Traditional Dubrovnik cuisine is typical Mediterranean cuisine based on the fresh fish and seafood from the Adriatic Sea, locally grown vegetables, and fruits.
The cuisine in the region is considered not only delicious but also very healthy and nutritional with lots of olive oil and as little spices as possible, usually only rosemary, basil, bay leaves, parsley, and garlic.
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.
We prepared for you a list of few authentic Dubrovnik specialties that because of their geographical characteristics, you will not find anywhere else in the world. So if you want to try something truly unique and unusual, here is our best food in Dubrovnik list to make you feel very hungry.
1. Crni rižot (Black Risotto)
A dish that is very popular in the Dalmatian region is black risotto. Basically, it’s cuttlefish or squid risotto, but to make it richer sometimes different sorts of seafood are added, like mussels and shrimps. This risotto is dyed black by breaking the cuttlefishes’ ink sacs onto the rice near the end of the cooking process (just before the dish is finished).
Add a bit of grated parmesan cheese and you are ready to go.
Every seafood restaurant in Dubrovnik has a black risotto on its menu.
This delicious dish looks great and tastes even better, it simply must be tried!
You can thank us later.
2. Buzara (Stewed Mussels)
Another typical dish is buzara.
Buzara is a way of cooking seafood, mainly the shellfish, with only a few simple ingredients. It’s pretty simple; mussels, shrimps, scampi, or clams are cooked in white wine, olive oil, garlic, parsley and breadcrumbs and sometimes the tomato paste for color.
They are left on the fire in their juices until their shells open.
You should eat buzara with your fingers, and later you’ll want to lick them together with the plate because it’s so good. This is the dish that will make your mouth water!
3. Brudet (Fish Stew)
Brodet, brudet or brodetto is most probably the most typical Dalmatian dish. It is a rich fish stew prepared in all parts of Dalmatian coast and islands. Much like black risotto, it’s a traditional meal served in most Dubrovnik restaurants. It is usually served with cooked polenta which soaks up the tasty fish broth.
A true brodet should have at least three different kinds of fish. Most commonly used are grouper, scorpion fish, monkfish, sea bass, sea-bream, eel, and John Dory. It is cooked in a single pot without stirring.
Brodet is heavenly divine soul dish, a must try while in Dubrovnik.
4. Peka (Dishes Under The Bell)
The bell is a traditional way of preparing dishes in Dalmatia. Most common dishes that are made under the bell are lamb, veal, octopus or squid and all types of vegetables, especially potatoes.
Meat or fish is put in a large, shallow round baking pan. A little bit of oil is added, along with spices, then the meat is covered with large bell shaped lid made of thick steel or clay. Then the fire is lit on the board of the stone barbecue. When there is enough hot coal, you put the entire bell on it and cover the lid with some more hot coals, so that it is baked from under and above. The dish is left to cook slowly in its own juices until the meat is tender. Vegetables are added later, so they don’t get overcooked.
Also, homemade bread can be baked under the bell and it is delicious.
Food prepared this way has a really special aromatic flavor and cannot be compared to anything else.
5. Octopus Salad
Perfect for the summer months due to its light, refreshing nature. Fresh out of the Adriatic, the octopus is boiled, chopped up into small pieces, and combined with finely chopped onions, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley.
Combination from heaven!
6. Fresh Oysters
Improve your love life eating the world-famous oysters at Mali Ston!
Proven by study raw oysters really are an aphrodisiac.
Casanova used to eat 50 of them for breakfast, so no wonder he was the most famous lover in history.
Oysters have been farmed at Mali Ston Bay since Roman times, and are famous all over the world over for their unique, clean taste.
Visitors are fascinated by the fact that it’s possible to eat them straight from the sea.
Mali Ston is less than a one-hour drive from Dubrovnik, making it a nice day trip.
For one of the most unique experiences, you can hop on a boat and visit oysters and mussels farms, where you will have the opportunity to taste the freshly opened oysters, pulled straight from the sea.
If you don’t have time for visiting oyster farms, don’t worry because of plenty of restaurants in Dubrovnik supply oysters precisely from Mali Ston.
We mainly consume the oyster fresh, on ice as an appetizer.
7. Gradele (Fish On The Grill)
Grilling fish is one of the most favorite ways of preparing fish along the Croatian coast.
Always fresh and caught nearby, fish is grilled on a spit over an open fire and simply served with blitva (boiled Swiss chard and potatoes). It is usually seasoned with olive oil, garlic rosemary, basil and parsley.
Simple but very juicy and extra delicious, you can find this dish as a common main course in almost every restaurant.
There’s an old Dalmatian saying:
„A fish must swim three times – once in the sea, once in olive oil, and once in wine!“
You do not want to break old Dalmatian rules, which means you must pair some good quality white wine with your fish!
8. Pašticada (Stewed Beef)
If you are on the Dalmatian coast you must try this dish as it originates in Dalmatia and it is centuries old.
Pašticada is a Croatian stewed beef dish marinated in wine and herbs and cooked in a special plum sauce.
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 homemade gnocchi or mashed potatoes.
This typical Dalmatian dish has traditionally been served on special occasions like weddings, New Year’s Eve and other festivities.
9. Zelena Menestra (Green Steew)
Zelena Menestra is a traditional Dubrovnik green stew known from writings since the 15th century.
It is an authentic dish you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
It consists of cabbage, potatos, and other vegetables, with meat like smoked bacon and ham hock, home-made sausages.
Whilst many variations exist in all the regions of Dubrovnik-Neretva county, it should contain cabbage and potatoes.
10. Pršut And Cheese
Pršut and cheese platter is an absolute classic and inescapable start of every traditional menu.
It is served on special occasions like weddings, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and other festivities.
if you’re invited to dinner in Croatia and your host doesn’t offer pršut as an appetizer, it must mean you’re in the doghouse.
Pršut resembles Italian prosciutto or Spanish jamon. What is the difference?
After washing, salting and flattening under rocks, the hams (Dalmatian pršut) are then hung out to dry. The unique taste and texture are thanks to the cold dry wind that blows from the north, bura, which dry the ham.
Croatia is also home to a number of award-winning cheeses and if you get a chance you need to try some Paški sir – which is cheese from the island of Pag. The cheese is made from milk produced by sheep which are left to graze freely on local grass, aromatic plants, and herbs.
Rozata is the most popular dessert in Dubrovnik.
It is a traditional custard pudding from the Dubrovnik region that is similar to flan and crème brûlée.
Its name come from the Dubrovnik liqueur rozalin (rose liqueur), which gives the cake its special aroma.
12. Makaruli / Stonska Torta (The Ston Cake)
This is very likely one of the world’s most unusual cakes as its main ingredient is pasta!
This gastronomic delight that comes from Ston (hence the name) is traditionally prepared whenever there is a celebration, such as Christmas, Easter, and weddings.
A thin, unsweetened pastry envelops macaroni, mixed with the chocolatey-cinnamon mix, nuts, lemon zest, sugar, chocolate, and butter – all bound with beaten egg.
It has been prepared for centuries, and long ago they used pasta for the filling to economize on ingredients.
It’s not exactly the most beautiful pastry in the world, but don’t let the looks fool you!
If you want to taste something unique and unusual, yet very delicious, Ston Cake is a must.
13. Arancini (Candied Orange Peel)
Arancini are candied sour and sweet orange peel, made from organically grown oranges from Dubrovnik. They are traditionally served at Christmas and New Year when guests call round to visit.
The earliest records of this sweet treat date back to the Romans when it was a popular gift for friends and family.
Arancini are often sold with bags of caramelized almonds (bruštulani mjendeli), which are offered as nibbles when guests come over.
The best place to get them is on Gundulićeva Poljana (Gundulić square), the only open market inside Old Town.
Last but not least, rakija is a traditional Croatian alcoholic drink, something like brandy or cognac, very strong but more fruity and fragrant. You can find a wide variety of species of rakija in Croatia: plum (it is called Šlivovica), grape, apricot, pear, apple, honey, quince and even juniper.
It is also known as grappa in Italy or ouzo in Greece.
It is a custom to drink rakija as an appetizer before a meal, but be careful, this stuff is strong and it is not a drink for the weak (from 40% to 65%).
Did you know that rakija is a cure for everything?
From stomach cramps, heart diseases to a hangover. It will disinfect a wound instantly, internally and externally and clean your windows.
Just woke up from a coma? Drink some rakija.
Toothaches? Drink some rakija.
Break up? Drink some rakija.
Where to find rakija?
Every bar or restaurant serves rakija. It is also sold in supermarkets and locals often produce it themselves right at their homes (you can find these homemade products in the markets).
Did you find this post helpful?
If you have any questions, disagreements or suggestions please comment and let us know! We’d love your feedback on this.