If the breathtaking coast, stunning nature and the Adriatic Sea are not enough to convince you to visit Croatia, delicious gastronomic offerings will surely tempt you. Depending on the region, you’ll encounter different dishes, preparations and ingredients, and trust me, wherever you go, you’ll end up with a few kilos of extra happiness. Everywhere, you will find delicious local cuisine prepared with fresh ingredients picked from the back garden or bought at the local market.
Dishes from the northern part of Croatia, Zagreb and Slavonija, are more focused on meat and are heartier. Whereas the coastal part, Istria and Dalmatia, offer a typical healthy Mediterranean diet. Here’s my Croatian food guide to help you choose what to eat as you travel around the land.
- Croatian Food
- Top Tours
- 25 Types Of Food In Croatia To Taste
- 1- Komiška Pogača
- 2- Soparnik
- 3- Zagorski štrukli
- 4- Pašticada with gnocchi
- 5- Brudet
- 6- Octopus Under The Lid
- 7- Skradinski Risotto
- 8- Black Risotto
- 9- Bakalar
- 10- Shrimps Buzara
- 11- Sarma
- 12- Stuffed Peppers
- 13- Čobanac
- 14- Roasted Turkey With Grinders
- 15- Istrian Truffles
- 16- Pag Cheese
- 17- Sataraš
- 18- Grah
- 19- Dalmatian Prosciutto
- 20- Fritule
- 21- Kremšnita
- 22- Orahnjača
- 23- Cukarini
- 24- Mađarica
- 25- Skradin Cake
- Croatian Cuisine Cooking Class with Dolac Market Tour
- Peljesac Wine And Food Tour
- Dalmatian Delights Food And Wine Tour From Split Or Trogir
- Sibenik Guided Food Tasting and Walking Tour
- Ston And Mali Ston Day Trip For Foodies
- Culinary Experience Cooking Class And Walking Tour Split
- Food Tour Taste Of Zagreb
- Zagreb Christmas Market Food Tasting Tour
25 Types Of Food In Croatia To Taste
1- Komiška Pogača
This famous Croatian fish dish originated in a small place called Komiža on the island of Vis.
This super delicious plate is fast and easy to prepare, especially when you have unexpected guests.
It’s a savoury pastry made out of dough filled with red onions, fresh tomato sauce, salty fish like anchovies or sardines, capers, and seasoning.
Because of anchovies, it can be very salty, whereas capers and red onions balance the flavour.
It goes perfectly with red wine or beer.
Soparnik is another salty, savoury pastry traditionally prepared in Dalmatia.
The official name is Poljički Soparnik, as it came from Poland during the Ottoman era.
Today it’s a popular dish in the Split area, a pie filled with spinach and onions traditionally baked over an open fireplace, called komin.
When you fill the dough, you put it into the baking pot directly on the fire and cover it with ashes.
When it gets brownish, remove it from the komin, along with the ashes.
Before serving, it’s typical to put olive oil with garlic to get the full flavour.
Soparnik is a very easy dish to prepare, and yet it’s so delicious.
Because of the cheap ingredients, it’s common for fasting days like Christmas Eve, or Good Friday.
3- Zagorski štrukli
Zagorski štrukli are traditional dishes from northern Croatia, Hrvatsko Zagorje.
You can prepare them by baking or cooking; they can be sweet or salty.
The dough is filled with cheese, and if you decide to go with the boiled version, you cook them in salty water, after you top it with melted fat and fried bread crumbs, served in the soup.
Before putting it into the oven, you cover it with the cream for the baked version.
This dish is found all over Croatia and is simple yet delicious.
It’s registered on the Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Croatia.
4- Pašticada with gnocchi
If you ask any local from Dalmatia, about the typical dish of this region, in 99% of cases, you’ll get the answer Pašticada with gnocchi.
This meal is known as the queen of Dalmatian dishes.
The recipe dates from the old Greeks and Romans and finally found its place on the sunny coast of Croatia.
It’s special because it combines sweet, sour, and bitter flavours.
