Surrounded by steep mountains plunging into the Adriatic Sea, Kotor is a city of awe-inspiring landscapes and even more spectacular food. Here you’ll find an assortment of meats, cheeses, breads and stews enhanced by spices and herbs, found throughout the Mediterranean and Balkan lands.
The fresh and simple farm-to-table specialties found in Kotor can win over any foodies. These top 15 things to eat in Kotor represent the best ingredients and flavors the city has to offer.
Save room for börek, a local treat that’s popular as a breakfast food. This filo pastry stuffed with spinach, cheese, meat and potatoes is the perfect combination of crunchy, gooey and greasy textures. Grab a bottle of plain yogurt to wash it down in Balkan style.
2. Black Risotto
Squid ink gives this rice dish its colorful name and hints of briny seafood flavor. It’s a coastal specialty that you’ll find along the shores of the Mediterranean, and Montenegro is no exception. Here you’ll find a version that features plenty of garlic, parsley and local wine.
If you enjoy a sweet treat in the afternoon or like to end dinner with dessert, seek out a slice of bajadera. It’s one of the most famous sweets in the Balkans. In the middle of this layered confection is a type of nougat made from crushed nuts and shortbread cookies.
This is sandwiched between layers of chocolate, making for a delicious, creamy snack.
Pasulj originated in the mountains of Montenegro, but this classic comfort food is now available in the city. It’s a Balkan version of baked beans, usually cooked slowly with additions of meat and local spices. Some restaurants even cook the dish over an open fire for a rustic meal.
If you order seafood while in port—and let’s be honest, you probably will—you will most likely see silverbeet on the side. Also known as Swiss chard, this leafy green is sauteed with a generous portion of garlic and some boiled potatoes. These flavors pair well with the lemon and parsley in the fish to brighten the dish.
No trip to the Balkans is complete without a piece of baklava. Get ready to dive into the layers of filo pastry and ground walnuts soaked in sweet syrup. The Montenegrin version also has a touch of lemon to balance the sweetness of this popular dessert. It’s an easy answer to the question of what to eat in Kotor.
If you’ve enjoyed the flavors of fried rings of squid in Italy or Greece, you’re in for a treat in Kotor. Fishermen spend the wee hours of the morning catching fresh squid for the local restaurants, where it’s sliced and fried to a golden brown.
Just don’t look for a side of cocktail sauce for dipping. Instead, you’ll find silverbeet and potatoes cooked in a delicious garlic sauce. Montenegrin calamari is a must try!
8. Catch of the Day
It should be no surprise that some of the best food Kotor has to offer includes seafood pulled directly from Kotor Bay. For the freshest Montenegrin flavors, ask the restaurant staff about the catch of the day. Some of the most popular fish include mackerel and tuna, but you’ll also find carp and sardines on many menus.
Fast food is convenient when you want a quick snack on the road, but you won’t find a drive-through on the streets of Kotor. Instead, you’ll see grill shops called ćevabdžinicas on most street corners, selling Montenegrin-style fast food like cevapi. Made from pork or beef, these small sausage-shaped meat patties are served in a bread bun and hit the spot.
10. Njeguski Steak
This famous dish was created by the private chef of a former president andis packed with a variety of flavors. The base of Njeguski Steak is pork schnitzel and topped with cream cheese and a Montenegrin specialty—Njegusi prosciutto.
Fries and a selection of vegetables are typically along with the meat.
11. Karadjordjeva Schnitzel
What happens when you roll up a piece of Njeguski steak and then fry it? In Kotor, it’s called a Karadjordjeva schnitzel, the cousin dish to the region’s most famous steak.
Order it alongside an original steak and host your own tasting party to compare the two, and find out if you prefer your steak breaded or naked.
12. Octopus Salad
Octopus salad is traditional Mediterranean fare, but the Montenegrin version is anything but traditional. Each house and restaurant has its own interpretation of this classic combination of octopus and vegetables. In fact, the only thing they have in common is a generous helping of garlic and parsley.
Gavice is a traditional Montenegrin snack food that you may need to eat with your eyes closed. These small fish have their heads removed before they’re floured and fried.
Yes, you eat the entire fish, including the scales and bones, but they’re delicious. Consider it another memory to make on your cruise around Europe.
14. Seafood Buzara
There’s nothing quite as comforting as a bowl of soup or stew. In Kotor, the go-to stew features assorted shellfish (including prawns and shrimp), which is an excellent accompaniment to your European cruise vacation. Expect chunks of onions and tomatoes slow-cooked in wine and a selection of local herbs.
Despite an abundance of fresh vegetables available, meat takes center stage in Montenegrin cuisine. Sač isn’t a specific dish, but it instead refers to a common cooking method used for goat, beef, pork and mutton. The sač is a metal dome that covers the meat during the cooking process.
It’s then covered in ashes and hot coals to roast the meat until it melts. A Sač would make a great souvenir for the foodie in your life! If you see a dish advertised as ispod saca, be sure to order it.
Great meals are part of the cruise experience both on and off the ship. In addition to the exciting offerings available on your cruise to Kotor, you’ll discover an amazing variety of food to try when you’re in port.