Breakfast is served on the PUCIC PALACE’S roof terrace that overlooks other buildings and tiled roofs - and looks down onto the little streets. It’s very low key - outdoor tables and chairs in a pretty stone courtyard.

Considering this
lovely position, the meal itself was pretty ordinary, probably the most disappointing breakfast of the trip. The minimal menu was very ‘eat to live,’ not ‘live to eat’ and there was no buffet. The breadbasket had a few pastries and there were oats and eggs, but nothing creative or unique was happening in the kitchen in the AM.

My normal
routine would be to go to plan B and find our regular café nook for the next dew days. But Dubrovnik doesn’t seem to have a real outdoor breakfast culture, even though the cafes are hopping for the rest of the day.

Dubrovnik’s old town is really all about lunch and late dinner, and of course cafes in the day serving pastries and coffees.

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We discovered the Dubrovnik pizzerias on our first night, when we were desperate to find something quick and delicious to feed our tired trouper of a daughter, Zoe; one slice of a margeurita worked its magic. Most places with good pizza like Rome and New York still serve it in a low end, street food way. Here, going to a pizzeria is a lovely, quite refined thing to do.

Even though you can order them takeaway, the windows in the wall are attached to a bone fide restaurant, with tables, white linen tableclothes and awnings outside. These places are abuzz with chatter and clinking glasses. Young people who may not have the inclination or budget for a sit down, three course meal - or travelers like us who like being on the move - can swing by and still get a nicely presented, restaurant quality pizza slice on little pieces of cardboard. It is certainly part of the cultural fabric here - and a lifesaver when you have kids. They have a touch of class. A more historical destination like Dubrovnik tends to still attract the backpackers, but not the rowdy ones.

East West Beach Club (refer our see and do section for Dubrovnik…)

Buza (refer our see and do section for Dubrovnik…)

Porporela ( refer our see and do section for Dubrovnik…)

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EAST WEST BEACH CLUB | Frana Supila bb , Dubrovnik | + 385 98 980 9017 | View web site
BUZA | Ispod Mira follow the south wall in the old town – see the sign “cold drinks”, and enter via the little door calles St. Stjepan., Dubrovnik |
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Eating at the hotel was a good option for us after arriving in Dubrovnik late evening, after a massive day hopping across Europe. I made an attempt to start wandering the streets, but staying close to the hotel was the priority. Noah didn’t even come with us and stayed with Zoe, who was exhausted.

There are
tables right on Gunderlic Square, with that very European, people- watching atmosphere. The hotel promotes the restaurant café as one of the best in town - although we certainly didn’t stretch them with our requests. Our attitude was ‘get us to bed’ - not ‘let the chef’s tricks begin.’ There were always people at Café Royal during our stay, trying the national dishes, like smoked ham with marinated figs and sea stone soup.

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CAFE ROYALE| Gunderlic Square, Dubrovnik |
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I love personal recommendations from locals, so when our manager at the Pucic Palace, Nicolina proposed a spot owned by her inlaws, Suzannah and Niksai we jumped at the chance. She even took us there for an introduction to this lovely family, who work alongside their sons. Suzannah, in great English, workshopped Sheira’s gluten free dietary problems and mentioned a bonus: her mother works in the kitchen as well. Who doesn’t love a grandmother stirring her secret, special family sauces in a restaurant kitchen! We were promised the most amazing homemade cheeses; they even cure their own hams here.

That evening, I really liked the convivial atmosphere and mix of locals with the travelers like us. There is no doubt that Nicolina whispered in advance, look after these people. Suzannah kept bringing entrée suggestions out to our table outside like an affectionately pushy matriarch - absolutely delicious olives, fresh tomatoes, salad nicoise and beautiful grilled, marinated vegetables like artichoke, onion and red peppers.

And there is bountiful seafood on the menu: my tuna steak was juicy (always a hard trick to pull off with a tougher fish) and the delicious mussels were swimming in garlic. There are those dishes that are perfect for a coastal location, like fish Carpaccio, crayfish and squid, and other options, like local classic, Dalmation smoked ham (which seems to be the national treasure here), black risotto and grilled calf scallop.

We loved the fresh food, variety and family-run atmosphere; our hostess insisted on bringing us fruit and cakes on the house and kissing us all goodbye. And if you are willing to strike up a song at the bar or carouse with the locals, you may make it onto their Konoba "RIBAR" facebook page, which is full of regulars and passers by having a fun evening there.

