Traditional Croatian food and top Croatian dishes | Laganini.com (2022)

Traditional Croatian food and top Croatian dishes | Laganini.com (1)

Gastronomic offer

18.04.2022.

For many tourists one of the reasons for visiting a particular location is gastronomy. The majority of tourists who are visiting a new, unexplored destination are looking forward to trying traditional dishes that are typical for a particular place or region. This blog is intended for people traveling or planning to travel to one of the Croatian regions and are eager to taste delicious Croatian traditional dishes. We have prepared a review of the Croatian traditional cuisine with a review of the best domestic meat and seafood dishes we strongly recommend to try.

Meat and poultry meals

Lamb on the spit

Lamb on the spit ("Janjetina na ražnju")cannot be attributed as a typical dish for a particular region or destination in Croatia, although it is often served in Dalmatia and primarily on the island of Pag, where it is certainly the most famous dish. Lamb on the spit is also prepared in Lika and Gorski Kotar, but also in other parts of Croatia, so if you are driving via the old road during the summer months, you will surely come across numerous restaurants offering this delicacy. Roasted lamb on the spit is one of the most delicious dishes you can try in Croatia and, ideally, it is best served with young onions, potatoes, and domestic tomatoes.

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Istrian fuži with truffles

Istrian fuži with truffles is a traditional dish that originates from Istria. Fuži is a type of pasta typically prepared in Istria, which is prepared by cutting pasta on cutlets of approximately 3 cm wide and by cutting it diagonally to obtain rhomboid forms. Truffles in Croatia can be collected only in Istria, and they give to this dish a unique flavor. Fuži with truffles is best served with Istrian extra virgin olive oil and a glass of Istrian wine Malvazija.

Dalmatian Pašticada

One of the dishes typical of Dalmatia and its surroundings is Dalmatian pašticada. Pašticada is prepared from veal which is cooked in a sauce enriched with dried plums and is served with wide noodles or dumplings. We strongly recommend you to try this delicious dish which is traditionally prepared for the celebration of important events such as weddings, holidays or christenings.

Veal under the bell

Although the octopus is probably the most famous dish prepared under the bell, it is certainly not the only one. Many different dishes are prepared under the bell, and the best-known is veal under the bell ("teletina ispod peke"). Similar as in the case of octopus under the bell ("hobotnica ispod peke"), it is usually prepared with potatoes which are baked and cooked at the same time. It is hard to describe the taste that this meal has, therefore, we recommend you to try it.

Baked Zagorski štrukli

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Zagorski štrukli is a dish originally from Croatian region Zagorje, located north of Zagreb. Zagorski štrukli is a dish which can be prepared in two ways - cooked or baked. Zagorski štrukli consists of pasta and fresh cow cheese, baked in the oven. Although originally created in the area of Croatian Zagorje and the surrounding area, today you can find štrukle throughout Croatia, as, due to outstanding popularity, the recipe has expanded to other regions as well. In order to preserve the autochthonous recipe of Zagorski štrukli, the Krapina-Zagorje County and the Zagorje Development Agency each year organize an event called "Štruklijada", which gathers lovers of the recognizable delicacies of Croatian Zagorje.

Turkey with mlinci

Turkey with mlinci ("purica s mlincima")is a traditional Croatian dish which is commonly prepared in the area around Zagreb, usually for holidays and festive occasions, and originates from Međimurje. This delicious dish is best served in rural households, where it is still prepared in a traditional way - roasted turkey is served with handmade mlinci mixed with fat from roasted turkey.

Sarma

Sarma is a meal of minced meat mixed with rice which is cooked and served wrapped in the leaf of pickled cabbage. Although sarma is a dish originated from Bulgaria where meat is cooked in the leaf of fresh cabbage, the traditional Croatian way of preparation includes a pickled cabbage. There are numerous ways of the preparation of this dish and besides sarma, one very famous type of this dish is arambaša or arambašići, typically prepared in the city of Sinj. Arambašići is usually prepared for various celebrations, including the knight game Sinjska Alka.

