Montenegro’s cuisine. What traditional dishes are worth trying?

Montenegrin cuisine: 10 dishes you must try

The cuisine of Montenegro, no matter what they say, still differs from the cuisine of Serbia, which I described in detail in this article. Serbian cuisine is all about meat, dairy and pastries. And in Montenegro the food is more varied thanks to the Adriatic Sea and the Mediterranean climate. In addition to meat there are fish, wine and olives.

  • Features of the national cuisine of Montenegro
  • Where to get acquainted with Montenegrin cuisine
  • Top 10 dishes to try in Montenegro
  • What to try of meat in Montenegro

Features of the national cuisine of Montenegro

I can identify three main features of Montenegrin national cuisine:

  1. Meat is traditionally the #1 product on Montenegrins’ tables. Although many people have the question: “Where do Montenegrins get meat from? After all, there are no pastures, only stone slopes”, in the north of the country there is enough room for farms.
  2. Olives – due to the Mediterranean climate on the coast of Montenegro are full of olive groves. The local olive oil is very delicious, and I cannot even count how many types of pickled olives Montenegrins produce.
  3. Fish and seafood – thanks to the Adriatic Sea, Lake Skadar and rivers in Montenegro there are both sea and river fish. The most popular dishes in restaurants are grilled trout, dorado, brancine, grilled octopus and squid, tuna steak, fresh oysters.

What seafood to try in Montenegro

Grilled calamari with spinach

The most common side dish is Dalmatian varivo (boiled potatoes + blitz), grilled vegetables, or French fries (usually served with meat dishes).

Where to get acquainted with Montenegrin cuisine

  • Wine Roads of Montenegro – a one-day tour of the country’s wineries. Detailed program →
  • Montenegro Specialties – wine, prsut and cheese tasting with a visit to one of the wineries, prsut and cheese production. Detailed program →
  • Around Kotor with wine and food tasting – walking tour of Old Kotor with stories about the history of the city and wine tasting and local specialties. Detailed program of the walk →

In addition to gastro tours there are several festivals in Montenegro where you can taste the local wine, cheese and olives:

  • Mimosa Festival – held in February in Herceg Novi. It’s the first spring festival (yes, yes!). The locals fry a fish called a bleak fish and give it away for free to everyone who wants it, pouring wine at the same time.
  • The Masliniada in Bara – held in November. You can taste olives, butter, wine, cheese.
  • Wine and Clay Festival in Virpazar – held in December. At the festival, too, they fry the bleak and give it away for free. You can taste wine, cheese and olives from local producers.

Top 10 dishes to try in Montenegro

  1. Njegus prsut . Prsut is a pork ham dried in a special way, which is cut into thin transparent strips. Prsut is prepared in many places in Montenegro, but the mountain village of Negushi is considered the homeland of Montenegrin prsut. One can even see the production of prsut here.

Negus prsut - Montenegrin cuisine

From these huge hams the prsut is cut into thin slices.

  1. Negus steak . One of the traditional meat dishes of Montenegro, which can be described as meat in meat. The portion is large and very hearty.
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Negus steak - Montenegrin cuisine

Negush steak is prsut and cheese wrapped in young beef

  1. Hobotnicka for heat – grilled octopus. To make the octopus not rubbery, it is first boiled for about an hour and then grilled.

Prices for food in Montenegro

Hot snapper or grilled squid in Herceg Novi restaurant costs 12 euros. It is a complete dish with a side of vegetables. Read more about prices in Montenegro

  1. Fish from Lake Skadar . There are both fried and dried fish. The best places to try are the restaurants in Rijeka Crnojevic or in Virpazar.

Tasting dishes from river fish - one of the attractions in Rijeka Crnojevic

Fried carp with Dalmatian brew (potatoes + blitva)

  1. Chorba is a traditional thick soup. It comes in meat and fish varieties. Fish chorba (fish chorba) is red in color with small pieces of fish and a little bit sour. I advise you to try it.

Fish chorba - traditional Montenegrin soup

The fish pieces in the soup are usually very small and boneless.

  1. Sacha lamb . Lamb meat is stewed in its own juice. Try it in pechenyars.
  2. Pryganice is a traditional breakfast. Pompuski served with honey or with prsut.

