Dining in Dubrovnik: A guide to Croatian cuisine
Traditional Dalmatian food’s all about fresh ingredients, with simple cooking techniques to let the natural flavours shine through.
As you’d expect, many of the dishes from the area feature fish and seafood. The Adriatic Sea’s home to mackerel, sea bass, sardines, prawns, mussels, squid and much more. Most of it’s best just marinated in garlic, lemon and olive oil and then grilled. There’s also brodet, which is a fish stew made with at least three types of fish as well as tomatoes and onions.
You’ll also find Italian influenced dishes like crni rižot, which is a black risotto with an intense seafood flavour which gets its colour from squid ink.
Dalmatian food isn’t all about seafood though. Pašticada’s one of the area’s most famous dishes. It’s a rich beef stew that’s cooked in a sauce made from bacon, onions, tomato, parsley root, nutmeg, prunes and prošek (a local dessert wine). The beef has to be marinated in vinegar overnight then cooked for five hours so it takes a lot of work to make.
Don’t miss trying pršut, which is a thinly sliced Dalmatian ham that’s served as an aperitif alongside a hard sheep’s cheese from Pag Island called paški sir.
Then there’s peka, which isn’t a particular dish but more a method of cooking. Potatoes and lamb or octopus are piled up beneath a heavy iron lid called a peka. Then they’re covered in hot coals and left to cook until the meat or fish is tender and the potatoes have soaked up all the tasty juices.
For dessert, rozata is Dubrovnik’s take on a crème brûlée. It’s a custard pudding that uses a local rose liqueur called Rozalin to give it a unique flavour. Or there’s Stonska torta, a cake which comes from the nearby town of Ston. It’s filled with chocolate, almonds, walnuts and spices, and when you cut it open you find pasta tubes soaked in rum.