Travis Eats His Way Through Europe (Part 2 – The Adriatic Coast)

For the second installment of “reading about, looking at pictures, and becoming insanely jealous of the various foods we ate in Europe” I have decided to write about the food we consumed while traveling along the Adriatic Coast – namely in Montenegro and Croatia.
While I was fairly familiar with the cuisine we encountered in Greece, I really had no idea what to expect in Montenegro and Croatia. I thought (and Calli hoped) that it might be similar to Greek food (it wasn’t) or Italian food (kind of…I guess), however in the end we found an abundance of fresh fish and local favorites to fill our bellies.
Italian inspired dishes with local twists are very common.

As you may expect, given the locations we traveled to (mainly along the coast), Croatian and Montenegrin cuisine revolves extensively around the fresh daily seafood catch from the Adriatic. Squid and octopus, mussels and clams, and fish of all imaginable shapes and size are featured on menus everywhere.

Fried squids and grilled fish at Buffet Fife in Split
Being from British Columbia, we are definitely seafood lovers and took every available opportunity to try the local variations, including Dalmatian fish soup (Dalmatinska riblja juha); fried, deep-fried, and grilled squids; flavourful fish soups; and a wide array of grilled fresh fish.
Seafood risotto and grilled squids with fresh greens at Cesarica in Kotor
Squids galore at Lokanda Peskarija in Dubrovnik
Our culinary experiences were not limited to seafood,however, and a few of our top food experiences in Croatia and Montenegro came from more traditional inland recipes. Pasticada (a flavourful stewed beef dish often served with hand-rolled gnocchi), fresh local greens known for their immense health benefits (like chard and spinach), and amazing hand-made pastries can be found in traditional konobas – small restaurants that started as wine cellars and are now home to some of the most traditional meals in these two countries.
Pasticada with gnocchi
Freshly baked traditional pastries
Additionally, we were very surprised at the immense influence that Italian traditions has had on the region. Gnocchi, pizza, and risotto – all with local twists or variations – were found on nearly every menu, and almost all that we tried were very, very good (much better, in fact, than most of what we had in Italy).
Delicious pizza with fresh local prosciutto
If you are interested in some of our favourite restaurants, we would recommend Dalmatinska Konoba Cesarica in Kotor (wonderful traditional Montenegrin dishes at affordable prices), Lokanda Peskarija in Dubrovnik (great seafood right by the water at very reasonable prices), and Buffet Fife (no website but here is a review) in Split (great traditional Croatian dishes like fish soup and pasticada).
If you missed the last part of this series (or can’t remember it because it was months and months ago) you can find it here!

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