Although it’s such a small country, Montenegro boasts a diverse food scene. There are at least 3 distinct regional culinary styles, each with its own specialties. Visitors can sample from the spicy seafood of the coast, the meaty fare of the mountains or classics from the old Montenegrin heartland.
In this food guide, we highlight traditional Montenegrin meals that are easily accessible to everyday travellers. These are popular dishes that locals recommend you should try when visiting Montenegro, with some dating back to hundreds of years. Follow this guide and eat your way through Montenegro with these top dishes.
To kick start your day, have some burek for a quick and delicious breakfast. Burek is a pastry made of thin dough, often filled with meat, cheese or vegetables, or a combination of these ingredients. Burek is typically available in 3 different flavours: cheese, spinach and ground minced meat. Some bakeries include cheese in the meat and spinach bureks, which is always a welcome surprise. Burek goes well with jogurt, a savoury yoghurt drink.
Seafood and salad are a popular lunchtime meal in Montenegro. Common in seaside cafes and small back street restaurants, Montenegrin seafood is not to be missed. Start off your lunch with a fresh seasonal salad. This typically has large chunks of tomato, cucumber and onions topped off with soft local cheese. A side of bread is a staple in this Montenegrin dish, although the vegetable and cheese mixture is hearty enough to be a meal in itself. The cheese goes especially well with the thick soft bread.
Black risotto is another dish that’s quite popular by the sea. It is typically cooked with squid ink and other types of seafood such as crab and shrimps. In this meal, you can easily taste the subtle flavours of white wine, nutmeg, bay leaf and garlic. Once you get over the unusual colour of the dish, you are in for a very tasty, creamy and filling treat. After your meal, you can wash down the jet blank ink left on your teeth with a good Montenegrin beer.
Hearty meals of meat are a staple of Montenegro. It’s common to order something heavy for dinner, with at least one type of meat on your plate. The seasonings are thick without being too spicy or overwhelming. Moreover, all the ingredients complement the side salads and fries rather well.
The Cevapi plate is a classic Balkan meal that offers a delicious choice for a hearty dinner. Small pieces of mixed seasoned meat are grilled and served with a side of French fries, mixed vegetables, soft cheese and onions. The flavours are intense and you can choose what sauces and vegetables you want. Don’t hold back, be sure to try them all!
Njeguski Steak is another Montenegrin classic made from a pork or veal schnitzel filled with Njegusi prosciutto and cheese. The most delicious ones come with a generous dollop of melting kajmak, the local cream cheese.
Priganice is a delicacy that’s been consumed in Montenegro since ancient times. Essentially a Balkan doughnut, priganice can be served sweet or savoury with accompaniments such as jam, honey or cheese. Priganice are best enjoyed with hot tea and a view of Montenegro’s black mountains.