Dubrovnik Part 2 – Two good Restaurants of Dubrovnik

Finding a restaurant in Dubrovnik is not tough. The city is packed with possibilities. We had recommendations from our friends as well as from different kind of sources, magazines, guides etc. But still we struggled a bit to find the level we are used to in Luxembourg. The price level was as I mentioned in my last post surpricingly high and not always on par with what landed on the plates. Sea bass, scallops and oysters are found on most menus – Dubrovnik getting all those resoources from the clear waters surrounding the city – the Adriatic Ocean. Like I mention in the last post, wines are served and left on the table for you to help yourselves. Sometimes the waiter will lend a hand, but not always.

Anyway, I shall give you a selection of our favourite dining spots ranging from  bar/brasserie to top gastronomic ones – starting at the lower end of the scale with

Restaurant Veritas

More a bar than a restaurant, much more a terrasse in fact. The food here was very simple, but stil on a few occasions we were spoiled with something that rose above much higher priced places. It is situated on the corner of the small market square where Oscar and Emil where playing most days with the hundreds of doves. Comfortably chairs, shadow or a spot in the sun, Elvis will make sure you feel at ease, and his smile and speed will charm you.

Deep fried Octopussy with French Fries...

Beautilful, simple dish. If they had offered a home-made sauce tartare with this one it would have been the perfect dish.

Elivs and the Sea bass...

So after having met Bruce Springsteen already - Oscar finally gets to meet the real deal - Elvis.

One day, we just passed by for a drink, and Elvis told us we had to have the fish he just got in, – so we stayed a while, even took a walk, came back had a starter and was served this perfectly cooked fish which Elvis prepared before our eyes. It came with a garlic/oil dressing, we also ordered a gorgonzola sauce….and together it was one hell of a meal. One of the best we had in town and a 8p score. But on most occasions the food was more simple and Veritas definetely lives from the service of Elvis and the placement on this beautiful square. Most meals for a family with a bottle of wine will cost you between 75 eur and 110 eur.

My rating for Veritas: Food  4.5p (10) service 4.5p (5) ambience 4p (5), – I shall add half a happiness point for Elvis – Total Score  13.5p (20)

*

Restaurant Proto

Our first evening and a lunch a few days later we spent at Proto, which is highlighted as one of the best fish restaurants in town. One of the chefs Branko Kusovac is just back from a 45 day stay at Noma in Copenhagen – and Amra our great and beautiful waiter of the evening told us about his praise for that experience.

The old fashioned but nice dining room, like a German Weinstube in Munich...

A perfect painting in a fish restaurant, Oscar was very impressed. We had to go back one day, just to look at the painting...

Beautiful starter...

The smoked tuna blew us away, great in texture and taste, the sardelles/anchovis not too salty on a bed of salad, really a good simple dish 8p

Our mains….

Fish....damn was ít sea bass or sole .... with grilled vegetables

Great vegetables, the fish – I found that something went wrong, or maybe it was just my expectations. It was rather soaked – in butter or oil – or both – and not as great as it looked. The red reduction was misplaced in my humble opinion.

Grilled Sole with potatoes, Eggplant and Zucchini

A little less fish on the plate would have done the trick, however the fish good, again the whole plate a bit too soaky

We had two bottles of wines – one was this great Chardonnay

Local wine...

the second one a bottle of rosé – we had  an amuse, a starter and a main dish, the boys shared a great quality schnitzel with fries – the mentioned two bottles of wine, water and fanta. and the meal clocked in at just around 200 eur. Not really expensive, and with the 2 bottle of wines I guess you cannot really argue. We felt we had a good meal, nothing more nothing less. We liked the place and came back for the lunch as I mentioned and had this plate for me and just smoked tuna for the missus..

Great Great Great lunch plate..all you need.

As I said above, Amra was a great, serviceminded waiter, some of the food was great, some did not quiete impress on that evening. There is however a huge menu to choose from, great table setting, great bread, a decent wine list and a kitchen that seems to have some eye for quality and good produce. I wish Branko Kusovac all the luck in this world to achieve what he aims for. We thank Amra for her wonderful service on that night. We are happy to recommend Proto as a good restaurant in town.

My rating for Restaurant Proto: Food  6p (10) service 4.5p (5) ambience 4p (5), Total Score  14.5p (20)

I shall be back tomorrow with our two favourite restaurants from this trip – I shall leave you today with what must be a contender for the worst wine label ever. The wine as such was drinkable, but the bottle and label – oh dear.

Somebody fire that designer.

Dubrovnik Part 1 – Dubrovnik and Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik

Just back from a wonderful trip to one of the most pretty cities in the world. We thank you dear friends for letting us stay in your beautiful city house inside the historic city walls.

Stradun - the main street by day

- and by night

Here are my first thoughts on our trip….

