With a pleasing mix of locally sourced and contemporary cuisine, Dubrovnik is the foodie pearl of the Dalmatian coast

Situated on the stunning Dalmatian coastline, Dubrovnik is proud of its fresh local produce and the city is a rapidly growing cosmopolitan gastronome hotspot. Read on to learn about the 10 must-try dishes and specialty drinks in Dubrovnik.

Black Risotto

Being surrounded by sea, it should come as no surprise that Dubrovnik offers some of the best seafood dishes, with almost all their catch locally caught and sourced. Black Risotto, or Crni rižot, gets both its name and colour from gloriously dark, velvety squid ink, while also incorporating mussels, clams and other shellfish – a real harvest of the fruits of the Adriatic.

Where to try: Gverovic Orsan (Shtikovica 43), well-loved by both locals and tourists, prides itself on its wonderful Black Risotto.

Black Risotto with squid and squid ink sauce | Ramon grosso dolarea / shutterstock
Black Risotto with squid and squid ink sauce
Ramon grosso dolarea / shutterstock

Zelena Menestra

With the earliest written records of the recipe dating back to the 15th century, zelena menestra, literally translated as Green Stew, is a one-pot meal founded on the same three basic ingredients: meat, potatoes and cabbage, making this a bolstering, hearty meal.

Where to try: Poklisar (Od Ribarnice 1) makes zelena menestra that tastes like the most comforting home cooking at its finest.

Pašticada

A meal for important functions, pašticada is also often called Dalmatinska pašticada because it originates in Dalmatia – in fact, the oldest recorded recipe traced to the 15th century Dubrovnik. This dish requires long preparation – beef is stuffed with herbs and marinated in vinegar overnight, then roasted and stewed for hours before surviving it with pasta or gnocchi.

Where to try: Kapon (Polj. R.Boshkovica 7) serves traditional Croatian dishes including pašticada. Another great choice is Amfora (Obala Stjepana Radića 19).

Pasticada with gnocchi | Gordana Sermek / shutterstock
Pasticada with gnocchi
Gordana Sermek / shutterstock

Makaruli Šporki

Although literally translated as ‘Dirty Macaroni’, don’t let the name of this one alarm you. This dish pairs macaroni with a rich, tomato and meat sauce not unlike a Ragu or a Bolognese – and just as delicious to boot. Napkins most definitely required while enjoying this dish.

Where to try: apart from serving good pašticads, Kapon (Polj. R.Boshkovica 7) also does makaruli šporki very well.

Rožata

You can’t leave Dubrovnik without trying its most famous dessert rožata. Similar to crème brûlée in texture, this pudding has a secret ingredient – homemade rose liqueur. Rum is often added to give it a kick.

Where to try: almost all restaurants in Dubrovnik serve rožata and a good option is Gverovic Orsan (Shtikovica 43).

Arancini (candied orange or lemon peel)

The earliest records of this simple sweet treat date back to the Romans when it was a popular gift for friends and family. Centuries on, arancini is still a popular gift so do come home with a pack or two.

Where to try: you can find arancini in the market on Gundulićeva poljana in the heart of the Old Town.

Olives

Dubrovnik and its surrounding areas have grown deep-green olives for centuries and many families still cure their own olives. Keep a look out for Croatian olive oil too.

Where to try: apart from arancini, the market on Gundulićeva poljana also sells quality Croatian olive oil.

Pošip Wine

A perfect pairing with seafood, this white wine is made on the nearby island of Korčula. Light but robust, almost honey-like in taste, it’s also good with soft crumbly cheeses like feta.

Where to try: Dalmatino Dubrovnik (Miha Pracata 6) has a number of excellent vintage Pošips on their wine list.

Rakija

Ubiquitous in Croatia, rakija is a fruity brandy often made with grapes, but you can also keep a look out for walnut brandy and plum brandy.

Where to try: almost every restaurant serves rakija, or you can buy it from any of the liquor stores.

Plum brandy Rekija | Lecic / shutterstock
Plum brandy Rekija
Lecic / shutterstock

Craft Beer

Once upon a time, well-known brands are popular in Dubrovnik but these days, it’s craft beer that rules. From light and refreshing Zmajsko Pale Ale to robust dark beer Križevačko Tamno Pivo, you’ll be spoilt for choice here.

Where to try: Glam Café (Palmoticeva 5) has a wide range of Croatian craft beers.


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