Dubrovnik's finest restaurant
June 2010. (By Jonathan Bastable)The June edition of Condé Nast Traveller includes a five page story about Dubrovnik and the restaurant Nautika. The article was written by the eminent British journalist Jonathan Bastable who stayed in Dubrovnik in September 2009.
"Few cities in the world make such a memorable first impression, and as soon as you have caught a glimpse of Dubrovnik, you want to get up close and go inside."
"Dubrovnik is once again a chic destination and a celebrity magnet. Oprah Winfrey has been house-hunting on Stradun, the main street; Kevin Spacey recently celebrated his 50th birthday in Dubrovnik. Nautika was voted the sixth most romantic restaurant in the world. The food and the service are fabolous, and both terraces are wonderful places to sit in the cool of the evening. It is worth breaking the bank for."
May 2010. (By Michael Winner)Winner's Dinners: Dubrovnik - Not my choice of style, but a great destination
The old town is large, unspoilt. In spite of being warned of dreadful food I had a historic meal in Dubrovnik.
We had a terrific meal in Nautika, by the walls of the old town. The marinated scampi with goat's cheese were incredible, fresh from the Adriatic. The medallions of young veal, prosecco, sweet raisin and white wine sauce with a mousse of peas and potato cone, magnificent. Like the nearby castle on a rock, rising from the sea, where Daniel Day-Lewis performed Hamlet.
My dessert was "Torta od skorupa", described as cream cake with butter, eggs, almonds and lemon zest. Another triumph!
September 2009. High Life magazine (British Airways)Local ingredients cooked with homegrown flair make Dubrovnik a tasty destination for food lovers, as top London chef Mark Hix discovers on his first visit. For years now I'd been wanting to tick Croatia off my holiday list. Well, I say holiday, but my trip to Dubrovnik, on the Adriatic coast, was more like work – I had just two and a half days to check out the local restaurants,
food, culture and wine. It was a tight schedule but I took my rod and tackle with me just in case. You never know what's in store.
Dinner was at Nautika restaurant. It's a great setting, with several terraces off the dining rooms on various levels. Our starter was cuttlefish risotto, again with good use of ink. Having it twice in one day was something of a record in my book but both were very good, even if the risotto did turn up with some odd blobs of something on the edge of the plate. I'm sure it wasn't part of the dish and it didn't make it taste any better than it already was. The next course was an unexpected joy, a whole salt-baked sea bass, perfectly cooked and thankfully with no frills. It was served with a commendable olive oil sauce made with an infusion of rosemary and thickened with egg yolks, rather like a hollandaise or mayonnaise. It was a perfect supper washed down with the local Posip white wine. WAY TO GO
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March 2008.Restaurant Nautika, just outside the Pile Gate, is winning rave reviews for its seafood, as well as its priceless views from its cliffside terrace of historic fortifications and the Adriatic crashing at their base.
March 2008. (By Lexi Dwyer)And there's no better spot to reflect on your place in history than from Nautika's outdoor terrace.
Where: Restaurant Nautika, Dubrovnik
Why Go: in a city where views are currency (islands! boats! roofs!), this restaurant , overlooking a cove that's nicely insulated from the madding crowds, claims the most valuable panorama for itself. A Side of Atmosphere: The walled Old Town, whose streets have been buffed to a sheen from ten centuries' worth of visitors, feels like a museum come to life. And there's no better spot to reflect on your place in history than from Nautika's outdoor terrace: Two stone fortresses-elegant examples of the city's perfectly preserved medieval beauty – jut into the azure Adriatic, and every so often, a sailboat slices through the waves. Appetite for Seduction:You're staring at the sea, so ordering should be easy: Nautika specializes in seafood dishes that are specific to Dalmatian coast, like sea bass with squid-ink sauce or lobster medallions Korčula-style (served over greens and topped with local olive oil and vinegar.
Sunday, August 12, 2007. (By Kate Garraway)We found the perfect spot – Nautika, a restaurant on a terrace overlooking the town walls and the sea. It was so good we went three nights in a row.