Pryganice - Montenegrin traditional breakfast

  1. Shkolke (mussels) in white wine sauce . There are many mussel and oyster farms in the Bay of Kotor. The mussels from there are always fresh and delicious. The locals cook them in different ways. The most common variant is in tomato sauce. To me, this is the most unpalatable way to cook mussels. The tomato sauce just kills the flavor. Ask to have mussels cooked in a white wine sauce and bring bread, because the sauce (yushka) is delicious!

Where to taste mussels and oysters in Montenegro

You can buy mussels and oysters either at the farm or at Montefiche and Tzogimar stores.

  1. Olives and olive oil . In Montenegro there are a lot of olive groves. Locals make olive oil and pickle olives according to different recipes. Once a year, the Olive Festival is held in Bar. Olives can (and should!) be sampled at the markets (Zelena piazza) from local producers.

Olives and olive oil in Montenegro

Even at a regular market you can find about 10 kinds of olives

  1. Tuna from the Adriatic . The Adriatic Sea is not as rich in seafood as the ocean, but there are calamari, octopus, sea urchins, dorada and other inhabitants. I suggest you try the Adriatic tuna specifically, as fresh tuna is very tasty. You can try the tuna tartare or the tuna steak. I really liked the tartar at Hygo in Ulcinj, and the steak was good at Forsage Gastro Bar (Budva) and Carevic Farm.

What to try from fish in Montenegro

What to try of meat in Montenegro

Montenegro is definitely a meat-eating country, even though it’s located by the sea. Yes, there are more fish and seafood dishes here than in Serbia. But still, meat is the priority.

I made a list of five meat dishes that are worth trying in Montenegro.

  1. Prsut is number one of the meat specialties to try in Montenegro. It is used as a separate appetizer or added to other dishes. For example, in Neguše steak or in pizza. The most delicious is considered to be Negush prsut.

What to try in Montenegro

Pizza with prsut and olives – mmmmm!

  1. Sacha lamb – braised lamb meat in its own juice. Cooked for several hours in a thick cauldron with vegetables.
  2. Negush steak – real meat in meat: a meatloaf with cheese and prsut inside.
  3. Cevapi – small sausages made of minced meat. Cooked on grill. Usually served with french fries and fresh vegetables. Local fast-food.
  4. Veal chorba is a thick meat soup. Flour is added to chorba to make it thick.
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Telyača čorba, a thick soup in Montenegro

Tell us in the comments what you have tried and what you haven’t. What did you like and what dish didn’t leave much of an impression.

Hi, my name is Tatiana, and I’m happy to see you on the Life is Unpredictable! blog. I love to travel, and on the blog I share my experiences, tips and other helpful notes.

What to try in Montenegro – national cuisine

In Montenegro there is a surprisingly harmonious combination of qualities, such as pride and independence, friendliness and tolerance for other cultures and nationalities. The national peculiarities are reflected in the local culinary traditions. The cuisine of Montenegro has been forming for many years under the influence of many nations, the dishes are a mixture of culinary traditions of the Slavs, the Hungarians, the Germans, the Turks, and inhabitants of the Mediterranean.

Features of the national cuisine of Montenegro

Montenegrin cuisine is divided by geographical criterion. In coastal areas, the Mediterranean cuisine with a large amount of fish and seafood, cheese and natural, fresh vegetables prevails. In the mountainous regions tourists and guests are treated with meat and dairy dishes.

The residents of the country rightly call their national cuisine natural and healthy. Montenegro is distinguished by fertile soils, and therefore it is not customary to use fertilizers. The cattle are pastured on ecologically clean pastures. It is not surprising that any dish is not just tasty, but also attracts with special freshness and naturalness.

The national cuisine of Montenegro is incredibly varied, there is a rich table. The basic culinary traditions are reminiscent of the traditional Slavic food. Meat plays an important role here. If you are lucky enough to visit the Balkans, be sure to try veshalitsa – chops with wonderful bouquet of spices, cevapcici – sausages made from various kinds of minced meat, razhnici – kebabs of veal and pork. Here they know how to cook meat on a spit in a special way.

While vacationing on the coast of Montenegro try the fish dishes. Our man will like the first dishes – uha, goulash. Trout stuffed with prunes or yaprake (carp baked in cream) – dishes worthy of a royal dinner. Connoisseurs of the Mediterranean cuisine will certainly appreciate pilaf with seafood.

When visiting Montenegro, one cannot help but try cheese. There are so many kinds of cheese here, as it is a mandatory ingredient for various dishes – snacks, first courses, it is added to cereals, salads and desserts. You must try the flatbread with cheese – kashkaval, kachamak.

Of course, the meal traditionally ends with dessert and drinks. Nuts and fruits are used for sweets. As for drinks, here they appreciate the coffee, tea. The wine, produced in Montenegro, is not too widespread in international markets, but it is worth a try.

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Vranac is a calling card of Montenegro, a wine with a pronounced tart flavor. It is produced throughout the country, so there are dozens of varieties. Fish and vegetables are served with the national white wines, the most popular being Krstach and Sauvignon. If you want to try something stronger, order a grape vodka, Krunak.

There are also European dishes – ice cream made according to Italian recipes, pizza, burgers, risotto.

How much to eat in Montenegro

The most expensive food in Montenegro is seafood. Often in restaurants, the cost is listed per 100 grams, pay attention to this nuance. The average cost of lobster or fish of exotic species is 15 euros per 100 grams. Be prepared that for an impressive portion weighing 400-500 grams you will have to pay from 60 to 75 €.

Photo: cuisine of Montenegro

The price of main courses varies from 10 to 20 €. Salads are usually from 5 to 10 €. Desserts cost from 3 to 8 €. First courses cost between 3 and 7€.

In an expensive restaurant, a delicious, hearty meal for a family of two adults and two children will cost 60-80 euros, and lunch for two in the resort area – 23-35 euros.

If you vacation in coastal regions, be sure to try the takeout, they are sold in numerous kiosks on the coast. A pizza costs 2 €, a huge hamburger – 3-4 €, a little more expensive will cost a kebab – 4-5 €, and a delicious sausage can be bought for 2 €.

National dishes of Montenegro

Photo: creamy kaimac cheese

Dairy product, the consistency resembles sour cream, but the taste is a delicate, creamy cheese with a creamy hue. Kaymak is added to meat and fish dishes, vegetable salads. As a result, the prepared food acquires a soft and creamy flavor.

The product is made from milk; it is stewed in an oven for several hours and then cooled. Thick layer, which forms on top, carefully removed, seasoned with salt and a few days insist. Despite the high percentage of fat (40%) kaimak is very useful.

Chorba with meat

Popular national dish throughout Montenegro. Thick, rich soup, for its preparation use several varieties of fish. Thanks to this dish turns out a hearty and resembles a delicate cream soup. The main difference from traditional soup is the presence of a whole bouquet of spices and flour, as well as in a soup without grits.

The soup contains veal and carrot that are cut up into small pieces and potatoes are grated. The first course is accompanied by delicious flatbreads with cheese.

Lamb chorba

Montenegro is famous for its exquisite lamb recipes. Regardless of where you are in Montenegro and what recipe they use to cook the meat, you can be sure that you will be served a tender and juicy meat dish. Lamb is cooked in a cast-iron pot, under a thick, solid lid. The pot is called a sachet. On top of the lid, hot coals are placed and the meat is kept for one hour.

The meat of the young lamb and potatoes are stewed in milk and spices. The ready dish turns out very tender, soft and incredibly fragrant.

Photo: Negush steak

This is another widespread national dish of Montenegro. It was first cooked in one of the oldest cities in the country – Negushi. Here also appeared such popular dishes as Negushi cheese and prsut. For preparation of steak they take only young beef, stuff it with kaymak (cheese) and prsut (dried pork). Then they make a special sauce and serve it with it.

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Cicewara - a dish made of corn flour

This dish resembles Ukrainian banosh. This dish includes corn flour and young cheese. The cheese is sliced and melted, then the flour is added and continuously stirred to the consistency of porridge. Along with tsitsvara serve potatoes, plain sourdough. This is a traditional breakfast in Montenegro.

Photo: bread popara

This dish is nutritious and calorie-dense; it is made from the remains of stale bread. It is steamed, milk, butter, and young cheese are added.

It is served with sour milk. In the past, such food was considered a country food, but today the dish is served in almost every cafe and restaurant in Montenegro.

Meat sausage cevapcici

This is the name of the small national sausage made of pork or beef. The meat is pounded by hand, mixed with finely chopped onions, and a bouquet of spices. The sausages are shaped, smeared with olive oil and baked in the oven. The sausages go well with fried potatoes, vegetable snacks and salads. The dish is served in a restaurant, or you can buy it in a store where the sausages are cooked in front of the customer.

Chopped meat cutlet - pleskavitsa

The dish is sure to evoke nostalgic feelings in you. It is a huge cutlet of minced meat cooked on the grill. As a rule, it is cooked in front of the client. A variety of greens, fresh or baked vegetables, and sauces are added to the cutlet.

If you want to try some meat dishes in a restaurant, order Meshano meso, which is a fragrant and delicious assortment of the most famous national treats.

This product is given special attention in Montenegro. Cheese is served here in cafes, restaurants, you can buy it in stores and at any market. Any kind of cheese, no matter where you bought it, is always fresh and delicious. Cheeses have a rich range of flavors, you can pick up a product that perfectly sets off the taste of the main dish.

Prsut and nagush cheese

The real pride of Montenegro is the cheese made from goat or sheep milk. There is a range of young cheese (aged from 2 to 3 months) and cheese with olive oil. Non-Gouche cheese is very similar to bryndza, but the salty flavor is less pronounced.

An appetizer that is much more than just food. Prsut can be enjoyed even after a hearty lunch or dinner. The dish is a dried meat. Pork is used for cooking, it is dried according to an ancient recipe, the secrets of which will never reveal to you. In front of you they will cut off thin slices from a huge piece. At the market or in a store one can buy prsut already sliced. As a gift, you can buy a whole shank.

This is a puff pastry in which various fillings are wrapped. The dish is definitely served with yogurt.

Montenegrin pancakes palacinke with chocolate syrup

The two most common national desserts are tulumba and palacinke.

Toulumba has Turkish roots. It is a dish that resembles custard cakes, but instead of cream, slices of unleavened dough are generously poured with honey-based syrup.

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Palacinke is a dish with Slavic roots. These are pancakes of enormous diameter with various fillings – sweet and salty.

Wines in Montenegro are very tasty, and you can savor them throughout your vacation, enjoying the rich bouquet and exquisite flavor. There are many varieties of wines of different value. The most popular are:

  • Vranac, a deep, ruby-colored drink with a tart flavor, served with meat dishes and desserts;
  • Krstac – a white wine of light yellow hue with a light flavor and soft aftertaste, served with fish, cheese, and fruit.
  • Rakija is a popular strong drink; its alcohol content reaches 60%. Montenegrin vodka made from grapes is called lozovaca, and the drink made from plums is called pluvovica. In different regions of the country, nuts, herbs, and spices are added to the drink to spice it up. If the vodka is made from fruit, it is called by the variety of pears, apples or apricots.

A few secrets

The local food in Montenegro undoubtedly has its own peculiarities.

  1. Salads are cut in large pieces, so you get the feeling that you are served a huge portion.
  2. Inhabitants of Montenegro prefer to drink coffee, tea is drunk only during illness.
  3. Lemonade is served in restaurants, but its taste is cardinally different from our traditional drink. Montenegrin lemonade is sour, so it is served with sugar, if desired you sweeten the drink for yourself.
  4. The locals have a variety of liqueurs made from blueberries, apples, quinces, and even spruce twigs. The cost of such a drink varies from 5 to 10 euros.
  5. Beer in Montenegro in general does not differ from the usual light or dark beer that can be purchased in our country. The cost of a bottle is on average 1 euro.

Now you know what to try in Montenegro from the food. Of course, each region presents its own, original dishes. The secret of Balkan cuisine is the exceptional freshness and ecological purity of all products. To the quality of food there are especially attentive and reverent. The rich table is laid not only for the feast, but also for the guests. The meal traditionally starts with a meat platter called meze and is accompanied by olives and cheeses.

If you have been to the Balkans, your only regret will be that you cannot take home original recipes of national dishes. Believe me, if you are told the recipe in a cafe or restaurant, it is sure to hold back some culinary secret. The cuisine of Montenegro is rich and varied, on each trip you are sure to discover new flavors, traditions and experiences.

Author: Julia Matyukhina

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