The dish is made of marinated beef meat, cooked in various spices, pancetta, prosecco, red wine and vegetables for a few hours and served with homemade gnocchi.
Pašticada is a typical dish served at weddings, holidays or christenings.
Brudet known also as brujet or brodet is a typical Mediterranean fish dish that spread its roots among Italians and Greeks.
It can be prepared cold and warm.
Fish used for this dish can be a grouper, eel, tabinja and mullet, with the addition of crab, the taste will be extra delicious.
The fish is prepared in red tomato sauce, with red wine and seasoning.
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6- Octopus Under The Lid
An autochthonous Dalmatian dish known as the food for the poor, today is one of the most famous and expensive meals on Croatia’s menus.
It was developed in the villages, where people would prepare food outdoors on an open fire.
Octopus is baked with potatoes in a big pot under the lid.
The pot goes over burning embers until the octopus becomes tender and turns brown.
Octopus can also be replaced with any kind of meat and vegetables, which is called then Peka.
7- Skradinski Risotto
This festive dish comes from a small town, Skradin, near my hometown Šibenik.
The preparation takes about 10 to 12 hours, and it’s stirred continuously without stopping.
The risotto is made of veal rump, beef, rooster, onions, and rice, seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
To get the real flavour, it has to be finished with grated cheese, where the best one is local Paški sir.
8- Black Risotto
Another Dalmatian delicacy is black squid risotto.
Squid is often served as a light appetiser, but in my region is often prepared as a fasting dish on Christmas Eve.
The squid black ink is used for the colour while giving an intense and full flavour to this delicious plate.
So I have to say, I’m looking forward to the Christmas holidays!
Another reason to look forward to the Christmas holidays is Bakalar, called also Bacalao in Portuguese or simply the cod in English.
Even though it’s quite famous around the world and very popular in Portugal, Croatia adopted it as a traditional dish for Christmas Eve.
There are many ways to prepare it, but my favourite is Bakalar cooked with potatoes in white sauce, prepared by my mom.
It’s simply the best version you will ever taste.
10- Shrimps Buzara
Another famous seafood plate is shrimps on Buzara.
Buzara is the cooking method typical for Dalmatia, where scampi, shrimps, mussels, or clams are cooked in white wine, garlic, parsley, and breadcrumbs, along with a bit of tomato paste.
This simple yet delicious plate is eaten by hand, so roll your sleeves and enjoy.
The queen among winter dishes, another symbol of the Christmas holidays, is Sarma.
It consists of minced pork meat with rice rolled in sauerkraut and cooked in red sauce with seasoning.
It’s a blessing among winter dishes when many guests come for lunch or dinner.
You can prepare lots of them, as long as you have a big pot to fit them.
It’s usually served with mashed potato.
12- Stuffed Peppers
This dish is a summer version of Sarma, but instead of sauerkraut, you use peppers.
Fill the peppers with minced pork or baby beef meat with rice and seasoning in tomato sauce.
It’s also usually served with mashed potato.
This dish is a real treat if you are a big meat lover.
Also called Slavonian Shepard’s pie, this plate consists of at least two or three types of meat.
Pork, baby beef, lamb and pork hind feet are cooked slowly with spices, including potatoes and vegetables.
This heavy dish is perfect for cold winter days.
14- Roasted Turkey With Grinders
Locally known as “purica sa mlincima” is another typical dish from northern Croatia, Hrvatsko Zagorje, including the capital Zagreb.
Marinated purica roasted in its own juice and spices, and mlinci served as a side, covered with the sauce from roasting is a delicious treat.
Mlinci is a dried, thin flat bread used as a side dish.
Drizzled with the fat from the roasting, it can be heavy but super delicious.
15- Istrian Truffles
Truffles are also a trademark for the western part of Croatia, Istria.
They were discovered 80 years ago in Motovun Forest and became extremely popular throughout the whole of Istria.
During the year, you can find several types of truffle, but the most famous one is the white truffle, Tuber magnatum pico, where a kilo can cost around 3000 euros.
These truffles reached the most luxurious menus of the world gastronomy, yet traditional dishes are equally flavoursome.
