Welcome to Split, Croatia – a city of culture and cuisine! Home to the beautiful Adriatic Sea and bustling streets filled with locals and tourists alike, Split also offers some of the region’s best traditional food.
From tender meat dishes to savory seafood risotto, this coastal city truly has something that will make your tastebuds dance. Dig into delightful Croatian dishes like black risotto, buzara, or a traditional Peka – all served with a side of beautiful scenery. Split’s cuisine is rooted in classic Mediterranean flavors, so you can expect plenty of olive oil, garlic, parsley, tomato, lemon, and rosemary.
When you’re not busy exploring Croatia’s coast on one of the many Split boat tours, make sure you take a bite out of the local eats. From top-notch street food to some of Split’s most iconic restaurants, you won’t be disappointed with the culinary selection in this beautiful town!
In this Split food guide, we’ll explore the city’s vibrant culinary scene and taste some of its mouthwatering dishes. Whether you’re enjoying a quick bite from one of Split’s bakeries or indulging in a multi-course meal at a local restaurant, you won’t be disappointed with the range of flavors and dishes available in this beautiful city.
Also, we recommend being prepared in advance of your trip with some Croatian words and phrases. Learn the Croatian language before you go!
What to eat in Split
Prosciutto is a beloved ingredient in Croatian cuisine. This salty, dry-cured ham is a classic starter dish popular in Split and all over Croatia! Prosciutto is typically thinly sliced and served on a platter with an assortment of local cheeses, olives, pickles, and tiny stuffed peppers. It is always accompanied by a loaf of crusty bread and homemade olive oil. Let this traditional starter tantalize your taste buds and prepare you for a delectable Mediterranean feast. Alternatively, you can enjoy it as a light meal paired with a glass of local wine!
If you’re looking for an authentic Croatian snack to enjoy any time of the day, soparnik is a must-try! This traditional savory pie is filled with delicious ingredients like swiss chard, parsley, and onions. It’s then cooked in a komin – an open fireplace – giving it its unique flavor. To top it all off, soparnik is then brushed with a delicious mix of olive oil and garlic. This simple yet flavorful dish is the perfect pick-me-up when you need something tasty!
Peka is a traditional dish from Split and Dalmatia, Croatia. This slow-cooked meal is made by placing a protein of choice – usually veal, lamb or octopus – and vegetables inside a large iron dish with a heavy metal lid. The dish is then cooked in an open fireplace for up to 4 hours, with hot coals and embers placed over the lid. As it cooks, the meat tenderizes in its own juices while the potatoes soak up all of the flavors. When it’s finished, the Peka is served with bread and a seasonal salad.
This particular dish is more than just a meal – it’s an experience! The smoky flavor of the coals, combined with the aroma from the slow-cooked proteins and vegetables, create a mouthwatering medley of flavors enjoyed by all. If you want to try a traditional Peka, make a reservation for it in advance, as the cooking time can last anywhere from 2-3 hours.
If you’re looking for a true taste of Dalmatian culinary magic, look no further than Pasticada. Slow-cooked beef in a rich sauce made with onions, nutmeg, prunes, and prošek (a sweet dessert wine) makes this dish unique. This dish’s long and meticulous preparation helps bring out all the incredible flavors. Pasticada is usually served with gnocchi. And if they’re homemade, you know you’ve hit the jackpot.
Buzara is a famous Croatian seafood dish known for its flavorful sauce. This traditional method of preparing seafood involves cooking it in olive oil, white wine, garlic, and fresh herbs. The combination of these ingredients creates an aromatic and delicious sauce that is the perfect complement to scampi and mussels. However, it is not uncommon for clams, lobsters, and even small fish to be cooked using this technique. Buzara can be served na bijelo (white) or na crveno (red), which refers to the color of the sauce. To complete this meal, order a side of fresh white bread to soak up every last drop of the irresistible jus.
When in Split, sampling the traditional way of cooking fresh fish is a must! At local restaurants, they’ll cook up freshly caught fish from the Adriatic Sea on an open fire. A rosemary branch dipped in olive oil brushes the fish as it’s being prepared, adding a subtle hint of flavor to each bite. Grilled fish is nearly always served with blitva, the Croatian staple side dish of boiled potatoes and blanched swiss chard.
Black risotto (or crni rižot) is a must-try when in Croatia. This aromatic and creamy risotto is made with seafood and gets its unique black color from cuttlefish ink. Deliciously savory and flavorful, it’s definitely worth a try and can be found in almost every restaurant in Split! Pair it with a glass of crisp white wine to make the perfect Croatian meal.
This might come as a surprise, but Split is home to some of the tastiest pizza around – it’s every bit as good as what you’d find in Naples! All of the top-notch pizzerias here have a few things in common: wood-fired ovens, thin crusts, an abundance of savory tomato sauce, and plenty of topping options. Whether you’re a fan of classic margherita pizza or something more adventurous, you will surely find a delicious slice in Split.
Kroštule and Fritule
Kroštule is a beloved pastry from Dalmatia, Croatia, made by deep frying dough and sprinkling it with powdered sugar. It’s the perfect snack for any time of day – sweet, crunchy, and oh-so-good! These golden treats can be found in bakeries throughout Split and other cities along the coast.
Fritule are another type of fried dough delicacy popular in Croatia. This treat is made by deep-frying small dough balls until fluffy and golden. The perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea, Fritule are usually dusted with powdered sugar and sometimes even doused in chocolate sauce for a bit of extra sweetness. You can find these tasty treats at bakeries and dessert shops in Split.
When you’re in Split, make sure to treat yourself to a scoop (or two!) of the city’s finest homemade gelato. The best place to try it is at Gelateria Emiliana. Gelateria Emiliana is a small ice cream shop serving up traditional Italian-style gelato, denser and richer than regular ice cream. Choose from delicious combinations like fig and ricotta, nutty choices such as pistachio, and classic favorites like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry – all made with fresh ingredients. As an added bonus, this shop makes all of its cones from scratch!
Split is a city with a rich culinary culture. With its abundance of fresh seafood and local specialties, it’s no wonder Split is regarded as one of the top places in Croatia to experience traditional Mediterranean cuisine.
From slow-cooked Pasticada and Black Risotto to desserts like Kroštule and homemade gelato, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. For the perfect finish to your dining experience, be sure to pair a few meals with some vino from award-winning Croatian wineries.
Whether you’re exploring traditional classics or trying something new, your taste buds will thank you for a delicious journey through Split’s traditional food culture.