Azur, Dubrovnik 09-2018

You'd be forgiven for thinking most places in the Balkans serve similar types of ingredients in similar ways. It's because they do. Most restaurants have the local specialties and otherwise a standard way of cooking each type of seafood. That's where something like Azur comes in, bringing Asian fusion to the local ingredients of Croatia. For that reason it is popular, and for that reason anyone who is in Dubrovnik for a short while should eat here. If nothing else, just for the variety.

The atmosphere is nice. Sitting along a stone wall (without insects luckily) in semi-natural mood light. The menu is cheeky and playful in its tone. 

- Pork belly Beijing tacos 68kn for 2 pieces - chewy meat but good with cucumber, hoisin, chilli, spring onion;
- Monkfish in black curry sauce with zucchini rice 158kn - this expensive dish was a surprise in its form. I expected a curry. Instead it was monkfish with firm flesh deepfried and placed on squid ink. I could taste some coconut milk but not any red curry paste. It was served with sushi rice;
- CroAsian style seafood laksa 125kn - nice very thick soup with a good clear chilli kick which is unusual for this region. There was an added lime and more of a curry flavour than a Thai laksa. Small seafood was tasty but the prawns soft rather than crunchy;
- Azur baklava (4 kinds of nuts, spices, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, star anise, cinnamon) 38kn - this was odd. The flavour was heavily anise spiced, and also annoying in that there was broken star anise through it which made it hard to eat. I told them this and they said it was the broken piece on top. Clearly not as it was pervasive throughout. Would not order this again.

Jazz versions of Avicii, Swedish House Mafia and Lorde are what it's all about - cool and hip but in a classy way.

As far as Asian fusion places go, this certainly wasn't one of the best I've had. But like I said, it's different and you need that in Croatia. Kudos on them for trying. I'd go back again.

Hard Jazz Caffe Troubadour, Dubrovnik 09-2018

It's an odd place. At night there is sultry jazz to listen whilst enjoying cocktails.

During the day, all drinks are 50% off.

Additionally it is the only place (I could find anyway) that had ustipci. Ever since these homemade gems were served to us in Montenegro along the Via Dinarica (, I was searching them out one last time before leaving the Balkans.

Those at Troubadour and not overly similar and not as good as in Nedajno. But they did suffice. And the sour cream to eat them with wasn't bad either.

Lokanda Peskarija, Dubrovnik 09-2018

On my one and only other visit to Dubrovnik, I fondly remember my final dinner being at Lokanda Peskarija ( On that occasion I sat inside (being colder and at night) but feasted on the most delicious charred squid my tongue has ever known.

For the final meal on this visit to Dubrovnik, I had to visit there again. Now that it was warm and sunny, a seat watching passersby, the boats and the mountains made for a different atmosphere.

The prices have escalated up by 50-100% since the last time. Hmmm. Such is the life of somewhere driven by tourism and Game Of Thrones.

- Mussels 104kn - as is typical for the region, the mussels are small and kept bearded. They are very flavoursome serves in salty water, and sometimes too potent but still strangely addictive with bread;
- Grilled squid 123kn - I thought it was a smaller serve but comparing photos now it probably is the same (with a 64% price rise). Tasty char of the squid was once again present and ripped through the sauce with with lemon, and bread to drag all the flavours together. Not as charred stiff as last time, but still good.

If I'm back in Dubrovnik, I'll come here again. I hope the prices won't have gone up by another 50-100%.

Peppino's, Dubrovnik 09-2018

There's a few icecreameries in Dubrovnik although none seem to have extremely high ratings. Dolce Vita is a creperie that also has icecream. If I'm honest, I didn't think the icecream looked very good and so didn't try it.

That left Peppino's which is more expensive but appears to be much more a single specialty gelato place.

The Pistachio Premium certainly caught my eye with its thick murky green colour flowing from tart shells. The serve itself was unusual - there's the dark brown sludge on top with some bits of nuts, and this part has all the pistachio flavour. The pale green below was really quite plain and lacking. I enjoyed eating the sludge but not so the pale.

It is likely to be the better gelato place in Dubrovnik, but maybe that just means there isn't a particularly good one (yet)...

Barba, Dubrovnik 09-2018

This place has remarkably good reviews for its burgers. It seemed like a perfect idea before a walking tour of the city.

Arriving just before opening, we were the first (and for a short while) only customers. There's a counter facing the street where I imagine people will queue for lunch, then sit on the stairs where Barba have placed cushions ready for gluteals. It would be glorious.

On this occasion we were inside and admiring the ridiculous number of creative forks adorning the lamps and walls.

- Anchovies on a bed of arugula with cherry tomatoes 73kn - it was this or the fried squid. Given it was the first meal since waking, we went for the fresher option. It was fine but in retrospect the fried squid looked and smelled fantastic. Don't make the same mistake;
- Fresh oysters 15kn each - I remember having these oysters at the more famous mussel place in the square ( Back then I thought the flavour was pretty good but the oysters themselves are so thin that there is only shivers of meat to chew on. This was the same;
- Shrimp burger 79kn - the octopus burger drew my fancy but the staff member recommended the shrimp. It was a breaded patty with bit of crispy outside texture and minimally discernible pieces of shrimp. The flavour of it was also therefore not that strong in the shrimp department. It was alright but I think I made the mistake of asking which burger she would suggest.

