Croatia's best delicacies
Incredible seafood from the morning's catch, eaten before a backdrop of the sun setting across the Adriatic near Dubrovnik. Indulgent slices of truffle shaved onto fresh pasta dishes in sight of a hilltop town in Istria. Smoke-flavoured barbequed meats served on a Split or Hvar terrace alongside smiling friends. There's a whole world of unforgettable gastronomic experiences in store for any visitor to Croatia. However, some of these are not uniquely Croatian. Similar can be found elsewhere on the Mediterranean. But, Croatia does have its own unique food produce and some of it is protected at both a national level and a European level. Three European Union schemes of geographical indications, PDO, PGI and TSG, exist to distinguish traditional and unique produce. They ensure integrity by dictating that only products genuinely originating from a certain region (often ones with unique geographical or climatic assets) are allowed to be identified as such. Croatia has several products protected in this way at European level. Here you can find out about each of them and we recommend you try as many as possible while in the country in order to gain a true insight into the great gastronomic delights of authentic Croatia.RECOMMENDED: Everything you need to know about Istrian olive oil
The rebirth of Dubrovnik
The sun has shone strongly across the Dubrovnik city walls for well over six weeks now. The month of May should have seen Dubrovnik's tourist season in full swing. But, the streets have been almost empty. One of the most popular city destinations on the Mediterranean, Dubrovnik's unique architecture, history and well-established hospitality has been drawing the travelling elite for over 100 years. In the last two decades, they've been joined by thousands disembarking each day from huge cruise ships. But the city port now lies relatively silent. You can walk the alleyways alone. © Sasa Sobot Croatia's successful handling of the pandemic has now allowed travel restrictions to be lifted. Over the last two weeks, visitors have started to return. The Croatia that greets them – quiet, calm, unhurried, relaxed and peaceful – is unlike any most past visitors will have known. In Dubrovnik, like elsewhere, people have spent their time refurbishing premises and at home with family. But now, with the smell of fresh paint still in the air, the restaurant tables are being arranged and the sound of unfamiliar languages can once again be heard on the streets. © Maris Cosmai Pavičević As Dubrovnik wakes from its enforced slumber, we interview three of the city's leading industry insiders, each operating in very different aspects of the city's tourist-reliant business sector. They reflect on life under lockdown - a bittersweet gift that's offered pause for thought – and look forwar
Get the finest fresh falafel delivered to your Zagreb home
Though open for less than three months already, Opatovina-based Falafel, etc. has already earned a reputation for the best falafel in town. Like all restaurants and fast food establishments, their city centre premises is currently closed but, from Thursday 2 April they will begin home delivery in the Zagreb area. © Falafel, etc. A far cry from the ultra-dry and hard versions found in many places, Falafel, etc's chick pea treats are a moist and moreish affair which are available in three flavours; beetroot, coriander and (our favourite) sweet potato. They come served as part of a salad or in a wrap made with their delicious homemade bread. Sweet potato or seasoned, thin, freshly-made potato fries are a great accompaniment. Everything they serve is vegan-friendly. © Falafel, etc. The new home delivery service will run from Monday - Saturday between midday and 7pm. There's a minimum 50 kuna order, which includes free delivery to your door, with payment via credit card upon ordering on in cash upon delivery (but, please make sure you have the right change). You can place an order by calling 01 2343 945 or 098 316 144
Split restaurant feeds the isolated and needy for free
With the sun shining brightly, the tables in the small courtyard of Konoba Makarun in Split should be filled. Instead, the seating area is empty. But, rather than completely shut up shop in the face of enforced closures, Konoba Makarun has decided to keep going. Their daily tasks no longer involve feeding visitors and locals at lunch and dinner; they now prepare and deliver free meals to the isolated and needy. Meat dishes, pasta and sauce or soups have all appeared on the menu over the past week, with masked restaurant staff carefully cooking and packaging meals for those in need. Once prepared, they deliver the meals to city residents. As is traditional, on Friday, meat was replaced on the menu by fish, which was donated to the restaurant for free by local fishermen. © Konoba Makarun The restaurant's altruistic endeavours have made them a story of interest in the local media and since their tale was told, Makarun has been inundated with offers of assistance. People from elsewhere in Dalmatia and members of the Croatian diaspora have offered to send food or money to help keep the good work going. They have also been contacted by relatives and friends of Split residents who are isolated, requesting that their loved ones be added to the delivery list. So far, the restaurant, which is without its regular cash flow due to the general shut down, says it has enough resources to continue its work for another 20 days. Hopefully, they can find a way to carry on for as long as their
OAZA Joyful Kitchen is preparing free meals for those in need
Zagreb's vegan and vegetarian OAZA Joyful Kitchen has been doing its part for the community since the COVID-19 crisis began. On top of the pandemic, Zagreb was recently hit heavily by an earthquake which forced some citizens out of their homes and into temporary accommodations in student dormitories. The earthquake mixed with an recent influx of cold weather and snow has further aggravated an already difficult situation. To help, OAZA is preparing free, warm dishes for those in Zagreb who need them. OAZA is able to cover 100 meals a day for the next two weeks - but it's also kicked off a crowdfunding campaign hoping to further prolong this praiseworthy project. OAZA Joyful Kitchen's crowdfunding campaign goal Donations will go toward food preparation (ingredients, packaging, bills and delivery costs), while restaurant staff and cooks will work on a voluntary basis. OAZA aims to, with the help of contributors, secure at least 100 vegetarian and nutritious free meals a day over the next two months to show solidarity and help suffering citizens. The entire campaign will be monitored by an accounting firm to ensure financial transparency. At the end of the initiative, a full financial report will be posted on the restaurant's website. How will those in need be reached? OAZA has an ongoing media campaign dedicated to spreading information on the initiative. It's also working directly with community-based associations and charities to receive information on who needs meals the most
The best restaurants in Croatia
The best Dubrovnik restaurants
Dubrovnik restaurants are beginning to offer the culinary quality and variety that should be expected of such a luxury destination. And dining in Dubrovnik needn't cost an arm and a leg: many places offers simple, wholesome dishes at wallet-friendly prices.
The best Rijeka restaurants
Rijeka majors in fish, seafood and simple Venetian-inspired dishes, thanks to its seaport location and cultural mixing with nearby Italy. Rijeka has a handful of upscale restaurants that provide international culinary quality, but you can also experience some local specialities at more affordable restaurants. Read on for our critic's guide to the best restaurants in Rijeka. RECOMMENDED: Everything you need to know about Rijeka.
Recommended Split restaurants
The Split restaurant scene's culinary revolution is a recent phenomenon and one that's still booming. Decent and diverse eateries seem to be opening on an almost monthly basis, making Croatia's second city a gastronomic destination equal to almost any in the country. Split is not only a tourist playground – it's a living, breathing, dining-out city for locals too.
Recommended restaurants in Dubrovnik
Breakfast, brunch and beyond
Breakfast in Zagreb guide
With an increasing number of Zagreb’s guests staying in private rooms and apartments rather than traditional hotels, the need to find a good breakfast has never been greater. There were always plenty of cafés in Zagreb but few of them bothered to cook up food of any kind, never mind a sizzling pan of bacon and eggs. Until now. As well as a new genre of café, you are likely to find a designated breakfast menu in an increasing number of restaurants too. Here are seven of the best places to start the day.