We leave the Ričardova glava beach and head back into the Old Town walls of Budva’s beautiful fortress. It’s grubbing time. Gotta find those traditional restaurants Nikola was talking about on the other side of the walls.
The interior of the fortress is all side alleys that for some reason are easy to get turned around in. There are lots of fun little hidden hangout spots inside with tables to chill at and clotheslines to hang your linen knickers on.
MacKay spots a tiny Canadian flag above a doorway. “Some Canadian living in here?” “Guess so. Not sure how you score a place in a fortress these days.”
He takes a moment to reminisce about the homeland. He shivers and quietly sings “O Canada” to himself.
We find our way to the Pizana gate which leads out the North side of the walls by the marina. Good mix of fishing skippers, speedboats and swanky yachts out here.
Just passed the boats there is a line of restaurants with seating areas shooting out onto docks. Sweet. One of the first ones we find is called Jadran. There’s an arch over the boardwalk that says it’s a ‘National Restaurant’. “This should do the job.” “Yep.”
A server spies us lurking about and comes over to inquire. “Maybe you’d like to sit outside? On the dock?” “That’d be perfect.” He leads us down the pier to a table, “Maybe here?” MacKay quickly gauges our G&T goonery levels and makes an executive decision. “We’ll take the corner seat I think.” “Of course.” He lays out some menus and leaves us to it.
“Hopefully this is enough of a buffoonery buffer.” “Probably not. Feeling good. Place looks sweet.”
A server in formal attire comes to check on us as we’re nose deep in the menus. “Good evening, gentleman. Any questions?” “Evening, evening. I think we’ll split a veal soup. But ya, what’s this Stuffed Burger all about?” “Ohhhhh.. It’s not like burger sandwich, it is stuffed with prosciutto and cheese. Once you have this you will never eat Burger King or MacDonald’s again. I swear.” ” Haha nice. Sounds great. How about this one?” “Pork is same thing and with mushroom cream sauce. Very Montenegro. Both.” “Those sound perfect!” Menu slaps shut.
I like this guy, seems like a character. Smooth accent and quick witted. “Soooo.. where from? Toronto, Montreal?” Wow, almost nailed it. Maybe MacKay’s Oilers jersey gave us away. “Halifax. Further East.” “Ah ok. Much rain?” “Yep. And much snow haha.” “Ahh Canada. I do so want to go to this place.” “Make it happen captain.” “Haha I will, I will! Do you want beer, wine? Gin and tonic?” “Ha! We were just going to say that.” MacKay hasn’t invented his dildo shirt yet so he’s quick with a, “Doubles, please.” “Doubles. Good. Regular gin or Hendricks?” “Definitely Hendricks.” “Yes, it is the best I think. Ok, all set. My name is Ivan.”
The dG&Ts land and we’re already laughing our asses off about something. The non-Ivan server just warily smiles and drops them off. Ivan is back soon with the veal soup. He pours it from a metal serving carafe into our bowls from a lofty height for show. No splatter, amazing. He’s a pro.
“And here is traditional fish cakes! A present from the house.” Shit. He’s so happy about this too. “Ahhh man! We’re both allergic.” “Noooo.. Really? All fish and seafood?” “Yeah it sucks. Both of us. Appreciate it though, really.” “Ok ok, next time maybe I make veal pate. But here also is Montenegro garlic bread!” “Fantastic. Now we’re talking.”
This little combo is delicious.
Now that there’s some food on the table a grey stray cat comes over to check it out. It’s being coy and prissy and staring up with doe eyes. MacKay’s not buying it, “Look at this cat’s Hitler mustache.” “Get outta here Kitler!” It just sits and stares at us relentlessly but our wills won’t crumble.
Ahhh that soup is goooooood. MacKay’s got his fingers in his drink, “Fuck this cucumber in the drink.” “Nah man, it’s good.” “What’s the point of that?” “It’s just a fancy garnish. Subtly flavors it.” “Not so subtly ruins it, more like. Nope fuck that.” Kitler doesn’t appear interested in the gin-drenched cucumber either. I ditch mine too. “Actually ya, it is better without.”
Ivan is back with the mains. Oh ya, here we go. Fries, brussel sprouts, some kinda salsa or chutney-type thing and a perfectly cooked pork cut stuffed with cheese and prosciutto, slathered in a mushroom cream sauce. Narmz
A similar plate with the stuffed burger.
“And two more of these, I think. No cucumber please.” “Lemon maybe?” “Ya, that sounds good. Thanks.”
We dig in. Amazing. Kind of reminds me of the stuffed dish from Prizren in Kosovo. And that meal is why we’re reordering more naughty delicious veal soup too, I suppose. Num num, it rocks. We share plates like a married couple. Kitler just keeps staring.
Ivan comes over a couple of times and ends up just chatting with us. We’re all cracking jokes and going on. It’s great. We’ve got our gin gin silly pants on and he’s right there with us.
The portions are large and rich and we start slowing down. So good but probably a mistake to keep at it. I push back and move to gin dessert. Ivan comes back over in a few, “You taking a break or done?” “If you leave it, I’ll keep eating. Delicious, but I’d prefer you took it.” “So, no dessert I think, yes?” MacKay is throwing the towel in too, “Nah man, we’re stuffed.” “Too stuffed for another drink?” “Hmmmmmmm could probably do that hahah.” “Drinks for dessert. The best, yes?”
We chill with the next round of dG&Ts. Kitler is off to harass another table. Great food, great drinks, excellent server. Another win. We card up with Ivan and thank him for such killer service and conversation. “See you again, Canadian friends.” “So long.” He really does have a great accent.
We keep strolling down the waterfrontage to investigate a little more.
Not far from Jadran we find a divey looking spot with a Russian military Ural bike and sidecar out front. Complete with mounted machine gun. This seems like it’s worth investigating…
They’ve got a side area with a little mini converted to bench seats. A Harley in the window. Looks like a band has just started setting up too. Might have a winner here.
“Must be the place Nikola was talking about. With live music all the time.” “Oh right. Love the name. Beer and Bike club haha. Whaddya think?” “Well… it’s still super early.” “Ya, only like 730.” “We could crush some hostel beers for a bit and come back later.” “Good call. Those double hendricks added up in a jiffy.” “Exactly.”
It’s a short walk back to the walls. There’s another bar with outdoor seating off the side here. Budva is so cool. Again, why are there not way more people here?
Every fortress needs a Hard Rock cafe (or not).
We find a hole in the wall market on our way back to Freedom Hostel 2 and get an assortment of Montenegro beers. We’re casually window shopping puffy jackets since we’re just lost in here again anyways. They’re all the rage round these parts it seems. Whoa. Super expensive. Probably shouldn’t buy puffy jackets from an ancient Venetian fortress.
Ok seriously, where’s that hostel? This doesn’t seem familiar.
Nope. Dead end.
You following us, Kitler?
Hmmm maybe back this way?
Found it! We take the beers up to the rooftop balcony by the laundry. No one out here. Perfect. We grab a table overlooking the Old Town rooftops. Some soft lighting all throughout. This place is crazy gorgeous.
We crack our beers and put our feet up for some real talk. Should be easy to kill a couple hours here in the breezy fortress atmosphere. Commence pre-game.