After spending three weeks traveling through Croatia we ventured into Montenegro with one thing on our mind. Montenegro food! The one downside to Croatia is that the food is expensive so we ended up cooking many meals for ourselves. With the prices of the food in Montenegro almost a third of what the same dishes cost in Croatia, we were ready to eat our way through this magnificent country. It wasn’t only affordable, but the Montenegro cuisine surprised us each and every meal. Here are some ideas for what to eat in Montenegro on your first visit!
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Montenegro Travel Inspiration
- Kotor Montenegro Guide: 15 Helpful Tips, Hikes, & Things to do
- Kotor Castle Hike: Fun Climb Up to the Historic Castle of San Giovanni
- Budva to Sveti Stefan: Walking the Famous Seven Bay Trail
- Dubrovnik to Montenegro by Bus: Top Tips and Helpful Info
Best Food in Montenegro
In this Montenegro food guide, we highlighted traditional meals that are easily accessible to everyday travelers. There’s nothing worse than going to a country with your heart set on trying a new dish and not being able to find it.
It’s such a bummer to hear that it’s not available at restaurants, or only during certain holidays. Now in no way were we able to sample every part of Montenegro cuisine during our short visit. Yet, hopefully you can use this as a loose guide while discovering your own great Montenegro food!
Montenegro Food for Breakfast
During our time in Montenegro, Burek was our choice for breakfast more often than not! These aren’t only eaten in the morning, but we found they were a delicious breakfast that was quick and cheap. Found at every bakery in Montenegro, you won’t go wrong starting your day with a Burek.
Typically they come in three different flavors: cheese, meat (ground minced), or spinach. Some bakeries add cheese to the spinach and meat bureks which is always a welcomed surprise. Hands down, our go-to was the spinach! One day Jake ate four of them, and we seriously questioned if he would ever eat another again!
Cost: 1-2 Euros depending on if you order a small or large burek.
Best Montenegro Food for Lunch
Salad and seafood was our favorite lunchtime meal while exploring the different food in Montenegro. The local fish is not to be missed in this country, and we’ve had some of our best plates at back street restaurants or seaside cafes. First, you must start off with a fresh salad though!
The must-try salad of Montenegro is the seasonal salad. Ever had a Greek salad? This Montenegro food is actually very similar. Picture large chunks of tomato, cucumber, and onions are topped with soft local cheese.
It’s typically served with a side of bread, and the cheese and vegetable mixture is actually hearty enough to be a meal in itself. The cheese isn’t as salty as feta, but it still went great with our bread and drinks!
Cost: 3-4 Euros
Local Fish Plates
On almost every menu in Montenegro, we found three types of fish. Fried small fish, fried big fish, and whole fish. So simply put, if you’re a fish lover then make sure not to miss out! Let us break down how this Montenegro cuisine comes prepared.
Fried Small Fish: 4-6 Euros – These tiny fish are served whole, and also known as smelt in other parts of the world. This means you’re going to get everything from the head to the tail deep-fried and on your plate.
Fried Big Fish: 4-6 Euros – The next size up is considered big, but they’re only slightly larger than the fried small fish. The one difference in this Montenegro cuisine is that the heads are taken off before they’re fried and served.
Whole Fish: 10-15 Euros – This refers to a whole normal-sized fish prepared and served on a plate. It comes out ready for you to pick out the best of the fish meat right off the bone.
Fresh mussels were one of our favorite dishes in Montenegro. Of course, we’ve had mussels countless times before, but there really was something different with these.
The bare minimum seasoning was applied to keep them fresh and traditional. Not to mention, the huge portions and cheap prices kept us coming back for more! If you’re looking for what to eat in Montenegro, you can’t ever go wrong with mussels.
Cost: 4-8 Euros
Black Cuttlefish Risotto
If black risotto is completely new to you then Montenegro is the perfect place to try. We’re sure you may be thinking, how did they get the rice black? Brace yourself, but this European specialty actually gets its color with…. You guessed it, squid ink!
This tasty dish might look strange, but it’s time to put aside the color and dive right into this Montenegro cuisine. It’s really unlike anything we’ve ever tried before and extremely filling. Make sure to check your teeth after you eat as they will jet black from the squid ink. Nothing a good beer can’t wash away though!
Cost: 6-10 Euros
Best Montenegro Food for Dinner
For dinner, it’s common to order something heavy that has at least one type of meat on the plate. You can order seafood dishes if you’re trying to keep it light. Still, you may want to be careful. Traditional Montenegro food for dinner will knock you out for the rest of the night!
Mixed Meat Plate
The order in the picture below was considered a small. Can you believe it? Meat and hearty meals are a staple of the country. The seasonings are thick, but not overwhelming or spicy. All the fixings are a great addition to fries and salads. This mixed pork and chicken plate was meant for one person, but easily could have fed two to three people!
It might not look like much, but Cevapi was our FAVORITE new food in Montenegro. This wasn’t actually the first time we’ve eaten this classic Balkan meal. Nonetheless, it was the most delicious we’ve had in this region.
Small links of mixed seasoned meat are grilled to order. They’re then served with a side of fries, soft cheese, onions, and mixed vegetables. One important thing to know (that it won’t always say on the menu) is that there are two ways to order this Montenegro food.
Cevapi in Bread: 3-5 Euros – This is the classic lunch in the Montenegro cuisine, and a staple for travelers and locals alike. Cevapi is ordered in a set of 5 or 10 sticks which are loaded into a thick round soft bread. Separately you can buy soft cheese and red pepper sauce as well. Grab a chunk of bread with your hands, then add a good glob of soft cheese and red pepper on top! Yum!
Cevapi Plate: 5-8 Euros – Mostly viewed as a full dinner instead of a quick lunch, the Cevapi plate is as hearty as it comes. The flavors are much more intense than the lunch portion as the thick bread is substituted for a pile of crispy french fries. At the best Cevapi restaurants, you’ll be able to go up to the counter and pick what sauces and vegetables you want on your plate. We recommend not holding back and trying them all!
If somehow you were still wondering what to eat in Montenegro during your next trip, this is it!
Drinking Like a Local in Montenegro
Fortunately, while eating all this amazing food in Montenegro there’s something to wash it down with. There is only one true beer of Montenegro and that’s the Nikšićko Lager. Trebjesa is the only brewery currently in the country.
Here they create this traditional beer that’s consumed domestically and in the surrounding countries. This light lager is nice on a hot summer day, goes great with the Montenegro cuisine, and is best enjoyed washing down a heavy plate of Cevapi.
Have any questions about what to eat in Montenegro, or want to share your own favorite Montenegro cuisine? Please do so in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
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Montenegro Travel Planning
Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner. That’s how we flew from Norway to Poland for under $20 USD, and Thailand to Vietnam for less than $50!
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars for renting vehicles. A quick travel tip is to ask for a discounted weekly rate rather than booking 2-3 days.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for thousands of activities around the world. From food tours to skip the line entry passes!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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