Food in Croatia varies by region. In general, fish dominates along the coast and meat rules the interior; that said, one of the most popular dishes in Dalmatia is veal 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 at the coast, restaurants may stay open later (after 10pm) to handle the volume. Bifes (stand-up take-out places) are open most of the day and serve both hot and cold food.
Unless otherwise noted, the restaurants listed in this guide are open daily for lunch and dinner.
Credit cards are becoming more and more accepted, but it's a good idea to ask before you order, just in case. ATMs are found in abundance on the Croatian coast, as well as in Zagreb, so you can usually ensure that dinner goes on as planned. The tip should not be included in the bill, so scrutinize any bill that appears to add one. If service has been good, a 10% to 15% gratuity will be appreciated by the waitstaff.
Reservations and Dress
Regardless of where you are, it's a good idea to make a reservation if you really want to eat at a particular restaurant. We 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. We mention dress only when men are required to wear a jacket or a jacket and tie.
Wine, Beer and Spirits
Wine is produced in Croatia and enjoyed regularly with meals. Most Croatian wineries don't export their wines, so tasting here is a good idea, since you're unlikely to find them at home. Croatia produces wine in Istria, Slavonia, and most of the Dalmatian coast, especially the Pelješac peninsula. The traditional aperitif in this part of the world is rakija, a fruit or herbal spirit made in abundance. It's quite cheap to buy and varies greatly in quality. The fruit varieties (pear, blueberry, plum) are drinkable enough as an aperitif; the herbals are a bit rough going down. Many establishments brew their own with great pride. If you're staying in a family-run pension, trying some of the home brew is an instant icebreaker.