What People Say

We were on vacation in Croatia for close to 2 weeks. Although we had some great meals and enjoyed many of the restaurants, our best dinner of the whole trip was our Local Dinner at the Papaks with Marija and Zlatko. We had no idea what to expect when our travel agency recommended the dinner – but we thought at the least it would be something different. The night was so much more!

Food – amazing, company even better. Night started off with home made wine and munchies, meeting other tourists that came. When we sat down for the appetizers,we all said how amazing it looked and it could have been dinner – amazing antipasto plates: fresh prosciutto, day old cheese, other cheeses, salami, bacon wrapped plums, the best tomatoes I had all summer, eggplant, home made bread and even more!! All with more local wine. 

Eventually , dinner came. This wonderful local meal – Peka with lamb, veal and potatoes. Honestly, best lamb I think I’ve ever had. Everything was so wonderful including the dessert, music, great conversation….it went on for more hours then we thought we’d be there, but not in a bad way – we all had the best time!! We can’t thank the Papaks enough for an incredible experience. ? 


We randomly found out about Marija and Zlatko though our Sobe host, only to discover they have been written up in the WSJ, Nat Geo, and others. Their reputation is well-deserved: not only is the food fresh and delicious (often from their garden or a friend’s), and their knowledge of local cuisine masterful, but they are both truly warm-hearted and engaging hosts. Meeting people like this is why we travel, and after we left everyone in our group agreed this was an outstanding experience. If you can get on their schedule then make the time: 100x better than any tourist joint you’ll visit.

Scott R

We heard very good things about this experience from our contacts at Jayway Travels, but Dinner with the Locals (hosted by Marija and Zlatko Papak) more than exceeded our expectations! We were served a traditional Dalmatian feast. We started off with homemade grappa (had several shots because there were different kinds) and learned the native way to say cheers (zivjeli – something that was repeated several times into the night). The appetizer included a variety of cheeses, nuts, figs, pickled onions and the best prsut (prosciutto ham) we had in the entire trip. The main course was veal, lamb with potatoes cooked under a “peka” (an iron bell). This dish took at least 3 hours to prepare which required getting the right temperature and timing — something that Zlatko has mastered! The meat was tasty, juicy and tender. Homemade wine was overflowing. Our experience diverged from the norm after the main course because 3 members of our party were celebrating birthdays. We arranged in advance to have live music (a very talented guitar and accordion duo who played a mix of Dalmatian songs with a mix of American standards, Abba and Madonna). Marija baked a beautiful and scrumptious Jaffa cake. We sang Happy birthday in at least 4 languages. Champagne was overflowing. The delicious meal and wonderful music (plus an abundance of alcohol) definitely lifted our spirits, but the star of the whole experience is the company of Marija, Zlatko, their daughter, Lea, one of their friends, Sandra (an accomplished tour guide from farther up the Adriatic coast). We talked about local traditions and customs, how food is and should be prepared, the meaning behind folk songs, life under Tito and what happened after he died, the painful experience of war including the siege of Dubrovnik and the opportunities and problems in present-day Croatia. The experience felt so genuine that at the end, Dinner with the Locals became Dinner with Friends. Hvala Papak Family!


If you like to try local authentic food on you travels then Eat with the Locals is a must. We have done many food tours over the years and this is the top of our list now. When we arrived we were met by Marija who served us homemade wine and liqueurs very good indeed. Zlatko was on the out door cooking area. From start to finish the evening was amazing. The food/drinks/company/hosts all top class. If in Dubrovnik again we will be back. Marija and Zlatko thanks so much for a great experience on local culture/people/food and of course the home made wine. 

Andy B