If you fancy yourself a foodie, consider a European Carnival® cruise and explore the flavors of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Sailing from port to port, you’ll see more of the world than you ever dreamed possible and tickle your taste buds with new and flavorful cuisine. When you pull into port at Dubrovnik, prepare for old world charm, cultural keepsakes, and a delicious assortment of traditional dishes to match. In between your exploration and exciting shore excursions, make sure to try the authentic flavors of the many specialties of this city. We have created a list of the top 15 things to eat in Dubrovnik, let us know your favorite!
1. Grilled Fish
With quality ingredients fresh from the land and sea, many dishes in Dubrovnik are simple and rustic. To prepare fish, locals often just brush them with olive oil, flavor with lemon juice and grill. Served with a side of vegetables, this meal is a regional classic you must try.
For a healthy and delicious accompaniment to grilled fish, try a serving of blitva. This yummy side dish features chunks of boiled, then pan-fried potatoes with Swiss chard and sliced garlic mixed in. A dash of salt and pepper delivers the perfect bite.
3. Black Risotto (Crni Rizot)
A location along the Adriatic coastline promises many possibilities when it comes to seafood in Dubrovnik. One popular dish — black risotto — gets its unusual dark color from squid ink, and the recipe often incorporates shellfish like mussels and clams. Try this unique and popular dish during your trip.
4. Dirty Macaroni (Šporki Makaruli)
Certain recipes in Dubrovnik have been passed down for generations. Šporki Makaruli features macaroni topped with a meat sauce similar to Bolognese. Ingredients like beef, onions, olive oil, red wine, tomato sauce, garlic and little nutmeg or cinnamon give this dish loads of flavor, but make sure to enjoy it with plenty of napkins.
If you’re still wondering what to eat in Dubrovnik, try buzara, which means stew in English. Buzara is a Croatian method for preparing seafood, particularly shellfish. To make the dish, locals cook up shrimp, mussels or clams with breadcrumbs, olive oil, wine, garlic and fresh herbs for fresh-from-the-sea flavor.
6. Octopus Salad
In warm weather, Croatians enjoy dining on octopus salad. While every family has a different recipe for this dish, all of them start with chunks of cold, cooked octopus and a dressing of olive oil and red wine vinegar. Additional ingredients might include diced potatoes, chopped onion, sliced olives and minced parsley.
If you visit Dubrovnik in the winter, make sure to try bakalar. Served in Croatian homes on Christmas Eve, this dried cod dish can be made in many different ways, from a fish and potato mash to a fish stew featuring potatoes and garlic.
For the ultimate comfort food, dig into a serving of pašticada. This braised beef dish cooks for hours for ultra-tender meat, and ingredients like bacon, onions, carrots, prunes, parsley and nutmeg create a rich and savory sauce. Served with homemade pasta or gnocchi, pašticada couldn’t be more satisfying.
9. Fresh Oysters
Some of the world’s best oysters are plucked from the seabed of the Bay of Mali Ston, located just up the coast from Dubrovnik. The unique blend of nutrients that naturally occurs in the Bay, gives these oysters their distinctive, briny flavor. Some travelers even come to this part of the world just to taste these delicacies.
If you want to satisfy a sweet tooth, make sure to try a popular custard-style dish called rožata. While it looks like crème brûlée, rožata tastes unlike any other dessert due to the addition of rose liqueur in the recipe. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll want to learn how to recreate rožata at home.
11. Ston Cake (Stonska Torta)
Another unique dessert you can find in Dubrovnik is Ston Cake, which comes from the village of Ston just up the coastline. Encased in a pie-style pastry is a filling made with cooked penne pasta — yes, you read that right — mixed with chocolate, butter, cinnamon, sugar, nuts and eggs. This “cake” offers a true taste of the Dalmatian region.
12. Paški Sir (Pag) Cheese
If you’re a cheese lover, chances are Paški Sir will be one of your favorite things to eat in Dubrovnik. This award-winning yellow cheese comes from Pag, an island off the Northern Dalmatian coast. It is made from sheep’s milk and comes in two forms: young, which is light-colored, salty and mild and aged, which is darker, firmer and stronger in flavor. This cheese pairs well with wine and pršut, a type of Croatian smoked ham.
13. Candied Orange Peel (Narancini)
You can find candied orange peel in many Croatian homes served in bowls or jars like candy. To make it, wild orange peels are cut into thin strips, soaked in water for days and boiled until tender. Then, the strips are coated in sugar and left to dry for several more days. The result is a one-of-a-kind citrusy, sweet treat.
14. Green Stew (Zelena Menestra)
When it comes to a simple, rustic dish, nothing beats zelena menestra. This one-pot stew features three key ingredients: meat, potatoes and cabbage, and Croatians have been preparing it for centuries. Types of meat used for zelena menestra might include ham hock, bacon, prosciutto, lamb and/or sausage.
With the perfect growing conditions, olives are plentiful in the Dalmatian region. In fact, there are more olive trees in Croatia than people. Around Dubrovnik, groves yield deep-green olives that taste delicious when cured and they produce high-quality olive oil.
If you’re a food connoisseur, a European cruise offers an enjoyable way to expand your palate. For truly unique recipes and flavors, make sure your Carnival cruise ship stops in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Featuring fresh seafood, fruits, veggies and locally-made olive oil, tasty Croatian food will keep you coming back to Dubrovnik again and again.