The first thing you might notice about Slavonian restaurants is that there aren’t many of them. Locals generally prefer to eat dinner at home, then go out for coffee or ice cream, which explains the abundance of trendy caffe-bars. Apart from Osijek, where you’ll be spoiled for choice, your best bet is often hotels or wineries, where you can sample hearty, spicy and delicious Slavonian cuisine.
Cabbage and cottage cheese are common side dishes, and with parika-rich Hungary not far away, you’ll often see dishes characterized by an unmistakable, bright-red zest. Meat is a key part of the dining picture; regular menu staples include čobanac, a stew made with game meat, bathed in paprika sauce and usually served with spaetzle; chicken paprikash; sarma (pork-stuffed cabbage leaves); and, last but not least, kulen (spicy, air-dried sausage). Slavonia also counts river fish among its staples—namely, carp, pike, catfish, and pike-perch. One of the must-try menu items is the spicy-hot, paprika-flavored fish stew known as riblji paprikaš or fiš paprikaš, usually served in a bowl big enough for two. Slavonian wines are cheap, local, and wonderful, particularly the whites: look for varieties such as graševina, Riesling, and Traminac (a type of Gewürtztraminer). Red wine lovers should try the delicious frankovka. And, of course, this would not be Croatia without rakija (fruit brandy). Hearty meals, delicious wine and extremely affordable prices all add up to one certainty: you are going to eat and drink far too much in Slavonia, and you’ll love it.