Not quite sure what to expect from Montenegro’s food scene? While largely Balkan, the country’s cuisine is also influenced by its neighbours. Traces of Italy, Turkey and Greece can be found on most menus, creating a delicious line-up of dishes to enjoy.
Where you go in the country will cause food to vary, whether you’re kicking back on the coast, venturing into the mountains or heading into the heart of the country. One thing is for sure though – while eating out here, expect a warm welcome wherever your go. Particularly at traditional restaurants, known locally as konoba.
While it may not be world-renowned, Montenegro’s cuisine is certainly tasty. And as the country is poised to become the next big European holiday destination, we walk you through the best dishes to devour and tipples to try in our Montenegro food and drink guide.
Montenegrin dishes to try
Love risotto? The country’s version, black risotto, is infused with squid ink to give it a distinct midnight hue. Featuring garlic, squid meat and fresh parsley, it looks a little unusual, but believe us, it’s unbelievably tasty.
Cabbage leaves stuffed with mincemeat go by the name of sarma here. They’re often served up with freshly-caught octopus that’s grilled and drizzled with olive oil. Sarma are really rich but utterly delicious. Don’t skip the opportunity to try them!
Of all Montenegro’s foods, this speciality is loved most throughout the country. Ham is beechwood-smoked and salted in a process that takes six months to complete. The final result is lip-smackingly good. Try it with a chunk of fresh bread and slices of creamy cheese.
Those holidaying on the coast will likely come across buzara. This seaside dish is a concoction of shellfish cooked in white wine, along with fennel and onions. Enjoy a huge pot of it as you dine al fresco on a balmy summer’s evening
Travellers that have visited Turkey may recognise this beloved dish – a flaky pastry stuffed with cheese, spinach and sometimes meat. It’s best devoured at breakfast time, leaving you full and ready to start your day.
Montenegrin drinks to sample
Vineyards are dotted throughout the southern region of the country, producing red wine, Vranac, and white wine, Krstac. Dry and pale yellow, Krstac works well with fish and mild cheeses. Meanwhile Vranac is full-bodied and best paired with meat. These are the names to look out for on labels if you want to drink like a local.
If you’re looking for your caffeine fix, scan menus in search of kafa. Served in a small metal jug, it’s often boiled and sweetened in a Turkish style. Milk fans will have to ask for a jug of the good stuff if you prefer it not too strong!
Love a spirit? The local tipple of choice is rakija, a fruit brandy popular throughout Balkan countries. While it comes in a variety of flavours, it’s mostly drank in grape guise in Montenegro. It’s the ultimate aperitif but beware, it’s strong, with an alcohol content between 50-60%!
Now your Montenegro food and drink knowledge is up to scratch, it’s time to book a break to this Balkan country.