Tatjana & Julie Anne Rhodes at Gil’s
Evening 1 of our highly anticipated vacation kicked off with a magnificent meal in Dubrovnik. The modern decor of Gil’s came as a suprizing contrast to the harbor and mideval walled town our table overlooked. The hip young crowd that came to hang out in the pop lounge seemed to complete the visual effect quite nicely.

Funky Haute Cuisine at Gil’s

It is hard to imagine anyone being willing to attack the storybook town, built in it’s present form during the Venetian rule dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries; but rebel Croatian Serbs, volunteers from Montenegro, and the Yugoslav army did just that during the “Siege of Dubrovnik” in 1991-1992. Fortunately the World Heritage Site has been fully restored since. The amuse bush served seemed to echo the contrast of old and new…

Chicken Pie with pumpkin puree and popcorn
The restaurant passed my bread test with flying colors. My favorite was the sea salt crusted herbed rolls, and Tatjana’s was the olive rolls.

The fine selection of breads

Dinner was equally full of delightful surprises…everything was superb! We had…

Gnocchi with black truffle & chicken jus, and raw & cooked artichoke


Braised oxtail raviolis with parmesan & olive oil from Hvar
Tatjana’s main course looked spectacularly like an artist’s palette served on a black slate slab…

Rack of Lamb cooked for 24 hours, garlic croquettes, smoked Feta, hummus & herb yogurt
You can easily taste the pedigree of imaginative Head Chef Ben Mayissian who comes to Croatia via the Michelin star restaurants The Negresco and my all time favorite, Moulin de Mougins (see my blog entitled “The Persistence of Memory” May 24th, 2009). I was blissfully unaware of this fact before eating there which made the culinary adventure all the more exciting as it unfolded.

Pan seared John Dory filet, red wine reduction & beef marrow, pan seared fresh artichoke, and stuffed Swiss chard
Pastry Chef Gael Majchrzak must have descended from the Gods. Decadence can not begin to describe Tatjana’s “Half cooked Gil’s” it was sooo good it deserves two pictures to do it justice.

Soft Guanaja chocolate cake, thyme infused caramel ice cream, thyme and caramel cream
This is not just a lava cake…it is a volcano of deep rich chocolate!
After my recent blog on edible flowers (“Stop to Taste the Roses” June 13th, 2009) you can imagine my anticipation of my own dessert choice, but nothing prepared me for the vision that arrived. it seemed to sum up the restaurant in one bite…

Light milky ganache/lime & violet foam, chocolate Manjari ice cream, and crispy violet
…a shock of modern amongst the historical, imaginative, adventurous, and food that will definitely make your taste buds dance!

A very satisfied Jewels taken by Tatjana Rhodes
Valrohna Chocolate Lava Cakes

Servings: 6


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup Valrohna cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 ounces Valrohna semi-sweet chocolate, divided into 4 pieces
  • 2/3 cup softened butter, plus extra for greasing ramekins
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon coffee extract (or 1 1/2 tablespoons expresso)
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar for dusting
1). Grease 4 6-ounce ramekins.

2). Mix flour, Valrohna cocoa, and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

3). Melt the Valrohna chocolate and butter in a double boiler, and whisk in sugar. Pour melted chocolate into a large mixing bowl. Mix in eggs, one at a time on medium speed. Add coffee extract, and beat on high speed for 5 minutes.

4). Pour batter into prepared ramekins, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 24 hours or up to a month.

5). When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove ramekins from freezer, place on a baking sheet, and remove plastic wrap. Bake for 18 minutes (do not bake longer or cake will not have soft gooey chocolate center).

6). Invert ramekins onto a plate, tapping lightly to release the cake. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve hot with creme Anglaise, ice cream of your choice, or whipped cream.
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  • July 8, 2009
    12:47 pm

    That looks like one spectacular meal! Enjoy your vacation.

  • July 9, 2009
    3:53 pm

    I love your blog Jewels…i look forward to the new posts and to "see" your adventures. This trip sounds amazing – you look so relaxed and truly enjoying yourself. let me know when you are back home – I will have a box waiting for you!

  • September 9, 2011
    7:55 am

    Friends are angels that lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.