September 2007, by Randy Johnson, editorOn a recent trip to Dubrovnik, I had lunch with former Croatian tourism minister Pave Zupan-Ruskovic, at the Nautika seafood restaurant, one of the best eateries in the city—and in Croatia. Overlooking a cliff- and rampart-ringed emerald cove...
August 2005, Henry Alford"In search of the latest Mediterranean hot spot? Henry Alford found it in the medieval city of Dubrovnik and on the gorgeous Dalmatian islands, he discovered a cultural and culinary wonderland." "
19.06.2005., Rene Bakalovic"From this year the NAUTIKA restaurant, in a cove protected by steep rocks and fortresses above the rooftops of small crowded houses in the fishermen's living quarters of the town by the name of Pile, has definitely become the address in the world, on the global map of luxury."
Aleph, beth, gimel, daleth and eighteen other ancient letters are lined up from left to right in versatile permutations, while the numerals are lined up from right to left. The Hebrew script has been written for the first time on the Menu in a Croatian restaurant. And this Menu is to undergo alterations every month. Along with Hebrew letters there are also Japanese characters, as well as six menus in other languages of the world. From this year the NAUTIKA restaurant, in a cove protected by steep rocks and fortresses above the rooftops of small crowded houses in the fishermen's living quarters of the town by the name of Pile, has definitely become the address in the world, on the global map of luxury. Already, before summer a place at the table on the terrace should be reserved during the morning hours. Should someone search for a table with the best view, certainly the table no. 35, then, it is advisable, to make reservation even couple of days ahead. Dishes cooked with asparagus and artichokes were the most sampled specialties before the summer season, the obligatory points of difference in this restaurant which rightly emphasize the seasonal flow of food-stuffs. One of the most pleasant surprises were the snails imbued with Dingač - Pelješac style. Fresh goat cheese with aromatic honey from Southern Dalmatia is an excellent local interpretation of traditional Italian practices. To serve aromatic cheese slices with cubes of honey-comb instead of some routine honey sauce is the masterminded spark of wit that singles out superior restaurants from those fair ones.
Prices are not the topic
Each new Menu brings the new thematic stories along with the change of the seasons of the year. In all this, the Master Chef Mr. Nikola Ivanišević tends to react to the grand renaissance of the top-level cultivation of olives in Croatia. He offers the best parts of the most esteemed fishes in the white and black emulsion. He succeeded in making his own coupage of the three selected kinds of olive oils and blended it with cuttlefish ink. Upon having a glass of Dubrovnik Malvasija as an aperitif and ending up tasting the enchanted domestic wormwood liqueuer-pelinkovac, made to the traditional family recipe, the folk cuisine provides a supplement for cuisine of the commoners, traditional and modern, fashionable cuisine: Fish Brodetto with Polenta from the Island of Lopud next to Caviar on Ice - Beluga Malossol. More red wine from Petrus castle is poured here than in any other restaurant in Croatia. And the prices, as the architects would say are not the topic any more. The relations of NAUTIKA are global in all segments, so that a portion of the top-level caviar at a price of 1280 kuna, instead of being a shocking one can be called appropriate. Food-stuffs, cooking presentation and serving are fully incorporated into the price, as well as a month's rent falling due for the premises attaining the 6 digits sum in kuna.
Elitism as a system
Luxury in the luxurious restaurants is dubious when misrepresented or superficial. In NAUTIKA, elitism is transformed into a system. The restaurant catering served His Holiness, the Pope with an air of equal self-confidence, as it hosted a thousand journalists, who had been invited by the Chevrolet Company (GM), before the season started. NAUTIKA is open all the year round, and has been almost fully booked for nine months during the year so far.
December 10th, 2004., Davor Butković"Nautika indeed is a high-class restaurant, with impeccable service, shining silver, elegant menus and wine-lists, and a very good / excellent food." "A brilliant dish: Tail of lobster medallions in Dingač wine sauce" Where Poseidon Sets a Bountiful Table
The Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus in his work "On the management of the Empire" mentions that Dubrovnik ships had been transporting Croatian troops to Bari already in the year 869 to fight against Arabs Saracens.
