Best Croatian Food and Dishes You Need to Try

When in Croatia, eat like a Croatian…and we promise you’ll be richly rewarded!

Croatia is a gourmand’s dream, with one of the best – and most underrated – cuisines in Europe. With its many miles of coastline, seafood is an obvious highlight, but you’ll also find succulent meats and hearty stews across inland destinations. A Mediterranean climate sees Croatia produce high-quality ingredients, with wine, olive oil, and truffles all noted highlights. 

Here is our run-down of the very best traditional Croatian food you’ll find during your luxury tour or small ship cruise.

Strukli, Zagreb
Black risotto, Croatia

Strukli

A favorite in capital Zagreb and the surrounding Croatian heartland, strukli is a pastry made with fluffy dough and crammed full of delicious fillings. The classic serving is sour cream and cottage cheese, but a wide variety of both sweet and savory options are available. 

 

Black Risotto 

You’ll see this dish, listed in Croatian as Crni Rižot, on menus all over the country. This satisfying risotto is made of cuttlefish or squid, along with red wine, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. Inky black squid ink provides the distinctly dark coloring.

 

Brodetto fish stew, Croatia
Buzara (mussels in white wine sauce), Croatia

Brodetto

A hearty fish stew which, like many similar dishes, has no exact list of ingredients but will typically contain mussel, prawns, sea bream, and a warming tomato base. You may also see this dish listed as brudet, and as a dish with Italian origins, it’s more popular the further north in Croatia you head. 

 

Buzara

Continuing the seafood theme, this Croatian version of mussels in white wine sauce is accompanied by garlic and breadcrumbs. It’s a very popular dish all along the ports and resorts of the Adriatic Sea. 

 

Grilled seafood, Croatia
Peka, Croatia

Grilled Fish

No one central dish to this, but – as you may have gathered from the above – Croatia is a seafood-lovers paradise. Visit a traditional tavern to sample the very best catch f the day, which can include John Dory, sea bream, or sea bass. Grilled to perfection and accompanied by olive oil, lemon, and potatoes. 

 

Peka

Ispod peke – to give its full name – translates as ‘under the bell’ and is less a dish, more a cooking method that involves a hearty stew slow-cooked under a dome-shaped lid. The dish is typically filled with your choice of seafood, lamb, or pork, and is cooked for several hours over an open fire.

 

Grah i varivah (bean soup), Croatia
Octopus salad, Croatia

Bean Soup

An equally hearty dish, grah i varivah – bean and sausage stew – is a real winter favorite. Variations on this dish are found all over central and southern Europe; the Croatian version is satisfyingly thick and heavy, containing white beans sausage, and cured meats. 

 

Octopus Salad

Listed in Croatian as salata ob hobotnica, this dish is a beautifully presented and highly refreshing meal on a summer day. The Octopus is typically flavored with parsley, vinegar, olive oil, and occasional flourishes such as cherry tomatoes, potatoes, or capers.

Prsut ham, Istria
Fritule doughballs, Croatia

Pršut

Croatia is famed for its cured meats just as much as near neighbor Italy. Pršut, or Croatian prosciutto is a specialty of the Konavle region of Dalmatia, but you can find these air-dried hams all across the country. 

 

Fritule 

A simple donut-like dessert that is most commonly found in coastal Croatia. The recipe can vary from place to place, but will always consist of donut balls with a variety of fillings or toppings, such as orange or lemon zest, raisins, rum, or egg yolk. Especially popular around Christmas.

 

Vineyard, Istria
Red wine, Dubrovnik

Croatian Wine

Croatia is one of Europe’s most underrated wine-producing countries. Istria, in the north of the country, is the best wine-producing region, with its signature varieties Teran – a hearty red; perfect with peka or other meat dishes – and Malvazija – a smooth white, great with seafood.

 

More information on our market-leading Croatia Cruises can be found here. Contact our dedicated Croatian specialists today to begin your journey: email customerservice@cruisecroatia.com, or call on +1 844 637 9747 in the USA or +44 203 950 9613 in UK and Australia, to start planning your getaway now!

 

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