Croatia has many stunning places that will charm you with their character, unique beauty, interesting traditions and delicious Croatian cuisine. But, some places certainly stand out and one town that really needs to be mentioned and explored is Split.
Split is one of the most beautiful and vivid towns on the Croatian coast. It combines modernity with historical and cultural heritage. Plus, there’s an abundance of great restaurants in Split serving both international cuisine and traditional Croatian food.
Thanks to all that and more, Split is a perfect vacation destination for every generation.
- What to See in Split, Croatia
- Food in Split
- Croatian Dishes & Split Restaurants
- Black & White Risotto
- Octopus Salad
- Grilled Fish
- Salted Anchovies
- Samaštrani Beef Tongue
- Dalmatian Prosciutto
- Splitska Torta
- Figs & Nuts
What to See in Split, Croatia
Split is known for its well-preserved Diocletian’s Palace. Built in the 4th century, today, it is the core of Old Town. The Palace is perfect for wandering, exploring, and simply getting lost in the narrow streets and stone-paved lanes.
This Croatian coastal city presents a breathtaking urban jungle with ancient touches and traditions. Besides the palace, there are many other historical and cultural sights to visit and witness Split’s well-known beauty.
Furthermore, there’s the picturesque and modern Riva. A stone-paved, palm-tree-lined promenade with colorful buildings, cafes, and restaurants on one side and the Adriatic Sea on the other. Riva is a place to relax, socialize and try delicious Croatian food and drink.
For a bit of greenery and fresh air, Marjan Hill Park is a natural heaven. While, in the summer, Split’s many beaches are perfect for families and friends of all ages.
This is just a small preview of what to see and do in Split, Croatia. To have the full experience, we need to talk about food in Split. There are many great restaurants in Split that will provide a special ecstasy of flavors and aromas for your taste buds. What tantalizing tastes await you there?
Food in Split
Expect of this vivid city a tasty mix of ingredients, recipes, and flavors. You’ll find an interesting combination of Dalmatian, Greco-Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, French, Austro-Hungarian cuisines and, of course, Croatian.
However, many restaurants in Split nurture a classic Mediterranean diet dominated by fish, cheese, prosciutto, local produce and unique meat specialties. Those traditional roots are often seasoned with modern touches, interesting spices and amazing combinations.
Split restaurants offer a bounty of traditional Croatian cuisine including seafood, risotto, soups, grilled meats and sweet treats. But, if you yearn for a more familiar menu you’ll also find modern street food, sushi, sandwiches, pizzas, pasta and burgers. Yes, Split surely has it all – a beautiful and unique mix that will thrill your senses.
Croatian Dishes & Split Restaurants
Now it is time to talk about all those delicious specialties that can be found in Split restaurants, taverns and cafes.
Black & White Risotto
Risotto is a classic dish of the Dalmatian coast and it can be prepared in two ways. The white risotto is a deliciously creamy dish prepared with a variety of shellfish such as prawns and shrimp. The flavors of the sea beautifully combine with the rice creating a wonderful taste experience.
The black risotto is a unique specialty prepared with cuttlefish. Thanks to the cuttlefish, the rice has a characteristic black coloring. Both versions are tasty and delicious and are traditional dishes of the Croatian coast.
Best Restaurant in Split for Black Risotto: Articok
Articok is one of the best restaurants in Split for traditional Croatian food and nice atmosphere. They have a small seasonal menu that changes but the delicious black risotto is almost always available.
This is a Croatian specialty that will seduce seafood lovers within seconds. Octopus, or “queen of the sea” can be prepared in numerous ways but one of the most delicious is a classic salad. The octopus is cooked and then combined with potatoes, garlic, parsley, and olive oil.
These 5 ingredients create the basic salad. Chefs of restaurants in Split will then add their own unique twist to the dish in order to create new and interesting combinations and flavors.
Octopus salad is served cold and is a perfect refreshing dish during the hot summer months.
Restaurant in Split for Octopus Salad: Apetit
Apetit is a beautiful restaurant set in a 15th-century palace. Food has been served at this spot for hundreds of years and today you can choose from an array of delicious Dalmatian dishes including perfectly prepared octopus.
Riba na gradele or grilled fish is an old specialty that is a must-try during your visit to Split. You can taste tuna, mackerel, sardines, saithe, groupers, bream, and other fish prepared this way. The fish is nicely grilled and served with a tasty sauce made of olive oil, rosemary, and garlic. The outside of the fish is crunchy, while the inside meat is juicy and soft. It’s simply delicious.
