A handful of tourist-friendly eateries dot Plitvice Lakes, doling out bowls of grah (bean stew), sausages and simple grills. There are also a lot of stalls around the main park entrances selling the home-made treats for which the Lika region is famous – tangy yellow škripavac cheese, and scrumptious cherry strudels.
The best-known destination for sit-down eating is the Licka kuca restaurant, but there are plenty of others, including a couple of pizzerias, in the villages of Grabovac and Rakovica, eight to ten kilometres north of Entrance 1 on the road to Karlovac.
Just outside of the National Park, Licka Kuca is a traditional-style barn-like building with timber beams inside and a sprawling terrace outside. It's always been a popular landmark, and after it was gutted by fire in 2012 it was painstakingly rebuilt by the park authorities. The menu is traditional, hearty and meat-based: Lika favourites include as lamb spit-roast on the open fire, pan-fried trout, and the house speciality of Licka juha sausage stew. Homely atmosphere and hot, well-cooked meals make this the perfect place to refuel after a long day of lusting after the lakes.
Caffe & Bistro Plum is as stylish as it is friendly. It boasts a surprisingly broad menu, spanning Italian, Croatian and Mexican-style cuisine - but despite the lack of speciality, dishes from the gastro-pub-style selection tend to be very tasty, elegantly presented and substantial enough for hungry lake-traipsers. Subtle decor and impressive cocktails add a touch of class, but cosy sofas and a small, inviting terrace keep the place welcoming and family-friendly.
This light and airy eaterie has the atmosphere of an Italian pizzeria and a menu to match: choose from a selection of freshly made pizzas or a hearty meat dish, and follow it up with an expertly made cake for desert. Outside of the park and away from the tourist traps, this an authentic, reasonably priced dining spot with speedy and attentive service.