I have just arrived back from a wonderful week in Dubrovnik, Croatia and I can’t begin to describe how beautiful this city is and how amazing the food was! My other half and I both love eating out but doing this in a foreign country can sometimes lead to stressful times; I have been living with a gluten allergy for over 4 years with Anthony (my OH) being a wheat eater and GF supporter. I needn’t have worried though, Dubrovnik is an excellent place to visit with its main cuisine being naturally gluten free anyway. To make the trip even more perfect, on arrival to our accommodation Hotel Ariston I discovered (unbeknown to me) that they had a wide range of gluten free foods available and gluten free symbols on their lunch and dinner menu in Restaurant Zoe. I decided this should have its own blog post so please click here if you would like to read more!
If you are worried about eating gluten free in Dubrovnik, don’t be! When I researched about gluten free eating in Croatia before I went I found this article giving advice to coeliac tourists visiting Croatia which says there aren’t many GF products on sale due to there being fewer cases of coeliac disease than other countries. However, it makes sense to me that there aren’t as many sufferers as the Croatian diet isn’t heavy on wheat based foods like bread or pasta. There is a big emphasis on delicious, fresh fish and seafood simply grilled with most restaurants having a ‘catch of the day’ on offer. If you don’t fancy seafood then of course there are lots of tasty meat options which, along with the fish, will likely be served ‘Dalmatian Style’, which means grilled and served with boiled potatoes, grilled vegetables and a herb dressing- all naturally GF.
I also downloaded a very useful Croatian Restaurant Card (thanks to Rachael from Gluten Free Bites) and made my own flash card with translations of ‘gluten’ ‘wheat’ ‘flour’ etc. so I could translate food packets. Sometimes I didn’t even need to show the restaurant card, everyone speaks a good level of English and most wait staff had some understanding of what gluten was.
We ate at a lot of places but here are more details / photos of the best ones for GF eating plus a few supermarkets and shops I found with GF products:
Azur (Old Town) Pobijana 10, Dubrovnik 20000
Cuisine: Asian Fusion / European
GF dishes on offer: Rice Noodle Salads, Thai Chicken Rice Noodles, Spicy Prawns and Tapioca Pudding
Over view: This was one of our favourite restaurants not only because of the food but the location in a secret side street and the excellent service made it a brilliant night. The lovely owner was on hand to go through the small menu telling me what was GF or what he could adapt for me. The main courses all came with couscous but he happily adapted my ‘Prawns with Sweet Basil and Chilli’ to come with rice noodles instead. After dinner it is a must that you visit Buza Bar round the corner – a secret beach bar hidden behind the city walls which finished the night off perfectly.
Dalmatino (Old Town) Dubrovnik 20 000, Miha Pracata #6
GF dishes on offer: Kebabs, Fish and Seafood, Risotto, Steaks and Salads
Overview: We ate here on our last night and we both agreed it was the best food of the holiday! The restaurant owner was at hand and ran through all the ingredients but it turned out alot of dishes didn’t have gluten in anyway. I went for the veal kebabs with mushroom risotto which was so tasty and unusual (as recommended by Rachael from Gluten Free Bites) Anthony had the fillet steak with red wine sauce (also GF and amazing) and we shared the mash potato and veg- well worth a visit!
Taverna Otto (Lapad / Gruz Harbour) Nikole Tesle 8, 20000 Dubrovnik
GF dishes on offer: Mushroom Risotto, Tuna Steak, Chicken and Hummus, Spare Ribs with GF BBQ Sauce, Prawns with Polenta and T-Bone Steak. Try a side of Julienne vegetables in creamy tomato sauce as they were excellent.
Overview: Dont miss a visit to Otto if you are near the Harbour- it has a nice outdoor terrace and the staff had excellent knowledge of gluten and told us they have about 1 guest per day with a food allergy and most of the menu could be GF. As you can see there is lots of delicious dishes to choose from but I couldnt resist the ribs with homemade BBQ sauce and hand cut crisps!
Casa Restaurant (Lapad) Nika i Meda Pucica 1, Lapad Bay
GF Dishes on offer: Numerous seafood and grilled fish dishes for starters and mains, plus a small selection of grilled meats
Overview: The best seafood I ate and lovely staff with good GF knowledge who were more than happy to let me use my own DS Ciabatta Roll to have with my starter and to mop up the sauce from the mussels!
Dundo Maroje (Old Town) Kovacka bb, Dubrovnik
GF dishes on offer: ‘Dalmatian Style’ Fresh fish and Seafood, salads, soup, grilled meats and kebabs
Overview: Very good value lunch whilst visiting the Old Town which is not that easy to find! Around £5-7 per main course and they understood allergies although warned me the fish was grilled on the same grill as everything else- I guess this is the risk anywhere but I wasn’t affected.
Supermarkets / Shops with Gluten Free
Konzum (Gruz Harbour)
This is a huge supermarket located in the Harbour Area where the big cruise ships land but there are several others dotted around the city. I found a small section with a few GF items like pasta , rice cakes and biscuits but I’m sure if you spent longer in there you will find more things it just wasn’t very well organised!
Ljekarna Cebulc Pharmacy (Gruz Harbour) Obala Stijepana Radica 44
DM (Old Town)
You will find this shop right by the main entrance to the old town in Pile next door to the Accessorize store. Its like the equivalent of a Holland and Barrett and has lots of GF products like pasta, bread, biscuits and cereals which are perfect if you are self catering in the Old Town.