budva

ROAD TRIP: CROATIA, MONTENEGRO & BOSNIA… PART 6 of 10

PART 6 – BUDVA: WHEN IN A ONE RESTAURANT TOWN, GO TO THE ONE RESTAURANT 

I was delighted to be using my Russian in Montenegro, and later learned that Montenegro beachfront had all been snapped up by the Russkies… the ones that haven’t quite made it to the South of France.

After experiencing the somewhat artificial Old Town (essentially the part of town within the walls) in Dubrovnik and the somewhat gritty Old Town in Kotor, the Old Town in Budva was exactly what we were looking for.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it took us a little bit of time to find this charming little corner.

First you are welcomed by billboards for the casinos and aggressive signage for the Automat Clubs advertising “Jack Pot – HAPPY TIME!”.

You walk along the beach and are greeted by a rusty faux Eiffel Tower which marks the entrance to the Trocadero Club. It seems the resorts are still off-season, so the whole beach front has an eerie run-down feel to it. But you don’t give up and keep walking along the boardwalk as you feel it in your bones things are cleaning up.

Then you hit the Old City walls now housing local craft stores selling interesting designs with lovely fabric and materials, tiny little wine nooks and cafes, the smell of delicious ripe tomatoes everywhere, and lively, good-looking young folk braving the cobblestone in kill-heels, enjoying the evening.

Lined outside the walls are wide patios facing the gorgeous Adriatic Sea. The boardwalk literally runs into the walls, with restaurants lined along its entire length. Although this was one place where we couldn’t just use our charm to get into a gorgeous looking boutique hotel, Hotel Astoria, having only seven guest rooms to begin with, we took a card to hope for the best the next time we happened to wander through Montenegro.

And here is another tip: when you are in what I call ‘One-Restaurant-Towns’, you MUST go to the One-Restaurant. What do I mean by that. You may live in HK, NY or London, where everyone will have a different recommendation for you, multiples of recommendations, whether hotels, restaurants, bars, or clubs.

One-Restaurant-Towns are those towns where no matter whom you speak to they all tell you to go to the same place: the One-Restaurant. The taxi drivers, the inn keepers, the scooter renters. If you get lost, anyone on the street will be able to give you directions to the One-Restaurant.

The One-Restaurant in this hood is called Jadran. Don’t give in to the many other restaurants that line the beachfront and perhaps may even afford you a better view with direct seating on the beach. Jadran is the place to be, evidenced by its 39-year history and survival along with Niklanovic family through the tumultuous recent history of the former Yugoslavia.

We had an amazing meal off the regular menu that was priced pleasantly reasonably. But then I saw a lady sitting by herself enjoying what looked liked two dozen oysters and a bottle of crisp-looking white wine. Mistakenly assuming the oysters must also be reasonably priced, I called over the waiter and asked for a dozen oysters myself – intent on indulging myself with a larger number of oysters than I would ever order for myself at home. Later when we got the bill I realized the oysters were 3 Euros a piece.

We paid the bill wondering if the lady was a sales prop. Lesson here: Never assume when ordering off menu. In any case, this was a wonderful meal, and one of the best ones of many great ones we had during our entire journey, even though the entire restaurant did not have a drop of running water that day and we weren’t quite sure how they were doing any food prep.

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NEXT: PART 7 of 10

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ROAD TRIP: CROATIA, MONTENEGRO & BOSNIA – A 10-PART SERIES

PART 1 – THREE TIPS ON PICKING A TRAVEL DESTINATION

PART 2 – DUBROVNIK: EAT PIZZA AND LISTEN TO THE CROATIAN

PART 3 – AVOID MADE IN CHINA STUFF

PART 4 – DRIVING IN THE EMERGING MARKETS

PART 5 – KOTOR: SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO EMBRACE THE TOURIST TRAP

PART 6 – BUDVA: WHEN IN A ONE RESTAURANT TOWN, GO TO THE ONE RESTAURANT

PART 7 – ALBANIA: DROP TIJUANA, IF YOU HAVE TO DROP A LOCATION – – OR NOT…

PART 8 – SARAJEVO: DON’T BE A FEARLESS AMERICAN

PART 9 – MOSTAR: ALWAYS GIVE A PLACE 24 HOURS BEFORE YOU JUDGE

PART 10 – HVAR, SPLIT AND STONE: A JOURNEY’S END

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Lead-In Stock Image Courtesy of Anton Kudelin / Shutterstock.com