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RIBAR | Damjana Jude b.b., Dubrovnik |
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I first saw photos of this incredibly up-to-the-minute restaurant and bar in the Croatia Airlines magazine - which could turn out to be a reason not to go. But after walking in the vicinity, I couldn’t help but notice Gil’s prominent position overlooking the old port town and the cool, high design feel.

We had gone for the traditional food and old-school, tavern like atmosphere each night so we were ready to try the Dubrovnic upbeat experience in the open air, which really stands out in a town with almost no modern architecture. This ‘cuisine and pop lounge’ is the funkiest address in town; we loved the chilled out summer and harem feel, really throwing caution to the wind as far as food goes.

Noah had hit a wall and bunkered down into his teen cave, but Zoe couldn’t wait to come out with us. As we walked down the busy wide thoroughfare, Placa, so beautifully lit and full of happy, chattering people, it was bittersweet, as this was our last night in Europe; I never want these trips to end.

As soon
as you enter Gil’s you recapture that funky, chic, international vibe that you’ll find from Rio to Costa Smeralda - wherever beautiful young people drape themselves around designer décor in stunning summer settings, listening to sexy music over cocktails. It’s a big space, with terraces and patios that are scattered with modernist furniture, big purple beanbags, fuchsia ottomans, banquettes under a chiffon tent and a funky chandelier made from oversized glass bubbles and bonsai trees. It was a total change of pace after all the original, historical layers to the city - a hip, fun jolt of modernity with a fabulous, circular deck that has gorgeous views over the glittering, blue bay Adriatic water, past the classic Dubrovnik honey-coloured stone, castle style wall.

The waiters were in crisp, white shirts and blue aprons and. I started dinner with a Beef Carpaccio.The oversized plate had large chunks of sharp parmesan, sprinkled olive oil and, unusually, a sealed jar with marinated vegetables inside. It was delicious, very tender and I couldn’t believe the size: it was a meal in itself.

Sheira’s fillet
steak was absolutely fabulous, ginormous! She and Zoe shared it and still couldn’t finish it. The artful gourmet presentation was as impressive as the size. The origami style paper bucket filled with chips as a side was like a little work of art and there were a lot of visual elements: the beautiful bowl of orchards on the table, a modernist starburst lamp in the corner. Sheira and I loved the big, whimsical plates with a gold curlicue graphic as well.

My salmon was cubed and topped with a caramelised sauce, seaweed and sesame seeds, alongside little nori rolls with ginger and caviar underneath - all underlined with a streak of wasabi. Zoe’s gorgeous desert was a soft chocolate mousse cake that caved in like a soufflé, with ice cream and sauces; the kind of thing that only a kid gets away with, and never forgets! We were amazed that the staff were so efficient, as there were two really big parties alongside us: usually the first sign that you will lose service. We loved the food, view and people watching, as the bright young things booked into their lounge booths with reserved ropes; it was a chance to see the contemporary, social side of Dubrovnik. The perfect time to hit Gil’s is at 9.30-10pm, and watch the bar fill.

The bill was pretty steep - Gil’s was the most expensive restaurant we’d been to in Croatia - but we got value considering the generous servings, ambience and service. If you want to eat at the high end Croatia its costly,even in a regional area. We had a knockout meal on a more remote island (see KORCULA) and paid about US $400 for four.

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GIL’S | 20 Sv. Domenika , Dubrovnik | + 385 20 322 222 | View web site
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It is worth making a visit to this old Dubvrovnik confectionery to try Croatia’s very first national product, the original-recipe BAJADERA NOUGAT. Well, that’s your cultural excuse to enjoy some serious, high grade chocolate anyway! The locals here hold these treats dear because the country grew up with them: Kraš have been making their milk and hazelnut or cream-filled chocolate bars since the 1920s. The nostalgic Životinjsko carstvo/Animal Kingdom bars for kids are famous for their iconic 1950s ad campaigns.

The recipes have something comforting and old fashioned about them too - that unbeatable honey, butter, eggs and chocolate combo. But there are Eastern flavours, and plenty of great potential gift if you want to bring a bit of Croatia home, like the intense, rich ‘1911’ chocolate, nicknamed, ‘the dark sin;’ a bag of Krašotice biscuits or, if you have a real deathwish for your diet, Griotte Dessert - Mediterranean sour cherries in liqueur and chocolate.

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KRAS CONFECTIONARY | No 2, Stradum Zamanjina , Dubrovnik | View web site
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