Culinary Digest: Nautika, Dubrovnik, Croatia


What the experts say

CN Traveller: Nautika Restaurant  has two gorgeous, sunny terraces overlooking 12th-century forts, and its menus feature perfectly cooked Croatian dishes: sea bass with mango salad, cuttlefish risotto, chocolate soufflé with olive-cream sauce. Here, film stars and musicians of all stripes can be spotted dining on the terrace  – for food and location combined, one of the finest restaurants in Europe. In 2008. Nautika was voted the sixth most romantic restaurant in the world. The food and the service are fabolous, and both terraces are wonderful places to sit in the cool of the evening. It is worth breaking the bank for.

What diners say

Ann Vine, Jetsetreport.com: Located at the wall’s edge of historic Dubrovnik, this 19th Century Naval Academy is now home to a celebrity-studded waterfront eatery popular with 200-ft. yachters and be-seen dinner masses. Composed along a series of three outdoor summer terraces, entrance to Natutika is through a nondescript doorway with creamy marquee and wall emblazoned with endless gold plaque accolades. Inside, a formal Croatian affair of endless wood paneling, marble floors and sedate eating areas make us glad that we are eating here in the summer, leading to a series of breathtakingly airy terraces arranged in seating areas of wicker chairs with nautical-inspired tablecloths with water views.

Nautika chef Mario Bunda sources a locally caught seafood menu with regional grilled meats and produce to create an authentic and equally popular Dubrovnik dining experience. Black risotto of squid ink, jumbo shrimp scampi, fresh grilled lobster, exotic raw shellfish platters and baked white fish are accompanied by traditional meat dishes heavy on the cream and sauces. The restaurant seems a bit touristy on the outside especially with the wall of celebrity diner photos like Eva Longoria, Bono and Goldie Hawn, but don’t let that detract from the spot-on seafood and great location.

Luxury Travel Beat’s verdict

Nautika’s Black Risotto. Photo by Cynthia Wamwayi

We sought shelter here during a particularly rainy afternoon in Dubrovnik, having run the ten metres it is from the Old Town’s walls to this renown restaurant. We had reservations for 3 o’clock but it was 14:30 and we were in danger of resembling rained-upon chickens soon if they didn’t let us in. Luckily, this was not a problem at all.

We were shown to our seas in the glass-sheltered terrace on the 2nd floor, which afforded us magnificent views over one of the old city’s fortresses and a few boats which were being buffeted upon by the rain. With  dark and broody clouds pregnant with even more rain as our backdrop, we made our choices from the menu. For me, clear fish soup and black risotto — a Dubrovnik specialty — for hor d’ouveres, and Dalmatian-spiced lamb, broad beans polenta for the main course.

Nautika’s Dalmatian-spiced lamb, broad beans and polenta. Photo by Cynthia Wamwayi

When the food arrives, I realise there are worse places on earth to be trapped on a rainy afternoon. The fish soup was the perfect antidote to a day such a this, while the black risotto was just what I needed after climbing staircase after staircase on my one-hour tour of the Dubrovnik’s city walls. By the time the waitress comes around with the dessert, having seen her deliver a selection of sizeable and delectable portions of Dalmatian Sweets to the table next to us, I have made up my mind; there shall be no dessert for the lady. I wouldn’t be able to resist devouring all of it.

(00 385 20 442526; www.nautikarestaurant.com; about £140 for two)

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  1. […] just spent in this picturesque part of Croatia. Having reviewed Proto’s sister restaurant Nautika a few days prior, we were not really expecting any disappointments and luckily, there were […]

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