The best Rijeka restaurants

Discover the finest restaurants Rijeka has to offer, from iconic establishments to experimental newcomers

Conca d'Oro
Vedran Karuža /©Time Out Croatia
By Time Out contributors
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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 Rijeka restaurants

Municipium
© Municipium
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Municipium

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Municipium is set in a grand Habsburg-era building, tucked away in a quiet courtyard right in the centre of town. Door staff greet you at the entrance – decorum is all. The menu is vast and fish-oriented, most of it priced in the 300kn/kg range, which is very reasonable considering the quality of service, presentation and the fare itself. Courgettes, wild asparagus and other greens get a look-in and the wine list runs to 150 (mainly Croatian) varieties.

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Tarsa
© Tarsa
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Tarsa

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Hidden away among quiet suburban lanes behind Trsat’s sports hall, Tarsa could almost be a village inn, and it’s not surprising that it has become one of Rijeka’s prime venues for a slap-up traditional meal. Despite being a modern building the décor is decidedly trad, with plenty of exposed brick and wooden beams. The menu revolves around lavish platters of local meat and fish, grilled or baked; home-made pastas with tangy goulash accompaniment; and some of the Kvarner Gulf’s best pancakes to round things off. Pay particular attention to the platters for two; specialities such as the Franjo Glavinić pork chop stuffed with pršut and mozzarella or the Maksimilijan squid with baked potatoes and vegetables are well worth the extra outlay.

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Brasserie AS
Dario Dalmacija /©Time Out Croatia
Bars and pubs, Gastropubs

Brasserie AS

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Formerly the Belgian Beer Brasserie and still bearing decorative traces of the Benelux, this prominent terrace bar with an atmospheric interior remains one of the key spots to drink in Rijeka. Located so close to the harbour you can see ships passing from the tables outside, it’s worth a longer linger for its hearty Belgian-style cuisine and, most notably, brews in draught and bottled form from the land of beer.

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Conca d'Oro
Vedran Karuža /©Time Out Croatia
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Conca d'Oro

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With a good location and a reputation as one of the best places in town, this busy cellar restaurant can charge higher prices than most. Along with the usual seafood offerings, appetisers include fish carpaccio with capers, and marinated salmon. The day fish is displayed on ice, and includes a wide selection of molluscs. The hefty salads can work as a small meal, followed by a number of cheeses. Snappy service adds to a pleasant atmosphere.

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Konoba Na Kantunu
© Konoba Na Kantunu
Restaurants, Seafood

Konoba Na Kantunu

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This once-tiny seafood bistro has expanded into the neighbouring room and kitted itself out with new furniture – its reputation for serving some of Rijeka’s best seafood in a simple setting remains unchanged. Settle at one of the rustic wooden tables in the bright, modern interior and admire the trays of just-caught fish and crustaceans chilling behind the glass. Point at your choice and wait for it to be expertly grilled, perhaps dressed lightly with olive oil and big chunks of sea salt, and then served up as a minimalist masterpiece. The car park terrace gets the sun and gives a view of the docks. You can find fancier, but not much better.

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mornar, restaurants, kvarner, croatia
© Antonija Butkovic/Time Out
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Bistro Mornar

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Although Mornar is next to the docks and the marine terminal, the views from its L-shaped corner terrace include just a snippet of sea and a whole load of car park. Forget the scenery: hearty meat dishes here satisfy, and the fish comes right off the boats or from the nearby market, which means it’s fresher and cheaper than most places in town. Join hungry locals and sailors as you tuck into generous platters of calamari, sardines or superior freshly caught whitefish at amazing prices.

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Trsatika
© Antonija Butkovic/Time Out
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Restaurant Trsatica

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Fabulously located up in Trsat, this eaterie, part pizzeria, part grill offers high-grade versions of renowned standards, with a terrace view to boot. House specialities include lamb chop with homemade noodles, tuna steak with polenta and salsa verde, and ragout with pasta. The pair of you, if carnivores, could order the steak-and-potatoes for two. À la carte, you’ve got all the domestic favourites, grilled squid, monkfish and pljeskavica meat patty, here served with feta cheese.

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Bistro La Rose
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Restaurants, Mediterranean

Bistro La Rose

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A cosy bistro with outdoor seating on one of the Old-Town's tiny piazzas, La Rose offers a well-executed but affordable blend of French-inspired fare and Kvarner-Istrian staples. The Gallic side of La Rose's character is most evident in the quick-lunch dishes such as onion soup, bouillabaisse and quiche lorraine. Local inspiration lies behind the truffle-garnished pastas, seafood risottos, fillets of sea bass, although everything is served with Mediterranean bistro flair. The ambience – rose-themed decor and jazzy music – makes it an ideal spot for a lunchtime tête-a-tête or an intimate evening meal.

