A very helpful and interesting article. Find out what Montenegro cuisine is famous for, what dishes you need to taste. I’ll tell you about the main foods in Montenegro. And there will also be information about taverns and restaurants in Montenegro, local features, tips, portion sizes, oyster farms and much more.

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montenegro recipes traditional dishes
In Montenegro, there is a lot of meat in dishes and the portions themselves are large.

Montenegro cuisine: main foods and general points

The history of Montenegro has more than 3000 years. For 30 centuries, these lands have been conquered dozens of times. The territory of modern Montenegro at various times was part of the Roman Empire, Byzantium, and the Ottoman Empire. There were periods and attempts to gain independence and all this was reflected in Montenegro cuisine.

Here are a few more facts that have affected Montenegro cuisine:

  • Excellent climate with mild and warm winters. There are 300+ sunny days a year
  • There is no convenient arable land and it is difficult to farm. In Montenegro, more than 80% of the territory of the mountain.
  • But on the alpine slopes of the mountains, animal husbandry is well developed. And today meat is the main ingredient in Montenegro cuisine.
animals in montenegro
Prokletije Mountains in Montenegro. Sheep farming is well developed in this region.

Good to know:

In short, Montenegro cuisine is meat and meat mixed with meat and some vegetables.

Food in Montenegro included in traditional dishes is healthy. There is little classic fast food and junk food. Maybe that’s why Montenegrins live long and there are no fat people among them. Or maybe they just have good genes.

Here are the main foods of Montenegro cuisine:

  • Meat, lots of meat. Beef, pork, lamb, chicken. The main cooking method: rostil – grill, and stewing.
  • Cheese. There are hundreds of kinds of cheese here, as well as manufacturers. Pickled young cheeses from cow, goat, sheep milk are very popular.
  • Olives and olive oil. These lands are not suitable for agriculture, but they are ideal for olive trees. Olive groves are here throughout the country. Oil and olives themselves are an important ingredient in Montenegro cuisine.
  • Vegetables, but there is no vegetable variety here. All main salads and vegetable dishes in Montenegro consist of 4 products: tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and onions.

Interesting to know:

In general, the composition of any dish in Montenegro cuisine: meat, cheese, some vegetables and olive oil.
An interesting fact that often surprises tourists is that although Montenegro is a country on the sea, fish and seafood are not often eaten here. And you can’t call it the main ingredient in Montenegro cuisine. There are also fish dishes though.

Traditional dishes of Montenegro: what you should definitely taste

Below is a list of the main traditional dishes of Montenegro. Be sure to order at the restaurant. You will find them on the menu of any cafe or restaurant.

Good to know:

For a long time Montenegro and Serbia were one country. Today there are almost no differences in cuisine between these countries. Actually, just as the Montenegrin language is almost no different from Serbian, the cuisine of Serbia is no different from Montenegro. All about the Montenegrin language and the vocabulary for a tourist.

