When it comes to eating in Dubrovnik, there are a few things the savvy newcomer should be aware of. First, and on a high note, the local Dalmation food here is ubiquitous, and can be delicious. Fresh seafood, savory polenta, Italian-inspired risotto and prsut (smoked ham) and roasted meats like lamb and veal are all staple dishes of the area. Unfortunately, because of the city’s popularity, these selections also tend to be noticeably more expensive when compared to the rest of the country. Many of the overpriced restaurants you’ll find both inside and outside of Old Town cater to Dubrovnik’s profusion of tourists, so good budget eateries serving something other than pizza are relatively few and far between. Still, with a couple helpful hints, you should be able to make the most of the experience.
Perhaps first in importance when deciding where to eat is this: don’t confine your search. Though restaurants on the main strips both within and immediately outside of Old Town may be the most convenient, they are often the most overpriced as well. Look for the side streets. By all measures Dubrovnik is a safe city to get lost in, and you’ll find that prices at restaurants even 3-4 blocks away from the main drags are significantly lower for the same caliber meal. Still, if you can’t escape it, check along avenues like ul. Placa and squares like Bunic (near the cathedral) for a restaurant that looks like your style. For lovers of simple but delicious seafood, Kamenice (Gunduliceva Poljana 8) is a good name to remember, as well as the reasonable “fixed price” menu at Dundo Maroje (Kovaćka bb) for those with a hankering for large plates of Croatian cooking.
This same thinking applies to markets as well. Though both of Dubrovnik’s 2 main markets (Old Town and Gruz) offer a richer experience and lower cost than restaurant dining, you can probably guess which of the two is the more marketed for tourists. If you can’t avoid it, hit up the Gundulićeva poljana market (near the Cathedral) on a Saturday, when the usual fresh produce is supplemented with a selection of cheeses, spices, olives and other more exotic options. Otherwise, take the more local approach and head to Gruž close to the Ferry Terminal, preferably on a Friday morning when the selection tends to be of a consistently high quality. The food here is at once more varied and less expensive than in Old Town, plus you’ll have that distinct feeling of having participated in a cultural activity that remains, for the time being, relatively unexploited. That’s a rarity here. Now “jesti!”