What do you get when you pair the best local Croatian ingredients with a mastery of French technique? When you coat foie gras in a citrus glaze, scallop potatoes so thin that they melt on your tongue, and pluck oysters straight from the sea and onto a plate?
The answer is the best restaurant in Cavtat, Croatia:
Located in a blindingly pretty cove about 45 minutes south of Dubrovnik by boat, Cavtat (pronounced tsav-tat) is the Croatia people dream about – all terra-cotta rooftops and stone towers, dark green hills tumbling down to the bluest ocean you’ve ever seen, sailboats bobbing along the shore.
It’s here, just across the street from the harbor, with its patio overlooking the water, that you’ll find Bugenvila.
With a such a perfect location, honestly, I was skeptical. So many waterfront restaurants lack finesse with their food and rely on the views to carry their business. Would this be another place that people ranked highly for its pretty location?
Luckily for us, the answer was no. The food was even better than the views. If you go, try the chicken liver pate with tangerine jelly – an appetizer artistically presented like a small orange fruit. And if you like oysters, you’ll find them fresh here. Our incredible main course appears to be no longer on the menu, but I’d trust any of their dishes after our incredible lunch, so I doubt if you can go wrong anywhere on the savory menu.
The only place the meal fell down for us was with dessert. If I went again, I’d load up on appetizers and skip the sweets.
Address: Put dr. Ante Starčevića 9 in Cavtat
Phone: +385 20 479 949
Hours: 12 – 15 and 18 – 21:30 daily.
Price range: Starters run from 65 to 110 kuna (about $10 – $17) and mains cost 90 to 180 ($14 – $27). Butter-poached lobster is the one thing outside that range, at 390 kuna (about $60).
Dog friendly? Yes!
What (else) to do in southern Croatia
The eerie, abandoned hotels of Kupari (abandoned during the war 20 years ago and still covered in bullet holes today) are a short uber ride north. If you’re into abandoned places or photography, they’re a worthwhile stop (obviously use your best judgement when visiting abandoned sites; I personally didn’t take any of the crumbling staircases or otherwise put myself at risk).