There are rare dining moments when you leave a restaurant and your friends turn to each other and simultaneously say “THAT was incredible!” Dinner at Pantarul was one of those soul fulfilling moments. Pantarul is a treasure. It blends a casual yet hip interior with five-star food and service. If you are ever in Dubrovnik you have to dine here, no if’s, no butt’s. If it’s your only meal, do it. You won’t be sorry, here’s why…
The food and service work in synchronicity here. Our obliging and educated waiter Denis was more than happy to accommodate our request to try as many dishes as possible and select accompanying wines to best represent the food. He ace’d it. Denis took us on a journey when he described how our velvety red wine had been made. The vines had been planted along the Croatian coast line upon a cliff face, so as the grapes grew they were lashed with ocean wind, waves and salt spray, giving the drop an ever slightly salty flavour, it was divine.
Our foodie affair began with the delivery of five, yes five, starters to our table. (This blog is called Graze the Earth after all!) Foie gras marinated in cognac and cinnamon served with green tomato and horseradish tapenade, Duck liver mousse with creamy polenta, cheese fondue and truffles, Vegetable spring rolls with carrot, celery, zucchini and creme fraiche, Baby spinach and grapefruit salad and last but not least Fish carpaccio with pickled carrot and capers. Ok if you’re not already drooling listening to this check out the images below.
With each inaugural bite our taste buds did little pirouette’s of happiness. Then flowed a river of compliments and the hatching of a plan to eat all meals here for the rest of our trip. We swooned in delight.
Our friend Erik said nothing but occasional mutterings of “Wow” throughout his meal, accompanied by eye rolling in sheer gratification throughout his ridiculously tender beef fillet with celery mousse, glazed baby carrots and truffle sauce. My monk fish fillet was cooked beautifully wrapped in Dalmatian pancetta (the region, not the dog) with grilled rocket, potatoes and red pepper sauce.
With the skin on our stomachs stretching to contain all that we had eaten we decided to share two desserts between the four of us. Didn’t want to seem greedy you know! With sage advice from our new friend, Denis the waiter, we selected the Almond brittle and caramel semifreddo. It was light, crunchy, creamy, sweet and salty and the perfect end to a gluttonous evening with excellent gastronomy.
In summary I’ll leave you with the ever so eloquent words that Anthony Bourdain shared about his experience with Croatian food, ”This is world-class food; this is world-class wine; this is world-class cheese…. If you haven’t been here yet, you are a fucking idiot”. So there you have it.