One of the restaurants in Dubrovnik I kept hearing about when I was looking for places to dine with my wife Jun during our honeymoon/summer vacation was Azur, a rare Asian fusion restaurant using local Croatian ingredients. Even in New York City, I oftentimes approach Asian fusion restaurants with a dose of skepticism because there are not that many places that are good at fusing the tradition and modern elements of Asia’s rich culinary traditions. After some deliberation, I decided to include Azur in the list of places we would dine in Dubrovnik curious how Croatians would approach Asian cuisine despite the fairly remote cultural/culinary connections between the country and the continent. Our meal at Azur turned out to be a pleasant surprise, perhaps even more so because Jun and I had started to realize by the time we sat down at the table how much we were missing spicy food and the kitchen was actually pretty good at highlighting that side of the flavor.
Jun and I love spicy foods in general, but during our trips to Greece and then Croatia, we did not encounter any restaurant that brought spicy elements to their dishes. When we took a bite out of Azur’s chicken and chorizo tacos with jalapeno basil mayo, we both got a really nice jolt in our palate. I briefly debated inside my head whether we should order a second plate of these delicious tacos but relented. Then came the prawns with Szechuan chili and garlic which also displayed plenty of fire (but perhaps at a level slightly below the Szechuan originals). As all spicy Szechuan dishes are, it was so addictive and Jun made sure to finish every single piece of chopped chili in the dish. After our trip was over and we came back home to New York, she even tried a spicy shrimp dish inspired by Azur’s! Compared to the powerful flavor of prawns, the other main dish that had ordered, monkfish in black curry sauce accompanied by zucchini rice, was a bit muted but we both liked its overall balance, and monkfish was aptly cooked. For dessert, Azur has its special baklava dish apparently made with four kinds of nuts and combined with kefir lime leaves, lemongrass, star anise and cinnamon. It was delightfully moist and showed more sensations of spice than sweetness that baklavas are typically known for.
Booking a reservation at Azur is pretty easy via emails. The outdoor dining space, located near the edge of the famous Dubrovnik wall, was absolutely charming and packed with tourists, a mix of couples seeking a romantic dinner and friends looking to catch up over the meal. We saw one lone server manning all the tables who ran down all the menus and wine lists like rapid machine gun fires; we appreciated the fact that they were short-staffed but it was a bit difficult to get the server’s attention for ordering more drinks, paying the bill, etc. Start your meal with an aperitif like a serviceable negroni, and then move to either beer or wine (wine selections were almost all Croatian, so you might want to tread carefully on what types you want for your meal). Azur is one of those restaurants that offers something different from your ordinary dining experience in Croatia. If you are starting to become tired of the typical Mediterranean flavor and need something a little bit more interesting, it is a safe bet to visit the restaurant.
KenScale: 8.0/10 (Jun’s Score: 8.0/10)
- Creativity: 8.5/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 8.0/10
- Flavor: 8.5/10
- Texture: 8.0/10
- Value: 8.0/10
Address: 10, Pobijana ul., 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia