Dubrovnik is best known for its stunning architecture, ancient history, clear blue sea and of course delicious food. We bring you top traditional Dubrovnik foods, including seafood delicacies, peka bell baked meat, black risotto and much more.
The city’s location on the sea, its history of trading, and proximity to fertile farmland have given Dubrovnik an opportunity to develop a diverse and flavourful culinary tradition. We explore eight must-try traditional Dubrovnik foods that will leave you craving for more.
When it comes to Dubrovnik cuisine, seafood is a staple. The city’s location on the Adriatic Sea means that fresh fish and other seafood are readily available, so it comes as no surprise that most traditional dishes are based on these ingredients.
First amongst many is a popular Black Risotto. The cuttlefish’s black ink is a key ingredient in this savoury goodness that is widely popular in all the Adriatic. Before cooking, the cuttlefish must be carefully cleaned so that the ink sac is extracted intact. Black risotto is typically served as a main course and is often accompanied by a glass of local wine.
Second on our list is Buzzara, a type of seafood stew that is made with a variety of shellfish, such as clams, mussels, and scampi. The dish is cooked with or without tomato based sauce, with bread crumbs and flavoured with garlic, white wine, and parsley. Buzzara is usually served with some crusty bread because soaking up the delicious sauce is a must.
Third dish we must mention is Peka, meat baked under the iron bell in an open fire. It is a traditional Croatian dish that is cooked all around Dalmatia. The dish consists of meat, potatoes, vegetables, and herbs, and can be found in several taverns and restaurants in the area.
Zelena Menestra, fourth on our list, is a hearty rustic meat and cabbage soup-like dish that is traditionally served a day after Christmas as a main course. The dish is made with a variety of dry meats, mostly pork and mutton, locally grown cabbage called raštika and potatoes. Zelena Menestra is a mouth-watering dish, full of delicious and strong flavours, and it is one of those dishes that a real local cook has to know how to prepare.
Fifth on our list are Šporki Makaruli, a popular Dubrovnik pasta dish traditionally served on the day of St. Blaise, patron of the city. Šporki Makaruli are made with thick, handmade pasta (long pasta ziti) and beef shank sauce. The meat choice for the sauce is just as important as the handmade pasta, so anything other than the shank will not be as good. Šporki Makaruli are usually served as a main course with some grated Parmesan cheese, accompanied by a glass of red wine.
Sixth place is reserved for a light and refreshing Octopus salad, a perfect summer light lunch, made with cooked octopus, shallots, some pickled capers, parsley, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Chopped tomatoes are optional. Octopus salad is eaten either as a light lunch or starter.
One cannot visit Dubrovnik without indulging in some fresh Adriatic oysters. So, seventh on our list are Ston oysters. Whether you are a lover or a novice, fresh oysters taken out of the sea minutes before consumption, with a few drops of lemon juice, contain the essence of sea, you literally get your mouth full of sea taste. It’s truly something spectacular.
Grilled fish seems simple but it definitely deserves to be eight on our list. Our cuisine is fairly simple, based on fresh local ingredients, so when you put a freshly caught white fish on a charcoal grill, and dress it with chopped parsley, salt, pepper and homemade olive oil, there is nothing better in the world. You will literally lick your fingers and crave for more. It’s usually served with boiled chard and bread.
Time for something sweet. Ninth on our list is Rozata, a traditional Dubrovnik dessert that is similar to crème caramel or flan. The dessert is made with eggs (preferably free-range), milk, sugar, a little bit of grated lemon zest and some rose liquor. The mixture is poured in a pot with caramelised sugar and then cooked or baked in a water bath. The result is a rich and creamy dessert that is perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth. Rozata is perfect as a summer dessert paired with traditional liquor Prošek (prosecco or sherry).
Stonski Makaruli, a unique and delicious cake originating from the town Ston on the Pelješac peninsula is made with homemade ziti pasta, also known as makaruli, and is a traditional treat for special occasions in the area. This cake is what our cuisine is all about and that is why it is on our list at number ten. Modest and simple but requires dedication and patience. The result is an impressive dessert that leaves everyone in awe.
Dubrovnik’s traditional cuisine reflects its rich history and diverse influences. From seafood and peka meat dishes to handmade pasta and sweet desserts, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So, the next time you visit Dubrovnik, make sure to try some of these must-try traditional Dubrovnik foods and experience the city’s culinary delights.