In Europe, it’s very difficult to find a country on such a small surface like Croatia with so many diverse flavours and tastes. There is no doubt that Croatian cuisine is one of the richest and most interesting cuisines in Europe.
The Croatian gastronomic market is greatly influenced by its history, geographic position and climate. Although Croatian cuisine is mostly Mediterranean food, it is on the crossroads between Central European, Mediterranean and Oriental cuisine, all based on very healthy ingredients.
A unique trait of Croatian cuisine is that those healthy ingredients come from local organic farms from untouched and preserved Croatian regions.
The superb Croatian gastronomical scene is based on certain local produce such as free range lamb from the islands, very rich seafood and freshwater food choices, delicious shellfish and crabs, one of the tastiest olive oils in the world, delicious goat cheese from the island Pag, famous Slavonian spicy sausage called ‘kulen’, oysters from Ston, native beef from Istria called ‘boskarin’, Dalmatian and Istrian prosciutto, delicious pancetta from inland, free range turkeys from the north, a stunning choice of game meat, dried caviar such as famous ‘bottarga’, Istrian truffles, wild asparagus, Dalmatian spinach, rocket salad, artichokes, delicious potatoes from the region of Lika and sauerkraut.
1. Gastro Mare, peninsula Peljesac
After years spent working in America, short return to Dubrovnik followed by sailing on board various cruisers across the Mediterranean, Toni, the owner of the restaurant Gastro Mare settled in Norway where he reached the peak of his culinary expertise while running one of the best Scandinavian gourmet restaurants. Despite everything the world had to offer, Toni found his peace in his beloved Kobaš where he can be seen today in his small, yet, enchanting restaurant Gastro Mare lovingly combining the culinary knowledge of his adult life with his boyhood memories into memorable, new, and vivid food experiences.
2. Meneghello Palmizana, Pakleni islands
The Meneghello family, whom for over one hundred years has been devoted to creating a paradise of cultural tourism. When visiting beautiful Vinogradisce bay, you have to have lunch at the Meneghello’s restaurant art gallery that is amazingly located within the botanical garden. If you are a seafood lover, don’t disappoint us by ordering something other than Palmizana gregada - a heavenly seafood stew prepared with the freshest catch of the day, scampi, lobster, potatoes, white wine and olive oil - all cooked on an open fire. It is worth mentioning that people sail to this island just to taste this dish. It is necessary to pre-order it, though, so please let your skipper know ahead of time if you wish to try this delicious Croatian specialty.
3. Barsa, Loviste
Peljesac region is a synonym for good wine and food. For the best culinary experience we recommend to sail to a beautiful bay Loviste, for swim and dinner at one of the best seafood restaurants in the region, the family-owned restaurant, Barsa.
Once you arrive at Barsa, please just relax and let Barsa’s owner and his wife who are chefs to choose what dish you will enjoy, you won’t regret this decision; trust us. They will be more than delighted to help you present to you a unique choice of dishes to suit your individual tastes. Their selection of fresh Adriatic fish and live lobsters straight from the sea is respectable and changes every day.
At Barsa you will be able to discover all the delights of Dalmatian cuisine, which combine local spices, herbs, homegrown vegetables and delicious homemade olive oil. Oysters, fresh fish catch of the day, risotto or perhaps lobster pasta - whatever it is, it will be nothing but ridiculously delicious. As for the dessert, we never get tired of their delicious crepes with walnuts and local honey.
4. Roki's, island Vis
Roki's is famous for its under the bell traditional Croatian dishes, which represent Croatian cuisine at its very best. In Croatia we say it 'Ispod peke'. There is something for both meat and seafood lovers: delicious octopus, veal or lamb slow cooked with potatoes and vegetables. What ever you choose you won't regret, but still why not try both paired with Roki’s homemade wine and tasty local homemade cakes? This is one of ours most favourite culinary experiences in Dalmatia and we absolutely love their octopus.
5. Toto's, Pakleni islands
Probably restaurant with the best view in Croatia, our beloved ‘Toto’s’, located by the sea side. Our recommendation is not look at their menu at all, but rather pick the fresh caught fish of the day and have it prepared Dalmatian style - simply grilled.
Fish, to taste right, must swim three times we say it in Croatia - in sea, in olive oil and in wine. Follow this rule when at Toto's and you will be thrilled. Toto’s also has a very fine collection of many different Croatian wines. We always leave this place with the biggest smile on our face. We don’t expect anything less from your meal, either.
6. Nostromo, Split
To really understand Croatian cuisine you should visit the fish market called ‘Peskarija’. For most citizens in Split, it is a ritual and special feeling to visit the Peskarija; it is the central point of the city life of Split. Everything that the Adriatic sea can offer comes to its table from sardines and mackerels to the more expensive red scorpion dish, sea bass, lobsters and many more. You will notice that the only thing you will miss here are flies. It seems that they don’t care to hang around because of the smell of sulphur coming from the neighbouring spa, which happens to be one of the reasons why Diocletian chose precisely this place to build his Palace.
After visiting the market, we recommend to have lunch at the nearby restaurant ‘Nostoromo’, owned by an award winning Croatian chef. Due to it’s location, the seafood there is fresh and top notch. The fresh fish is just as great - grilled whole to perfection.
7. Tuna Bar, Trpanj
Trpanj is a small, sleepy village that is a perfect base to explore many wineries in this famous wine region. In Trpanj we highly recommend to eat at Tuna bar. Don't look further than their fresh tuna caught by a local charismatic fisherman and the owner of this restaurant. Their specialities are grilled tuna steak, tuna sushi and sashimi, tuna tartare and marinated tuna. Menu is often changed because they offer fresh fish that is caught daily by them or other local fishermen.