Meat dishes in Montenegro

  • Pljeskavica – a huge patty of minced meat (mix of beef and pork) with cheese and herbs (without cilantro – coriander leaves) cooked on the grill. It is served in a bun or pita. Reminds me of a burger only 4 times bigger and 10 times tastier.
Gurmanska Pljeskavica montenegro
Montenegro Cuisine: Gurmanska pljeskavica is the main dish in any tavern. Pictured is a restaurant serving. When you take it to go, it will be placed in a bun (you get a big burger)
  • Cevapi or cevapici – minced meat sausages (a mix of beef and lamb, sometimes pork). Also cooked only on the grill. You can often buy a pack of raw cevapi in grocery stores and cook them on the grill.
traditional Montenegrin cuisine
Cevapi. Please note that this portion is for one person, 500g of meat only, with almost no vegetables.
  • Bela vešalica – pork loin, tenderised for a delicate texture, without lard, also cooked on rostil. Gorgeously succulent meat.
montenegro restaurants dishes
Vešalica . Regular serving with french fries.
  • Sarma – minced meat is wrapped either in a sauerkraut leaf or grape leaf. Grape sarma is more common. An analogue of Turkish dolma.
Montenegrin food
Grape sarma – minced meat is wrapped in grape leaf.
  • Mešano meso is a mix of various meat dishes. Usually one serving of mešano meso weighs about a kilogram. You can order one serving for two or for a company. The dish includes only meat cooked on the grill: cevapi, pljeskavica, vešalica and various sausages. You can taste all the main Montenegrin dishes on one plate.
national cuisine of montenegro meat
Mešano meso – serving per person. On plate – pljeskavica, vešalica and cevapi.
  • Sac (saj) – meat is stewed for a long time with vegetables in a cast-iron caldron. It’s actually a stew. There is sac from chicken, beef, lamb. But the most popular and traditional lamb sac is jagnjetina ispod saca.
food montenegro buy
Jagnjetina ispod saca. This dish is cooked on holidays for the whole family in large cauldron of 20 liters.
  • Corba. The word corba in Montenegro cuisine means soup. And there are not so many varieties of soups. Corba is a thick soup. There is meat corba and fish corba.
corba montenegro
Classic corba. The photo shows a fish corba, but the meat one looks the same.
  • Pršut – dry-cured pork ham. Pršut is a relative of Spanish jamon or Italian prosciutto. Pršut is also a traditional meat snack, which is always on any table and goes well with wine and cheese. There are about four dozen manufacturers of pršut in Montenegro.
    • In Montenegro, there is the village of Njegusi on Mount Lovcen. Every family has been making homemade pršut and cheese there for generations. And they sell it to everyone. Details about the village of Njegusi in the article: Lovcen National Park.
njegus prsut montenegro
Pork ham – pršut – one of the main and traditional food in Montenegro cuisine.

Fish dishes in Montenegro

Fish dishes are much less here. Nevertheless, in the Montenegro cuisine there are dishes for a seafood lover. The most popular fish dishes in Montenegro are:

  • Fish corba – fish soup. It is often on the menu of any restaurant.
  • Skadar carp. Carp baked with plum and ajvar. The dish became popular in the villages on the shores of Lake Skadar. Today it is a national park, but the locals have permission to catch carp. You can taste this carp in any restaurant in the village of Virpazar.
food in montenegro
There are a lot of bones in carp. But many small incisions, as in the photo, help to make the bones soft and invisible.

And in any restaurant on the coast there are many Mediterranean dishes. This is not Montenegro cuisine, but these dishes are there:

  • A variety of grilled fish: sea bass, perch, barracuda, tuna. Everything was caught off the coast of Montenegro
  • Grilled calamari and octopus
  • Pasta with seafood
  • Risotto with seafood
  • Mussels in white and red wine sauce

Montenegrin salads

Everything is simple here. There are three salads in Montenegro, you will find them on the menu of any restaurant. These are real Montenegrin dishes:

  • Srpska salata (Serbian salad) – cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, olive oil
  • Sopska salata (shopska salad) – add cheese (brynza, feta) to Srpska salata and you will have a sopska salad.
  • And if you remove the onion from the shopska salad, you get the sezona salata (seasonal salad)
salads in montenegro cuisine
The cuisine of Montenegro is large portions of salad. Specifically in the photo – Shopski. Served as in the photo, refuel with oil and salt yourself.

And there is also a local appetizer – ajvar – bell peppers are baked in the oven, then ground into a paste. Eat with bread or just serve with any meat.

ajvar montenegro
National Montenegrin appetizer ajvar is popular as well as prsut. Every store has a great selection.

And what do they drink in Montenegro: about coffee and ayran

Let’s start with the fact that regular black tea is hard to find in Montenegro. Other teas can be purchased at the store. It will be only in sachets, and the selection is small: herbal teas (chamomile, mint), hibiscus. Montenegrins do not drink tea. And it may not be on the cafe menu. If you ask the waiter to bring black tea, you can hear something like: “you can drink tea at home, but we only have coffee.”

And the coffee here is black, ground, thick, the aroma is insanely delicious, brewed in the Turkish style .. Everyone drinks it, 5 cups a day, from morning to night. Domaca kafa or homemade coffee, also known as Turkish coffee, is not just a national drink of Montenegro, it is a national idea.

If you go out into the streets of any city early in the morning, you will see that Montenegrins are already sitting in all the cafes – only men with a cigarette and a cup of coffee and enjoy life.

They also drink ayran – a fermented milk drink, also popular in Turkey.

