Croatian food is defined by it’s regions, towns and villages, and has its own distinct culinary tradition rooting back to ancient times!
The best way to experience how a nation really lives, is to go to the market place and sample street food.
I adore street food as it’s ultimately the best way to get to the culture of a nation. I’ve been to many countries, and sampled many a nations’ cuisine, and Croatia was no exception!
The differences in the selection of foodstuffs and forms of cooking are most notable between those on the Croatian mainland, and those in coastal regions.
Mainland cuisine is characterized by earlier Slavic and neighboring cultures such as Hungarian and Turkish, with the use of pork fat such as lard, and spices such as black pepper, paprika, and garlic, while the coastal regions are influenced by ancient Greek, Roman, and modern-day Mediterranean cuisine, with the use of olive oil, and herbs and spices such as rosemary, sage, bay leaf, and citrus rind.
Rustic traditional food is derived from the former Yugoslavian nations and use the same basic ingredients such as grains, dairy, meat, fish, and vegetables, with similar cooking styles such as stewing, grilling, roasting and baking.
We spent a lot of the time in coastal regions.
Most ingredients used in Croatian food would be:
Croatia has an abundance of fresh, local, seasonal foodstuff such as olives and honey, joined in recent years by a plethora of health and ecology-conscious food stores selling organic vegetables, pure fruit juices, gluten-free bread and all manner of boutique deli grocery items!
I could write pages and pages of what Croatian food consists of and how they make it, but instead, I’ll let the pictures do the talking and if you have further insight, let me know in the comment section below!
We stayed in various apartments which I found courtesy of booking.com. All were pretty huge, centrally located, and cost between €45.00 – €60.00 per nights. As a result, we didn’t really go out for breakfast, but rather for brunch!
You can opt for:
Cevapcici – a type of grilled lamb sausage dish traditionally found in many Balkan countries and actually, the national dish of Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Serbia! It’s usually served on a plate or in flatbread, with raw chopped onions, sour cream, kajmak, ajvar, feta cheese, ground red pepper and salt. The service was slow but the food was quite delicious. Bought at Kitchen & Gruill PLAC – Cost: 39kn or €5.25
Soparnika (chard filled pastry)
OMG! Truffles in Štrukli!
Štrukli is a popular traditional Croatian dish composed of dough and filled with cheese, various types of filling and then cooked or baked. We found ours at a popular place where you can have a wide variety of štrukli, ranging from traditional cheese to blueberry. We had ours with truffles and sat in the very pretty summer garden. Great service. Fantastic food! Bought at La Štruk restaurant in Zagreb. Cost: 35kn or €4.70
Scrambled eggs with prsut, mushrooms and cheese
We had brunch at this rather wonderful unique restaurant within one of the Squares of the city walls of Split! In fact, we liked the restaurant so much that we went back twice! The Music Producer & The Tall Young Gentleman both had a meal of Egg Benedict which consisted of poached eggs laid on top of crunchy whole wheat toasted bread, creamy avocado, rocket, tomato and olive oil. Bought at the cute restaurant Bepa! in Split. Cost: 30kn or €4.00
I had the Croatian-style “English breakfast” of scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, Croatian sausage, grilled tomato, and spicy baked beans! Again, bought at Bepa! above, in Split. Cost: 59kn or €8.00
We went back again for lunch and both The Music Producer and The Tall Young Gentleman had burgers. Here’s the “Club Sandwich” which actually consisted of a beef burger, a fried egg, bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes, served with a portion of chips in a red polka dot mug and a fancy tureen of ketchup! Once again bought at Bepa! above, in Split. Cost: 65kn or €8.80
Porridge with an array of snazzy toppings
We were invited to a complimentary press Easter brunch, along with journalists from Italy! Our brunch was at a restaurant which was opposite the Gate of the Old City of Dubrovnik.
The restaurant serves only Croatian food as a matter of policy, and includes both seafood and meat dishes. We had a three (3) course brunch meal and a separate dessert was made for me ‘cos of my allergies! Our ham and egg foam pâté with horseradish cream was most delicious, and something I had never had before! Eaten at GUSTA ME restaurant in Dubrovnik – press lunch – As part of an Easter brunch three-course menu – retail price – 160kn or €21.00
Cololino (Croatian pap)
Pork sandwiches made from Istrian and Dalmatian Pršut – dry-cured ham, tucked into thick slabs of fresh crusty bread from Vis! Bought at the Zagreb Street Market on the Ban Jelačić (main) square. Cost: 21.20kn or €2.85
Fritule – Croatian doughnuts – can be found everywhere in Croatia. Bought at the Zagreb Street Market on the Ban Jelačić (main) square. Cost: 15 kn or €2.00
A Croatian sandwich made from a bread roll with thick slices of mozzarella and thinly cut Miljevci prosciutto. Bought at the cafe next door to our lovely apartment in Zagreb. Cost: 12kn or €1.70!
However, without a reservation, or a large number of heads, it proved extremely difficult to get a nice seat, or any seat at all! Of course, if you’re happy to be tucked in the outside patio, far from the action, or where you couldn’t see a thing then…
Er. Nope! I didn’t come all this way to be hidden away.
We decided to come again the next day, and this time we succeeded!
