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*****It's got to be SOMEBODY'S fault, hasn't it?*****
Mea Culpa Pizzeria (Dubrovnik, Croatia)
Member Name: malibu_jenny
Mea Culpa Pizzeria (Dubrovnik, Croatia)
Date: 10/09/12, updated on 10/09/12 (38 review reads)
Advantages: We didn't get poisoning.
Disadvantages: Rubbish service, cramped surroundings, horrible toilets and high prices.
We headed down the steep stone stairs after an afternoon of walking the walls. Dad had M&M on his shoulders, Little Brother had the guide book in hand and I lagged behind, taking a final few photos of the magnificent sunset over the Old Town.
"Found it", Little Brother announced, directing us along the shiny marble paving of the Stradum. Mea Culpa was apparently the best pizzeria in the whole of Dubrovnik according to Time Out and at six, we were all ready for an early dinner. There are five Mea Culpa restaurants in Dubrovnik in varying degrees between a café and full on restaurant and this was the Pizzeria, serving (obviously) pizza, pasta, risotto and salads. Turning down an alley, we came to the back of the restaurant and a narrow street full of seating. The tables belonging to Mea Culpa were mixed in with those for another restaurant and it took a minute to establish that the less comfortable and solid tables and chairs were unfortunately the ones we needed.
M&M flopped down into the seat, dislodging the thin hard cushion which fell to the floor. She was hungry. 'Really hungry' and 'very hungry', because every sentence is currently filled with superlatives and it had been a very long time since lunch. The four of us sat and waited, occasionally catching the eye of the waiter until I got up and rescued some menus from a nearby table. This somehow stirred him into action and he came and took our drinks order.
The drinks arrived a bit on the warm side and without ice, the restaurant wasn't busy and we had time to appreciate the surroundings before the order was taken. There was no view other than the cramped tables and it wasn't the cleanest area, with litter on the street between the tables. This in itself was surprising given that the rest of Dubrovnik is immaculate. The kitchen door opened out right next to our table and at one point during our meal, one of the metal bars from this door came loose, narrowly missing the man at the next table.
Eventually cornering the waiter, we ordered pizzas (the house speciality after all) which came huge and hot. They were nice enough, but nothing special, with the toppings whole in the centre, continental style, rather than chopped and scattered. Mine was a vegetarian one, with asparagus, the pale Croatian peppers and sweet corn and M&M and I, though hungry, only finished about half. Dad and Little Brother had a more meaty one each, which they said were ok. A plus point was that the cheese was on top of the toppings, sealing them in and keeping them warm (I hate it when they put the cheese on first in that lazy Dominos way).
M&M and Dad began to squabble cheerfully, their ongoing game of the day was for each of them to declare ownership of everything. For example 'My chair' would be countered with 'No, it's MY chair'. At this point they'd moved onto Dad saying 'It's MY fault' and M&M insisting sincerely that it was hers amid a fit of giggles. Funnily enough, I said I thought Mea Culpa was in fact the Latin phrase for 'My Fault'. I was later to find out via Google that it can also be used to mean (even more appropriately) 'My Mistake'.
It was all an ok-ish kind of meal, but of all the meals we had in Dubrovnik, this was the most hyped and least special. If this was the best pizza available, I felt sorry for the local inhabitants. In fact, the pizzas at the restaurant next door looked suspiciously better. Prices were around 80 -90 Kuna for a pizza, which compared to other restaurants was on the expensive side. For far less than we paid here for three pizzas, two lemonades and a beer, we enjoyed a sumptuous and more central three course meal the following night at a much nicer and cleaner restaurant.
M&M and I went to the toilets, only to find the one cubicle so cramped and disgusting that I opted to hold on and she preferred to change her nappy in the street. The toilet was utterly smeared and the sanitary bin overflowing. The waiter seemed irritated to be dragged away from his sycophantic photo shoot with a large group of diners opposite. Obviously he was hoping for a tip that reflected their numbers. He bought the bill without offering any coffees or desserts and we had no desire to soak up the atmosphere.
The company was delightful and the pizza adequate, yes. But based on the unspeakably awful toilets and very poor service, I wouldn't recommend it in the slightest. There are a great many cheaper and better meals available within a minute's walk.
We left, into a warm comfortable twilight, feeling full at least.
Summary: Much like the latin name, this restaurant's reputation is a thing of the past.
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