Saturday, 20 July 2024
Restaurant Natali Restaurant Natali Mark Thomas

TASTED BY THE EDITOR - Discovering Culinary Perfection at Restaurant Natali

Written by  Jun 28, 2024

“What an utterly delightful dining experience,” remarked the English couple seated across from me. I nodded in concurrence, “Delightful is indeed a fitting description,” I replied. Now I need to come clean right at the beginning of this text, I thought I knew every eatery in Dubrovnik, and the wider Dubrovnik region. In fact, I have eaten at most of them. However, I was wrong. You know how pearls are hidden in oysters, well this is a true gem of a restaurant that was hidden from me, not in an oyster but pretty much in plain sight. Until now.

Let’s start at the beginning, with first impressions. Restaurant Natali is located as part of the incredibly stunning Palace Natali. So picture this. On your horizon is the fold of the clear blue sky and the turquoise Adriatic, and as you zoom in a beautifully symmetric Renaissance garden with centuries-old olive trees and manicured gardens and you sit in the shade of a classically elegant summer residence. If you were to try and describe the perfect Mediterranean setting, then this would be pretty close to the result. Serene grace, yes that’s a good description.

TASTED BY THE EDITOR Discovering Culinary Perfection at Restaurant Natali

What a stunning location

Chef Highlighted His Skills

Now down to business. Firstly, the staff. For a visit to a restaurant should be an experience and the staff are a vital component. “Welcome to Restaurant Natali,” said the friendly waiter. Clearly, he had a wealth of knowledge and led me through my whole dining evening. As you probably know I am a fan of short menus, chefs have to put in more effort to highlight their skills. And yes, Restaurant Natali has a great one. “May I recommend the Tuna Tartare as a light starter,” said the head chef, Dubravko.

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From the garden to the plate - Photo - Mark Thomas 

Discovering Culinary Perfection at Restaurant Natali 1

And then something happened to me in a restaurant that has never happened before. Apparently, part of the dish was a special decoration, capers flowers, and from the corner of my eye I spotted chef cutting a flower from a plant growing in the garden. “I was wondering if this whole meal could get any more “Dalmatian” but clearly it can,” I laughed with the chef. The Tuna Tartare was served with homemade spicy mayonnaise, caper, chive oil and flatbread. Not only were the harmony of flavours magical but the plating was a masterpiece. Now, I latter discovered that chef had worked in some of the leading restaurants in Dubrovnik, and that shone through like the Adriatic sun.

Pairing Is Caring

Wine and food, food and wine. And pairing isn’t that easy at all. But my waiter and his knowledge really came to the fore. I was on a journey through Croatia in every glass of red and white.

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“I would highly recommend you trying another starter,” said the waiter, “the scallops.” I am so glad I took his advice, scallops served with foie gras and truffle sauce, bone marrow, garlic chips and flavoured croutons. The sauce was the key; the delicacy of the scallops was boosted by the intriguing sauce.

In My Top Three

Onwards and upwards, and the main course. Chicken drumstick and thighs looked tempting, although how would chef bring some colour to this white meat. I shouldn’t have doubted him. Again the platting was picture-perfect, and the stuffing of duxelles and Provençal mousse, along with parsnip purée and skin chips, well let’s just say I was lost for words.

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Delightful indeed

Out of all the many (many) restaurants I have had the pleasure to visit this one, Restaurant Natali, would honestly be in my top three. There are ones that have great food, or superb service or unique locations, but Natali has all these ingredients, a rare find, and a jewel in the crown of Dubrovnik’s culinary scene. Delightful indeed.

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How to get to Restaurant Natali –

There is dedicated parking so you could just follow your GPS if you have rented a car. Or just ask your taxi driver for Palace Natali, or Restaurant Natali. It is also manageable walk from the historic Old City of Dubrovnik. Believe me it is well worth finding!

And follow Restaurant Natali here - 




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