Dubrovnik was an important military-maritime stronghold of the Byzantine governor of Dalmatian areas and it is known that in 1030 Dubrovnik’s ships engaged in the expedition undertaken by the Byzantines against the Arabs in the southern Italy.
Strengthening of the Croatian state in the struggle against the Venetians strengthened also the Dubrovnik maritime affairs and in 1153 the Arabian writer Al Idrisi speaks of Dubrovnik as the southernmost town on the Croatian territory and the town with many ships that undertake long voyages.
In the 13th century Dubrovnik ships sail to Syria, Egypt and other countries in the North Africa.
How important the maritime affairs were in the Dubrovnik Republic can be best seen in the Dubrovnik Statute of the year 1272, where the entire seventh book of the Statute is dedicated to the maritime industry.
By its liberation from the supreme government of Venice in 1358, Dubrovnik gets even bigger incentive to direct their trade by sea and then Dubrovnik's shipping and shipbuilding reach high quality. In the 14th century in Dubrovnik at least two hundred commercial and naval vessels were built of various types (years 1526 to 1808).
The biggest rise of the Dubrovnik maritime affairs was achieved under Turkish patronage, so Dubrovnik with its merchant navy was in the 16th century the most powerful town-state in the Mediterranean Sea. It is a time when the Republic of Dubrovnik has around 300 ships and 5.000 sailors. There are about 200 merchant sailing ships for out-Adriatic sailing with a total tonnage of around 66,000 tons. The annual income from the maritime industry amounts to approximately 150,000-200,000 gold pieces (ducats).
In the 16th century the inhabitants of Dubrovnik with their sailboats perform nautical and commercial operations in the ports of Albania, Greece, Black Sea, Sicily, Apennine Peninsula, North Africa, Spain, Portugal, all the way to Portsmouth, London and Hamburg.
At the same time, prominent Dubrovnik ship-owners have ships sailing under the flag of Spain and Portugal. Together with these ships, with their tonnage, in that period they were at the top of the then-known maritime world.
Due to changes in economic conditions in the Mediterranean during the 17th century there has been a gradual decline in naval power of the Dubrovnik Republic. Especially after the catastrophic earthquake that hit the centre of Dubrovnik in the year 1667.
Once again, Dubrovnik will rise at the end of the 18th century, when Dubrovnik’s sailing ships begin sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. After the abolition of their Republic in 1808 by Napoleon, the fate of Dubrovnik ships, sailors and traders has fundamentally changed.
Arrival of steamships in the 19th century caught unprepared the inhabitants of Dubrovnik, and in the new situation Dubrovnik did not have the same role in the maritime life of Europe as the one it had proudly kept for centuries.
Citizens of Dubrovnik were not only skilled sailors, but shipbuilders as well. Ships from Dubrovnik became known worldwide for its solidity, strength, and navigation capabilities. Dubrovnik’s ship ‘’karakun’’ (Italian: caraccone) was called "Argosy" (ARagosa) by Englishmen, a word that has become a synonymous for the solidly built ship carrying precious and rich cargo, and it is believed to have taken its origin from the Roman name of the Town of Dubrovnik - Ragusa.
Maritime trade together with the onshore trade developed a number of other unavoidable activities: shipbuilding, port development, transport, which connects the Town with the hinterland, maritime law, marine insurance, maritime health service and in connection with all these, maritime education.
Sailors' training for centuries unfolded in such a way that the knowledge and skills were obtained only with the work, during its performance. Older and more experienced sailors passed on their knowledge to the sailors on board during the work.
Wider knowledge, which the ship master had to have, was acquired partly through learning in practice and partly through various forms of private tuition.
It is known that in Dubrovnik and in the nearby town of Cavtat in course of the 18th century and also in the 19th century various courses were held where the seamen were taught how to work on the ship. These courses were held mostly by old and experienced captains of sailing ships.
The arrival of the Austrian government after the Congress of Vienna (in 1814) regulates the right to command ships, so no sailor could get permission to command ship unless he had passed the exam in the Nautical Academy in Trieste.
