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Eat your way around Dubrovnik

Dig into these Dalmatian favorites, from the high-end to the affordable.

Mura Dominko
By Mura Dominko15 Mar 2024 7 minutes read
Beef carpaccio dish next to window overlooking Dubrovnik city and waterfront

When you think of good Mediterranean food, you probably picture Italian or Greek dishes instead of Croatian cuisine. But as a Croat myself, I'm here to tell you that our food (ahem, freshly caught fish, slow-roasted lamb, homemade pasta) is equally amazing.

Dubrovnik in particular has fantastic restaurants, with romantic sea views, friendly service, and creative menus that put a modern twist on traditional plates. I’m not just talking about the Michelin-starred stunners (although there are plenty of those). It’s about the hidden gems that serve family recipes and local eats, too. Here’s what’s worth trying.

For fine-dining: Restaurant 360

Dish from tasting menu on black plate
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

Set above the ancient city walls, Restaurant 360 is possibly the fanciest place in Dubrovnik. The outdoor tables are almost built into the historic stone ramparts. To top it off, it was one of the first restaurants in Croatia to be awarded a Michelin star. Head chef Marijo Curić is a genius in the kitchen, and his menu shines a spotlight on local ingredients. Imagine Adriatic specialties (such as scampi) cooked using French techniques.

What to order: Like most high-end restaurants, 360 offers an à la carte option as well as a seafood-heavy tasting menu. I’m partial to the beef ravioli and “Brodet 2.0,” an upscale version of fish and clam soup.

What to know: The restaurant has an extensive wine cellar, so if I were you, I’d splurge on the wine pairing with the tasting menu. Or, have the sommelier pick a bottle for you.

Travelers say: “Stunning service with food and drinks to match in an idyllic, unique setting. Book well before you go as your preferred times will be snapped up. The bar area downstairs is also amazing for pre- or post-dinner drinks.” —@Audz2

For classic Croatian bites: Holy Burek

Inside of eatery with display case of bureks and neon sign
Person holding up burek and drink
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on burek. Every Croatian will tell you that this crispy phyllo-like pastry is a must-try. While you’ll find decent burek at chain bakeries like Mlinar and Babic, Dubrovnik is home to an excellent little spot that does nothing BUT burek—and it’s a very good burek at that.

What to order: Holy Burek makes classic varieties like veal, cheese, and spinach as well as new fillings like mushroom, chicken, potato, and veal. They’ve also changed the look of it—the treats are shaped like a stick compared to the usual triangular pie slice.

What to know: The best burek is served piping hot, so savvy eaters will base their choice of burek on when it came out of the oven. Just ask the staff.

Travelers say: “The best snacks in town by far. Very fresh, very filling, and there are a few options to choose from. We went back every day, and it's the first place I would go back to on returning to Dubrovnik.” —@Woody

For the best of Bosnia: Taj Mahal

Grilled meats and vegetables
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

Don’t let the name fool you, you won’t find any Indian food here. Instead, it's all about Bosnian delicacies. Think: meats grilled to perfection, stews with lots of flavor and fresh herbs, stuffed vegetables, and baklava and Turkish coffee to finish. In fact, the knowledgeable owners of Taj Mahal operate a private butcher shop and work exclusively with small, artisanal producers.

What to order: My favorites are the chilled yogurt soup and any type of ćevapi, a kebab popular in the Balkans. If you want a true Bosnian feast, focus on the classics like Bosnian pot (meat stew), sarma (stuffed cabbage leaves), and klepe (beef dumplings)—all finger-licking options that you won’t find anywhere else.

What to know: Taj Mahal has two locations in Dubrovnik, one in Old Town and another further uptown in Hotel Lero. Double check that you’re making your reservation at the right outpost.

Travelers say: “With so much choice In Dubrovnik, it is hard to stand out and yet this restaurant did. It was the first time we had been to a Bosnian restaurant, and it was a memorable experience. Great food, great service, and interesting Bosnian wines to try.” —@James R

For the prettiest views: Panorama Restaurant & Bar

Aerial view of outdoor restaurant seating, city rooftops, and ocean
Cocktail topped with a black cherry
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

In a city where you can eat on terraces, ancient walls, and cobblestoned streets, it’s hard to pick the best view. But somehow Panorama rises above the rest—literally. The restaurant hovers so high above Dubrovnik, you’ll need a cable car to get up there. The journey is well worth it for the postcard-perfect view of Old Town, Lapad Bay, and nearby islands like Lokrum.

What to order: Panorama’s menu is pretty pared down, focusing on sandwiches, burgers, risottos, and pastas. (The grilled steak with truffle potatoes is popular.) But the cocktail list is extensive—from classics to creative champagne-based concoctions. Treat yourself and toast to another excellent meal.

What to know: You can also drive up Mount Srđ to the restaurant (it takes about 25 minutes). If you’re there during the day, swing by the Homeland War Museum next door.

Travelers say: “Views to die for! Delicious food, even better wine—you must take the cable car to the top and walk around the ruins. So much history up here, the best photo ops, and views of the Adriatic Sea. Stunning!” —@Sarah Lamb

For a romantic dinner: Nautika

Outdoor dining terrace overlooking fortress and water at night
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

If you enjoyed Panorama, you'll love the team's other outpost, Nautika. It's perfect for an anniversary or date night. On the west end of Old Town, this seaside spot has not one, but two terraces overlooking Lovrijenac and Bokar fortresses.

