With a stellar culinary scene to match its reputation as a luxury seaside resort, Dubrovnik is one of Croatia’s leading gastronomic destinations. Discover the top tables in town with Pero Šare, founder of Oyster & Sushi Bar Bota, an upscale fusion restaurant nestled within the ancient walls of the city.
Pero Šare combines fresh catches from the Adriatic with Asian flavours at Oyster & Sushi Bar Bota, located on a beautiful terrace behind the cathedral. Fresh shellfish from the oyster beds of Mali Ston are the star ingredient, served with sparkling wine from the nearby island of Korčula. A local expert, Šare knows everything there is to know about Dubrovnik’s dining scene. From contemporary bistros to old-school elegance, these are the best fine dining experiences in Dubrovnik.
Šare’s insider tip is Bowa Restaurant on Šipan Island, 20 kilometres (12 miles) west of Dubrovnik, accessible via boat taxi. “If you’re looking for an escape from the noise and crowds of the city, you will find serenity here. Bowa is like a secret garden of delights for the senses, a little world of its own.” Set in a beachside cove, the restaurant is made up of overwater cabanas, overlooking the pristine blue Adriatic Sea. “In the summer, I try to gather my family and friends at least once per month to spend an entire day at Bowa enjoying the beach, the privacy, the cabanas and next-level food and wine.”
“360 holds a Michelin star and features amazing views of the Old Port. I love dining here and watching the boats pass by,” Šare says. One of the first restaurants in Croatia to be awarded the prestigious culinary accolade, this is one of Dubrovnik’s premier destination restaurants. Enjoy the unparallelled setting of St Luke’s Fortress, expect contemporary twists on Mediterranean classics, deftly presented and paired with the finest wines the country has to offer – the wine cellar comprises 6,000 bottles. Book a booth in the gun chambers for superlative views.
Proto boasts a culinary tradition stretching back to 1886. This is the restaurant where Edward VIII entertained Wallis Simpson in the 1930s. Set within the Old Town, Proto offers picture-perfect plates of seafood with delicious flavour combinations. Expect platters of astonishingly fresh mussels, squid and lobster served in simple, delicate sauces. This Michelin-recommended restaurant is popular, meaning that booking is essential.
“Nautika is stunning for both unique views and great cuisine,” Šare says. The chic, long-prestigious Nautika enjoys a superb location with two panoramic terraces overlooking the sea. “This is ideal for special occasions, as the food and the service are fabulous,” he says, pointing out Nautika’s reputation as one of Dubrovnik’s pricier establishments. But food this good is worth the big blow out – especially if you reserve a table with a view. Ordering à la carte? Chef Mario Bunda only uses the freshest fish, which also appears in the 500-700 Croatian Kuna (£60-85) five-course menus. Shellfish are a speciality, particularly in dishes from the nearby Elafiti Islands, which include Lopud brodet (fish stew) with polenta.
“Panorama features the most amazing birds-eye view of the Old City,” says Croatian Kuna, who wholeheartedly recommends this restaurant located atop Mount Srđ. The view below is stunningly beautiful, overlooking the Old Town, Lokrum Island and the finest sunsets imaginable. The sister restaurant of Michelin-star Nautika, Panorama offers contemporary takes on classic Adriatic cuisine – and an impeccable wine and cocktail menu to match.
The ever-inventive Pantarul (meaning ‘fork’ in Dalmatian dialect) has evolved from a simple bistro into one of the leading lights of Dubrovnik’s dining scene. Combining slow-food cuisine with modern experimentation, plates of fish and seafood are given inspired flavour combinations, and the meat is of serious quality. In a cosy-yet-contemporary interior, you can choose from the five-course tasting menu or from a reassuringly small list of mains – the locally sourced, slowly braised ox cheeks or sea bream are especially good.
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