When visiting Croatia, in whatever part of the country you go, one thing is sure: you will enjoy delicious food. Croatian people are true gourmands and very proud of their traditional food. When visiting Croatia, in whatever part of the country you go, one thing is for sure – you will enjoy delicious food. Croatian people are true gourmands and very proud of their traditional food. With a country that has been geographically blessed and has from sea to mountains and valleys, Croatian food is very diverse. The country being historically on the border of the East and West, it doesn’t surprise that Croatian food also has many different influences making it imaginative and rich in flavour. We are bringing you our top five dishes from different Croatian regions, all of which of course you can try in the Croatian capital Zagreb.
1. Roasted Turkey with ‘mlinci’
Turkey with ‘mlinci’ (purica sa mlincima) is a classic, traditional Croatian cuisine, especially in Zagreb and northern Croatia. And while roasted turkey is well known in many different cuisines, ‘mlinci’ are a Croatian specialty – the thin, usually homemade, dried flatbread is broken in pieces and then mixed with the juices of the roasted turkey. ‘Mlinci’ become soft and delicious, carrying somewhat the turkey flavour, ideally complimenting the meat. Turkey with ‘mlinci’ is usually served at family gatherings and holidays and in Zagreb and northern Croatia it has also become a trademark of a Christmas meal.
No need to wait for Christmas though – when in Zagreb, treat yourself to tastiest turkey with ‘mlinci’ at the iconic restaurant Vinodol in the city center.
2. Istrian ‘fuži’
There are many delicacies from the Croatian peninsula Istria that we would recommend and ‘fuži’ are definitely at the top of our list. Once regarded in Istria as a ‘poor man’s everyday meal’ the homemade, twirly pasta is now regarded as a top delicacy and served in some of the best restaurants in Croatia. ‘Fuži’ go best with different types of sauces called ‘šug’ which is usually
There are many delicacies from the Croatian peninsula Istria that we would recommend and ‘fuži’ are definitely at the top of our list. Once regarded in Istria as a ‘poor man’s everyday meal’ the homemade, twirly pasta is now rightfully acknowledged as a top delicacy and served in some of the best restaurants in Croatia. ‘Fuži’ go best with different types of sauces called ‘šug’, usually made from seafood, octopus or beef such as traditional Istrian beef ‘boškarin’. There are also countless vegetarian versions depending on the season – ‘fuži’ are delicious with wild asparagus or truffles that Istria is also very well known for. Whichever version you try, we guarantee you will enjoy!
For an authentic experience, in Zagreb we can recommend fuži with truffles at Istrian restaurant ‘Vodnjanka’.
3. Čobanac – Slavonian shepherd stew
Čobanac or ‘the shepherd stew’ is a traditional dish from Slavonia, eastern part of Croatia. Originally created by Slavonian shepherds, who have been spending days in forests, the dish consists of beef and pork meat cut in cubes, lots of onions and a variety of vegetables including red peppers to give it a piquante taste. The traditional ‘čobanac’ is prepared in a copper cauldron under the simmering natural fire and takes hours to prepare. There is a saying that a you know ‘čobanac’ is good if, when it spills on your clothing, it can’t be removed anymore.
To taste traditional ‘čobanac’ in Zagreb, visit ‘Baranjska citadela’ – it is a genuine Slavonian experience.
‘Peka’ or ‘under the bell’ is not a dish but a specific, traditional way to prepare a meal – anything that is prepared in this way is so delicious, making your mouth watering just on the mention of it. Usually used along the coast in Dalmatia, this traditional way of making specialties includes preparing the food over open flames using a clay or iron bell – hence the name. No matter if you are preparing lamb, veal or octopus, the food will be as tender as you can possibly imagine and develop a specific flavour in the process. Usually accompanied by potatoes and other vegetables, the juices will give the whole meal a distinct flavour. And not to forget – bread made under the bell is a delicacy in itself and definitely something not to miss! In Zagreb, one of the best places to try ‘peka’ is certainly a well-known restaurant ‘Okrugljak’.
One of most famous and my favourite traditional Croatian dish is definitely ‘štrukli’. Originally coming from the northern part of Croatia, Zagorje, they have the double role of both main dish as well as the dessert. The tasteful dough is filled with fresh, creamy cheese, making the perfect combination to enjoy. You can have them sweet or salty, cooked or baked. There are many add-ons to štrukli like different types of fruit such as blueberries or cherries and the baked ‘štrukli’ go oh so well with a bit of sour cream on the side. Some of the most delicious ‘štrukli’ in Zagreb you can have at ‘La Štruk’, a small restaurant specialised in ‘štrukli’. Just watch out not to burn your tongue – they come hot, straight from the oven!