Čobanac and venison goulash

Although the key ingredients used for preparation čobanac and venison goulash are different, both of these dishes are prepared in a similar way - in boilers on the open fire. Both dishes are typical for the continental part of Croatia and originate from Hungary. The Hungarian word "gulyás" in the translation means a shepherd, from which comes the Croatian version of the word "čobanac". Although the original goulash is prepared from beef and mutton, through different regions the preparation of goulash expanded to other types of meat including venison meat. In Croatia, the best-known goulash is made from deer meat or wild boar which is ideally served with dumplings ("lovačke knedle").

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Homemade chicken soup

In Croatia you can find different soups typical for certain regions. For example, you can try a delicious fish soup or a soup of homemade tomatoes in Istria or Dalmatia, in Lika and Gorski Kotar you can eat soup of mushrooms, and in northern Croatia soup of pumpkin or homemade bovine soup. However, the best soup that you can try in Croatia is a homemade chicken soup. For a truly domestic taste of soup which is usually prepared with various vegetables including carrots, parsley and celery it is necessary to use domestic chicken.

Fish and seafood dishes

Octopus under the bell

The octopus under the bell ("hobotnica ispod peke")is one of the best Croatian dishes that you can try in Croatia. The bell ("peka") is a tool for preparing delicious dishes in which the ingredients are at the same time cooked and baked. This type of food preparation eventually results with a delicious octopus and potatoes. You can try the octopus under the bell in restaurants throughout Dalmatia and Istria, as well as in fish restaurants in continental Croatia. However, our recommendation is to visit one of the many rural households preparing this dish following the traditional recipe. Apart from this dish, octopus is also often prepared on salad as an appetizer. Octopus on salad is another well-known Dalmatian specialty.

Brudet

Brudet (sometimes referred to as "brujet") is a dish made of fresh seafood, which is usually prepared from monkfish, eel and grouper, however, the best brudet is prepared from different types of fresh seafood. Brudet is a somewhat more complex Mediterranean version of fish soup, in which several types of fish are cooked in a pot together. Brudet originates from the Italian brodetto which, as it was spreading among the Adriatic, it changed its name. Usually, it is served with polenta or žganci.

Black risotto

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Black risotto is not a dish typical only for Croatia. It can also be found in other Mediterranean countries like Italy and Spain. However, black risotto made of seafood from the Adriatic Sea has a special taste in which you will surely enjoy. Typical seafood which goes into this dish includes cuttlefish, Adriatic squid, mussels and shrimp.

Buzara

Buzara is typical Dalmatian dish that can be prepared from different main ingredients. The most commonly used ingredients are shrimps and shellfish (usually it is prepared from mussels). Except for the main ingredient, this delicious meal includes extra virgin olive oil, bread crumbs, domestic white wine and a small amount of seawater from seashells. You can try this dish in all parts of the Adriatic coast and ideally, it is served with a glass of domestic white wine.

Fish on the grill

Gradele is a metal grid used to grill fish and/or meat over the open fire, and it is typical fo the Croatian Adriatic coast. One of the most famous dishes prepared on "gradele" is grilled fish. The preparation of various fresh seafood on "gradele" is a traditional way of preparing fish in the Adriatic coast. Most commonly people in Dalmatia prepare orada, brancin, škarpina and sardines. Before serving, fish is seasoned with sauce of domestic olive oil, parsley and domestic garlic.

Fiš paprikaš

Fiš paprikaš is a dish typical for Slavonia and Baranja, and it is prepared with freshwater fish. According to the original recipe of this delicious meal, the main ingredients are at least two species of fish, most commonly carp, catfish and pike, paprika, tomato, domestic wine and various spices. Fiš paprikaš is often prepared in a boiler over open fire, and in Slavonia and Baranja is traditionally prepared for Christmas Eve. Fiš paprikaš is served with homemade pasta and is ideally served with domestic white wine.

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In the end, it is important to note that this is not a comprehensive list of traditional Croatian dishes that we recommend to try during your holidays in Croatia. This list of top Croatian dishes does not include delicious dishes such as prosciutto, kulen, cheese from the island of Pag ("paški sir"), burek, čevapčići, salty sardines, tuna salad, stuffed paprika, Zagrebački steak, fritula, kremšnita, strudel with cherries or apples and other delicious meals. If we wanted to include all Croatian characteristic dishes, this would be a fairly long blog. In this blog, we've shared with you our favorite dishes that differentiate Croatian food from food in other destinations in Europe or the world.

food traditional food traditional cuisine top Croatian dishes meat fish

FAQs

What are typical Croatian dishes? ›

What food is Croatia best known for? ›

Pasta is one of the most popular food items in Croatian cuisine, especially in the region of Dalmatia. Manistra na pome (pasta with tomato sauce) is a staple. The other popular sauces include creamy mushroom sauce, minced meat sauce and many others.