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mornar, restaurants, kvarner, croatia
© Antonija Butkovic/Time Out
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Bistro Mornar

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Although Mornar is next to the docks and the marine terminal, the views from its L-shaped corner terrace include just a snippet of sea and a whole load of car park. Forget the scenery: hearty meat dishes here satisfy, and the fish comes right off the boats or from the nearby market, which means it’s fresher and cheaper than most places in town. Join hungry locals and sailors as you tuck into generous platters of calamari, sardines or superior freshly caught whitefish at amazing prices.

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Placa 51
© Placa 51
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Placa 51

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A lively place occupying an enviable corner spot on a harbour-facing street, this is another good tip for a great Rijeka lunch. The menu is strong in local staples in the 80-100kn range such as ombolo (lightly smoked pork chop) and fillets of fish, and there’s a daily list of cheaper chalked-up specials that rely very much on what’s seasonally available – and what the chef can get his hands on at the nearby market. The style of decor and presentation is contemporary bistro-bar rather than folksy inn, with an open kitchen indoors and cushioned benches out on the terrace. Scrumptious own-made cakes are another major asset.   

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Primorska Konoba
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Restaurants, Mediterranean

Primorska Konoba

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The ‘Coastal Inn’ goes for the rustic look inside, with checked tablecloths and domestic nick-nacks aplenty; however, it’s the chic glass-enclosed terrace hovering above an animated Old-Town corner that makes this such a good place to be at lunchtime. The other attraction is, of course, the food: mainly traditional stuff reinvented for the requirements of today’s breezy urban eater. Many of the things listed as marende (‘elevenses’) actually function as light lunches, particularly the traditional barley-and-bean stew known as jota. Home-made pasta choices such as hand-rolled cigar-shaped pljukanci with mushrooms or tagliatelle with prawns (both hovering in the70kn zone) will fill a gap with tasty aplomb, while squid stuffed with cheese and rice, sploshed liberally with a tangy tomato sauce, is a stand-out among the mains.

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O'Hara
© O'Hara Rijeka
Restaurants, Pizza

O'Hara

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O'Hara's are high-end pizzas; some double if not triple the price you might pay for similar in elsewhere Croatia, but all within the affordability of tourists or locals visiting for a treat. The pizzas themselves are exceptional, comprised of the kind of authentic dough even the most pizza-exhausted visitor to Croatia would never tire of eating. Situated on the riva, with several boats moored on the other side of the road, the best place to enjoy a meal here in warm or mild weather is outside on the terrace. Booking in advance may be advisable to ensure a spot here as O'Hara is justly popular. The menus are the individual paper placements, which list the pizzas and sizeable Italian style sandwiches available. Busy over summer weekends in the weekday evenings, O'Hara Rijeka is equally popular in winter when the action moves indoors, the terrace last year being reserved for the alfresco cooking of mulled wine and sausages. If you're a pizza fan or (ambitiously) aiming to eat only one pizza in Rijeka, O'Hara should be first on your list.

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Boonker
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Restaurants, Mediterranean

Boonker

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With a large, shaded terrace right on Rijeka’s main waterfront, Boonker has already drawn a crowd despite its rather strange name. Calling itself a ‘pizzeria and lounge bar’, it does a decent job of serving pizzas (from 40kn, house Boonker with gorgonzola and Grana Padano 61kn) but can probably leave the lounge barring to a more suitable locale nearby. The frito misto is a wise buy at 65kn but most are here to enjoy the sea views rather than undertake any serious culinary adventure.

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King's Caffe Food Pub
© Vedran Karuža /Time Out Croatia
Bars and pubs, Gastropubs

King's Caffe Food Pub

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The successful recipe of popular beer bar King’s Caffe transported to a new location, this time with burgers. A full range of craft and specialist beers is on the menu as well as a list of beef patties and burritos, in a neo-Gothic interior complete with medieval-style murals of pennant-wielding knights. It’s a great place to sit outside during the summer, with tables facing the National Theatre.

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Konoba Blato
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Restaurants, Mediterranean

Konoba Blato

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In a sturdy wood-and-tile cellar on the pedestrianised square where the two main canals meet, this small, dimly lit eatery makes home-style seafood and hearty meat dishes in a pleasant family atmosphere. The fish is always fresh and well prepared, as is the octopus salad to accompany it. There are only half-a-dozen tables, busy during work breaks; the tiny bar has a few stools, nearly all occupied by locals. Daytime and early evening only.

