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Montenegro

Food, Dining, & Drinks

Dining Etiquette

Dining in Montenegro has few rules other than to be social. The atmosphere is relaxed and casual and if you break every rule few people will get offended, but not talking and rushing out the door after the meal will get strange looks and is considered rude.

To make your hosts talk about your visit for months after your visit however, try to follow a couple rules. First, bring a bottle of wine for you host and take off your shoes before entering their house, or leave your shoes at the door immediately after entering. You'll most likely be served multiple courses beginning with a soup and salad. You should accept every offering, but take small portions since there will be plenty of food and you'll probably be offered second helpings. If you really don't want more food, it will be a challenge to convince your hosts that you've eaten enough since the Montenegrins don't take "no" very well when it comes to food.

If you're in a business dinner setting the rules are very similar, but it's important to avoid business conversations. You hosts may bring up business over a lunch, but rarely over dinner.

At sit down restaurants with a waiter or waitress, round up or tip about 10% of the bill.

History & Influences

Montenegrin cuisine was, and continues to be in many situations, cooked in clay pots over fire. Other than this traditional cooking method and cheeses from the mountains, nearly every aspect of Montenegrin food is an adaptation of outside influences.

From those who arrived by sea, the Adriatic Sea to be specific, olives, citrus fruits, fish, and cereals have become common. Desserts are the result of Slavic and Turkish origin, with berry-based desserts or sweet pastries the most common post-meal foods. Finally, some aspects of Austrian cuisine have also made their way on the menu, but not to a significant degree.

Staple Foods

Being a vegetarian in Montenegro is difficult since nearly every dish contains either a meat or fish. In addition to meat and fish, breads are also common, perhaps white bread could be considered a staple food as it is a common side dish.

Regional Variations & Specialties

Coast: fish dominates as do other Mediterranean flavors
Lowlands: fish is popular, as are dairy products
Mountains: fruits and berries are very popular, as are dairy products and meats

Drinks

After having been under both Austrian and Turkish rule, Montenegro has grown fond of coffee, particularly strong Turkish coffees. Although this is among the most popular drinks in the country, tea, soft drinks, juices, and milk are also widely available.

For alcoholic drinks, Montenegro produces wines and beers locally. The wines come in a number of varieties, but the quality control is still being improved. The beer tends to fall on the strong side. Two additional unique alcoholic drinks found in the Balkans, including Montenegro, are sljivovica, which is a distilled plum juice and rakija, which is distilled from grapes or apple and is similar to a brandy. In addition to these drinks, international beers, wines, and hard liquors are also widely available.

Generally speaking, the tap water is safe to drink in Montenegro, but check with locals for any particular regional differences. Also, many people may have troubles adjusting to the local tap water, as it will most certainly be different from what your system is used to.

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This page was last updated: September, 2011