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Croatia: 10 Foods to Try During Your Trip Down the Dalmatian Coast

Written by Katie Fullan

The Dalmatian Coast of Croatia has become super popular with international travelers over the last couple of years for its gorgeous beaches, historic landmarks, and vibrant nightlife, but when we spent two weeks there last summer, we were surprised that we hadn’t heard more hype about the incredible food! The meat, seafood, vegetables, wine, pizza, and pasta in all of the cities we travelled through up and down the coast of Croatia were absolutely delicious and also very affordable. We had so many meals that felt like such a splurge but then when we got home and checked our credit card statement were under $15 per person for food and wine. Amazing! I would say my one regret from the trip is not eating more (and we ate a ton). We loved that we could stuff our faces, but most of the food is so light and nutritious that instead of feeling sluggish afterwards, we were full of energy for lots of sightseeing!

1. Octopus Salad

Octopus salad is found on most restaurant menus in Dalmatia as part of the appetizer section, but it makes a great entrée, especially on a hot day at the beach! It is a cold, very light dish usually made of cooked octopus, tomatoes, capers, and olive oil.

2. Black Risotto

The black color comes from fresh cuttlefish ink added to the risotto rice and pieces of sautéed cuttlefish. Most black risotto also has various other seafood mixed in and is very hearty and filling!

3. Mixed Meat Platter

Usually grilled chicken, sausages, lamb, beef, and veal skewers served with roasted potatoes or french fries, and grilled vegetables. Great for sharing between two people... or for when you’re really hungry. This was definitely my husband’s favorite dinner order and it was delicious everywhere we ordered it.

4. Fisherman’s Platter

The fisherman’s platter or seafood platter was definitely my most-ordered dinner. The platters usually had a combination of prawns, mussels, grilled fish, squid, and scallops with swiss chard and potatoes and grilled vegetables on the side.

5. Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are a staple along the Dalmatian coast for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Usually, it’s just a plate full of super fresh vegetables grilled in olive oil. I ate these most meals (including breakfast) over our two-week trip!

6. Tuna Steak

Just a classic fresh tuna steak, grilled and served with yummy vegetable sides. Very simple and satisfying! Perfect when you’re enjoying a restaurant patio on a warm night.

Fun fact: when the waiter asks if you want to eat “inside” or “outside”, “inside” usually means on the covered patio and “outside” means at a table more out in the open on a sidewalk. So wonderful outdoor dining either way!

7. Grilled Fish

You can find some sort of fresh grilled fish on the menu at pretty much any Dalmatian restaurant, especially as some sort of catch-of-the-day special. Since so much of the country is coastline, the seafood is usually locally caught and extremely fresh!

8. Swiss Chard and Potatoes

Swiss chard and potatoes is a classic Croatian side dish and comes with most seafood entrées. It is similar to mashed potatoes, but lighter and with some greens mixed in.

9. Fish Stew

Delicious brothy soup with a mixture of fresh fish and shellfish. My favorite fish stew came from Aterina, a restaurant on the island of Korčula. It was the absolute perfect dinner after a day of enjoying one of the island’s beautiful beaches!

10. Croatian Breakfast Buffets

The hotel breakfast buffets were one of the things we were most surprised by when we were in Croatia. A typical breakfast buffet consisted of grilled vegetables, tuna, pickles, smoked ham, salami, croissants with various spreads, lots of fresh fruit, and sometimes mixed nuts. Although it was very different from what we were used to eating for breakfast in the US, Croatian breakfast was so nutritious (lots of protein, vegetables, healthy fats) and kept us very well-fueled for exploring!

Restaurant Recs:

This post I wrote on my blog!

Photos & Writing by Katie Fullan

Editing by Anna McCarthy & Emi Lungmus


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