It’s a tavern-like place that is influenced by a mixture of Bosnian-Herzegovinian and Mediterranean cuisine. Sadly, the service wasn’t the best and neither was the food. Both The Music Producer and The Tall Young Gentleman enjoyed their dinner, but I didn’t!
The above dish of Dalmatian uštipak – fried doughnut balls – served with kajmak – Croatian clotted cream cheese was served On theHouse, ‘cos of the less-than-stellar service! Bought at Konoba Didov San – Gornji Grad, in Zagreb. Cost: 0.00kn or €0.00
The meal above was a dish of grilled eel with a nice side dish of roast potatoes. Bought at Konoba Didov San – Gornji Grad, in Zagreb. Cost: 130kn or €18.00
Dried pork loin and sausage with pickled cabbage
I’ve become quite European in nature so that I’m quite picky. In Zagreb, this could lead to not finding a place to eat!
Luckily, we found a nice little outfit which was small, and had a trendy bar and bistro menu. I’m not a fan of burgers so I had a chicken club sandwich consisting of chicken, bacon, grilled ham, onions and tomatoes, with a “cup” of roast potatoes! Bought at Otto & Frank, in Zagreb. Cost: 42kn or €5.60
Chicken in a wood-fired oven
Vitalac – skewered lamb offal
Eels and frogs
Artichokes with fava beans
I had a “trayful” of seafood samples or Frigadura at this rather wonderful unique restaurant within one of the Squares of the city walls of Split! In fact, we liked the restaurant so much that we went back twice! My meal consisted of prawns, shrimps, mussels and sardines, served with a portion of french fries and a fancy tureen of whitefish sauce! Bought at the cute restaurant Bepa! in Split. Cost: 95kn or €12.80
We all had pasta seafood dishes. My Tagliatelle came with mussels, shrimps, prawns and bits of lobster in a tomato sauce. Delish! Bought at the sailing restaurant Konoba – Barkarola in Split. Cost: 75kn or €11.00
Butarga – salted, cured fish roe
On our second night in Croatia, we went to a restaurant that is located in one of the oldest streets in the city’s old centre. In a basement that is over 300 years old! Unfortunately, the lighting was too “soft” to take good photos so I only have a picture of dessert!
I hate chocolate cake, but if you like it, help yourself in Dubrovnik. Eww!! Eaten at GUSTA ME restaurant in Dubrovnik – press lunch – As part of an Easter brunch three-course menu – retail price – 160kn or €21.00
Who doesn’t love ice-cream? I’m always having to be careful ‘cos of the liberal sprinkling of nuts that I seem to see everywhere these days, and the combination of chocolate! The former ‘cos I have a nut allergy, and the latter ‘cos I don’t like chocolate! I read about a trendy ice-cream parlour in the Time Out Zagreb magazine, so off we went.
The ice-cream parlour didn’t let us down. Bought at Millennium in Zagreb. Cost: 9kn per ice-cream scoop or €1.25!!!
DRINKS & REFRESHMENTS:
The food culture in Croatia, as in many other Mediterranean States is that of outdoor, al fresco dining. The weather generally tends to be warm and summery, and the lifestyle in the country tends to be more relaxed.
You can, and should, take little breaks, have a snack, or a drink. The cost is relatively peanuts, and the quality is great. In fact, I found that in many places, the cost of a taxi-ride was even cheaper than three (3) glasses of wine and a cup of coffee!
So why shouldn’t you indulge?
Croatia has a variety of freshly – squeezed juice. Be careful when you order “lemonade” as The Tall Young Gentleman was surprised to receive freshly squeezed lemon, when actually what he wanted was Schweppes!
Here’s a refreshing jar of ginger-ale. Cost: 25kn or €3.40
Have a beverage at the many bars, restaurants and cafés that can be found on the very long street packed shoulder-to-shoulder!
NOTE! In the daytime, stroll around and take your pick, but by nightfall know that if you’re in Zagreb and you’re as picky as I am, you’ll probably not get to eat!
The establishments have different names but tend to belong to the same group. There might also be a very long wait for service. Make sure you keep the waiter in view so that he can keep the drinks coming. It’s expected that with each order, you pay on the spot, then order again.
Staro Češko – from the Czech minority living in Croatia
Osječko: from the Osijek – the oldest brewery in Croatia!
Croatian wine has a history dating back to the Ancient Greek settlers, and many traditional grape varieties still survive. However, at first glance, many restaurants would offer me Italian or French wine instead! Insist on the local variety, which I found perfectly up to par.
The glass of red wine bought above at Kitchen & Gruill PLAC was cheaper than a (15kn or €2.00) glass of Schweppes!!! Cost: 9kn or €1.25!!!
Zlahtina from Vrbnik wine
The Semberg Rosé wine above was bought at restaurant Bepa! Cost: 45kn or €6.50
Plavac Mali wine
dubrovnic malvasia wine
I could go on and on, but I ought to leave something for you to discover, don’t you think?
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Thanks a million!
Have you ever had Croatian food? Would you try lamb tripe or eels and frogs? Let me know in the comments below!
See you in Berlin.
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I'm a British girl from Manchester living in Berlin with my German husband and my half British – half German son.
My blog is a lifestyle expat travel blog and puts a focus on my promotion of culture, history, travels around the world, Europe, Brexit, the Royal Family, British-German life and being British in Berlin - I am The British Berliner!