I would go back there but stick to the fried squid and try the octopus burger. The plate Barba might be a good combination of everything fried and fresh.

Pink Shrimp, Dubrovnik 09-2018

There's lots of places to choose from within the city walls of Dubrovnik. Knowing which are good is harder. The host of our flat highly recommended Pink Shrimp, and the reviews seemed pretty good. It was also close to the centre strip meaning minimal stair walking to get there. 

From the name you'd expect there to feature a lot of shrimp on the menu, and you'd be correct.

Unfortunately they all seem to be quite small and not all that satisfying. Thinking about this more now, that does seem to be the trend of the Adriatic shrimp.

- Mantecato Orzotto, saffron, shrimp 105kn - barley cooked well and al dente with good chewiness. Small prawns lurking inside. Overall nice;
- Buzara Adriatic shrimp, sea bass, julienne vegetables 115kn - tiny prawns that needed to be peeled. Seemed like a waste of time. Good fish and sauce however.

Expensive for the amount of food in each serve. I think there are better places and better value. I wouldn't go back here.

Pekara Bakery Panetteria, Bol 09-2018

I don't know the real name of this bakery (or even if it has one). But it's in a little square just off the main promenade in Bol and conveniently enroute to Zlatni Rat. I bought their borek for the walk and was unexpectedly impressed with their meaty crisp savoury version with nice black crust.

So much so I ate it again whilst waiting for the ferry back to Split.


Ranc Restaurant, Bol 09-2018

I really wanted to try some Croatian lamb under the peka bell. Unfortunately the few restaurants that have it only sell it per kg, which is too much for 2 people let alone wanting to try other dishes. Ranc does have a 140kn peka lamb on the menu, but needs to be pre-ordered. Brac lamb is supposedly deliciously well known and seemed like a perfect place to have it. There is also vitalac which is a lamb offal sausage but sadly very few places sell it, and the ones that do charge an otherworldly amount.

After a little despondence, I walked near the guesthouse to this restaurant up high above the sea and promenade below. Ranc has excellent reviews. After confirming they had lamb available (neither the peka nor the spit-roasted, but at least one) I made my decision to stay.

- Seafood risotto 90kn - savoury risotto with little prawns and mussels. A strong mussel flavour was pervasive throughout. Beards present in the tiny mussels too;
- Grilled lamb 130kn - lamb chops and a cutlet simply flavoured and good quality tender. Much of it was cooked to medium, which I thought was too much even though I requested rare-medium rare;
- Fried calamari 110kn - little fried calamari was nice. Not too salty;
- Duved (traditional stewed vegetables with rice) 30kn - this local dish sounded great and ended up being a tomato risotto with small bits of zucchini. It was very tomato-ey in flavour (obviously) and not altogether special. The serving was huge and so combined with the other risotto ended up being too much food.

I managed to try the lamb and see the quality of it. I wouldn't need to go back there again necessarily to try, although it may be the most affordable way in town to sample peka lamb if you are organised enough to pre-order it.

Gelato b058, Bol 09-2018

Along the promenade of Bol (and also I think a second smaller branch near the square) is b058 gelato.

After a tiring day braving the breeze along Zlatni Rat, it's nice to have gelato for the walk back. There are a few others ones closer to the beach itself, but they won't compare.

The nutella/hazelnut, summer fruit and pistachio were all savoured. The summer fruit had bits of fruit and the pistachio bits of pistachio. There were no crystals. The cones were a cool black colour but otherwise tasted normal. They also really filled the cones right up with gelato, and not only because it was melting in the heat. Flavours were good but not overly strong. Overall excellent. 

11kn per scoop.

Ribarska Kucica, Bol 09-2018

The highest rated restaurant with the best views overlooking the Mediterranean, the sea urchins below and the Dominican Monastery to the side. What a wonderful setting to have looked (on the same day during the lunch time) to have these sunset views. The warm September air with a soft breeze and gentle waves made it impeccable.

It isn't cheap for the privelege, but it isn't ridiculously more expensive than other places either. I wanted to try the peka bell octopus, but 1kg single-size would mean we wouldn't have been able to eat anything else.

Overall the food had lots of flavour and salt (a little too much toward the end).

- Fish broth 32kn - soup was a little thin but had good flavour. Had some small shrimp;
- Black cuttlefish risotto 78kn - strong flavour/seasoning and lots of octopus;
- Grilled calamari 120kn - nicely grilled and good char flavour;
- Brudet "Kuce" (anglerfish, shrimp, mussels, white beans, "pljukanci" homemade pasta") 130kn - strong fish and shellfish broth. Big prawns and mussels with beards. Lots of soft perfectly cooked fish. Overall really good;
- Homemade french-fried potatoes 28kn - tasty curved shape could have been crisper;
- Dalmatian-style Swiss chard 30kn - cooked with butter and nothing special overall.

 A fine meal in an excellent setting. For a special occasion.