Saturday, June 22, 2024
Food & Drink

One&Only Portonovi – The Star of Gourmet Experiences Within a Destination


Miodrag Spahić - Jun 11, 2024

Here at The Collection Magazine, we were thrilled to witness this culinary evolution, which not only elevates the dining landscape of Montenegro but also contributes to the growth of its Tourism and Hospitality sector. Join us as we celebrate the creativity and dedication of the culinary artisans shaping the future of Montenegrin gastronomy and beyond at One&Only Portonovi.

We embarked on a culinary odyssey unlike any other at One&Only Portonovi, where each restaurant concept is infused with a distinctive local touch by the visionary chefs. These Executive Chefs are driven by a passion to leave an indelible mark on Montenegro’s vibrant food scene. Their innovative approach reflects a commitment to evolving traditions and redefining flavours, ensuring an unforgettable dining experience for every guest.Discover an exquisite culinary journey awaiting you at One&Only Portonovi, where the artistry of local and international chefs breathes life into each restaurant concept. Nestled in one of Europe’s premier resorts, a diverse array of dining experiences invites you to savour flavours from around the globe amidst captivating atmospheres. Indulge in the simplicity of wholesome Mediterranean cuisine, thoughtfully prepared and utterly delectable. Dive into the poolside oasis with tantalizing Japanese bites, bursting with vibrancy and freshness. And witness the creation of heart-warming Adriatic dishes, crafted before your very eyes. Join us as we explore some of the finest culinary offerings in Montenegro, all found within the elegant confines of One&Only Portonovi.

A destination within a destination – Come savour the exquisite food and beverage outlets at One&Only, Portonovi. Bon Appetite and cheers!


Brandon comes from South Africa but learnt his famous culinary skills in London, where he has worked for 5 years before returning to South Africa. Already in London, Brandon quickly climbed through the ranks in the kitchen, showing his superiors he was willing to put in the work and stay focused, embracing new challenges as time went by. That is why, when he came back to South Africa, he was involved with 5-star properties, before finding One&Only a few years back.

Brandon has been working for One&Only in Rwanda, Maldives, Dubai and now, Montenegro, hoping to bring his vast experience and knowledge and share it with his team here.

Q. The Collection Magazine: Was becoming a chef a career that you always imagined pursuing?

A.: No. I took a year off after school and went to London. I started working as a waiter to cover my expenses. Then I moved to the kitchen and started washing the dishes part-time after my shift as a waiter. The executive chef there and I became close friends, and he offered me to start as a commis chef. So, I started from the very basic positions and worked my way up.

As a commis chef, I would often stay longer hours before I loved the atmosphere in the hotel there – the creativity was next level, and the food that we were preparing was amazing. I commenced studying through the company and five years later I was promoted to the head chef. In industry terms, I climbed the ladder very quickly in the beginning because I was always focused and conscientious.

Q. You’ve been here for a few months, are you ready for the upcoming season?

A. Of course, we are pretty much set already. As you know, we have a few venues and I have a team in place, starting from my Executive Sous Chef and chef de cuisine for each venue. I’ve met with our core suppliers; we are finishing up the new menus that we are launching soon. In terms of structure and manning, we are pretty much set and look forward to welcoming guests to experience our passion for perfection.

Q. What are your findings after sampling the ingredients within your kitchen kitchen, especially those that are locally sourced?

A. I’m very happy with the local produce. We must import certain ingredients because we have so many outlets, but I was very happy to find out that we have a lot of local produce that we can use. Fresh fish is an obvious choice, of course – and with our new Steak House, the quality of the meat that we are buying here, and the dry aging is fantastic.

Q. Can you tell us more about your team here?

A. Yes, well, this is another thing that surprised me here, as we have a young team of local and international chefs, but they really excel in these roles. They are big on flavours, skills and work ethic, you can tell there is a lot of passion coming from the young guys. They want to be someone and succeed in the kitchen.

We set high goals from day one, we want to be the best in the country. La Veranda actually received an award as the best restaurant in the country recently, but we want to have all our restaurants equally highly ranked.

Q. Can you give us some of your personal highlights from different menus present in One&Only restaurants?

A. That’s a tough one, but a few come to mind. We have a lobster pasta in Sabia that is really very good. I’m a big fan of classic dishes and the chefs are doing an amazing carbonara as well.

From La Veranda side, definitely the brodetto, a local fish stew. But we are also dry ageing our own meats, so the Tomahawk steak is one of the favourites also, super tender. I’m more into robust food, rather than fine dining.

The pastry in the hotel is amazing and our pastry chef Željko is very creative. Today he has done a kajmak and strawberry dessert, with a touch of pink peppercorns!

Tapasake, obviously, is a crowd pleaser, I’ve always been a fan of sushi. Now with the new menu, which I don’t want to give away much, with Spanish tapas coming in, this is going to be a busy outlet this year.

And I would mention the breakfast menu that we serve in La Veranda restaurant, which is very popular, with a few new and fresh ideas. We are doing a shrimp benedict that is unbelievably popular.


