Culinary Digest: Defne Terrace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Defne Terrace Restaurant

What the experts say

Michael Martin, Editor As you walk the street of the historic city passing one stodgy village dining room after another, Defne located on the terrace of the Pucic Palace is a welcome sight. Known for its mix of eastern and western cuisine, a nightly dinner menu is divided between Croatian, Italian, Spanish and Middle Eastern cuisines. Appetizers of octopus salad, regional oysters, cheese in oil, prosciutto with melon, hummus with eggplant mousse and olive salads offer a sampling of the kitchen’s wide cooking range as well as the clientele’s varied tastes. Heartier starters include grilled meatballs, Dalmatian shrimp, deep fried calamari and stuffed octopus. Squid ink risotto, homemade ravioli and fusili pasta with black truffles compliment more sizable main courses of Adriatic frogfish with arugula salad, seafood paella and grilled veal rump with pesto sauce.

What the diners say

Lonely Planet: Lonely Planet’s readers ranked dining at Defne terrace as being number 25 of 129 things to do i Dubrovnik. The publication’s reviewer admonishes other diners to “enjoy unique old-town ambience at this fine restaurant, which has a huge outdoor terrace and serves (mainly Eastern) Mediterranean cuisine, so there’s lots of Turkish, Greek and Balkan food. The menu is a little annoying, with dishes that have been given Asian themes – Sultan’s Dreams is beefsteak rolled in foil with herbs – but the cooking is accomplished and setting lovely.”

Luxury Travel Beat’s verdict

Defne restaurant belongs to the only 5-star hotel within Dubrovnik Old Town’s walls – The Pucic Palace Hotel – so our expectations were quite high when we made our way to the restaurant on a breezy Dubrovnik evening.

We sampled almost everything on the Starter menu:

Left: Tapas (Spain) – Marinated shrimps with red paprika, garlic and olive oil;  marinated artichokes with pine nuts, basil and lemon juice; octopus salad with red onion, garlic, arugula and white wine dressing .

Middle: Mezzes (Middle East) – Muhhamara (roast red pepper cream with walnut, lemon juice and olive oil; Hummus (;chickpeas cream with tahina, olive oil and kimyon); Hayadari (yoghurt cream with mint, olive oil and vinegar).

Far right: Antipasti (Italy) – Smoked salmon with ricotta cheese cream with red paprika, parsley, mint and olive oil; marinated green and black olives in oil olive, rosemary and basil; prosciutto with cantaloupe melon with balsamico reduction.

Croatia: Scallops on a bed of spinach, Dalmatian-style shrimp, and filo pastry filled with cheese and parsley.

Antipasti (Italy): Pesci fritto, breadcrumb fried small fish with basil, rosemary and parsley, fried fish balls with aromatic herbs, grilled Mediterranean vegetables, cherry tomato with eggplant and zucchini

For the main course, I settled for the sea bream fillet stuffed with black tiger prawns, pan-fried asparagus in lemon juice with saffron sauce, which after the many starter courses was a suitable light ending to our dinner at Defne Terrace.

Last word: Good value for money, wide variety of cuisines to choose from whichcan at time be a double-edged sword, historical venue dating back to the 17th century in the thick of Dubrovnik’s Old Town.

Defne: Pucic Palace, Od Puća 1 Dubrovnik 20000 Croatia (385) 20 326 222

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