At first glance, Kotor doesn’t seem to be a place brimming with budget-friendly options when eating out. Most restaurants in Kotor are more or less the same, with a selection of expensive seafood dishes and not a whole lot else, and while I have nothing against splashing out on a nice meal, it isn’t always feasible as a backpacker to be spending 20 euros on a meal every night.
Luckily, however, there is more to Kotor restaurants than first meets the eye. While it may at first seem as though there are few restaurants in Kotor suitable for those on a budget, Kotor actually has more than a few hidden gems, and you can fill your belly for less than two euros! If you’re wondering where to eat in Kotor without breaking the bank, then rest assured because I’ve compiled a list of the best restaurants in Kotor that won’t cost you a pretty penny!
The Best Kotor Restaurants for Budget Travellers!
1. Square Pub
I avoided the Square Pub like the plague for my first 6 weeks in Kotor. Just the name itself was enough to make me shudder as I imagined it to be full of balding middle-aged men from England wearing football t-shirts. However, after a Serbian guy insisted I give it a chance, I had to admit that I’d been wrong. With real hearty pub grub at modest prices, the Square Pub has all the comforts of an English pub but without the hordes of British tourists that one would expect. I’ve actually heard way more Montenegrin being spoken in the Square Pub than English, which is always a good sign.
As for the food, there are all the classic comfort food stables, from burgers (prices start at 6.50 EU) to sausage and chips, chicken wings and spag bol. The Square Pub may not be winning a Michelin Star any time soon, but it does exactly what it says on the tin – provides greasy pub food at prices far lower than most establishments in Kotor Old Town.
2. Hotel Marija
Hotel Marija is fantastic if you want a ‘proper’ restaurant meal while sticking to your budget. With a 4 course lunch menu for 10 EUR, Hotel Marija is a great restaurant in Kotor where you can while away the afternoon in Kotor Old Town, sunning yourself and people watching in the cutesy seating area in one of Kotor’s beautiful cobbled streets.
I’ve dined there twice and both times I left satisfied. I opted for the tomato soup to start, followed by seafood linguine with a side salad and dessert (the second time, the waiter gave me a double helping of cake!), but there are plenty of options on the menu to suit every taste.
3. Konoba Scala Santa
Konoba Scala Santa is one of the more expensive Kotor restaurants on this list, and I’ve included it for those who want a little something special without breaking the bank. In my opinion, of the ‘best restaurants in Kotor’, Konoba Scala Santa is the best value for money without compromising on quality.
Whether you want fresh grilled squid with traditional Dalmatian stew, gnocchi with truffles and shrimp or saffron and prawn linguine, Konoba Scala Santa has got you covered. The prices are reasonable (around 10 EUR for pasta and risotto dishes, with seafood starting at 12 EUR), the staff are friendly and the atmosphere is wonderful. Konoba Scala Santa has the advantage of having outdoor seating in an adorable little square in Kotor Old Town and during summer months, there is always a violinist around to add that extra touch of class. In the cooler months when dining inside is preferred, Scala Santa is wonderfully cosy and one of those places where you can while away hours, enjoying your food slowly and drinking glass after glass of delicious Montenegrin wine.
Another bonus for backpackers is that if you’re staying at Old Town Hostel Kotor (my favourite hostel in all of the Balkans), you get 10% off all food at Scala Santa, saving you even more money!
4. Pizzeria Pronto
Ah, Pronto, where would I be without you? Pizzeria Pronto actually has two parts: there is the restaurant, where you can sit down for a full-size pizza (prices start from around 7 EUR), and a takeaway hatch where you can buy pizza by the slice for just 2 EUR! Not only do these slices taste divine (honestly, Pronto pizza is among the best pizza I’ve had, especially in the Balkans), but they are legitimately as big as my face so they’re super filling as well, and perfect for food on the go.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had Pronto pizza, from hungover mornings, to drunk 1am pitstops, to a quick bite at dinner time. If you’re looking for some real cheap eats in Kotor then Pizzeria Pronto is the place for you.
5. BBQ Tanjga
Oh my. If you thought that Pronto Pizza as a legendary as it gets for Kotor restaurants then you are very much mistaken. BBQ Tanjga is a no frills, family-run establishment that is a kind of butchers, kind of cafe just outside Kotor Old Town.