Goran Tatar comes from Budva and his first kitchen experience dates back to 1997 in the legendary Sveti Stefan Island, long before it became a part of the Aman family. He continued with Aman and spent 15 years with them, travelling the world and working in their kitchens.

Goran joined One&Only last year and sees an enormous perspective for young chefs to grow within this company. As a senior member of the team, he is happy to guide them and help them achieve big things here.

Q. Could you explain your role – since you are the second in command, are you still overlooking all the restaurants with the Executive Chef Brandon?

A. In our hierarchy, the job of a sous chef is to know everything and be everywhere, very much involved in the service. Making sure everyone is doing their job, from the assistant positions to sous chefs and chefs of each restaurant. While the Executive Chef is involved in the macro level, Sous Chef is more in touch with day-to-day work in the kitchens.

Q. As a local, which ingredients do you find less used in Montenegro that you would like to highlight in your restaurants?

A. We understand each corner of Montenegro has something special to offer. To start from the north, wild garlic (mne: sremuš) is an extremely healthy plant, essentially being a leafy version of a less pungent garlic. We are going to be using it to make a wild garlic pesto, where wild garlic will replace two ingredients, both basil and garlic.

Then we can talk about many different types of wild mushrooms in the north, as well as the meat, that we are going to highlight in our Steak House offer.

More to the south, olive oil is another amazing ingredient that we are often overlooking. Actually, this would be my favourite ingredient in the kitchen, and we can get very creative with its use. Olive oil ice cream first comes to mind, an unusual, but incredible condiment. Modern kitchen techniques help us make different things like olive oil powders and olive oil snow, that can help us get a different texture into our dishes.

Q. Do you feel you help these young chefs around you by guiding them to their path to the future?

A. As a senior member of the team, I obviously want to see their careers evolve. It is great to see so many young individuals being willing to work hard and develop themselves as chefs and as people too. I tend to point them in the right direction while not overwhelming them with the old-school kitchen atmosphere.

Within the company, we have a task force programme that helps these young people receive international experience while spreading the word about our local cuisine around the world.

Q. From the menus at One&Only, with such variety for the most discerning taste buds, which is your favourite dish from the selection available?

GT: Very simply, a risotto or a pasta from Sabia, sushi and any fresh fish dish from Tapasake, or a nice steak in our La Veranda, finished in our coal-fired overs.



Todor comes from a family of artists, and he is the youngest of six children. Following tradition, the youngest in the family is the one helping in the kitchen, around special occasions. After a spell in hospitality, Tudor’s calling as a chef brough him to Belgrade and start off his journey on the culinary front.

He has worked for some important regional chefs during his early career, in Belgrade (Serbia) and Split (Croatia). After covid hit, he even started a small start-up and began fermenting vegetables and selling in small jars from a tiny Belgrade apartment. He has practiced his resourcefulness in a tiny kitchen on a yacht, where he needed to adapt even more than in a professional kitchen. Soon a call from Tivat came and even sooner, he became a member of One&Only family. Todor has a passion for the creation of authentic Italian dishes (cuisina de la nonna) with a modern twist – bringing Italian charm into his dishes.

Now he is a sous chef in the Italian restaurant Sabia, ready to continue his journey as a chef.

Q. How have you managed to make your restaurant into a destination in itself, within a destination?

A. The Italian flare with local twists. Our local buzara (famous fish sauce) is a must try, just like the shellfish.

Q. What is your favourite ingredient to work with?

A. Tomato, our local “pink” variety of tomato from Ulcinj. It is by far the sweetest thing you can ever try.

Q. Your favourite dish in the restaurant?

A. I would say my interpretation of an old breakfast combo of tomato and cheese for breakfast, our tomato tartare with burrata and basil pearls.

Q. Your twist on a Montenegrin dish?

A. Actually, our twist on the white buzara with ginger I lemongrass is something I would encourage every local to try!


Bojan joined One&Only team after spending a year as a sous chef in Thailand’s restaurant listed in the Michelin guide. But his early kitchen days were in Aman Sveti Stefan in Budva, when he was just 14 years old!

He started off quickly and found himself in a situation where he had to learn fast, and he did. The atmosphere in a heated kitchen and the adrenaline suit well this young martial art aficionado.

What’s interesting is also the fact that Bojan is a forager as well. With his uncle, he used to go to the woods to forage wild mushrooms, a passion he still enjoys today. And we are looking forward to seeing what he does with his drive and passion in La Veranda!

Q. How have you managed to make your restaurant into a destination in itself, within a destination?

A. La Veranda Steak House is about the experience. We are finishing dishes in front of the guests, bringing fire and smoke at the table. This flare is what makes us stand out, but also our ingredients, local meat that we are dry aging inhouse.

Q. What is your favourite ingredient to work with?

A. Chanterelle mushrooms, their earthiness is what I love. I love aromatics as well, lemons, rosemary, thyme and much more.

