It looks like a fruit salad, with a taste more reminiscent of a vegetable, but it is a dish from the tapas menu of the Dubrovnik restaurant Pantarul on the Lapad peninsula. On the menu tapas were translated as “a small snack”, but this ceviche of sea bream with tomatoes, mango and spring onions was delicious as a snack, but you couldn’t say that it was small like ordinary tapas. Furthermore, it filled a large deep plate and it was enough for a light summer lunch. And a fine, mildly acidic and refreshing lunch at that. Otherwise, ceviche is a Latin-American dish of raw fish marinated in lemon or lime juice, seasoned with spicy peppers and garnished with fruit and vegetables.
Their popara (steamed) piper gurnard is also excellent. Popara is a dish very similar to gregada (stew), however the taste it complemented by tomato. In the Pantarul’s popara dishes are also mussels, spring onions, fennel and carrots. The spring onions are particularly fine even when they remain in the soup after the other ingredients are eaten. One little criticism is that there is too much parsley because it dominated the delicate dish.
Pantarul has a relatively small selection of very well thought out and varied dishes of fresh and seasonal ingredients. They offer fish raw, cooked or grilled and served with lots of vegetables. With the shellfish they play with unusual combinations such as baked sea scallops in pancetta with sweet potato cream and sesame and salads. Of meat, they offer goose liver, duck breast, chicken, pork belly, braised veal, beef fillet, ox cheeks and more.
The interior is also well designed, modern, not over the top, just as they have not gone over the top with the wine list. However they have covered all styles, so one can find an appropriate liquid side dish for any of their dishes. It is commendable that all the wines can be ordered by the glass. And if anyone doesn’t know how to choose alone, the waitress will recommend something good. It is best to check with a visit to the restaurant, whose name, for those who are not from Dubrovnik, means fork.
Author of photography: Grgo Jelavić/Pixsell