Saturday, June 08th , 2019
This week I briefly visited Dubrovnik in Croatia. This was not a food journey, and I only had time to visit a couple of restaurants, but it was an interesting trip for me as it was my first time in Croatia. Dubrovnik has a spectacularly pretty walled old town (pictured), a UNESCO World Heritage site that has been meticulously restored after considerable damage in the Yugoslav civil war in the 1990s. The imposing walls date back as far as the 7th century, though the ones now standing are probably from the 12th century and later. They were effective, as despite numerous sieges through the ages the city was never taken by a hostile army. The fortifications were also a major location for the wildly successful TV series “Game of Thrones”.
I tried a pair of restaurants within the walls. Proto is a seafood restaurant appears to be quite well known, with assorted celebrity visitors, and dates back to the 19th century. Nonetheless, the meal that I ate there was mediocre and expensive for what it was. It is hard to grasp how it achieved such longevity based on the food that I tried here.
Better, though also distinctly pricy, was Restaurant Dubrovnik, which also specialised in seafood. The best dish that I ate was a risotto of porcini mushrooms with foie gras and local Istrian truffles. Some other dishes were much less good so this was a rather erratic meal, but was vastly better than the food I ate at Proto.
The high prices here are presumably a function of the considerable influx of tourists in recent years, including those from many cruise ships. Like other tourist destinations such as Venice, it seems that many restaurants here have decided to cash in on tourists who are unlikely to return as customers and are not especially sensitive to price. This is a shame. Perhaps there are some hidden gem restaurants in more obscure locations in and around Dubrovnik, but on the basis of this very limited visit it would appear to be a place more suited to sightseeing than dining.
Back in London, I had another terrific meal at Dastaan, which along with Indian Accent is surely the best Indian restaurant in the UK. I also had an excellent meat at Beck at Browns, where the food seems to get better with each visit.
The new Michelin Guide to California came out, a consolidated guide that incorporates the existing San Francisco and Bay Area guide and combines it with Los Angeles and San Diego. A demotion for Saison, and half a dozen new 2 stars in Los Angeles: Verspertine, Providence, Somni, Sushi Ginza Onadera, Urusawa and n'Naka. I was pleased for Addison, which got a star.