Traveling through the old towns located along the Adriatic Sea, restaurants offer similar fare. Every once in awhile, a hidden gem will stand out, and Bugenvila is Cavtat’s skriveni dragulj. I had heard of it because of a search for coffee, and after looking over the menu, we sat down for one of the best meals ever. I should have known that Bugenvila would be amazing because they serve Eli’s Coffee from Zagreb, possibly the best in the Balkans. The menu is extremely limited and changes monthly depending on fresh ingredients. All main courses and seafood are brought in daily, as we saw the fresh fish delivery take place. The chicken is free range. There is definitely a high standard in buying, preparing and presenting.
My wife ordered the Blue Lunch which consisted of an Octopus Terrine to start. The main dish of fresh sea bream was served with buttered potatoes over a bed of squash, zucchini and oyster mushrooms. The plate is served stacked allowing the patron to experience the complimentary flavors together getting the full breathe of the dish. An inviting, cool mojito sorbet completed the lunch cleansing the pallet and leaving one refreshed.
My dish was a free-range chicken breast served over fregola pasta and Mediterranean ragu. The pasta and ragu could stand alone with the flavors. The chicken breast was perfectly prepared with a crisp skin, yet succulent inside. Our son chose a gnocchi dish that was just as tasty, but I think the picture of Mickey Mouse influenced his decision. With all this being said, Bugenvila Restaurant is extremely family-friendly and welcomes “culinary explorers.”
Around Bugenvila were two other restaurants that also seemed to do things differently. Along with two wine bars, this area seemed to be the place to go if looking for something outside of the local cuisine options. The diversity of food in such a small town proves that Cavtat can offer its own experience apart from Dubrovnik.