Discover the Delicious Cuisine of Croatia

April 26, 2024

Croatian cuisine differs from typical Balkan cuisine. Although it includes classics like goulash, fish soup, bureks, and others, there are still many unique dishes that tourists should try. Locals also have their own way of cooking that is unlike anyone else's. In this guide, we will share what gastronomic excursions are worth going to, provide useful tips, and offer descriptions and photos of Croatian (Istrian and Dalmatian) cuisine to help you make informed choices.

Dalmatia, which is the whole coast of Croatia from Dubrovnik to Zadar, has a cuisine that is strongly influenced by the culinary traditions of Italy, and to some extent, Greece. The region offers a delightful variety of seafood, olive oil, fresh vegetables, aromatic herbs and delicious wine. Istria, a peninsula located in the west part of the country, also reflects the influence of Italian cuisine in its dishes, which are mostly composed of fish and vegetables. While the cuisine in Istria is very similar to that of Dalmatia, it differs in certain details. If you visit the popular resorts in Croatia, you will likely find the same dishes with some minor variations.

In the central region of Croatia, which includes Zagreb, you will discover dishes influenced by Arab traditions, similar to the masterpieces of Turkish cuisine. This region is more inclined towards meat, particularly lamb, than fish. Nevertheless, the national dishes throughout Croatia are very much alike.


Short sausages made of lamb, beef or chicken, usually affectionately called "cevapcici", are Croatia's most popular street food and can be savored in almost every town. They are typically served grilled and stuffed into pita or flatbread, topped with sauce or vegetables. In Croatian restaurants, cevapi are commonly served with potatoes and fresh vegetables.


This dish is a staple in Dalmatian cuisine and can be enjoyed in almost every national cuisine restaurant in Croatia. The recipe involves marinating beef in a special sauce with vegetables and paprika, then frying it, pouring broth over it, and stewing it in wine. The meat is then baked with prunes separately. The vegetables are pureed and mixed with gnocchi, and then the beef is placed on top. This results in a truly delicious, tender, and flavorful Croatian dish that every tourist should try.

Ispod peke

The dish consists of meat, usually lamb, baked with potatoes, vegetable ratatouille, spices, and wine. Along the coast, octopus is often used instead of meat, and it is incredibly delicious. All ingredients are baked on coals in a special pan with a dome-shaped lid filled with coals as well. This Croatian masterpiece is definitely worth trying, despite the relatively high price. If you are very hungry, make sure to specify the time of serving the dish, as it is cooked from scratch for at least three hours.


One of the most popular seafood dishes in Croatia is Brodet. This dish is usually served in hotels and cafes along the coast. Brodet is a stew made from a variety of fish and seafood, cooked with tomato paste, spices, and wine. The dish has a unique and interesting taste, which is why it is famous in Croatia.

Crni Rižot

This dish, which is a national Croatian dish, can be found in almost every restaurant along the Croatian resort coast. The seafood used in it is exclusively local, and the risotto is cooked with cuttlefish ink, squid, mussels, and sometimes with other ingredients. It is definitely worth trying for all seafood lovers who visit Croatia as the locals know how to cook it to perfection.


A popular dish of Istrian cuisine that can be found in traditional Croatian taverns is a thick soup made with ribs, peas, beans, and a variety of vegetables (celery, carrots, and potatoes are a must). It is usually served with pieces of bacon or national sausage kulen, resulting in a unique smoky flavor that is definitely worth trying. This soup is especially enjoyable during winter vacation in Croatia.


If you happen to vacation in Istria, make sure to try the dishes that include truffles. Whether it's risotto, pasta, or meat, it's definitely worth it. In Croatia, cheeses, sausages, and ravioli with truffles are quite popular and definitely worth trying. Truffles are a unique ingredient that rarely leave anyone indifferent - you'll either love them for life or never eat them again.

Međimurska gibanica

There is a delightful national pastry that every sweet tooth should try in Croatia. It is a puff pastry pie with a delicate cheese-based layer and a sweet filling. The Croatian-style cheese strudel can be prepared with apples, poppy seeds, cottage cheese, raisins or walnuts. Whichever variant you choose, it is sure to be delicious. This pastry is usually eaten warm in Croatia, but the cold version is also worth trying.

Stonska torta

In Croatia, there is a special sweet pastry that is usually eaten during Christmas, but can be found in tourist restaurants all year round. This pastry is called the Stonska cake. From the outside, it looks like a regular sponge cake, but it has a unique filling made of macarons filled with nuts (mostly almonds) and chocolate. This cake is a part of Dalmatian cuisine, but it is also commonly served on Christmas Day throughout Croatia, even in hotels.

Zagorski štrukli

Strukli is a Croatian dessert made using delicate cheese that is unique to the country and cannot be found anywhere else. It is included in the list of the country's intangible heritage. The dessert is made by using cheese dough and sour cream, which is either boiled (as we do with dumplings) or baked, and then poured with heavy cream. To add sweetness, it is sprinkled with fried dough crumbs. You can enjoy it with sour cream or berry syrup, and it tastes absolutely delicious.

Croatian cuisine offers a diverse range of culinary delights, from the fresh seafood of the coast to the hearty dishes of the continental regions. Each bite of food tells a story of the country's rich culinary heritage. Whether you're indulging in the iconic pasticada or savoring the simplicity of peka, Croatian food never fails to captivate the palate and warm the soul.

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