Dubrovnik's Fish Restaurant Proto is fit for Poseidon

Time Out Croatia, July 2020., Lara Rasin

Fit for a sea king, Proto's ever-changing menu depends on the catch of the day.

Total seafood seduction is what you're in for at Fish Restaurant Proto, where the food is swimming in the sea one minute and being served onto your plate the next. Picture moseying down the time-slicked cobblestones of Old Town Dubrovnik's main street Stradun. On a side street about halfway between the Pile Gate and the harbour, you'll notice old-school lamp sconces bearing Proto's name - if aromas of sizzling Mediterranean morsels haven't steered you that way already.

Family owned Proto traces its culinary heritage back to 1886, the restaurant's year of foundation. Since then, seafood right off the boat and organic vegetables scrupulously grown in small-scale gardens across the Dubrovnik region are menu mainstays. Offerings change daily depending on the weather and catches, but a few favorites that are generally always available for the feasting include oysters from Croatia's own shellfish central, Mali Ston Bay, perfectly charred sea bream and Adriatic lobster; all dressed to impress in the savouriest of sauces. For the more shellfish-shy, waiters are on call to explain menu minutiae from A to Z, and even fillet fish for de-boning beginners.

Along with its fare, this Michelin-recommended restaurant also keeps its dining area fresh and fashionable. Reminiscent of a 1950s bop-worthy ballroom, the interior features plush armchairs and cherry wood panelling, but it's all accented with a distinct Adriatic flavour. The floors are comprised of off-white stone, reflecting the streets outside, and tastefully nautical art bedecks the walls. Its no surprise that the polished Proto has hosted hordes of glamorous guests throughout the years, from actors (Richard Gere and Eva Longoria, among many other A-listers) and musicians (Sir Rod Stewart and Bono, who we hope found what he was looking for) to kings of fashion (think Valentino and Missoni) and real royalty (Japanese Prince and Princess Akishino and King Edward VIII).

Proto is one of Dubrovnik's primo seafood restaurants. Experiencing it just once is enough to make you a customer for life: one bite and (like the plump octopus in your Dalmatian-style seafood and potato salad), you're hooked.