As this was hard to realize, on 24th Sept.1848 the Austro - Hungarian monarchy brought a decision to open its nautical schools along the then Austrian Coast and these were schools in Bakar, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, Kotor.
Last such school was opened in Dubrovnik in the year 1852.
The ocean navigation captain Jakov Podić who got trained at the Nautical Academy in Trieste became the first director of the Nautical School in Dubrovnik.
Nautical School in Dubrovnik was active in the Town's main elementary school.
"I.r. Istituto nautico-navale di Ragusa", as the school was then called, trained cadre of officers and commanders for long voyages and small coastal sailing, cadre capable of accounting affairs, and shipbuilders.
The Nautical School in Dubrovnik became an independent school in 1874, i.e. it split from the former elementary school. Up to the year 1881 the school changed three buildings within the Town walls.
It began working in the Gozze building (which houses the elementary school even today), and then continued to operate in the building of the Dominican Monastery and finally acted in the Grammar School building (former convent of St. Catherine - now the Music School).
Since the school year 1881-82 the school works in a building on BRSALJE (now the restaurant Nautika), where it would remain for more than seven decades, specifically till the year 1954.
A lot of famous and prized captains came out of this school. Reputation of a sea captain was very big even outside the ship. The reputation in the maritime Dubrovnik was comparable with the reputation of doctors, lawyers and professors.
Since 1922 the school in Brsalje works as the "Nautical Academy". The training lasts for four years. The Academy was operating continuously in this same building in the time of World War II. In the year 1954 the school was relocated to a new location, and in 1959 the two-year Nautical College was founded.
Since 1997 the Faculty of Maritime Studies works in Dubrovnik.
About the catering facilities of BRSALJECatering facilities – coffee bars, inns and boarding houses existed in Dubrovnik even at the time of the Dubrovnik Republic. With the development of tourism and increased tourist traffic in the 19th century, the need also grows for additional facilities that will serve the growing new industry.
In 1817 a planned landscaping began in the Brsalje area, which became a town promenade. Brsalje is a part of Pile, just before the entrance to the Town, facing south towards the small sea bay. That year on both sides of the access road a line of mulberry trees was planted. And at the end of the walkway a public park was arranged, which became known as Theodora park. The place soon became a favourite gathering place for the citizens of Dubrovnik. Probably because for that reason in 1836 Nikola Birimiša built and opened a café in Brsalje ‘'Caffè all' Arciduca Federico '; soon it became the most popular Dubrovnik café. According to contemporaries’ words, during the morning it was full of tourists and in the afternoon there were more domestic people. It was, as they say, particularly animated in front of the Birimiša café on Sunday afternoons when the 'whole Town moved here to enjoy ice cream and listen to the military music chapel'. The café was later called 'Dubravka’. Around the year 1866, in the Pile area, in the building next to the sea and opposite to 'Dubravka’, yet another inn is mentioned -'Al Boschetto'. The inn also had rooms to let and was used as a hostel. It became known as the 'Albergo al Boschetto'. Namely, Brsalje at that time was covered with treetops of fully grown trees, so these plantations by the citizens of Dubrovnik were called 'Bošak', meaning grove, from which the hotel takes its name. The owner of this hotel was Captain Nikola Andrijašević. Hotel also worked in the eighties of the 19th century. The fact we know from the diary of the priest and writer Mato Vodopić (whose works are still performed during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival), who wrote that the emigrant Mato Kunić returned from South America where he had spent 25 years, where he had got married and had become rich…."He had gained something, his wife brought something", and that he, arriving with his wife in Dubrovnik, was staying at the inn 'Al Boschetto' in the Pile area. Until when this hotel existed is not determined with certainty. It is known only that it did not exist in the nineties of the 19th century because the Nautical College moved into the building in which the hotel was, and it stayed there until 1954. This is why the name ‘’Nautika’’ has remained permanently to this building. In the late eighties of the 20th century, the building became the property of the tourist agency 'Atlas', and along with a pertaining terrace it was converted into a prestigious catering facility named ‘Nautika’.