Dubrovnik is perceived as an expensive tourist city, which it can be. But it doesn’t have to be…
The ”Dubrovnik is expensive” tale is still rife in the media and among tourists, despite the city being listed as one of the cheapest places in Europe to visit. I can see both sides of the debate, there are definitely a number of restaurants in the city which charge an extortionate and utterly unjustifiable amount, but this is a fact of life in any city which caters to, and draws the majority of its income from tourism.
Let’s take a look at a few Dubrovnik eateries that can fill your stomach without emptying your wallet at the same time…
Sandwich Bar Buono
(Ulica Iva Vojnovica 28)
The last thing this place is, is fancy. It is a small business in Lapad (Dubrovnik) where you can comfortably eat for much less than 100kn. With food like ten cevaps, chips (fries for our American readers), ajvar, onion and lepinja (flatbread) for a mere 45-50kn, burgers for around 20-30kn and large sandwiches for even less, one can get over the unimpressive surroundings. Sandwich Bar Buono also has a free delivery service.
(Brsalje Ulica 10)
Skalin is located on Pile just outside the walls, this restaurant is a perfect people watching place with a cheap, varied menu and excellent food on offer. Certainly much more than your average pizzeria, it is perhaps best known for its delicious homemade macaroni pasta.
Fast Food Cezar
(Ulica Iva Vojnovica)
A fast food place located on the busy main road, nothing special when it comes to looks, but a very varied menu, good service and extremely cheap food. This is a perfect stop off for anyone looking for some good street food but not looking to spend a lot. Fast Food Cezar is very popular with both locals and visitors and sometimes there is a wait – to counter any chance of a delay, Fast Food Cezar also has a free delivery service.
(Ulica bana Josipa Jelacica 37)
One of the best in town, Vita Bella is an unassuming, humble restaurant with an impressive four star rating on Trip Advisor. Located on a quiet side street off Ulica Iva Vojnovica, Vita Bella has an array of food on offer and all at very low prices. If there are two of you, you are very unlikely to spend more than 150kn on food here. With the sizeable portions Vita Bella dish out, you’re unlikely to want to eat again that same day. Vita Bella has a free delivery service which offers you a free beer or a free coke if your order exceeds a certain amount.
Surf ‘n’ Fries
(Ulica od Puca 9)
Located in Dubrovnik’s Old City, the popular Croatian fast food chain Surf ‘n’ Fries must make a good living. These places can be found in most larger cities in Croatia and have a very varied menu coupled with low prices. An unpretentious place, you can sit in or take away. Anything from the healthiest salad to the most artery clogging of burgers can be enjoyed here for very little money. 35kn for chicken and chips in the heart of the Old City? Yes.
(Ulica Nikole Gucetica)
This place is a real gem, located next door to the famous Taj Mahal Bosnian Cuisine, Lanterna is frequently occupied by both locals and visitors and the co-owner and chef, Jele, cooks everything herself. Many state that the quid at nearby Buffet Kamenice (which, by the way, isn’t a buffet – sorry to disappoint) are the best in town, but I beg to differ. Lanterna serves traditional, local food made with the freshest of ingredients. Her goulash is to die for, as are her squid, as is her fish… I could go on. If you want to experience a real Dalmatian restaurant in the heart of Dubrovnik, but without the price tag attached to it, this is the place for you.
(Brsalje Ulica 4)
Close to the aforementioned Skalin, Tomato is closer to Pile gate and is also a great place to unwind, people watch and eat cheap pizza on a comfortable outside terrace. Close to the Old City, pizzeria Tomato is your classic, unpretentious pizza place and is popular with locals and visitors alike.
Fast Food Yummmi
(Ulica kralja Petra Kresimira IV 7)
Yes, that is three m’s. Across the road from Dubrovnik’s much loved cable car (zicara) sits Fast Food Yummmi. Yummmi is one of the ”furthest out” eateries aside from bakeries in this much more residential end of the city, making it a must go for people coming and going from the cable car. A wide array of food is served here, including tortillas and burritos and there is something for everyone. Fast Food Yummmi has a fast free delivery service and often offers free pancakes when the order exceeds a certain amount.
(Antuninska Ulica 1)
Translated simply as Buffet School, this eatery is located on a side street just off the main street of Stradun in the heart of the Old City, Buffet Skola is popular with anyone from anywhere looking for some shade and a snack. With some reviewers stating that this place offered the best food they ate while in the city, it’s worth paying a visit if you don’t fancy a meal, are bored with burek, or you just don’t fancy paying typical restaurant prices.
(Ulica Svetog Djurdja 4)
Situated right next to one of the most expensive restaurants in the area (Nautika), Gallus offers wonderful views onto Pile, the mighty city walls, Lovrijenac (Fortress of St. Lawrence), Minceta (Fortress) and Mt. Srdj for a mere fraction of the price. With large portions and excellent food (both domestic and foreign) to please all people and tastes, Gallus is the perfect place to be if you want to be close to the walled city, but be out of it too. Great views, good food and the smug feeling of knowing you’re paying next to nothing compared to what you’d be paying if you were next door, what’s not to like?
(Ulica dr. Ante Starcevica 24)
Mezzanave, with its high online ratings and daily marende (singular: marenda – late morning snack/meal breaks), offers very good food at excellent, low prices, from giant pizzas to pasta to seafood to salad and desserts. They also have a free delivery service.
Wine Pub Dionysus
(Ulica za Rokom 5)
In the heart of the Old City, Dionysus Wine Pub is more than just a pub, a small, picturesque place with fantastic ratings on influential travel websites. Popular among locals and tourists alike, the food is good, cheap and you definitely won’t leave hungry.
I’ll be honest, there is very little to say about Tabak’s service, but for the price of otherwise very good food and decent portions, it can be overlooked. With daily marende (late morning snack/meal breaks) and food freshly made on an outdoor grill in front of you while you wait in the shade, Tabak can be a welcome change from the usual hustle and bustle of the city. Tabak has a very relaxed atmosphere and is popular with anyone looking for a good meal.
Bar and Restaurant Orsan
(Ulica Ivana pl. Zajca 4)
Bar and Restaurant Orsan, located on the edge of the water at a yacht club, is well known for their marende (late morning snack/meal breaks) which are popular among residents and those working on the sea. For a reasonable price one can eat a hearty meal while inspecting local boats and looking across the sparkling water to Mt. Srdj and Gruz. Orsan is in a quiet and tranquil area of Dubrovnik and there is very little traffic or noise, making for a peaceful, cheap meal in an idyllic location. A true breath of fresh air just a stones throw from all the hustle and bustle of the city.
Dubrovnik is far from an expensive city and enjoying yourself here doesn’t need to cost the earth, try out these places and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Dobar tek!