Travel Guide

7 vegetarian local foods in Croatia that you need to bookmark right now! Last Updated: January 10, 2022

Croatia was the first Balkan country I visited on my 3-month solo trip across Europe

While I was excited to explore this coastal country, I wanted to ensure I don’t end up eating Indian food in restaurants or survive on ready-to-eat packets from India. Surprisingly, I spotted very few Indian restaurants in the country anyway. 

After digging some information online and speaking to the locals, I made a quick food bucket list for vegetarian things to try in Croatia. 

I visited Zagreb, Zadar, Split, Hvar and Dubrovnik. Almost every place has its specialty in terms of vegetarian food. 

After trying a variety of scrumptious vegetarian food items during my three weeks in Croatia, I have compiled them all with my honest feedback on each one of them. 

Please do note, there are many more local and vegetarian things to eat in Croatia other than the ones mentioned in this article. I have only mentioned those that I tried and would recommend. Some of them are not even meals, they are just food items to try for sure when you are in Croatia!

1. Zagorski štrukli (Zagreb and Zagorje)

Zagorski štrukli is a dish that is particularly popular in the Zagreb and Zagorje region of the country. It looks like lasagne from the top but is usually filled with Croatian Cottage Cheese. That’s the star ingredient in the dish. There are several flavors of štrukli that you can try. I tried the traditional Pumpkin Seed Pesto and Truffle flavors.

The best place to try is La Struk in Zagreb.

Strukli local dish of Zagreb
Zagorski štrukli
2. Rožata

Rožata is a Croatian version of the French Creme Brulee / Caramel Pudding / Flan. There are only two additions here – the local rose liqueur called Rozalin and lemon zest. It originates from Dubrovnik and consists of basic caramel custard ingredients along with the rose liqueur and lemon zest – eggs, milk, and sugar. If you are a Lacto vegetarian and don’t eat eggs, you may skip this one.

3. Croatian Burek

Burek is known all over the Balkan region in Europe – a phyllo dough wrapped with spinach, potatoes, or cheese. It can be in different shapes – horseshoe shape, spirals, or cylinders. 

Best eaten warm. No accompaniment is needed but traditionally it is eaten with yogurt on the side. It is a street food found easily all across the country.

Croatian Burek
4. Olive Oil

Did you know the world’s best Olive Oil doesn’t come from Italy or Spain but from Croatia? Istria is a region in Croatia known for the highest quality of extra virgin olive oil in the world.

While I was in Zagreb, I came across a shop offering a free tasting of the local produce of Croatia, particularly the North region of Croatia. This is where I got to try the different flavors of extra virgin olive oil including chili, truffle, garlic, sage, mint, lemon, etc. Loved the taste and quality! Also tried them in Dubrovnik. 

This is not a food dish but a food item you have to add to your list.

Olive Oil
Different variations of Olive Oil
5. Narancini (Orange Fruit Peel)

Do you like candied fruits? If yes, you will love this one! Narancini or arancini is basically just candied orange or mandarin peels popularly famous in Southern Croatia. I tried them in Dubrovnik. You can find them at most of the local souvenir shops and get a free tasting. 

Made with orange peels, water, and sugar. As simple as that.

Candied Orange Peels - local food in Croatia
Candied Orange Peels
6. Caramelized Almonds

Caramelized almonds are a type of snack with your drink in the Dalmatian region of Croatia. I tried these in Dubrovnik too at a local souvenir shop offering free tasting.

You can get them in packets as souvenirs or try them at local bars.

Nothing fancy. Just almonds cooked in sugar water. But do try because they taste amazing!

Caramelized Almonds - local foods in Croatia
Caramelized Almonds
7. Bajadera

If you are in Croatia, you can’t NOT have the Bajadera. This is the number one thing locals will recommend you to try.

Described as Croatian layered nougat with almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts produced by a local Croatian chocolate company called Kras, headquartered in Zagreb. 

Looking for local sweets to carry home from Croatia? This is it.

Bajadera - local foods of Croatia

I was skeptical of finding local vegetarian food in Croatia given the coastal location of the country but I wasn’t disappointed. 

Although most of the things mentioned above are not full meals and more like snacks/bites to try in the country, I assure you that you will find plenty of vegetarian/vegan options in Croatia. 

Hope you enjoyed reading this! Let me know if you have any feedback?

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