I’d recommend this restaurant for tourists travelling by car and those who choose places to swim and visit on their own.
El rey hovers above Jaz beach, and Jaz is merely a stone’s throw away from Trsteno and Ploce beaches, a must-visit for those who enjoy sun’n’surf kind of holidays. This appealing location makes El rey a perfect stop-over on your itinerary while heading to the beaches. Even if you are into hiking and you are blessed with a girlfriend who doesn’t wear high heels while on holidays, this place is accessible by foot, but only at night when the heat is down. It is only some 1.5 km away from Budva. El rey may sound to you like a roadside diner, but it definitely isn’t so.
El rey translates from Spanish as ‘the king’. The king of this place is the view. The view so magnificent and stunning that you feel a little embarrassed to be eating here, embarrassed to be caring about your interiors when the exteriors are so loudly beautiful. Yet, if the sin of gluttony takes over the esthetics, the kitchen is at your service.
The kitchen here, I’d say, is more of the Mediterranean and European style, with steak, burgers, pastas, and risottos on the menu. I believe that no-one wants me to share my opinion on steak, because there can be as many opinions as there are kinds of steak. My personal benchmark is Caesar salad, plain as day. If a place serves Caesar with romaine or, at least, mixed lettuce, crunchy enough garlic croutons and fresh parmesan, and the sauce is good, then what more could one ask for? Good Caesar salad is a good sign that the restaurant is not bad. And Caesar salad at El rey is quite remarkable. It costs EUR 7.5.
Unlike national taverns, the size of servings at El rey is laconic, you do not get more than you are supposed to, and you will not enjoy any compliments from the chef. There are no trays with heaping piles of meat, onion, and fried potatoes. You get exactly as much as you order. Although wait, there is one position on the menu that shows off the chef’s Montenegrin soul. It is priganice, the local kind of donuts, only but small in size. There are a lot of kinds and they are very good with kaimak, honey and God knows what for as little as EUR 3. Overall, the prices match European, for example, a pound beef steak costs EUR 19.90.
There is no personalized service. Waiters speak English, and they are polite, but they seem uninvolved and indifferent, exactly what one wants to expect, like sex without a commitment. Mirroring your waiter’s indifference, you have the liberty of playing it cool and being generous in your discretion without the slightest remorse.
Between May and October, and sometimes off-season, El rey fills with live music on Saturday nights, i.e. decently performed European hits. In short, the place is quite good, not that very trendy and not exactly luxury, but if you are a villager looking like a villager (a European villager, though), after a couple of margaritas you will blend with the public, and the atmosphere is oh so inviting.