Culinary Digest: Proto, Dubrovnik (Old Town), Croatia

Proto Restaurant in Dubrovnik Old Town. Photo by Cynthia Wamwayi

What the experts say

Jane Foster, Guidebook author and Croatia afficionado: With tables on a leafy first-floor covered terrace, Proto (1) is old-fashioned and romantic, and dates back to 1886. It specialises in classy Dalmatian seafood, so you can indulge in fresh oysters from Ston, škampi na buzaru (shrimps in garlic, white wine and parsley) and fresh fish served filleted. Former customers include Richard Gere and Bono (of U2).

What diners say

Proto’s terrace section. Photo by Cynthia Wamwayi

Alan Mandić, Blogger, Secret Dalmatia: Proto is primarily known as one of the best sea food places in Dubrovnik and it also has a good reputation for quality food unlike many other restaurants in the Old Town. The menu at Proto is not extensive but offers several local classics mixed with new and innovative dishes with local sea-food. We decided to go with the sea bream fillet in olive paste and grilled Adriatic squid – something you cannot go wrong with. The food served was excellent although I expected a bit more. Maybe something extra on our plates to give that special touch to everything. For dessert, we went with rozata and hazelnut parfait creme both really good. Overall, a very good choice for seafood and other fare. Not for the budget oriented as one can eat for much less in any of the nearby restaurants. But, for quality meals, superb service and great outdoor seating, Proto is one of my top choices in Dubrovnik.

Luxury Travel Beat’s Verdict

The Wind Rose Carpaccio. Photo by Cynthia Wamwayi

We turned up at Proto on our very last day in Dubrovnik, perhaps sub-consciously seeking a suitable grand finale to the fantastic week we’d 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 none.

Despite the restaurant’s near cult-status – celebrities both minor and major turn up here every season – the staff are service-oriented and welcoming. It’s a hot June afternoon so we are taken to the cool first-floor terrace.

The food, a portfolio of Dalmatian cuisine as it was prepared decades ago, is charming in its simplicity, disarming you with elements such as an amuse bouche arranged to form a smiley face, before it completely arrests you with its pure flavours. My starter, the Adriatic Salad – a medley of scampi, melon, pistacchio, avocado and some wild rice – is an explosion of flavours I never knew could work well together. (melon and wild rice?) My partner goes for a very innovatively arranged fish carpaccio which the restaurant has named the Wind Rose Carpaccio.

The restaurant says it serves light lunches between 11 am and 6pm, but when my main of lobster medallions with rice arrives, it is anything but light.

Lobster medallions (in the heart of the rice). Picture by Cynthia Wamwayi

Nevertheless, the dish and it’s natural flavours unspoilt by unecessary condiments  appears to be just what I need before the long journey back to a cold England. For dessert, I settle for a simple fruit salad.

Široka 1  20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
phone: 385 20/32-32-34
fax: 385 20/32-32-35
working hours: 11:00 – 23:00
Most credit cards accepted

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