People are friendly, especially the warmth of Natascha, a young female waiter, the eversmiling and ready to please you waiter Elvis, the wonderful Amra in Proto, Mario and the hostess at Restaurant Dubrovnik comes to mind – but also the whole staff at Restaurant Nautika, the people on the squares and shops….

But 10 days with 2 rather younger active boys was enough this time around. What they really loved was playing with the doves on the small square and the pool and ipad service of the Hotel Excelsior. We missed the lift going up into the mountains due to bad weather. We had two different wonderful boat trips. Local wines comes in restaurant at around triple the shop price – i.e. 20-30 eur for a nice bottle, 40-60 for a superior. Meals for a family clocked in at 90 eur for your local brasserie food and 300 eur for top of the pops for a two adults with 2 children.

The city is so old – with its old fence – the town walls – that you feel zapped back in time. Its not hard to imagine this city at war. Its hard to imagine it was only 20 years ago last time around.

Food/Restaurants :

A little disappointed here. With a numerous amount of restaurants to choose from – most of them promoting local food and fresh fish, it was hard to find the level that we are (maybe) spoiled with in Luxembourg. The service and the local wines were all at a very good level. But the pricing was not far from that of Luxembourgish restaurants, maybe even above that sometimes and the food lacked somewhat. That is mainly due to the status of Dubrovnik, the amount of tourists and the cruise liners coming in on a daily basis during season I guess.

One thing that struck us was – in all restaurants – even the best of restaurants – your wine is served and left on the table for you to help yourself. In better restaurants they would sometimes assist you – but not as in making sure your glass was never empty. Just once in a while. That takes away some pressure for the waiter I guess, and you just had to get used to that.

But the highlight of the gastronomic part of the trip was probably Restaurant Nautica, which is known as the best restaurant in town, and Restaurant Dubrovnik not far behind but with a much more affordable price level. Restaurant Proto had good an acceptable level as well, and as for low budget dining Veritas with always smiling Elvis was a hit with the boys.

I shall get back to those restaurants in individual reviews in the coming days.

Here is a few shots from the city:

"Room with a view" - morning view form the breakfast table...

"When doves cry"...lunch time, a daily event in the small market square where Veritas and always smiling Elvis can be found.

Emil and "Birds"

Dending her honour - Dubrovnik´s.

Hotels:

After the week in the city house of our friends, we had opted for a few nights in a hotel with an indoor pool, to entertain the boys mainly, but also to have a change of pace. We originally booked another one than the one we ended up in, – we went there and was met with a cool receptionist – cool as in I dont give a damn. That combined with the somewhat remote placement in compare to the old city centre, we opted for the grand old hotel in town – Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik. As a matter of fact hotels was actually the only bargain to be found in Dubrovnik.

Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik:

From the second we entered the hotel to the moment we left – we were treated as you would expect – or even above that. All staff smiling. All staff greeting you. All staff on their toes to make you feel well. The hotel has hosted kings and queens, whores and gamblers – among others Duke Ellington, QE2, Roger Moore, Coppola, Sophia Loren, Morgan Freeman, Yul Brunner, Sebastian Coe, you name them – so I guess it was good enough for us.

Heres a few shots from the hotel

Great view from our balcony

- and by night.

The fine in house restaurant with the terrrasse and Dubrovnok in the back-ground.

A rose in Dubrovnik - so was the hotel.

The different restaurants in house ranges from bar food, to a sushi bar to a more gastronomic one. Neither of them impressed us a lot. Best meal was actually the last evening where my simple cheese platter did not try to be more than it was. In other cases, it was as if they were simply trying to produce international dishes they were not capable of. Nevertheless, this we has already experienced in town center and did not surprice us.

My conclusion:

Highlights of the trip were the overwhelming beauty of the city, the local artist of whom we bought a small painting, the friendly waiter Mario at Restaurant Dubrovnik, the top service at Restaurant Nautika, the crystal blue waters that surrounded the city, and the wonderful stay at Hotel Excelsior. Should you ever choose to go to Dubrovnik – which you should off course -Hotel Excelsior is the place to be. Ace views, top service, wonderful rooms.

We did find that the 10 nights were the limit for our family, – but we did not get bored as such. We had some heavy rains and storms the last few days and in that respect it was good that we could spend it inside the warm atmosphere of Hotel Excelsior.

I shall also thank the people we met along the way during our extended week here….The two great American women at Nautica, thanks for the chat, good luck in Milano and back home – and the wonderful British couple at Restaurant Dubrovnik – well – we actually went back and changed the reservation for the third evening to surprice you – and Mario came at 8 pm to tell us you cancelled for the evening. Off course we were disappointed – but we thank you for the nice evening we spend together on the first night – and hope you have had a safe return. And to the Australian couple on the boat trip, and the young british travelling couple – I shot some great photos of you, please revert if you want the pictures. Anyway, If any of you read this, please comment here.

Famous last words – We thank you Dubrovnik for a great stay, we thank you dear friends for inviting us into your home. And to Elvis – rock on.