The 5 Foods You Must Try in Croatia

Istrian Black Truffles by Heather Cowper
Istrian Black Truffles by Heather Cowper
Justin McDonnell

Croatian cuisine is geographically distinct, oscillating between Mediterranean and Central European traditions. Indeed, much of Croatian food heritage can be traced back to the various empires that have laid claim to this tiny country and its 1,200 islands. Venetian, Slav, Napoleonic, Habsburg, Yugoslav; all have had a significant hand in influencing the food on your table. While regional dishes vary, in Croatia, you’re guaranteed caught-that-day fish and exceptionally fresh, local produce. Read on for our guide to five foods you must try when in Croatia.

Olive Oil from Istria

The Istrian region is the country’s shining beacon for creative gastronomy. Croatia nabbed its first Michelin Star award this year at Monte restaurant in Rovinj – a long-overdue recognition of Istrian culinary heritage, which tends to have more in common with neighbouring Italy than its regional counterparts. Indeed, many foodies consider the cuisine here to be a bit more sophisticated than continental Croatia. Known for its vast, sun-dappled groves, Istria’s olive oil is world-beating. Hand-picked and pressed, the oil made from Picholine olives comes highly commended, regularly flooring competitors at The World’s Best Olive Oil awards.

Kalamata olives


Istrian Black Truffles by Heather Cowper


Whether Cevapi is really Croatian or not is a big source of contention amongst Croats (it’s not.) The heritage of this grilled meat dish is Middle-Eastern in origin but is considered a national dish of many countries in the Balkans. Usually served in flatbread or a rounded bun, Cevapi (translation: meat-fingers, or meatballs) is pork and beef minced up into skewers, grilled, and topped with kajmak, a soft creamy cheese, and ajvar, a deliciously vibrant red-pepper relish.


Adriatic oysters are famously strong-flavoured, and foodies regularly make the pilgrimage to Dalmatia, in particular, Mali Ston, located on the Pelješac peninsula, to try them. There’s even an oyster festival in Ston held every March in celebration of this marine delicacy. If you’re holidaying in Dalmatia, incorporate a stop-off at a seafood restaurant into your itinerary and order the oysters, especially if you’re anywhere near the Bay of Mali Ston, as they’re likely to come from here.


Ispod peke

Not strictly a dish, Ispod peke describes the traditional process of slow cooking under a lid, usually in a built-for-purpose outdoor cooking dome. The food is heated in a terracotta earthenware pot for an extended period of time. The literal translation is ‘cooking under the lid’, and Ispod peke encompasses a variety of cooking styles and ingredients. Depending on where you find yourself in Croatia, it could be seafood, veal or lamb in your pot, but potatoes are always a mainstay. The idea is that flavour is preserved, as there’s no added water, resulting in a gloriously tender, heartening stew.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Edit article