Villa Ruza, Kolocep's Quiet Escape

By 15 August 2016

Looking to escape the peak season Dubrovnik crowds? An insider top from TCN Dubrovnik resident on August 14, 2016. 

If you have spent any amount of time in Dubrovnik during summer, you'll have no doubt come to a realisation that you'd never had before, an ''epiphany'' if you will, and that is that you like people much less than you thought. Now I don't mean that in a bad way, but when you simply cannot go anywhere without the immediate danger of being assaulted with a selfie stick, being stuck behind a group of people who don't know the meaning of walking faster than 0.5kmh and the impeding doom of tackling the bear pit of Stradun at any time after 10am, you'll understand exactly what I'm talking about. 
I'm by no means a food blogger, food lover, foodie, or whatever its called these-days, in fact I don't care about food at all, but that's precisely why this piece is worth reading, because rarely am I impressed by a restaurant, until now. While eating in the Old Town certainly has its charms, the tiny streets, the ever photogenic back alleys and indeed, the cats are all nice, but what isn't so nice is being on display for the masses, being far too hot and trying to talk over hundreds, sorry, thousands of other people. If you want to totally escape everything so classically Dubrovnik, but still be a stones throw away from it, read on.
Last night three friends and myself decided to seek refuge from the city and headed by boat to Kolocep, the first of the Elaphiti islands just off the coast of Dubrovnik (approx 45 mins by ferry from Gruz, approx 15-20 minutes privately), Kolocep has very little to offer, and if you know what I mean by that, you'll know that is more than perfect. We headed straight for Villa Ruza, an incredibly beautiful restaurant at the entrance to Donje Celo bay.
Villa Ruza was built as a simple house in 1930 by a wealthy merchant from Dubrovnik, he dedicated the entire property as a symbol of his undying love for his wife. After the end of WW11 in 1945, the building was taken by the state and never returned to the heartbroken sea merchant. Despite its somewhat depressing history, this impressive restaurant boasts one of the most beautiful terraces in Croatia, and its romantic atmosphere at sunset is breathtaking. The grounds of the property are large and sufficiently shadowed by old pine trees which offer the perfect shelter from the sun during the day. While the menu is rather limited, the food on offer is second to none and is consistently fresh, perfectly presented and comes with a waiter who will respond quickly to any requests you may have. The prices are reasonable and the overall atmosphere is a relaxed one without any snobbery, which makes the experience of Villa Ruza all the more enjoyable.
While Villa Ruza has been on the restaurant loving radar for a while now and has featured on quite a few ''top ten Croatia'' lists, it is still without a doubt, wholly underrated. Not often do you find a restaurant of this calibre, in a setting of this nature with such a laid back atmosphere. The only potential issue is that Villa Ruza is only accessible if you have a boat, are chartering a boat or are taking the Jadrolinija from the port of Gruz, but it is entirely worth any extra effort, especially if you are beginning to feel the effects of the common summertime phenomenon, which I like to call Dubrovnik Claustrophobia.
Villa Ruza is open from May 1 - October 1. If you'd like to learn more about what this totally unique place has to offer, you can visit them here.