June 2 – 6, 2016
A popular sleeping option in Croatia are sobe, a Balkan version of Airbnb that can range from a room in someone’s house to a furnished apartment. There is generally not staff on hand or maid service, but the price is much more reasonable than at hotels.
Raic, One of the sobe options at the top of the town above the Stradun, makes a great base for exploring both the old town as well as for day trips out of the city. That is if you don’t mind stairs, a lot of stairs.
We stayed in room 4, a small studio apartment with a small kitchenette on one side and a very small bedroom on the other with a divider wall separating the two. The bathroom, however, was a tad bigger than most Euro hotel rooms in this price range.
The place was spotlessly clean and equipped with minimal but adequate cookware, a water boiler, pani for toasting bread or sandwiches, cooktop, fridge, dishes and glasses. There is also a safe and hairdryer, and the wifi signal was good. Anita provided maps and advice when asked. We had a plan and didn’t ask much.
The first hiccup was the airport pickup we had arranged with them wasn’t there when our plane landed. It was a bit of a hassle trying to call them and find out where he was. When he finally arrived – he actually had to come back to the airport – with no apologies he said that he had waited but then left when we didn’t show up. We had given them the flight information, and although our flight was about 45 minutes late, they should have been able to check the arrival time.
The second issue was upon leaving we told Anita the day before that we were going to leave at 9AM (checkout was at 10) and wanted to store our bags until 3PM. Somehow she misremembered the time and didn’t show up at the apartment until 9:45 or so. She was very apologetic and was there when we came back to retrieve our bags at 3.
There is a convenient self-service laundry just above the Buza Gate.
A Hertz rental car agency is also conveniently located a 10 minute walk outside the Buza Gate. We used this agency twice with no difficulties.
Dinner at Lajk
Outdoor seating lines Prijeko street, located about halfway up from the Stradun. It’s a delightful place to dine when the restaurants fill in warm weather. Lajk, just down from our soba on the east end of the street, was recommended by our guesthouse and is also highly recommended on Tripadvisor.
Service is very friendly and attentive. Portions, however, are on the small side. The food is generally well prepared but we were disappointed with the mussel starter.
The mussel meat inside the shell was tiny and overcooked in a way too salty broth. Our mains – the tuna and the salad Niçoise with sliced tuna were both nicely done.
The thick tuna steaks were cooked rare and served over a chard and potato mash.
The salad Niçoise while lacking some classic elements, was prepared with quality ingredients including fresh green beans and tomatoes.
Dinner at Moskar
On the same restaurant street, Prijeko ,and up the steps from the Stradun the ambiance at Moskar is more formal with real table cloths and a more refined vibe. Food quality, however, is comparable to Lajk with a mix of good and could be better dishes.
We started with the octopus salad, a nice portion size to share. The octopus is complemented with great tomatoes and sweet onion in a light flavorful dressing. The octopus was flavorful but a bit tough. For mains we tasted the fish stew served on polenta with a nice piece of fish in addition to the shell fish.
The Lamb chops served with grilled crispy potatoes- yum – were not the best cut of meat, gristly and not very tender.
Dinner at Azur
This small establishment, tucked below the east corner of the back wall, may have the best food in town. In any case, it was certainly a cut above the last two restaurants. Be sure to make a reservation if you want to eat outside in nice weather.
The small menu had a decidedly Asian slant with several dishes served in a spicy coconut milk.
We started with the salmon tartar tacos – beautifully seasoned and with super fresh fish. The “shell” was too thick and not the least bit tender but I’ll give him a pass for being located in the wrong hemisphere to get a good soft taco shell.
For mains we had the Laksa soup – a perfect blending of Asian flavors in a coconut milk broth with just the right amount of heat and plenty of beautifully cooked seafood. Again, it’s the starches that are a bit weird, with noodles that resembled spaghetti.
Don ordered the tuna. Gorgeous plate with perfectly seared fish served with rice.
Service is efficient and attentive. A great dining experience if you are looking for something different in the Old Town.
Dinner at Zuzori
Located two blocks off the Stradun near the clock tower end of town. Like Azur its prices and quality of ingredients are a cut above Lajk and Moskar. Situated on a quiet street it has a more low key ambiance than the restaurants on Prijeko street.
It didn’t fill the night we were there so I don’t know if reservations are generally necessary or not. Service was friendly and not too pushy. The server recommended a local red wine, Dingac, a bold fruity wine, higher in alcohol than some with nice complexity.
For starters we tried the gazpacho. Albeit a less than inspiring presentation, the flavor was spot on with a hint of spiciness.
Don’s mushroom pasta was heavenly, full on mushroom flavor in a creamy sauce.
For mains I had the tuna appetizer, a lovely dish with seared tuna served cold on tapenade and alongside crispy anchovies and watercress dressed with a lemon dressing. Makes a hearty appetizer or a light main.
Don’s sea bass fillets were beautifully cooked and on a bed of aromatic vegetables with a brodo served on the side to be poured on tableside. All nicely done. Good quality bread is served with black olive tapenade.
Lunch at Star Loza in the Prijeka Palace Hotel.
We randomly chose the pretty outdoor terrace in front of the Prijeko Palace Hotel for our last meal in Dubrovnik. While the setting is pleasant and the food presentation inventive the food quality doesn’t live up to expectations.
The gazpacho for example had a decidedly more dramatic presentation garnished with a dollop of tomato ice cream, sliced roasted peppers and garlic bread, than that of the previous evening. However, it tasted like a gussied up canned tomato soup and not the fresh vegetable flavor that makes a good gazpacho good.
We shared the clam pasta in a pesto sauce – a cheesy version in a not so fresh tasting pesto sauce. Also surprising considering it’s summer and there should be an abundance of fresh vegies and herbs available. The rolls, served in a paper sack, are warm, crusty and yummy. Service is friendly and efficient. OK, but there are other better options.