Best Restaurant in Split for Grilled Fish: Konoba Matejuska
Matejuska is near the harbor in the Varos neighborhood. It’s a popular place for fresh fish and we enjoyed a grilled seafood platter here that was amazing.
This dish may not be everyone’s cup of tea but trust me, it is a true delicacy in Split as well as the rest of the Croatian coast and islands.
Salted anchovies are the perfect appetizer served in olive oil with homemade bread and local cheese. This combination beautifully balances the saltiness of the anchovies and is the perfect beginning to a Croatian gastronomy adventure.
Restaurant for Salted Anchovies: Oštarija kod Viđakovih
Oštarija kod Viđakovih has an extensive menu of traditional Croatian food and Dalmatian dishes. It’s a good place to try salted anchovies followed by many of the other dishes on this list.
Buzara is a unique technique of preparing seafood. Basically, it means cooking the seafood in a mixture of wine, olive oil, garlic, and parsley. The usual seafood prepared in this way are mussels, shrimp, lobster, clams and prawns.
The golden rule of preparing this dish is to keep it simple with few additional ingredients to emphasize the seafood and open up the best flavors and aromas. Buzara is also served with bread so that you can soak it in that delicious cooking sauce.
Best Restaurant in Split for Buzara: Kadena
Kadena is a contemporary fine dining restaurant with a great view of the marina. The entire menu gets great reviews but the simple dish of Buzara is elevated to sublime here.
Brudet, brodet, or brodeto are names for a delicious fish stew. The dish is simple, yet it harmonizes all the flavors and aromas of the sea perfectly. Brudet is made with various fish such as eel, monkfish and grouper. But it can also be made with tuna, sea bream, mussels, prawns and other seafood and shellfish. Brudet also has a touch of olive oil, onion, parsley, and other seasonings that make it simply delicious.
Best Restaurant in Split for Brudet: Trattoria Bajamont
Trattoria Bajamont is a cozy little place on a cobblestone lane in the heart of Old Town. They specialize in fresh seafood and are one of the best places to try traditional Brudet. Try to get an outdoor table for added ambiance.
Shrimp is a staple food in Croatia and is prepared in numerous ways. Some common ways are on buzara, grilled, fried, with pasta or risotto and in combination with different Mediterranean ingredients.
But no matter the preparation technique, Croatian shrimp are a delicacy that will certainly seduce your palate. In Split, make sure to try the traditional recipes as well as modern and innovative ways of preparation.
Restaurant in Split for Shrimp: Zrno Soli
Zrno Soli is often named one of the best restaurants in Split if not all of Croatia. They have a beautiful interior with gorgeous views of the marina and they specialize in fresh seafood. It’s a great place to try local shrimp.
This specialty is an ancient Dalmatian recipe and is one of the trademark dishes of Split. Pašticada is also included in the List of Croatian Gastronomic Heritage, so you know it is a must-try.
Pašticada is beef filled with bacon and marinated in vinegar, wine, water, and onion. Once it is baked, the meat is juicy and tasty and perfectly paired with gnocchi. The finished dish has a delicious sauce made with herbs and other traditional ingredients creating aromas and flavors that will certainly seduce you.
Restaurant in Split for Pašticada: Konoba-Hvaranin
Hvaranin is a small, family-run restaurant in the heart of Old Town. They offer a variety of traditional Dalmatian dishes but one of their specialties is the unique Pašticada.
Samaštrani Beef Tongue
This is a dish you’ll either love or hate. The recipe for samaštrani beef tongue dates back to the 16th century. The flavors and aromas are soft and rich. It combines the nuances of ingredients such as garlic, coriander, rosemary, sage, thyme and laurel. The result is a rich ecstasy of flavors. Just be brave and let the deliciousness of this dish wipe away any fear of the main ingredient.
Note: This unique traditional dish is usually prepared on special occasions like Christmas so it’s not easy to find in a restaurant. However, it can sometimes be found on the menu at Oštarija kod Viđakovih, noted above for salted anchovies.
Tingulet is an old Dalmatian dish of chicken stewed in tomato sauce. It is an everyday version of the already mentioned pašticada. The dish is usually made with chicken wings, drumsticks and offal in combination with onion and tomato and served with gnocchi or pasta. Tingulet is simple home-cooking that is rich in flavor which will bring you traditional nuances of Croatian food.
