- Megan O'Hara
Situated in a quaint square in Kotor’s old town, an area inhabited since Ancient Roman times and characterized by its historic Venetian and Ottoman architecture, Bocalibre is charming and interesting. Surrounded by shops, the quiet courtyard here makes for excellent people watching and is a great place to soak up the historic surroundings and nostalgic atmosphere. With its mostly Italian menu, guests can treat themselves to a cheesy stone-baked pizza or a generous helping of pasta. The dessert menu is particularly tempting and contains the city’s best home-made tiramisu. The interior is an inviting enclave of exposed wooden beams and brick walls, with locals often popping in to sit at the bar and enjoy a delicious, barista-made coffee or an after work aperitif.
With its brick walls and twinkling fairy lights hanging from the windows and ceiling, the inside area of Galion exudes romance and is a great culinary destination for couples. Ideally situated on the beautiful Boka Kotorska bay, the bright and airy terrace area makes for some of the best views in the city. The glass panelling gives a panoramic view of the water and the yachts sailing quietly past. Upmarket and undeniably sophisticated, the restaurant specializes in fresh local seafood and has a substantial list of other meat and vegetarian dishes. There is also a fantastic selection of wines and cocktails to complement any plate. Elegant and glamorous with beautiful surroundings, Galion is one of Kotor’s must-visit restaurants.
Galion, Škaljari, Kotor, Montenegro. +382 32 325 054
A welcome change to the norm, Ella’s is a beautiful restaurant situated in the picturesque village of Dobrota, a slightly quieter destination just three kilometers outside of Kotor. Rustically decorated with exposed wooden beams and a half-carpeted, half-tiled floor, the terrace area of the restaurant is cozy and atmospheric. The interior is a lavish affair of red tablecloths and polished oak furniture, with even an open fireplace. Looking out over the bay, guests can enjoy a menu of Mediterranean dishes, as well as local meat and fish plates prepared by Ella’s dedicated chefs. Their wine rack is on full display in the indoor eating area, so guests can browse the selection for themselves and ask the attentive staff which bottle would most suit their meal.
Ella’s, Dobrota 85, Kotor, Montenegro. +382 32 335 115
This modern, laid-back restaurant and butcher’s shop specializes in no-frills delicious, organic food. With a particular focus on meat marinated to perfection and grilled to just the right degree of tenderness, guests here can enjoy enormous sharing platters of lamb, beef or chicken with fresh garden salads and fat potato fries on the side. Modestly decorated, and exuding a rustic, butcher’s shop vibe, Tanjga is Kotor’s king of Montenegrin comfort food. All their meat and vegetables are locally sourced to provide an authentic, regional taste. A local institution and one of the most recommended restaurants in town, Tanjga is the perfect stop for a casual and top-quality meal. Be sure to try the pleskavica and the cevapi, two traditional Montenegrin meat dishes.
This Italian-inspired venue has a number of tasty meat, pasta, pizza and fish options. While the shaded outdoor terrace area is bright, airy and comfortable, the interior is refined and elegant, providing the perfect mixture of a fine and casual dining experience. With salads packed full of local ingredients that make for a meal in themselves, and crispy thin-based pizzas, diners won’t be disappointed with Che Nova as their dinner destination after a day of exploring the bay. Refreshingly affordable and with a good selection of local wines, beers and spirits, the venue is also a pleasant destination for afternoon drinks. Here, guests can sit outside and watch the people wander by on the Dobrota bay.
Specializing in grilled meat and fish, Galerija’s impeccable food presentation makes it hard to even begin eating, with guests not wanting to spoil the chef’s artistry. As the restaurant is ideally situated on the bay with a view of both the water and the surrounding mountains, sit outside here to make the most of the balmy Kotor evenings. The seafood platter and the chef’s antipasti are must-tries. With these, diners can sample local delicacies including the region’s famed olives and locally made smoked cheeses. Galerija offers one of the best selections of Montenegrin wine available. Guests should be sure to try the native Vranac, a red wine which looks almost purple, with berry, cinnamon and chocolate undertones.
Galerija, Kotor, Montenegro. +382 32 322 125
This amiable, family-run restaurant is operated by a talented local fisherman who brings in fresh catch every day from the bay area. Tucked away down a quiet cobbled lane in the town, Cesarica gives a true taste of Kotor daily life, and provides a much needed break from the busy beaches. In the quaint and rustic restaurant with a cave-like brick interior, guests can enjoy a candlelit dinner. It is made with care by family chefs, with the mussels and squid being particularly tasty, as well as the traditional fish and chips. Extremely affordable and serving food of unparalleled freshness, Cesarica is the town’s best-kept secret, and one which makes for a wonderfully intimate and memorable evening out.
Casa del Mare
This upmarket boutique hotel offers an intimate location in which visitors can dine in style. With tastefully decorated, contemporary bedrooms, and a small pebble beach where guests can lounge on hammocks or in tented double sun beds, Casa del Mare is a true Montenegrin paradise. Eating in the hotel restaurant is a chic fine-dining experience, with the carefully selected menu aiming to combine international cuisine with traditional influences and regional produce. Opulently decorated with plush sofas, golden table runners and the finest tableware, this restaurant makes guests feel like royalty. Here they can enjoy the polished and professional service. Visitors looking for a slightly more relaxed meal can visit the hotel’s beach bar, a great place to enjoy the bay scenery at night, when it is romantically lit up with candles and lanterns.
Casa del Mare, Orahovac bb, Kotor, Montenegro. +382 69 700 702
For Kotor visitors with a sweet tooth or simply a penchant for a first-class cup of coffee, a few hours in Forza Mare is absolutely mandatory. This high-end hotel, restaurant and cafe is situated right on the water, providing one of the best places to watch the sunset in the city. Chic, contemporary, and colorful on the inside with a stunning terrace area overlooking the tranquil waters, Forza oozes style and sophistication. It serves sandwiches and light bites throughout the day, and luxurious dishes such as sea bass and lobster in the evening. Guests will want to save room for dessert, which is what Forza is famed for citywide. From their traditional Arabic baklava, a filo pastry dish packed with nuts and drizzled in honey, to cheesecakes and ice-cream sundaes overflowing with fresh fruit, Forza has truly mastered the art of dessert. Couple with one of their aromatic, perfectly made coffees for an afternoon treat to remember, or come back for dinner to enjoy the glamorous evening atmosphere.
Forza Mare Hotel, Kriva ulica, Kotor, Montenegro. +382 32 333 500
Another of Kotor’s best boutique hotels, Hippocampus, combines an historic location in the heart of Kotor old town with a luxurious, Asian and Middle Eastern-inspired interior. Each bedroom has its own decor of original stone walls, marble sinks and chic contemporary art. As the preferred hotel of the fashionable and cool, the Hippocampus restaurant radiates an atmosphere fit for the most stylish of diners. A melange of modern and vintage features, from the exposed beam ceiling to the art deco style lamps, the restaurant exudes a feel of originality. There is a menu which aims to break the mold of the typical meat and fish options and diners can choose from a diversified menu that ranges from octopus to vegetable-stuffed chicken wrapped in parma ham. A number of vegetarian dishes are also available. The hotel’s rooftop terrace overlooking the terracotta roofs of the old town is the perfect place to eat and unwind on a summer’s evening.
Hotel Hippocampus, Stari Grad 489, Kotor, Montenegro. +382 78 106 160