Dubrovnik’s Most Intimate, Private-Island Eatery

Villa Ruža, sitting perfectly off the coast of Dubrovnik, Croatia on the island of Kolocčep, is a picture-perfect restaurant offering delicious seafood and a setting that will take your breath away. Dubrovnik is full of restaurants, but not every one of them makes an impact. Villa Ruža goes above and beyond to deliver fresh ingredients and traditional Dalmatian recipes that will give you a rounded idea of the fantastic cuisine that hails from this region of the Adriatic.

Setting sail on a private boat at sunset, a ride lasting about 30 minutes, you immediately fall in-love with the place before you’ve even set foot inside. As the walled city of Dubrovnik disappears behind you and the sparkling blue Adriatic sea parts to make way for the boat gliding through its waters, you can’t help but take-in the scenery and smell of fresh air around you.

Arriving on Koločep is easy. You hop off the boat and walk just a few feet into the stone-clad restaurant with a seafront terrace. I sat on the edge of the sea at a lovely table dressed with white linens. The wait staff here greeted me with a glass of local white wine and smiles for days. Really, they all seemed so happy to have me and it showed in their attentive service and impeccable delivery of that night’s food.

Villa Ruža offers a variety of choices on their revolving menus, but seafood is their absolute specialty. How could it not be in this setting? I dined on local oysters, Adriatic fish and calamari. The homemade bread was hard to put down, which is a problem when you’re in a destination that requires you to be in a bathing suit much of the time.

The night ended with a delicious walnut and chocolate dessert and a hop back on the boat to return to Dubrovnik. I will never forget how special Villa Ruža made that night for me and it will always stand out as one of my very favorite experiences in Dubrovnik.