What to order: Chef Mario Bunda prepares two tasting menus to choose from, but you can also try the highlights à la carte. Dalmatian-style lamb, lobster tail, and veal cheek are just some of the standouts.

What to know: Nautika is housed within the former School of Maritime Studies, which dates back to the 1800s. You'll see it in the nautical design (a stained glass ceiling depicting a compass; amphoras and ship photography adorning the walls). Book in advance to get a table outside, but if the deck is full, the arched, marble dining room is pleasant, too.

Travelers say: “Could not praise Nautika more highly. My husband and I went on our honeymoon. I recommend booking in advance and requesting a table near the water. The food and service were both 10/10. We were blown away.” —@CanadianBaby

For a traditional tavern: Konoba Dubrava

Lamb and veal baked under an iron bell
Octopus and potato dish
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

A little lingo lesson: Konoba is a kind of tavern that is popular along the Dalmatian Coast. Join the locals at Konoba Dubrava on Mount Srđ, a mere 10-minute drive from Old Town, and tuck into rustic homemade dishes like slow-cooked meat, fresh fish, and regional cheese boards. Konobas are usually family-run, so expect a low-key, friendly vibe.

What to order: Peka is a traditional Dalmatian platter; lamb, veal, or octopus is stuffed inside a bell-shaped lid and covered in hot coals. If there’s one must-try Croatian dish, it’s this. Because peka takes hours to prepare, you’ll have to call ahead, make a reservation, and tell the staff which peka you’re interested in.

What to know: Come hungry–konobas are known for their giant portions. In fact, it’s a fantastic choice for groups or big families.

Travelers say: “Amazing local cuisine! We ordered the platter for two. All freshly made food and cooked using the traditional iron bell method! We were even given a complimentary drink and a tour of the kitchen. We returned twice during our visit, which is unusual for us as we like to try new things, but the food was just that good!!” —@Jamie S

For modern menus: Pantarul

Person holding dish of sea bream with julienne vegetables in an olive oil-citrus emulsion
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

Pantarul is a collaboration between food blogger Ana-Marija Bujic and seasoned chefs Duro Siljug and Milan Vasic (Bujic’s husband). The restaurant caters mostly to locals, which sets it apart from the many touristy places in Dubrovnik. It is also one of the rare restaurants that remains open year-round, even during the slow season in the winter.

What to order: The seasonal menu changes often, depending on what’s available locally. Everything is extra fresh, from the morning’s catch and homemade pasta to meat sourced from small farms. Try the slow-braised ox cheeks (it’ll melt in your mouth) or the daily fish selection.

What to know: Pantarul is located in the Lapad area of Dubrovnik, so you’ll need to venture outside of Old Town and take a short cab ride to get here.

Travelers say: “I ordered ginger-carrot soup, beef tagliata, monkfish, and fettuccine with octopus. The food tasted as lovely as its presentation. Plus, smoking was not permitted indoors (unlike some other restaurants in the area).” —@Alan

For a sweet treat: Gianni

Cake, pastry, and coffee
Milkshake with two striped straws
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

If you believe gourmet gelato is only an Italian specialty, think again. Gianni is named after its founding pastry chef who honed his craft at Restaurant 360 and created the one thing missing in Dubrovnik: an artisanal dessert spot. Besides the made-from-scratch gelato and sorbet, there are flaky croissants and French-style patisseries as well as top-notch coffee and freshly-squeezed juices.

What to order: With new flavors popping up regularly, it’s hard to pick just one. I really enjoyed the honey lavender.

What to know: There’s a local philosophy called fjaka—it means the art of slowing down and enjoying the little things in life. Gianni’s adorable indoor/outdoor seating makes it a great place to take a mid-morning or afternoon break, everything fjaka represents.

Travelers say: “Unexpected find. The desserts and ice creams are fantastic. As is the hot chocolate. The young lad who served us was brilliant. Warm and friendly. Well worth visiting, especially to try the wild orange ice cream.” —@Peter D

For fast food with a twist: Barba

Person's hands holding up burger with black bun outside
Fried anchovies
Image: Left: Kasia/Tripadvisor; Right: Santa/Tripadvisor

Barba’s menu is minimal but goes all out on fresh seafood. There are several small plates that center around shrimp, octopus, and oysters from the family farm. Add to that some truly excellent fries, and Barba doesn’t need much more to attract loyal crowds of customers. Tip: Look up directions before you go; this tiny joint is hidden below a stone staircase, with a few informal stools and high-top tables.

What to order: The octopus burger on a black bun (dyed with cuttlefish ink) is truly unique—a feast for your eyes as much as your mouth. I’ve never seen anything like it before. The squid salad and fried anchovies also get rave reviews.

What to know: This space is small and quite popular, so there might be a bit of a wait.

Travelers say: “A tiny place with amazing food! We came back the next day as it was so delicious! We had the octopus burger and calamari. The portions are generous—we could barely finish it. The staff is so friendly, and the prices are very reasonable!” —@Julia

Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a seasoned editor in the food and lifestyle space whose experience spans both print and digital publishing. Originally from Croatia, you'll find her listening to klapa in her Brooklyn kitchen, as something stew-like bubbles on the stove.