In meat-loving countries, I am always on the look out for vegetarian restaurants, as these are often the only way to be guaranteed a nutritious and meat-free meal. Nishta was one of these finds. I had been staying near Kupari beach, about 8km from the old town of Dubrovnik and as my accommodation had a kitchen, I had been cooking myself basic spaghetti every night – the backpacker’s staple.
The beach is beautiful. My theory had always been never to travel for beaches because they are so good at home. But craving it after months away, I gave in. Plus, others had mentioned Dubrovnik as being “amazing” and their “favourite place in the world”. Yes, the sandy shores and surf are better back home but the water on the Mediterranean is superior.
I liked walking to the end of the beach where there was a quiet spot, near the military zone. The decay is visually beautiful with cement having been catapulted onto the rocks juxtaposed against the vibrant water (it is so clear that I sat on one of these blocks and meditated for hours just watching fish and having the thrill and invigoration of diving off the platform, cleansing myself with the purity of the blue). Of course, seconds later, you realise why it is all here and that the memories of the war are still in the psyches of all individuals. Croatia is fascinating and again I was reminded how lucky we are to have been born in such a peaceful country where life is easy.
Dubrovnik old town was packed, even compared to the already busy towns beach side, but it had a pleasant energy of people happy to be on holidays. Nishta was similarly busy and only had tables available inside where the walls were too purple for comfort and the heat of the kitchen exacerbated the weather that day.
The salad bar offers a range of mixes, all healthy and interesting. I served myself a small bowl and enjoyed it thinking myself instantly nourished.
For the main meal I selected the ‘grah’. I had been enticed by the gluten in this dish but in fact the gluten was only in small pieces amongst a sauce. It had hot, crunchy polenta with beans and lots of cheese. I enjoyed it. It was filling. And I felt healthy.
Whilst I ate, the restaurant played Queen over its dull speakers and served glasses of water to the hot clientele sitting in the sauna inside.
After the meal I felt full and healthy. It was exactly what I had wanted.
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