What food is split Croatia known for? ›

Split restaurants offer a bounty of traditional Croatian cuisine including seafood, risotto, soups, grilled meats and sweet treats. But, if you yearn for a more familiar menu you'll also find modern street food, sushi, sandwiches, pizzas, pasta and burgers.

What is a traditional Croatian breakfast? ›

A 'traditional' breakfast in continental Croatia would typically consist of polenta and cornbread with lard and a sprinkling of paprika and a strong coffee. With time eggs started to get introduced and have become part of the breakfast staple as well as cold cuts and pickles.

What alcohol do Croatians drink? ›

Rakija. In Croatia, national drink rakija is shared with other Balkan countries, but the Croatian way is to drink a herbal rakija – known as travarica – at the start of a meal with some dried figs.

What time do people eat dinner in Croatia? ›

By dinnertime (from 8:00 p.m. on), locals often gather at restorani (restaurants) and konoba (taverns) for thin-crust pizzas and shared platters of spicy grilled sausage (ćevapi), smoked ham (pršut) and grilled sardines.

What wine is Croatia known for? ›

The region is best known for the native Malvazija Istarska grape (called Malvasia Istriana in Italy), and the vineyards with iron-rich terra rossa soils are particularly renowned for their production of rich red wines from such grapes as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the native varieties Teran and Refošk.

Is Croatia food good? ›

Rich and varied, Croatian food is one of the must-try cuisines for those who are planning a trip to the Balkans and during your trip, you'll find yourself filling your itinerary with famed eateries where you'll be able to sample the most delicious flavors of the country.

Is Croatian food spicy? ›

Spices and spicy food is not something that locals in Croatia have grown up with. Pepper, salt, Vegeta, and paprika is usually the extent of spices in Croatian cuisine.

How much is a nice dinner in Croatia? ›

In the very best restaurants of major tourist destinations Dubrovnik, Split, and Hvar, a two-course dinner excluding drinks and tips will be around US$80. At the opposite end of the scale, a similar meal in a mid-range restaurant will be around US$40.

What language does Croatia speak? ›

If you were to fancy a guess as to what the official language of Croatia was and said Croatian you'd be right – 95% of the country are native speakers! Standard Croatian is the official language of Croatia followed closely by Standard Bosnian and Standard Serbian.

Can you drink tap water in Croatia? ›

Tap water quality in Croatia is excellent. The water analyses of the Croatian public waterworks show that the samples are almost all healthy and edible. The hardness of the water is not the same everywhere, for example the water in Istria and Dalmatia is much softer than in the Zagreb region.

Does Croatia have street food? ›

Ćevapi (or ćevapčići), small sausages made from pork and beef, are the ultimate Croatian street food. Most stands on the street (look by the bus stops)offer them. What is this? The sausages are grilled, and then stuffed into a pita-like bread, with red pepper and tomato sauce (ajar), sour cheese, and onions.

Is it normal to tip in Croatia? ›

Tipping in the restaurants & bars in Croatia

It is always fair to round up your bill at a restaurant, and tipping an average of 10%-20% is appropriate. Of course, this becomes arbitrary if you really enjoyed your meal and service do feel free to tip more!

What was Croatia called before Croatia? ›

Historical Backgound

It was known as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In 1929, the name of this new nation was changed to Yugoslavia. After World War II, the former prewar kingdom was replaced by a federation of six equal republics.

What is Dalmatian food Croatia? ›

Dalmatian style of cooking incorporates all the essential elements of Mediterranean cuisine. In addition to daily intake of vegetables and fruit, plenty of fish and seafood, moderate consumption of meat, one of the key elements of such a diet is olive oil.

Why is Croatia famous for? ›

Croatia is famed for its scenic pebbled beaches, which are beautifully lapped by crystal-clear waters. One of the most well known is Brac's Zlatni Rat, also referred to as the Golden Cape. The tip of the beach is everchanging with the wind, meaning you never know quite what shape it'll take when you visit.