And do not forget that Montenegro is a paradise for a drinker :). Wines, rakia, beer, Pelinkovac – all this is available at affordable prices.

  • Follow the link for a detailed review of Montenegrin alcoholic drinks: about Vranac and Krstač wines, about Lozovaca rakia and fruit wines, about herbal liqueurs and beer.

Food service: about cafes, taverns and restaurants in Montenegro

There will be general information about the Montenegrin food service. If you want to find a great place in your resort, read the city reviews in this guide. In each review, there are locations of cool places for dinner and food tourism in general.

  • Servings in Montenegrin restaurants are usually large. You can take one salad and one meat dish for two.
  • Remember that the weight of the dish on the menu is usually the weight of the meat only. Vegetables are not included here. Potatoes and onions can sometimes be a side dish for meat. So order vegetables and salads separately.
  • One serving here includes about 400-500g of meat – this is normal.
meat in montenegro national dishes
Mesano meso for two: a kilo of meat, some potatoes and no vegetables. Keep this in mind. This plate costs an average of 15-20 euros.
  • In Montenegro there are fair prices. The price on the menu will also be the price on the bill. No hidden taxes, no mandatory tips.
  • Tips are not included in the bill, they are optional. But usually 10% is left. If you do not tip, they will still be happy for coming to them.
  • Often in a tavern or restaurant you can order homemade wine, which is made by the owner himself.

A little about prices. If you do not consider the restaurants on the seafront where prices are 50% higher than elsewhere and the serving is smaller, then here are the standard prices for dishes in restaurants in Montenegro:

  • Main dish: €6-10
  • Salad: €3-5
  • Soup: €3-4
  • Steak: €15
  • Mediterranean fish dishes: €12-15
  • Beer: €2

Good to know:

At a local restaurant, my wife and I usually leave 20 euros with a tip for a meat dish, one salad and two beers. The serving is very large, enough for everyone to eat. In a cafe with a sea view, the same order will cost you 30 euros and the serving will be smaller.

Montenegrin oyster farms

Some useful information for oyster lovers. In general, oysters have never been in Montenegrin cuisine. But good conditions favored the opening of such farms on the coast.

oyster farm in montenegro
This is how oyster farms look in the Bay of Kotor. Nearby is a small restaurant literally for 2-3 tables.

What a tourist should know about oyster farms in Montenegro:

  • There are about 10 oyster farms in the country. Almost all are located in the Bay of Kotor. There are no farms on the seashore from Budva to Ulcinj.
    • Details about the Bay of Kotor and all that a tourist needs to know. By the way, there is more information about oyster farms.
  • Most oyster farms are on the road between Kotor and Herceg Novi.
  • Each farm has a small restaurant. You will have oysters opened and served with lemon and wine. And you can buy closed oysters to go.
  • Here are the coordinates of several farms (see OYSTERS FARM signs):
oysters in montenegro and seafood
Such a set for two is about 30 euros. There is only one glass of wine, because the second person is the driver and that’s me 🙁

Below are standard oyster farm prices:

  • Oysters 2 EUR/piece
  • Mussels: 10-15 EUR/kg
  • Tiger prawns: 15 EUR for 10 pieces
  • Grilled fish: 10 EUR/kg
  • House wine: 10 EUR/l
  • Oysters and mussels are taken out of the water after you order.

In conclusion: Montenegro cuisine consists of healthy ingredients. All Montenegrin dishes are very tasty, and the serving is large. It will be hard here only for vegetarians. Montenegro is heaven on earth for a meat eater. Every tourist should taste: cevapi, pljescavica, mesano meso, prsut, Montenegrin cheeses, ajvar, olives and visit an oyster farm of course.


Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Montenegro

  • Aviasales – Cheap Flights and best deals.
  • Car rental in Montenegro:
    • DiscoverCars – a large international platform.
    • LocalRent – works with local rental companies. Leader in car rental in Montenegro.
  • Hotels and apartments all over the country:
    • Booking – the most popular booking platform
    • Hotellook compares the prices among dozens of other booking services and offer the best price
  • Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
    • GetYourGuide – more than 250 tours
    • Viator – 700+ excursions and activities throughout the country
  • Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
  • eSIM card in Montenegro
  • Taxi and airport transfers: Intui.Travel