A new restaurant is shaking up the dining scene on Cavtat’s waterfront.  Located on Cavtat’s restaurant row and surrounded by unremarkable restaurants, Bouganvila is anything but unremarkable.  The setting is simple with a view to the sea on one side and an open kitchen on the other, but the food is creative and delicious.

The menu has many departures from the usual Croatian fare.  On a recent visit I enjoyed a starter of burrata (a fresh cow’s milk cheese similar to mozzarella, imported from Italy) with a tasting of 3 types of olive oil from different regions of Croatia and a dish of mixed olives.  The burrata was fresh and creamy and paired wonderfully with olives and sampling of olive oils.  A basket of fresh, crunchy bread was delivered to help scoop up the burrata and oils.

Main courses included risotto with fresh black truffles, almonds, buckwheat, and comte cheese, 2-day slow roasted lamb, and angus steak with truffle sauce.  I had the risotto, which was perfectly cooked (al dente) and the flavors of the truffle, almond, and comte work well.  Desserts are also interesting and mostly of the Italian variety, though I did not leave room to sample them.

Prices may be slightly higher than some of its neighbors, but the choice and quality of the food is significantly better so it’s good value.  Bouganvila is a welcome addition to Cavtat and I hope that the new competition elevates the quality of food in town.