I grew up in the restaurant business in Australia given my family owned and operated restaurants in Sydney for many years and my mum being a fabulous professional chef, so not only do I have higher expectations but I expect good value for money.
It is important to mention the eating out scene in Sydney is very very different to Dubrovnik partly because locals do not have a habit of eating out as much as in Sydney, but mainly because Dubrovnik has a small population which dramatically increases with the arrival of tourists from April to October. As a result many restaurants only open from March/April to the end of October. As a result unfortunately some restaurants cater only to passing trade of tourists and their quality and value become in my view questionable.
With the rising popularity of review sites such as TripAdvisor you can see dining experiences of others before you choose on a restaurant. However everyone’s expectations are different, something that someone may describe as a ‘great value for money fresh fish in Old Town’ someone else may realise is ‘average quality frozen fish fillets’.
Based on discussions with guests and my own experiences on dining out in Dubrovnik, here is a list of tips on eating out in Dubrovnik.
- Never leave the wine choice to the waiter unless you have seen the wine list
As a first time visitor to Croatia, you may want to try our local wines and welcome the enthusiasm of the waiter to suggest a superb bottle of wine. Just make sure that you have seen the wine list and know how much that bottle of wine costs before ordering as the price of wine in some restaurants is astounding.
Wine in restaurants in Dubrovnik is generally expensive (I have never understood this and am appalled when I see some of the prices they charge), and remember that expensive does not necessarily always mean higher quality.
- If you want to pay by credit card be sure to ask before you sit down
Most restaurants accept credit cards; however there are some that only accept cash so always be sure to ask.
- Ordering fish
When looking at menu prices for whole fish, keep in mind that many restaurants charge by the kilo (kg) rather than by the piece. When I’m dining out I always ask to see the fish before they prepare it and ask how many grams it has in order to avoid any surprises on my bill.
Many times I am asked by guests whether it is customary to tip and/or if there is an expected % that should be left as a tip. There is no general rule on tipping and this very much depends on you (the guest).
Personally when dining out, if I feel that I have received great and attentive service, then I definitely leave a tip so that waiters realise good customer service is recognised and appreciated.
Hope the above tips come in handy for you. I’ll be adding more as they come to mind.