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Konoba Feral
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Restaurants, Mediterranean

Konoba Feral

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A handy little downtown eaterie specialising in seafood, with a few meaty options too. Frog stew with potatoes and kale is one of the more unusual of these; otherwise, the menu features the standard white sea fish and scampi. Mozzarella salad makes a nice change from seafood, and Löwenbräu beer is something different from the stock Istrian wines. A selection of cheap daily specials is chalked up on a board outside. A front terrace is open in summer.

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Konoba Fiume
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Restaurants, Mediterranean

Konoba Fiume

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Just metres from the main market, near the port and the Korzo, stands the stone-walled, brick-arched, high-ceilinged Fiume, with its daily offering of grilled ray, mackerel, sardines, tuna, squid, goulash and cod stew on Fridays. Simple meals, cooked the local way, are based on the freshest seasonal ingredients from the nearby market. Decent local wines and affordable prices can be expected, as well as a warm welcome from the staff.

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Konoba Nebuloza
© Dario Dalmacija /Time Out Croatia
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Konoba Nebuloza

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A friendly little restaurant next to the Rječina Canal provides perfectly prepared fresh seafood at reasonable prices in a comfortable atmosphere. It serves a lot of the fish others do, but the menu here lets you know whether it has been farmed instead of caught wild. House special starters include smoked tuna and goulash or lamb stew with local šurlice noodles. Meat-eaters get a choice of toppings such as truffle sauce or rosemary and capers for their thick, juicy steaks. The amicable waiters will not only show you the catch of the day, but tell you what’s freshest – even if it’s something less expensive, like calamari. The side room has big windows with a great view of the canal below.

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Maslina na Zelenom trgu
© Liv Friis-larsen
Restaurants, Pizza

Maslina na Zelenom trgu

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‘Olive on Green Square’ – even though it’s actually on Kobler square, right in the city centre – echoes the time when Rijeka’s main produce market was here. Chef Dušan Džimbeg has duly created two types of selections, ‘Gourmand Mediterranean’ and ‘Small Menu’. Those on a budget shouldn’t worry – dishes in the either category average 70kn, with the exception of the smoked tuna and beefsteak tagliata. You can always opt for pizza, though it would be a shame not to investigate the various carpaccios and panzanellas. Homely yet contemporary, Maslina also makes a point of being child-friendly, with high chairs provided.

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Pizzeria ex
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Restaurants, Pizza

Pizzeria Ex

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A little hard to find in a maze of similar-looking streets up the hill, Pizzeria Ex hasn’t been found by the tourism industry yet. It’s nondescript from the outside, next to a café that often has loud football on TV, but is tastefully decorated inside and has an open smoking area. Prices are suspiciously low; two people can stuff themselves, with dessert, for 140kn or so and the food is excellent. From pljeskavica to pastas to pizza to various meat and fish dishes, everything is good quality and service is speedy. Great for those on a budget who don’t want to resort to fast-food chains; it also does takeaways.

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Ristorante Spagho
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Restaurants, Mediterranean

Ristorante Spagho

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This neat little corner restaurant with part rustic, part minimalist interior has a decent selection of pastas, including own-made ravioli, and gnocchi dishes. It’s otherwise worth saving your appetite for the steaks, including the house variety with red wine, pine nuts, prosciutto and fried rocket. For dessert, the seasonal cake is made on the premises.

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Submarine Burger
© Submarine Burger
Restaurants, Street food

Submarine Burger

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The successful Zagreb boutique burger operation has branched out to Rijeka with the recipe largely unchanged – a handful of gourmet-burger options (from 44kn) backed up by some imaginative salads (available either as a garnish or a light lunch in its own right) and rough-cut fries. Outdoor seating on a corner of one of the Old Town’s most animated piazzas.

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Volta
© Volta
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Volta

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Opened in a location that’s housed restaurants for years, this classic konoba, with white stucco walls and exposed masonry and ceiling rafters, serves excellent seafood and good wine in a cosy setting on a hill leading up from the sea in the town centre. The friendly server gives special care to a small dining room with only six tables and a soundtrack of soft jazz. Coastal Croatian standards such as octopus salad, fish soup, calamari and sea bass are handled expertly – the latter served with the house special sauce of rosemary, lemon and capers. Good local wines accompany, including the house red Plavac Mali and house white Malvasia.

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