The Best of Traditional Continental and Mediterranean Croatian Food
A few days ago while I was with my family on a boat trip from Omis to Radman mills or the place where the rafting tour ends on the Cetina River, I met tourists from Austria. Thomas is coming to Croatia for 20 years now, and Sabrina is the first time in Croatia. They asked us where to go and eat something good. They asked us what they could eat in Omis and that they cannot eat in Austria either. What are the specialties? The answer was “frog legs”! These frogs are from the river of Cetina and frog legs cannot be eaten everywhere in Croatia, nor are they specialty in every city, but if you are in Omis certainly try frog legs, fish on Dalmatian and uniqueness of this place is Soparnik (read more in the article about Omis).
I have already written a similar post on this topic. This time I will write what I would eat that I am You! What is really “edible”, delicious and Croatian?
So let’s start.
Croatian gastronomy is known as the gastronomy of the region, as each of the Croatian regions has a different culinary tradition. The biggest differences are, of course, between gastronomy in continental Croatia and coastal gastronomy.
The continental cuisine is more in the style of Austrian, Hungarian and Turkish culture and accordingly, and it is increased use of pepper, red paprika, and garlic when preparing the meals.
The coastal cuisine has historically been exposed to Greek, Italian and Mediterranean influences, and there you can feel the increasing use of olive oil, herbs, lemon and other citruses.
Because of this, Croatian cuisine can be divided into Istrian, Dalmatian, Dubrovnik, Lika, Gorski Kotar, Zagorje, Medjimurje, and Podravina and Slavonian cuisine.
I undoubtedly want to emphasize that the dishes that I’ll mention you can eat at a restaurant that you see along the road, taverns, and ordinary restaurants. If you like modern, instead of traditional, then you will eat in good hotels and expensive restaurants.
What to eat when you are in Croatia
Continental offer of Croatian Food
The continental Croatian food supply mainly includes meat as the main offer, so depending on where you are, you should definitely try one of these dishes.
Veal, lamb or even mixed meat “pod pekom“
What does mean “pod pekom” (“under the lid” is the most similar translation of this phrase). “Pod pekom” is a kind of preparation of meat so that the meat is cooked in the stone oven on the fire under the metal cover. On this way, the meat is cooked lightly in its own juices. It is not unusual to see this offer on the coast too, where among other prepare this dish with octopus. This type of Croatian food you can eat almost everywhere.
Lamb with a spit
Of course, it’s best to eat hot. Depending on the restaurant where you eat, you can order in kilograms (or less) or per person. Not even this food isn’t divided into continental and Mediterranean Croatian food because it is widely known lambs from the Pag Island or Island Krk (among other things).
Kotlovina, another dish that its name has because of the way of preparation. So the “kotlovina or kotlic” is a big bowl on metal legs under which fire burns and where several types of meat are cooked.
Fis paprikas – Fish Stew
Punjena Paprika or Sarma – Stuffed Peppers or Cabbage Rolls
I do not like either of those two dishes. Not that I do not like it, and it isn’t that this dish isn’t good, but Croats (almost all of us) have grown up on this food and as adults, we cook it for our children. No one is a favorite meal, probably due to the fact that this dish is cooked in large quantities so it is possible to eat for two days in a row.
So, Sarma is prepared with minced meat, rice, with additions of dry meat or bacon, onions, carrots, parsley and other ingredients which are in smaller quantities placed on the sour cabbage. Then put into the bowl where it will be cooked and put the dried ribs on top of all. Of course, all of the cabbage rolls should be watered until all of them are not under water. Cook around an hour.
Mediterranean or coastal offer of Croatian food
Crabs, shellfish, fish, octopus, shrimp
Whatever of this you ordered and wherever you eat, in a traditional or modern way prepared, you will not regret it. If you eat in smaller taverns or restaurants, it is more likely that this will be prepared in a traditional way.
Brudet – Sea Fish Stew
Brudet is a traditional dish of the entire Croatian coast. I personally do not like it, but since I’m “lonely” in that opinion, I put it on the list. Brudet is prepared of several types of fish that are cooked in plenty of olive oil, onion, parsley, red peppers (spicy optional) and white wine, and as a side dish is served potatoes, polenta or pasta.
Oh God, I love that. Do not miss the black risotto. Black risotto you like or dislike. Risotto is made from cuttlefish and cuttlefish ink and rice as a base. My husband often (when he is bored) goes and catches a cuttlefish. There is no doubt for me, number 1.
This is an appetizer, but I could eat it as a main dish and as a dessert. So, I love it! If you are not too hungry or have come out in the evening and do not want to dinner, order an octopus salad, it is always a good choice.
I put Pasta in a part of the Mediterranean offer, although you can often see it or eat in restaurants in the continental part of Croatia. However, the Croatian coast offers pasta with various ingredients and sauces. In Dalmatia is the famous pasta with tomatoes and tomatoes sauce, but in Istria, you can treat yourself with pasta with truffles.
In the north of Croatia, you will be offered the “zganci”, and in the south of Croatia “pura” or polenta. Both boil down to the same thing. This dish is made from corn flour, and if you are lucky, and can order it from home-made corn flour, then you will really taste the taste of Croatia. Because this is one of the really old dishes on which our grandparents have grown up. Simple, healthy and delicious.
Sataras is a summer dish, because of its “lightness” is in the group of Mediterranean Croatian food but it is not unusual preparing of this dish in continental Croatia too. On olive oil sprinkle onions with pepper, sometime after add the peeled and sliced tomatoes. Leave some time to cook, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes melt and turn into a sauce. Sometimes I add zucchini, sometimes a handful of rice, in the end, parsley and other herbs at will.
Yes, I know … hmm, frog legs. Well, is it possible to suggest it? Oooo, yes! The best frog legs you can eat in the Neretva valley (Metkovic and vicinity) and around the river Cetina (Omis). There isn’t place in Croatia except for these areas that are such well known with this gastronomic offer. Anyway, try it, it’s not horrible, you’ll like it, I like it.