Dining

You won't find many restaurants in Croatia buzzing with local people, as locals prefer to eat their main meals at home with family and meet their friends for a drink at a cafe-bar. But that doesn't mean that there is a shortage of great places to eat; on the contrary, the dining scenes in places like Zagreb, Istria, and Dalmatia get more diverse and sophisticated every year. Some of the most renowned restaurants in the country (and in some towns, the only restaurants available) are found in hotels, including half of all the Michelin-starred restaurants in Croatia. And while you might not be dining with many local people, you can certainly try some excellent local dishes; the best Croatian restaurants focus on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients in a modern take on traditional recipes. In general, fish dominates along the coast and meat rules the interior. That said, one of the most popular dishes in Dalmatia is lamb peka while the must-try dish in Slavonia is fish paprikaš.

Meals and Mealtimes

As the working day begins early here (with some offices opening as early as 7:30 am on weekdays), you'll find cafés open early as well. Lunch is usually served between noon and 3 in restaurants, and dinner is most often served after 7. In the height of the tourist season along the coast, restaurants may stay open later (after 10 pm) to handle the volume.

Reservations

Regardless of where you are, it's a good idea to make a reservation if you really want to eat at a particular restaurant. Reviews mention them specifically only when reservations are essential or when they are not accepted. Large parties should always call ahead to check the reservations policy.

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