How do you say cheers in Croatian? ›

Živjeli – It's very common that any new place you go to in Croatia will be met with a shot of Rakija. This is the countries drink of choice and used in every social gathering. Živjeli is pronounced “ji vo li” with the meaning of of just that (cheers).

How old do you have to be to go clubbing in Croatia? ›

No, the age limit for bars and nightclubs, where alcohol is served is 18 years. (Alcohol Act 1143 / 1993 Alkoholilaki, § 24). Harmfull Places: No, there are no legal restrictions on this matter.

What is the Croatian national dish? ›

Whether savory or sweet, boiled or baked, Zagorski štrukli is considered a national dish of Croatia. It was added to Croatia's intangible cultural heritage list by the Ministry of Culture in 2007.

Do Croatians drink a lot? ›

So, Croatians may not be so good at leaving home, but they are world-class drinkers.

What time do people eat breakfast in Croatia? ›

Around 10am Croatians who farm or start work early often stop for gablec(marenda on the coast), literally “breakfast eaten with cutlery.” This meal is a smaller version of lunch, Croatia's main meal, but it sometimes substitutes.

What is the local beer in Croatia? ›

Ožujsko is the most popular beer in Croatia, with 10 bottles being consumed every second. It has been produced since 1892. The main factory is in Zagreb.

How much is a bottle of wine in Croatia? ›

Prices in supermarkets in Croatia.
Milk (regular), (1 liter)6.60 HRK (5.00-8.00)
A bottle of wine (Mid-Range)40 HRK (25-60)
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)8.70 HRK (7.00-13)
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)12 HRK (8.00-16)
Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro)32 HRK (30-35)
19 more rows

Do they speak English in Croatia? ›

#2 Not everyone in Croatia speaks English

Croatia's main business is tourism, so those working in tourism (agencies, hotels, restaurants, cafe bars) most likely speak some level of English. However, not everyone works in tourism and not everyone speaks English fluently.

Is Croatia expensive to visit? ›

On average, you can expect your trip to Croatia to cost €45-105 per day (about $50-118 USD per day) if visiting the country on a budget but are still wanting to enjoy the occasional splurge. However, this travel budget can vary significantly depending on your spending habits.

What is Croatian culture? ›

Croatians are generally very loyal people and show long-term commitment to members of their family, extended family or extended relations. A common metaphor used among Croats to describe their loyalty and identity is that of a single group of people who share the same blood.

What's the best currency to take to Croatia? ›

What's the best currency to use in Croatia? As the official currency of Croatia, Croatian Kuna (HRK) is the best currency to use whilst in the country. Euros is unofficially used in some situations, making it the best foreign currency to carry with you if you don't have Croatian Kunas on you.

Does Croatia have mosquitoes? ›

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Croatia. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

Is food and drink cheap in Croatia? ›

Food isn't particularly expensive in Croatia, compared to its country neighbors. But like pretty much everywhere in the world, eating and drinking in restaurants and hotel bars every night, you'll end up spending lots.

Is Croatia cheaper than Italy? ›

Budget. When it comes down to budget, Croatia wins over Italy. The local currency in Croatia is the Kuna and in Italy, it is the Euro. Prices are around twice as high in Italy.

Is Croatia cheaper than Greece? ›

The Greek Isles are world famous, but so is Dubrovnik, the coastal town and top tourist destination in Croatia. In general, Greece is more expensive than Croatia. Greece's popularity with tourists and its use of the euro mean that costs are comparable to other Western European countries.

Is Croatia cheaper than Spain? ›

Both Spain and Croatia are slightly more affordable than most European countries, but in general you're likely spend less on a trip to Croatia. Everything from accommodation to food and transportation are usually more affordable in Croatia than they are in Spain.

What does Bobo mean in Croatian? ›

bebo. English translation:baby. Explanation: The vocative form of "beba" (baby): "You baby!"

What is your name in Croatian? ›

Kako se zovete

What religion is in Croatia? ›

A majority of Croatians identified with Christianity, with 86.3% identifying as Roman Catholic and 4.4% identifying as Eastern Orthodox . Of the remaining population, 1.5% identified as Muslim, 1.5% identified with some other religion, 3.8% identified as non-religious or atheist and 2.5% did not specify.

