Food and Drink

What to eat and drink in Croatia

Split, Croatia

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of the food scene in Croatia as it seems to be a blend of Mediterranean, Italian, Austrian, and other European influences. 

And it was and it was fantastic!

We are definitely going to head back to Croatia ASAP so we can explore more of this beautiful country and enjoy more of the food and wine scene! While our time in Split was limited, we definitely made sure to try some local flavors and pair it with local wine.

But, if you do have a bit more time in the country to eat and drink your way through it, here are some highly recommended menu items you need to order!

What to eat in Croatia

Istrian ham

Looking for something like prosciutto or jamon iberico? Then you’ll want Istrian ham or Istrian pršut! This meat is pork leg that’s been dry salted and seasoned with pepper and garlic. 

Pag cheese

Create your own charcuterie board with Istrian pršut and Pag cheese, one of the most famous cheeses from Croatia. This sheep’s cheese originates from the island of Pag where the sheep are free to roam and eat the vegetation on the island, giving the cheese a unique flavor. The cheese matures over 18 months and has a consistency like parmesan.


Prefer to leave meat out of your food? Then you’ll want to look for manestra, a vegetable soup, similar to Italy’s minestrone. In it you’ll find beans, carrots, celery, and pasta. Some variations do have meat, but you can find ones that are vegetarian-friendly.

Istarski fuži

Fuži is a tube or flute-shaped Istrian pasta and often is topped with a truffle cream sauce or red sauce paired with beef, chicken, or game. 

Crni rizot (black risotto)

Squid ink risotto? Sign me up! This risotto is a staple and makes for the perfect bed for a seafood-heavy dish. If I’m on the coast and see black risotto, I’m buying it. This is what I had for lunch when we were in Split and my God, was it amazing! So worth having black stains on my teeth!


In the mood for stew? You’ll want to try peka, a slow-cooked, stew-like meal that features meat or seafood and veggies, like potatoes, carrots, peppers, and onion. It’s also called ispod čripnje, which translates to under the bell as this dish is cooked with a bell-shaped lid. One of the most popular varieties is made with octopus.


This pot roast-style dish comes the Dalmatian region and has succulent beef that’s been marinated for hours on end in a sauce that has wine vinegar, bacon, cloves, and garlic, before being cooked with onions, carrots, plums, and a dessert wine. The beef is often served alongside gnocchi. 

Brudet (fish stew)

This dish features fish that’s been stewed with onions, spices, vinegar, and tomato sauce. It’s typically served with polenta to complement the rich fish flavor. 


This polenta-like dish is made with buckwheat flour, corn grits, or flour and is topped with cheese, sour cream, or yogurt. It’s actually a traditional “poor man’s food,” and is commonly served at breakfast. 

Sinjski arambaši 

This dish is like sarma, a wrapped food, or dolma, a stuffed food item, and originates from Turkey! These are cabbage rolls filled with a variety of different meats, like beef or pork, plus veggies, rice, and seasoning. 


This cheese pastry is filled with cottage cheese and sour cream and heavenly as a baked dish. Some will feature apples, cherries, or other yummy fruits. 


Let’s move onto sweet treats! These doughnut-type pop-able sweets are served around the holidays, but they’ve proven to be so popular that you can find them year-round.


No, not ravioli, but rafioli are shortbread cookies and I was so excited to find these when we walked around Split! These cookies are also traditionally made with an almond filling but you can find different fillings to suit your tastes. 

What to drink in Croatia

Croatian wine


We were so excited to try Croatian wine as we had heard wonderful things about it. I’d read up on Malvazija and Teran, but I honestly didn’t mind trying whatever I could find on the menu that was from there. 

Malvazija was sold as an easy drinking and crisp white that has notes of apple and apricot and would pair nicely with all my seafood I was going to inhale. For red, I was recommended to try Teran.

I also read up on wine-based mixed drinks, like bevanda, watered down wine, a wine spritzer, and bambus, a red wine mixed with cola. I was intrigued to say the least.


For beer I came across Ožujskobeer, which is apparently the official sponsor of the Croatian national football team. It’s also one of the country’s oldest beers.  

Karlovačko is a light beer that comes from the city of Karlovac (as the name implies), though the brewer does have dark and lemon varieties of their beer.


Lastly, you have to try rakija while in Croatia. It’s a cultural drink and is customary to have either before or after a meal. It’s a distilled spirit/fruit brandy made from either plum, sour cherry, fig, honey, or herbal plants and fruits. Unlike other after dinner drinks that you sip, this one you just toss back like a shot – after clinking glasses with your fellow diners! 

No matter what you decide to eat or drink in Croatia, you can be sure it’s going to be delicious! Let me know what other flavors you’ve tried or are looking forward to trying in Croatia in the comments!

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Hey, I'm Stephanie! I'm a copywriter living in beautiful Denver with my husband Rick, and our dog Rocco. I love traveling, writing, reading, and being outside as much as possible - unless I'm on the couch binge watching Stranger Things with a glass of wine! Thanks for reading and being a part of the adventure with Back to the Passport! ❤️

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