As the name would suggest, BBQ Tanjga specialises in meat, meat and more meat. After you walk past the rotisserie chickens outside the front door, dripping their fat onto the thinly sliced fried potatoes beneath, you are confronted with more raw meat than you can shake a stick at, but fear not. Simply tell the charismatic butcher what kind of meat you like (cevapi? half a chicken? maybe just a 600g mixed meat platter?!) and he will grill it for you there and then before adding the legendary chicken fat potatoes, salad, and your choice of dips, from the classic Balkan ajvar (aubergine spread) to tzatziki and a spicy cheese paste.
Prices start from 4 EUR for a sandwich (I’ve never been able to finish one), but the best value in my opinion is half a roast chicken, potatoes and 4 types of salad for 7.50 EUR.
BBQ Tanjga is without a doubt the best value for money that I have found in Kotor, with good quality locally sourced meat, huge portions and a great and speedy service.
They even make a mean grilled veggie plate/sandwich (aubergine, peppers and zucchini) for those that don’t eat meat. If you’re wondering which of the restaurants in Kotor you should try before you leave, then you absolutely cannot miss BBQ Tanjga.
When I visited Kotor in the summer, Hoste was my favourite brunch spot. Hoste specialises in tapas dishes and has more veggie options available than any of the other restaurants in Kotor that I found whilst there. Whenever I visited I opted for the bruschetta with tomatoes, mozzarella and olive tapenade drizzled with garlic, herbs and olive oil. I would go so far as to say that Hoste gave me the best bruschetta I’ve ever tasted, and for as little as 3.50 EUR.
Hoste is also a great little sun trap, and I used to love sitting in the alley with my book and iced coffee catching some rays.
7. LAV Gastro Bar
Infuriatingly, I only discovered LAV Gastro Bar on my last day in Kotor! Located just outside of Kotor Old Town, LAV Gastro Bar has a much more varied menu than most Kotor restaurants, with prices being around 2/3 of the price of restaurants within the old town walls.
I opted for the bacon and broccoli pasta, while my lunch date chose vegetarian fajitas, both of which were delicious. Not only is the food itself yummy, but LAV Gastro Bar has a relaxed but young professional vibe, making it the ideal place to catch up on some work while enjoying a coffee, something that wouldn’t be possible in some of Kotor’s more touristy establishments.
8. Kotor’s Bakeries
For those who want more of a ‘grab and go’ meal, head to one of Kotor’s bakeries. The three most central are located within Kotor Old Town (but this is more expensive and the quality is not as good), on the way to the main bus station and just outside the North Gate.
All three have a wide selection of pastries, burek, cakes and sandwiches with prices ranging from around 50 cents to 3 euros. For a hearty Montenegrin breakfast that will sort you out for the entire day, go for a burek stuffed with meat or goat’s cheese and spinach.
The Old Town bakery also has an outdoor seating area in the piazza where you can enjoy your pastries and watch the world go by.
9. Hotel Astoria
Hotel Astoria is one of the best restaurants in Kotor, hands down. With an absolutely stunning interior and a long menu that will impress even the most fussy eater, Astoria is somewhere that just cannot fail to please.
They are famous for their chocolate ‘volcano cakes,’ but they also have an extensive seafood menu and lots of delicious meat and pasta dishes, inspired by Greek cuisine.
Hotel Astoria cannot really be considered one of the most budget-friendly Kotor restaurants, but considering the quality of the food, the prices are very reasonable, and I definitely recommend a visit to this restaurant.
10. Bastion 1 and 111
These two Kotor restaurants may look plain from the outside, but don’t let that put you off. Both Bastion 1 and 111 offer huge plates of seafood without the tourist prices, which keeps locals coming back for more.
If you’re yearning to try grilled squid with Dalmatian stew, or have a hankering for some fried calamari then you want to get yourself to either of these two establishments, pronto!
And so concludes my list of the best Kotor restaurants for budget travellers! Although food in Kotor is definitely heavy on the seafood front, there really is something for everyone, whether you want a platter of grilled meat, mouthwatering desserts or a traditional Balkan pastry.
I hope that this list helps you find some great places to eat in Kotor, and if you have any more recommendations then do let me know in the comments section below!