Nestled in the charming town of Metković, lies a hidden gem that beckons both locals and travellers alike. Narenta, part of the Narenta Hotel, is a culinary oasis that promises an unforgettable dining experience. The first thing that catches your eye is the astonishing affordability; a three-course meal for just 10 euros. But Narenta offers more than just budget-friendly prices; it delivers exceptional quality. With an emphasis on using locally sourced ingredients from the fertile Neretva basin, the restaurant serves up fresh and flavourful dishes that showcase the region's culinary heritage. Join us as we explore the remarkable world of Narenta, where good food and great value converge.
"To be honest the majority of our guests are local," smiled the friendly waiter as I took my seat. That is not a good sign, that an excellent sign. My destination was Metković and a restaurant that you could easy whizz by on your way either to Dubrovnik or the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the future I certainly won't be whizzing by anymore! Narenta, remember the name, is part of the Narenta Hotel in Metković. And is a little gem.
I don't have to explain to you the restaurant prices in Dubrovnik, so what if I told you that I ate a three-course meal for 10 euro! And not just a meal, but an excellent meal. This is value for money with a capital V! Honestly, I was shocked at the prices of the daily menu. A starter for 2 euro! A main course for 6 euro and a dessert for 2 euro! Now, I was thinking to myself that this would probably be a very ordinary meal, I was wrong. And yes, the guests were mostly locals, probably a) because of the prices and b) because of the great food on offer. "We are one of the few places that didn't change prices with the introduction of the menu," explained my waiter Milenko (who, by the way was extremely knowledgeable and professional). Literally for the price of a starter in Dubrovnik you can get a three-course meal.
Narenta is well placed. If you are heading down to Dubrovnik from Split, or vice versa of course, it is only a few minutes from the main coastal road heading towards the Bosnia and Herzegovina border. Well worth the short detour. And after the completion of the new Peljesac Bridge it feels even closer. There is plenty of free parking and there is even a small shopping centre nearby if you need to pick up some shopping. There is both a spacious interior and wide terraced eating area.
So let's get down to the food. One very important point you need to know is that the whole of the Neretva basin is very much the "bread basket" of the whole region. With its fertile lands, constant water supply and guaranteed sunshine the huge fields of Neretva produce some of the best vegetables and fruit in the country. So needless to say the food on your plate is going to be locally grown. I have never tasted such crispy and crunchy vegetables in a restaurant. "Yes, we base our meals on what is grown in these fields around us," stated Milenko.
So I went for a mix of starters just to grab the opportunity to try everything. A traditional prosciutto and hard cheese plate and a salted anchovies and salad combination. The portions are huge. I almost over did it on the starters.
Then onto the main course, or maybe I should say main courses as clearly the restaurant was keen to show-off the best they had on offer. It is food like your mother or grandmother used to cook. Food cooked with pride using high-end ingredients, a real joy.
BRING AN APPETITE WITH YOU
Like I said there is "daily" menu which is superb value for money, however the restaurant also offers an a la carte menu. A few highlights would be the rolled chicken filled with cheese and spinach and served with a French fries. These home-grown potatoes were mind-blowing the flavour just exploded in my mouth. I also tried the beef goulash with peas, and that was probably my favourite. Did I already mention that the portions are huge! Bring an appetite with you. Of course I was in Neretva so I just had to experience their local dishes, and a frog risotto really hit the mark. All excellent and not one meal on the menu more than 20 euro, just superb value.
And I didn't even mention the wines. So a sister company of Narenta is one of the best known vineyards in the south of Croatia – Rizman. Their selection is comprehensive, the pošip (white) and mali plava (red) are both from the Rizman vineyard. So in other words everything on my plate came from just a few miles of where I was sitting. You can't get any fresher and more sustainable than that.
So, whether you're a local looking for exceptional value for money or a traveller seeking an authentic culinary experience on your journey through Croatia, Narenta is a dining destination that deserves a prominent spot on your list. Don't miss out on this opportunity to savour the flavours of the Neretva basin, served with pride and passion at Narenta.