Dubrovnik

Local recipes

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Orancini
Peel an orange, preferably unwaxed, organically grown (you don’t want pesticides on the skin). Cut the peel into strips about 3-5cm long and 0.5cm wide. Pop the peel into a dish and cover with water. Leave to stand for two days. Put the strips and water in a pan, bring to the boil then drain off the water. Add sugar in an amount equal to the weight of the orange strips. Stir in the pan with just a drop of water until the water evaporates. Again, leave to drain, then roll the strips in sugar. Leave to dry.


Bruštulane mjendule
Sugared almonds to you and me. Weigh out some almonds, pop them in a pan with an equal amount of sugar. For every 50g of almonds add a dessert spoon of water. Warm the pan on a medium heat, constantly stirring until all the sugar melts, then solidifies and sticks to the almonds. Shake onto a plate and leave to cool before attacking.


Kotonjata
From Dubrovnik in the south, it's a strongly flavoured dessert that looks like a jelly. No friends, it's not a jelly at all but is instead the wiggly product of a sweet and bitter fruit called dunja. Wise old grandmas often place a number of these yellow guys all around the house to ward off the raunchier stenches that can build up from time to time.


Mantala
A purple - coloured cake served with sweet black syrup, almonds and cinnamon.


The First Lady of the Adriatic
The joy of Mediterranean food is its simplicity, and you can't get much simpler than the humble sardine. A staple diet of poor fishermen's families for generations, sometimes looked down upon by those who think paying ten times more guarantees ten times more satisfaction, the sardine is beginning to take her rightful place as the queen of the sea.
They say there's no better place to eat sardines than right on the fishing boat. Able seamen rinse them in seawater, dip them in flour, chuck them into a pan of boiling oil, drain and salt them and peel the juicy white flesh off the bone, throwing the remains to the gulls. Try this at home - use plenty of good quality, strong, extra virgin oil. Buy bags of fresh sardines outside the fish market for 10kn.
A rather more refined way to eat sardines is grilled in a special wire rack over charcoal (or threaded onto twigs if you're nimble). Don't get fussy with them - leave the first side to cook, turn once or twice only, and then coat them in olive oil and salt. Eat with your fingers with hunks of fresh bread, local tomatoes and red wine.
When the festa is in town, you'll have the opportunity to try sardines at stands throughout the city. And in a good konoba (traditional fisherman's restaurant), you can try any number of alternative ways to eat these little bundles of goodness: salted, marinated, or eaten cold in a paté or a salad.

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