Note: This traditional dish can be found in many restaurants around Split
Lamb is a specialty prepared in all Croatia. No festivity can go by without tasting this amazing dish. In Split, the lamb is usually prepared with peka. Peka is a unique baking technique using a bell-shaped ceramic or iron vessel that covers the lamb along with potatoes and vegetables.
Once the dish is covered, the chef puts the coal on the vessel to perfectly cook the lamb and side dish. In the end, all the ingredients are beautifully combined in a delicious harmony of flavors and aromas. It’s a must-try in Split.
Best Restaurant in Split for Peka Prepared Lamb: Konoba Kod Joze
Konoba Kod Joze is a cozy traditional restaurant that offers a variety of perfectly prepared Dalmatian dishes. One of their specialties is octopus or meat baked in a peka. This dish is best shared between 4 people.
This is an amazing appetizer or a snack to enjoy while wandering through the town of Split. Dalmatian prosciutto in combination with local cheese is a specialty you really can’t miss. Prosciutto has unique and specific flavors and is considered a true gastronomy specialty. It is in perfect harmony with local cheese and red wine creating an unforgettable Croatian food tasting experience.
Best Restaurant in Split for Dalmatian Prosciutto: Kitchen 5
The highly acclaimed Kitchen 5 gets rave reviews for all of its dishes. But, if it’s delicious Dalmatian prosciutto you’re after you can’t go wrong with the charcuterie platter.
This cake is made with typical fruits of the Dalmatian region. It combines walnuts, figs and raisins with egg, cream and sugar. The cake has a couple of layers filled with delicious cream and fruits, while its top layer is coated with chocolate. Splitska torta (Split’s cake) is a traditional dessert made by simple a recipe with everyday ingredients, but its flavors are rich and delicious.
Best Place for Splitska Torta: Luka Ice Cream & Cakes
You will often see a lineup for the delicious ice cream at Luka but they are also a great spot for trying the local Splitska Torta.
Figs & Nuts
Since we already mentioned all these typical Dalmatian fruits, they are not only used in various cakes and cookies but also made dried and served as snacks. These fruits and nuts are perfect for snacking while wandering the Old Town or just lounging on the beach. Simple, delicious, and tasty.
When in season, fresh figs and local nuts are also found on tasty charcuterie plates in many taverns, wine bars and restaurants in Split.
Restaurant in Split: Corto Maltese Freestyle Food
Named after the comic sailor, Corto Maltese is a small, unique eatery with a comic and book theme. It’s a good choice for a casual yet entertaining experience and a platter of local delights including figs and nuts.
This dessert is an interesting one. It is simple yet elegant, classy, glamorous and delicious. Rožata, rozata, or rožada is a traditional Dalmatian pudding with vanilla flavoring, orange peel, and brandy and it has a sugary caramel topping! Rožata is served cold making it an ideal sweet refreshment on a hot summer day.
Best Cafe in Split for Rožata : Kavana Slastičarnica Cukarin
Kavana Slastičarnica Cukarin has been serving sweet treats including Rožata for decades.
This is a dessert perfect for snacking while enjoying the historical and cultural beauties of Split. Fritule is prepared in every part of Croatia but every region, town and island has its own unique recipe. Because of that, you’ll never taste the same recipe twice.
In Split, you can try classic fritule, as well as the ones with raisins. This dessert is sweet, crunchy and coated with powdered sugar offering a delicious pick-me-up as you explore the town.
Note: Fritule can be found at the many street food carts along the Riva.
Thinking of also visiting Dubrovnik on your Croatian vacation? Read this article on Things to do in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
There are many more traditional Croatian recipes and dishes but these must-tries will offer you a delicious taste of Croatian food during your visit in Split. Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things is what travel is all about. And food is one of the best ways to experience a country and culture.
Explore the palette of flavors, aromas, and nuances that are hidden in Split’s restaurants, taverns, and street carts – let your taste buds be seduced.
Oh, and if you want to learn more about Croatian gastronomy, visit the site KitchenToast!
Author Bio: Ana writes for restaurants and wineries at KitchenToast. She loves to photograph and travel, especially to Korčula, which is her second home and is a constant source of inspiration for new articles, recipes, and flavors.