Hungry Abroad: Dubrovnik, Croatia

I’m back! I have a few quick posts I want to get up about the food Mr. Hungry and I enjoyed on our honeymoon, then it will be back to our regular programming very soon!

By the time we got to Dubrovnik, Croatia, for the first leg of our honeymoon, we’d been through a nearly 24-hour travel day and I was tired of all the bland foods I’d been eating to keep from getting airsick! Luckily for me, Matt had done a little reading ahead in anticipation of this moment and learned of a popular Bosnian restaurant in the heart of Dubrovnik’s Old Town (yes, one of the many gorgeous areas of Croatia where they film Game of Thrones!)

Taj Mahal is located in a tiny alleyway. Reservations are recommended, but Matt and I adore eating early enough to beat the rush, even when we’re on vacation. We also tend to share everything we eat on holiday so no one has to miss a taste of anything! I love this policy. And I promise I’m not going to sit and describe each meal dish-by-dish for the duration of our stay in Dubrovnik. I think the first meal, last meal and a few tasty snacks in between will be more than enough food photos for you, my hungry friends.

Dubrovnik Fritters
Savoury Fritters (still sizzling with hot oil!)

To mark this first meal, we split an order of fresh, warm, chewy fritters with cream kaymak (a savoury stop between clotted cream and cream cheese).

Dubrovnik Salad
Shopska Salad (a popular dish originally from Bulgaria)

We also shared a shopska salad with onions, peppers, cucumber, tomato and tons of tangy cheese.

Dubrovnik Lamb
Lamb and Eggplant Kebab with Jacket Potatoes and Cheese

Our protein was a kebab of tender grilled lamb and eggplant with a creamy yogurt sauce as well as a jacket potato on the side covered in – you guessed it – a tangy, soft cheese. Such a great first stop on our trip! I highly recommend Taj Mahal to anyone looking for a solid meal that offers something different in an otherwise touristy area.

If you’re ever in Dubrovnik and want to have one of the best meals and breathtaking views of your life from the top of the ancient city walls, call up Restaurant 360. We weren’t sure what to expect since so many of the Old Town restaurants were casual places to grab a pizza or pasta, but this measured up against the fanciest five star restaurants we’ve tried in Canada. They did a fabulous job of highlighting some of Croatia’s finest local ingredients from truffles to lemons to pigeon. (I’ll admit it was a little odd to be watching pigeons peck for crumbs in the square below while we dined on pigeon breast up above, but I got over it quickly when I stepped in pigeon poop a few hours later.)

The sunset view from the wall alone was worth the price of admission. And don’t worry about getting chilly – waiters brought out soft, turquoise blankets for every chair so you could wrap yourself up against the sea breeze. We did the five course tasting and wine pairings, which all came from Croatia and Slovenia. Now to check out some of our favourite courses:

Dubrovnik Celery

Our amuse bouche was the essence of celery – a crunchy cake, tart reduction and brightly flavoured foam.

Dubrovnik Carrot

The vegetable course was all about carrots. Roasted, pureed, dried into a leather – there was even a thin slice of carrot “carpaccio”. Loved the woodsy taste brought into the dish by the pine nuts!

Dubrovnik Scampi

The scampi and gnocchi with truffle emulsion and crunchy shallots stole the show for Matt. His only regret was that this was a mere three pieces.

Dubrovnik Lemon Tart

Dessert was a lemon tart with ricotta ice cream, lemon confit and a sweet, delicate crumbly crust.

Dubrovnik Crepes

It wasn’t all about the fancy meals, either. One of my favourite snacks were some quick chocolate-coconut crepes we ordered on the only rainy evening we experienced for the whole trip. Hot pancakes wrapped around a sweet, custardy pastry cream made for a nice break from the chilly rain!

Dubrovnik Cuttlefish
Cuttlefish Risotto

We also took an opportunity in Dubrovnik to try a Croatian specialty – cuttlefish risotto. Cuttlefish are a squid-like fish and their ink was used to tint a lot of pastas and sauces black. Unfortunately the place we decided to try it was a bit of a tourist trap, so the rice was a little undercooked and presented in a watery format with some tough, rubbery cubes of cuttlefish mixed in for good measure. Still, a very interesting dish!

Dubrovnik Prosciutto Pizza
Local Prosciutto on Pizza (available on nearly every corner in coastal Croatian cities!)

Croatia is also known for its own take on prosciutto, so we didn’t skip an opportunity to enjoy a pizza covered with local “pršut” while splitting some Croatian-brewed Pan and Karlovačko beers.

That’s all for Dubrovnik! Great memories of wines, stairs, hills, tourist traps and the look of confusion and regret on Matt’s face when he realized the meat course at 360 was called “Pigeon” because he was actually going to be served pigeon. In my next post, I’ll talk about our brief, but memorable forays into Bosnia & Herzegovina! Read about it here!

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