In Dubrovnik, savouring a cup of coffee can be a form of meditation – part of a relaxed Dalmatian way of being known as “fjaka”. “Coffee is more than caffeine – it’s a traditional way of life, 24/7,” says local resident Ana Matušić, creator of the Hello Dubrovnik patented hand fan, which doubles as a travel guide and even counts former Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović among its users. “When meeting Dubrovnik locals, you will often hear ajmo na kavu (let’s go for coffee) – even though you may end up drinking something else – which involves chatting for hours and dressing nicely,” she adds. Similarly, Croatians rarely drink coffee on the go, she explains, and many cafés still permit smoking, as “coffee and cigarettes are inseparable to many Croatians”. As for Matušić, she has lived in Dubrovnik all her life and knows exactly where to go to find the perfect brew in Dubrovnik.
Cafe, Coffee, Snacks, $$$
Courtesy of Cogito Coffee
Cogito Coffee has multiple locations in Croatia, with two in Dubrovnik: one at the Ploče Gate and one in the Old Town. The branch outside of Ploče Gate also has a souvenir shop, Life According to KAWA, run by Jon and Sanja, Canadians with Croatian roots, Matušić says. “The shop not only showcases the very best of local crafts, but this is a place where you can buy hand-roasted coffee, or you can just relax drinking coffee in their Cogito Coffee shop,” she says. The other Cogito Coffee in Dubrovnik is in a less touristy area of the Old Town, Matušić notes. “With a few stools and benches to sit on, this is a great little spot to spend some quality time and drink and buy some coffee from places including Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda.”
Another place to enjoy coffee, Matušić says, is at Buzz Bar on Dubrovnik’s Prijeko Street, the main restaurant street in town. “Buzz is the only bar situated here, and you can enjoy less expensive coffee before it gets packed in the late afternoon,” she says. “I recommend sitting outside for fresh air and people-watching, as smoking is allowed inside.” Come to Buzz Bar in the morning, before it gets crowded – it’s particularly popular among Dubrovnik’s young residents.
“Pupica is sometimes even difficult for locals to find,” Matušić says, “but if you sit there, you will feel the real Old Town vibe and meet and greet so many locals who still live inside the City Walls.” As for what to eat and drink, Matušić suggests pairing a caffe latte with a delicious home-made cake, like the Southern Cake, which blends almond and orange flavours. There’s also a small grocery store selling items such as fresh bread and other baked goods, and the Green Market is around the corner and open daily from 7am-12pm.
Often referred to by its former name of Manon, Café Festival is the ideal place to go if you’re looking for a French-inspired spot with freshly roasted coffee. Located in the centre of Old Town Dubrovnik by the Franciscan Monastery, it’s the perfect spot to people-watch. “You will be thrilled by Stradun promenade, which looks especially good in the warm morning sun,” Matušić says. “But avoid it in the afternoon, as you will be roasted by the heat!”
“Restaurant Sesame is the perfect escape and just a five-minute walk from the Pile Gate,” Matušić points out. “It’s an ideal location for your afternoon coffee break beneath the lovely trees on its terrace.” She warns to bring along sunscreen and mosquito repellent, however, as the restaurant is just five minutes away from Dubrovnik’s Danče Beach, which you can visit before or after your coffee.