Q. What is your favourite dish in the restaurant?

A. Of all the meat dishes that we do here, my favourite pick would be a lobster dish actually! Lobster with coconut and vanilla sauce.

Q. And your twist on a Montenegrin dish?

A. We are doing a twist on the Njeguši steak in the restaurant, where we chose a filet mignon as a cut, we serve it with a local cheese and add ham on top to finish off the dish.


With over 11 years of experience, Željko began his career in different hotels and restaurants across Belgrade. However, feeling uninspired by the local food scene, he sought new challenges in Abu Dhabi, where he joined the largest catering company in the region. There, he found himself immersed in a world of private events, Formula 1 gatherings, and VIP dinners, satisfying his appetite for creativity.

Something interesting happened here. He was moved from the pastry to the kitchen. A whole new world of flavours opened to Željko as he learned different ingredients and spices. Since then, he has been on a mission to explore different flavours and offer interesting flavour combination through his desserts and cakes.

Today Željko is a pastry chef overlooking different venues in One&Only Portonovi, from breakfast, to different restaurants dessert menus, and he explores his creativity in different ways.

Q. What is your favourite restaurant in One&Only family?

A. Anywhere I get to serve fine dining desserts with unusual and interesting flavour combinations

Q. What is your favourite ingredient to work with?

A. Surprisingly perhaps – Pepper. All kinds of pepper. I like the kick that pepper gives to my creations. It is unusual, intriguing, bold.

Q. What is your favourite dish in the restaurant?

A. Pear cake with fennel crème Brule, fennel gazpacho and caramel.

Q. Your twist on a Montenegrin dish?

A. It is more a local ingredient used. A dessert we do now with kajmak ice cream, using local ingredient (Savory) in a dessert, pairing it with strawberries and pink pepper.


Ricardo and Tapasake complement each other – with his warm smile, sparkle in his eyes, optimism, and friendliness – all of which combine into the whole vibrant Tapasake atmosphere. Ricardo is from Madrid originally, but never worked in the kitchens there. As soon as he finished his apprenticeship he left for London and has travelled ever since. With his endearing personality and commitment to perfection, his climb in the kitchens was very steep and fast. It takes a very special character to excel under pressure and live up to the expectations of superiors and guests. Travelling helped him learn about different cuisines, something we will definitely be able to see in his new menu in Tapasake. The famous old saying goes “Gastronomy is the art of using food to create happiness”. Certainly, here at Tapasake, Ricardo and his team have mastered the art – Tapasake is the place to create a celebration and the team’s joy in cooking for others comes together like a maestro and his orchestra delivering an encore performance.

Q. How have you managed to make your restaurant into a destination in itself, within a destination?

A. Tapasake is a crowd pleaser. We have everyone’s favourite sushi, but we mix a lot of flavours to bring bright and interesting dishes to our tables. Peruvian ceviche, Spanish tapas, twists on a local cuisine, anything we can think of.

Q. What is your favourite ingredient to work with?

A. Fresh fish, always fresh fish.

Q. And your favourite dish in the restaurant?

A. As a main dish, we have a fantastic Chilean seabass dish, simply fried and laid on a bed of sauteed vegetables in butter and ponzu sauce. It is a nice portion, with a big piece of amazing fish, paired with bold flavours of vegetables side.

Q. And finally, what is your twist on a Montenegrin dish?

A. We are doing a few twists on local dishes, but a simple one would be my favourite. Local priganice (small doughnuts) with apricot jam and frozen mint sugar.

The team at The Collection had the pleasure and delight to spend a day with this incredible team. One can only admire in awe their passion for this work, dedication to excellence and pure genius in some of their creations. We highly recommend you savour each experience when possible. Thereafter, you will leave with delight and in the knowledge that One&Only Portonovi have brought the world of culinary delights to the region, as never experienced before.


The pinnacle of ultra-luxury design, authentic experiences and genuine hospitality, One&Only is an exceptional collection of one-of-a-kind resorts and private homes located in the world’s most inspiring destinations. Designed in harmony with nature and immersed in local culture, each remarkable, one-off resort has its own distinct narrative and charisma. The exclusive collection includes destinations across the world, from Greece and Mexico to Mauritius and Rwanda, with future resorts in Big Sky Montana and the brand’s first Urban Resort in Dubai opening soon. One&Only Private Homes are currently available to purchase in Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Montana (USA), Greece, and Dubai (UAE). More information on One&Only is available at


T: +382 31 691 000

E: [email protected]



Cuisine: Contemporary Japanese / Peruvian Fusion

The beating heart of One&Only Portonovi, Tapasake is Montenegro’s most exclusive waterfront destination, combining inspiring flavours with captivating style and world-renowned service. With panoramic views of the bay and the Adriatic Sea beyond, experience the chic Tapasake lifestyle alongside eclectic mixology and contemporary Japanese / Peruvian cuisine.

RESERVATIONS: +382 31 691 001

Open Daily for Lunch and Dinner.



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