The most famous Croatian truffle dish is Istrian Fuži, hand-made Istrian pasta, similar to Italian garganeli in white truffle sauce.
16- Pag Cheese
The fifth-largest Croatian island has more sheep than people in the population. Pag cheese is of high quality, and even the curd, known as puina belongs at the top of the list.
The cheese can be aged between five months to over a year, but usually, it sold out after just a few months of maturation.
There are two variants.
The firm type is usually used for pasta and risotto, while the matured one is typically served on a platter with prosciutto and olive oil.
The reason it is so good is due to the diet of the sheep.
The diet is heavy in aromatic herbs crusted with salt, so the flavour is all-natural, without any additional salt.
Another delicacy among the stews is this vegetable-based mix of bell peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes.
Sataraš is a perfect dish for vegans, which is usually eaten with rice and mashed potato aside.
It’s Hungarian lecso prepared in the Balkan way.
Grah translated means beans, and beans mean winter menu.
Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, black-eyed, cranberry beans, whichever comes to your mind.
It’s prepared as a typical thick soup with a variety of beans, smoked sausages, meat, onions, garlic and tomato puree.
It has a full, rich, smokey flavour, perfect for cosy winter days.
Dalmatians and Istrians have their version called pašta-fažol, where beans are mixed with pasta.
19- Dalmatian Prosciutto
One of the main gastronomy symbols of sunny coastal Dalmatia is its salty, smoked, extremely delicious prosciutto.
Other Croatian regions also have it, but this dry-cured, wood-smoked and air-dried is just one of a kind.
Prosciutto is often used as an appetizer, served on platters with homemade bread, olive oil, local cheese, and fine Croatian wine.
If you end up in Šibenik or Split, my recommendation is to try Drniški pršut, which origins in the area of Drniš, along with the cheese from Pakovo Selo! You’ll not regret it.
Fritule is another sweet treat traditionally prepared during the Christmas season and an unavoidable part of the Christmas menu.
Mini doughnuts made out of a buttery base with a flavour of rum, or brandy, citrus zest, vanilla, and raisins, deep fried, and dusted with powdered sugar.
Fritule is best when eaten warm and freshly prepared, otherwise, with time, they become hard.
It’s another reason to look forward to Christmas.
If extremely delicious layers of custard and chantilly cream with a puff pastry top sounds tempting, then your next destination should be Samobor.
This little town, about above miles from the capital Zagreb, is where Kremšnita originated.
There are two popular versions of this sweet delicacy.
I described a proper Samoborska kremšnita, but if you put chocolate icing on top turns into a Zagrebačka kremšnita.
When describing orahnjača, I usually use the term of a sweet walnut roll, so simple with ingredients, yet so delicious.
It’s made of thin sweet yeast dough filled with a paste of walnuts, milk, rum, butter, honey, lemon zest, and cinnamon.
Rolled into a cylinder, and brushed with an egg, so it gets the golden colour.
Orahnjača is another typical dessert during Christmas, but also for Easter holidays. Orahnjača has a sister called makovanjača.
It’s prepared in the same way, just filled with poppy seeds.
Cukarini, literally translated to mean sweet cookies.
Cukar is translated as sugar, which makes them sugar cookies.
These crispy, crumbly cookies originated on the island of Korčula, with its unusal shape of two serpents entwined in the shape of a heart.
They are also known as good fortune cookies.
Its citrusy flavour best matches with a glass of Prošek or sweet Croatian dessert wine.
This chocolate layered pie is another queen among the Croatian desserts for Christmas.
Despite the name, which means Hungarian girl, this sweet little treat carries Croatian roots.
If you have a birthday, wedding, or anniversary, Mađarica is on the frontline.
It’s heavenly soft and simply melts in the mouth.
Even though the preparation of layers can be very challenging, the final result is worthwhile.
25- Skradin Cake
Skradin is famous for its risotto, but you also have to try its chocolate heaven named Skradinska cake.
Along with the abundance of chocolate, you’ll taste the flavour of walnuts, rose brandy, honey, lemons, and oranges.
I dare you to resist!