In the case of our restaurant all the internet inspirational quotes regarding courage and gut feeling apply. Because the ingredients necessary to open Pantarul were more or less the following:
- some courage
- trusting your gut feeling
- a handful of good ideas
- an ocean of love
- a pinch of insanity
Pantarul (meaning ‘fork’ in the Dubrovnik dialect) was opened in spring 2014 by Milan (my husband), Đuro (our business partner) and I. The dishes are seasonal, the ingredients locally sourced and the best we can get (this sounds salesy, but it’s true) and – most importantly – our team and our guests are the best you can imagine (here’s another quote for you: people who like to eat are always the best people).
We also want everyone else to love the place as just as much as we do so everything goes by the motto ‘Feels like home’.
Why did you open a restaurant? That’s a question we get very often.
The thing is, before moving back to Dubrovnik I had lived in Zagreb for ten years. My then-boyfriend-now-husband Milan (the one to the right in the photo) lived in Dubrovnik so from the moment we met until 2014 we were in a long-distance relationship. Not exactly my idea of an ideal situation.
His experience in the restaurant business + my obsession with all things food + hundreds of hours of conversations over the phone led to just one conclusion: we should open something together. That’s how the idea was born. Đuro (the one to the left) joined in so that all of our lives could be a bit easier (anyone working in the hospitality industry knows how difficult this line of work can be) and Pantarul opened its door in May 2014.
Now for those of you who are not that familiar with Dubrovnik, there’s one thing I profoundly dislike about it: summertime Dubrovnik bears almost no resemblance to Dubrovnik in winter. In the summer everything is vibrant and buzzing with tourists, but during the colder months Dubrovnik can be ghostly empty. Many souvenir shops and restaurants are closed and there’s not much you can do.
Step in Pantarul. We try hard (and I mean very hard) to cater for the locals and create a community of like-minded food-lovers. And we’re open all year long (except for four weeks in January when the whole team is on vacation – yay!). No tourist trap stories here – we love our regulars and Pantarul is our attempt at doing something good for the people in our town.
Do you cook there? That’s another one I get asked almost on a daily basis.
The answer is an adamant no. Even though I am crazy about food, home cooking and restaurant cooking are worlds apart [have you ever tried feeding forty hungry and demanding people at the same time?]. We have an amazing chef, Jadran Tutavac as well as a great team of cooks and we leave the magic to them. So far it has proved to be a wise tactics.