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Seafood dishes to watch out for in Montenegro

Montenegrin cuisine is a diverse experience that will tantalise your flavour buds. Among these you should especially watch out for seafood dishes. This is a traditional food on the coast of Montenegro masterfully prepared by chefs across Boka Bay and elsewhere.

Visitors who want to grasp a true Montenegrin lifestyle and enjoy the cuisine of the Adriatic should not miss trying several seafood dishes. To learn more about what you should eat when visiting Montenegro, keep reading as we bring you the top five seafood dishes in this Balkan gem.

Montenegrin Cuisine

Montenegrin culinary landscape is very diverse, and based on the region you encounter yourself, you will be enjoying different forms of delights. The country is famous for its traditional prosciutto. It is smocked for a year and served in the form of meze. It typically goes together with some of the numerous types of cheese. Some of the most popular cheeses are the ones from Durmitor, Kolasin, and Pljevlja, all made from cow’s milk. Goat cheese is also a very popular traditional item on the menu, which is typically homemade and tastes deliciously.

Traditional Montenegrin meze - Caeli travel
Traditional Montenegrin meze – Caeli travel

Montenegrins are carnivores, so a lot of items on our menus include beef, pork or lamb. These are prepared in different ways to emphasise the deliciousness of meat. Meat dishes are typically served in the north or central part of the country. Besides these, the traditional meals in the north also include kacamak and cicvara. These are cheese- and corn-flour-made dishes that are very strong but delicious.

Read Also: Best Restaurants to Try in Montenegro (2024)

Finally, the culinary journey of Montenegro takes you to the south, where seafood dominates. Besides traditional dishes, which we will talk about in a second, the south of the country is also famous for its variety of fish dishes, such as fish stew, codfish, sea bass, smoked grape, and many others.

Top 5 seafood dishes to try in Montenegro

Buzara style seafood

One of the most recognisable dishes in the Adriatic coast of Montenegro is the traditional Buzara style seafood. People from these areas grew up with some form of this dish. This traditional dish is made from different types of seafood. Therefore, you can try buzara with mussels, prawns, langoustines, or gambas. So whether they came from Boka, Dalmatia or from the other side of the Adriatic they will know to make buzara.

Buzara style mussels - seafood dish
Buzara style mussels

It is one pot dish cooked slowly on the fire with lots of vegetables and covered in white or red wine. Traditionally, chefs add tomatoes and fresh herbs and serve them with thick slices of bread. In this way, you will savour all elements of this, both seafood and the sauce they were cooked in.

Buzara can also be made with several seafoods combined. In Boka, the restaurants typically serve it with only mussels or pawns and gambas combined. Based on the combination, cooking may vary while the deliciousness is guaranteed.

Grilled Squid or Calamari

Grilled squid and calamari are the local’s favourite dishes. It is dominantly spread across the entire coast, and many restaurants prepare it. Especially delicious grilled squid and calamari can be found in Ulcinj on Ada Bojana.

Grilled calamari - Konoba Stari Grad
Grilled calamari – Konoba Stari Grad

This dish is typically prepared on the grill and marinated with lemon juice. Squid can be ordered whole, grilled, stuffed with risotto, fried, battered, and stuffed with prosciutto and cheese. One other very popular way of eating calamari is grilled and filled with prosciutto stuffing. This is a very filling and extremely delicious dish.

And not to forget, the grilled squid almost always comes with a side dish, regardless of the manner of preparation. It is nearly always served with a side of garlic-cooked potatoes and silverbeets.

Seafood Black Rissoto

One of the Adriatic speciality dishes, black risotto, is the most popular food choice for tourists. Although looking intimidating, this is a really simple yet very delicious dish. The black colour derives from the squid ink, which is dried on the spot from fresh squid. Further on, it combines several ingredients, including chunks of salty squid, risotto, and the sweetness of fresh tomatoes. The dish is elevated by the acidity of a vintage dry white wine.

Black risotto - Blue Royal
Black risotto – Blue Royal

The versatility of this dish is also remarkable, so you can also choose to taste black risotto made with red wine. On top of this, black risotto can be done with other types of seafood. Thus, you can have risotto made with octopus, prawns, langoustines, and gambas.

The entire dish is also often packed with parsley and garlic, making it a true Mediterranean coastal delight. Seafood black risotto can be found on seafood platters or as a main course.

Octopus Salad

Another Mediteranean-inspired delight that is considered to be a traditional seafood dish in Montenegro is the Octopus salad. Made with traditional ingredients, the freshness of the octopus and the delightful flavours of vegetables ensure that this salad is your favourite. The octopus is slowly cooked so it reaches tenderness and softness.

Octopus salad - Theodorus Restaurant Tivat - seafood dish
Octopus salad – Theodorus Restaurant Tivat

Its freshness is then combined with boiled potatoes and finely chopped red onions. Some restaurants also add ruccola for a touch of green in this harmony of flavours. It is drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, red wine and vinegar, while the parsley is typically the garnish.

As is the case with other dishes, based on the region, the preparation process may vary, and some of the salads may include tomatoes. On the other hand, many keep up with old recipes, so only olive oil and lime juice for garnish.

In any case, you are truly up for a tasty experience.

Tip from the local for a seafood dish

Lastly, we want to give you a tip from locals that will elevate your entire seafood-tasting experience. Do not leave Montenegro without tasting gavice (girice). This is a traditional coastal snack you can find in Boka or in other parts of southern Montenegro.

Girice/Gavice
Girice/Gavice

Gavice is a small fish that is freshly caught and fired in hot oil. You can buy it as a whole or without heads, based on your preferences. Although this can seem a bit strange and not pleasant looking, gavice is a true delight. It will become your new favourite snack as it combines seafood taste with the thrill of a snack we typically crave. You can take it to go and enjoy it while walking around the seaside.

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