Eastern Europe is thoroughly underrated when it comes to cuisine. Forget about the delicate gourmet preparations of the French or the pasta genius of the Italians – I’d sooner settle for a currywurst and a pierogi. But at the top of my list of places to go when I want a good fix of European cuisine is Dubrovnik. Famous for the traditionalism its residents apply when cooking themselves a hearty meal, the Croatian metropolis is a super place to enjoy some grub. The sheer variety on offer means that even those with a sensitive palate will find something they like on the menu, while others can feel free to order whatever exotic meal takes their fancy.
Whatever you do, don’t leave Dubrovnik without venturing into a restaurant and trying something. The waiters and waitresses are often more than happy to talk you through the particulars of each dish, unless there is a certain language barrier to surmount. In which case, I can guarantee something delicious if you order from the list below. Book a flight to Croatia now and place your order.
As much fun to say as it is to eat. Go on, try saying it a few times. It’s not actually a dish in itself but a very famous method of food preparation. The chef places the items of food – whether lamb, octopus or veal – into a stone oven with seasoned potatoes, before surrounding them with hot coals and closing the door for three hours. And that’s it. No stirring, no additional seasoning. The foods are just left to cook in their own juices, and it’s a real rhapsody of flavours when they eventually emerge.
Traditional meat dish. Beef is the main ingredient and must be marinated for 24 hours in red wine, garlic and various herbs. Further items are added during the cooking, such as dry plums, carrots, onions, cloves and nutmeg. Very rich in flavour.
Fish stew. Dubrovnik is located next to the sea, so you really can’t miss the opportunity to try this exquisite meal. Stirring is once again forsaken in exchange for the occasional shake of the saucepan to ensure the food doesn’t stick. Served with thick golden polenta.
Dried ham. You will find this word on almost every restaurant menu in Croatia as it is an essential part of any celebration. Traditionally cut into long and thin slices and served with cheese and olives as an entree or between meals.
Janjetina s ražnja
Lamb cooked on the split. If you’re going all out for your dinner, don’t miss the opportunity to have this glorious meal. The whole body of lamb is slow-cooked above coals, resulting in a truly succulent dish that is simply irresistible. Generally it is served with minimal additions – just green salad and scallions – but this is to let the lamb play its part as the star of the show.