sausage can be found all over the world. In Dubrovnik restaurants, you might find it on pizza. The name came from the city where it began in the 1500s by Emilia Romagna near Bologna, Italy.
Dubrovnik Food: Vegetarian Restaurants
You may have trouble finding vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Dubrovnik. One of the best is Take Away Dubrovnik in Old Town with menu items from veggie burgers to freshly-made smoothies. Try the vege-wich with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and lots of extras.
The vegetarian tortilla is also delicious with corn, beans, and feta cheese. If you want something more sophisticated, check out the vegetarian risotto made with sea fennel, asparagus, peppers, and zucchini at Lucin Kantun. Their hummus with pumpkin seeds is also scrumptious and made with chickpeas, sesame, and pumpkin.
Although you can find many eateries that serve vegetarian dishes, you will be hard-pressed to find actual vegan restaurants in Dubrovnik. Being on the coast, what you will find is a lot of seaweed dishes, algae-based shrimp, and even vegan caviar and lox.
Dubrovnik Food: Croatian Desserts
Dubrovnik is also a popular place for sweets whether you go to an ice cream shop or bakery. The madjarica is a Croatian chocolate eight-layered cake that can be found on special occasions and holidays. Another layered delight is the medimurska gibanica, which has layers of ground poppy seeds, walnuts, and grated apples with milky cheese and tender pastry.
Another one of the most popular treats is strudel of all kinds, especially cherry, which is just a thin dough filled with cherries. Speaking of pastries, you have to try the zagrebacka kremsnita while you are in town. This cake has a layer of creamy custard topped with whipped cream with a chocolate glaze on top.
The most popular sweet in Dubrovnik is the rozata. This is a unique custard pudding similar to flan or creme brulee. It dates back to the middle ages around 700 AD when it was referred to as Friar's pudding. You typically find it at a cafe, an ice cream shop, bakery, or fine dining establishment. The name comes from the rose liquor called Rozalin used to give the dessert its extraordinary flavor.
Dubrovnik Food: Croatian Wines
Ready to head to the wine bar for a wine flight? You can enjoy the best Dubrovnik wines as well as cheese, meats, and olive oils straight from the olive trees in the garden. D'vino Wine Bar provides an all day wine tasting called a wine flight that features six to nine different types and flavors to enjoy.
At D'vino and other wineries in Dubrovnik, you can find many wine tours where you will not only get the best wines in the city but also some incredibly good food. The wine bar boasts over 60 different wines served by the glass including international as well as local wines.
If the small restaurant is not what you are looking for, try the rooftop terrace at Above 5 in Old Town (find more rooftop bars here). You can enjoy the subtle flavors of lemon zest with duck breast with a wine pairing that makes all the difference. They also have gluten-free options.
Delicious Food in Dubrovnik
If you are out exploring in town or on a Dubrovnik day trip along the Adriatic Sea, you will be disappointed if you do not try some of the local favorite cuisines. From the Taj Mahal to the local ice cream shop, you can find some of the best restaurants in Dubrovnik serving seafood as well as meat dishes you cannot get anywhere else. After, head to Park Orsula or Gradac Park to enjoy some of the best hikes in Dubrovnik to work off those calories.