How do Croatians greet each other? ›

A handshake with direct eye contact is the most common form of greeting. Greetings will often be accompanied by the phrase 'dobro jutro' ('good morning'), 'dobar dan' ('good day') or 'dobra večer' ('good evening'). 'Bok' is also used as an informal greeting, often as a way to say 'hello' and 'goodbye'.

Do Croatians drink a lot? ›

So, Croatians may not be so good at leaving home, but they are world-class drinkers.

How much is a nice dinner in Croatia? ›

In the very best restaurants of major tourist destinations Dubrovnik, Split, and Hvar, a two-course dinner excluding drinks and tips will be around US$80. At the opposite end of the scale, a similar meal in a mid-range restaurant will be around US$40.

What time do people eat dinner in Croatia? ›

By dinnertime (from 8:00 p.m. on), locals often gather at restorani (restaurants) and konoba (taverns) for thin-crust pizzas and shared platters of spicy grilled sausage (ćevapi), smoked ham (pršut) and grilled sardines.

How do you say thank you in Croatian? ›

The English term 'Thank you' translates to 'Hvala' in Croatian, which sounds like 'hva-lah'.

What are some traditions in Croatia? ›

7 Traditions and Customs Only Croats Understand
  • The Dubrovnik Gargoyle. As you enter Dubrovnik's Pile Gate into the Old Town, you might notice a bizarre ritual. ...
  • Feast of St Blaise, Dubrovnik. ...
  • Kamenita Vrata, Zagreb. ...
  • Lastovo Poklad. ...
  • Moreška Sword Dance. ...
  • Statue of Grgur Nin, Split.
6 Jul 2017

What are Croatian people known for? ›

Croatians are generally very loyal people and show long-term commitment to members of their family, extended family or extended relations. A common metaphor used among Croats to describe their loyalty and identity is that of a single group of people who share the same blood.

Can I drink tap water in Croatia? ›

Tap water quality in Croatia is excellent. The water analyses of the Croatian public waterworks show that the samples are almost all healthy and edible. The hardness of the water is not the same everywhere, for example the water in Istria and Dalmatia is much softer than in the Zagreb region.

What do they wear in Croatia? ›

Women wear long-sleeved blouses and full pleated skirts (usually gold or red in color) with a red silk scarf tied around their waist. The men wear vests over their shirts with form-fitting trousers with a red silk handkerchief worn around the waist and red hats.

Do you tip in Croatia? ›

Tipping in the restaurants & bars in Croatia

It is always fair to round up your bill at a restaurant, and tipping an average of 10%-20% is appropriate. Of course, this becomes arbitrary if you really enjoyed your meal and service do feel free to tip more!

Is Croatia cheaper than Italy? ›

Budget. When it comes down to budget, Croatia wins over Italy. The local currency in Croatia is the Kuna and in Italy, it is the Euro. Prices are around twice as high in Italy.

Is Croatia cheaper than Greece? ›

The Greek Isles are world famous, but so is Dubrovnik, the coastal town and top tourist destination in Croatia. In general, Greece is more expensive than Croatia. Greece's popularity with tourists and its use of the euro mean that costs are comparable to other Western European countries.

What's the best currency to use in Croatia? ›

What's the best currency to use in Croatia? As the official currency of Croatia, Croatian Kuna (HRK) is the best currency to use whilst in the country. Euros is unofficially used in some situations, making it the best foreign currency to carry with you if you don't have Croatian Kunas on you.

What is the Croatian national dish? ›

Whether savory or sweet, boiled or baked, Zagorski štrukli is considered a national dish of Croatia. It was added to Croatia's intangible cultural heritage list by the Ministry of Culture in 2007.

What time do people eat breakfast in Croatia? ›

Around 10am Croatians who farm or start work early often stop for gablec(marenda on the coast), literally “breakfast eaten with cutlery.” This meal is a smaller version of lunch, Croatia's main meal, but it sometimes substitutes.

Where did the Croatians come from? ›

Timeline. Linguistic evidence suggests that the Croats originate from northwestern Iran and spoke a language related to Iranian. By the time the Croats appear in historical documents, they are a Slavic nation. During the Avar expansion into the Balkans peninsula, the Croats moved into what is Croatia today.

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