Summer is just around the corner! And you know what that means – sunbathing, long days, hot nights, and delicious dishes which are reserved only for summer!
When it comes to vacation and traveling, Croatia has become one of the most interesting places to visit, especially if we’re talking about the Croatian amazing coast and islands. Each town, city, village, cove, beach, and bay, has something unique and special – old Dalmatian houses, stone-patted streets, breathtaking views, salty air, and crystal-clear sea. But besides that, there is one more beauty which is specific to each place – delicious gastronomy!
We all know that each season has its own unique cuisine and dishes and when it comes to the summer, the diet is a bit lighter, and its key is the freshness of the ingredients! You’re wondering which Croatian summer specialties are a must-try while visiting? We are bringing you 15 dishes that are traditional, unique, and delicious – and they will certainly contribute to your summer experience, along with untouched nature, the beauty of small cities, and indulging in the sea!
Table of Contents
Viška & Komiška Pogača
The island of Vis is known for its breathtaking views, beautiful nature, and amazing horizon which simply steals your heart. But besides that, the island also has delicious traditional cuisine. There are 2 trademark dishes of this island – viška and komiška pogača (bread). The recipes for these two breads differ in only one ingredient – tomato sauce!
Viška pogača presents a tasty homemade bread with a filling made of salted anchovies, onions, and olive oil, while komiška pogača is made from those ingredients, plus the tomato sauce. These two towns, Vis and Komiža, are situated on opposite sides of the island and due to that, there is that minor difference in the recipes, but whichever bread you try, you’ll love it! Both of them are light, nutritious, and simply delicious!
What is summer without a tasty fresh salad? And octopus salad is a true Croatian delicacy! The fresh octopus is cooked and prepared with various ingredients such as potatoes, parsley, garlic, olive oil, and a few drops of lemon. All the ingredients have beautifully combined flavors that bring the best aromas of the Mediterranean and sea depths. The salad is served cold, and it presents a delicious dish perfect for the summer – quite a refreshing meal ideal for those hot days!
Grilled fish (or in Croatian, riba na gradele) is a Dalmatian classic dish that can be found in probably every restaurant on the Adriatic coast and island, and it is prepared in probably every home. From sardines, tuna, and sea bream to the mackerel, saithe, and groupers – almost every fish is suitable to be prepared this way and in the combination with olive oil, garlic, and rosemary, the final flavors are to die for! The fish meat is juicy, while the skin is crispy – a perfect combination if you ask me! Grilled fish is often served with potatoes, chard, and other vegetables, as well as with grilled slices of bread.
Simple and delicious cold cuts are excellent snacks throughout the day. And when you find yourself in Dalmatia, their prosciutto is a must! Dalmatian prosciutto is characterized by a distinctive aroma, and it has a nice taste of mild salinity. It is great in combination with local cheese, homemade bread, and red wine, especially Plavac mali. Local cold cuts are always a great snack while enjoying your summer vacation – and they are the best way to meet the true local flavors and traditional cuisine!
This is a great and light dish with vegetables as the main ingredients! Soparnik is a homemade pie with a filling made of chard, onion, and parsley. The vegetables beautifully combine with crusty dough and create nice flavors and interesting aromas. After it is baked, soparnik is coated with olive oil and garlic and that sauce certainly adds a special touch to the dish and its final flavors. Soparnik is such a traditional (and delicious!) dish that it has protected geographical indication!
If you’re looking for a truly fresh dish perfect for those hot summer days of relaxing, sunbathing, and swimming, oysters are your perfect match. In most taverns on the Croatian coast, oysters are taken out of the sea directly in front of you and then immediately served fresh with just a touch of lemon and few drops of olive oil. And that’s it and that’s all you need to truly enjoy in magical flavors of the oysters. Not to mention that they are considered an aphrodisiac – now, how you can resist those magical aromas?
Summer specialties and delicacies certainly include pasta! Whether you want it prepared as a salad, whether you want it in the main dish with a touch of sauce, fish, or light meat – pasta is great for summer! In Croatia, the most famous traditional and autochthonous pasta is called fuži. It resembles small flutes and it is combined with different types of food and sauces. Pasta is always a good idea in the summer – it is delicious and if prepared right, light, fresh, and just perfect!
Mussels On Buzara
Of course, shells are a summer must-try! In Croatia, there are different types of shells that are prepared in a lot of different ways, but today, we’re going to talk about mussels prepared on buzara. This dish presents mussels cooked in water, white wine, and olive oil, with a touch of garlic, parsley, and seasonings! This is a simple cooking method but amazingly delicious in the end! Oh, and don’t forget to dip the bread into the cooking sauce. Yummy!
Risotto is quite a big deal in entire Croatia – it can be prepared white or black, with meat, fish, seafood, shells, vegetables, and more. My personal favorite is creamy risotto with prawns. The rice is cooked in white wine and a bit of water, then you add prawns and cooking cream, and you’re done! The white wine gives the dish a nice aroma while cooking cream connects all the ingredients into creamy and delicious risotto perfect for a nice summer dinner! Oh, and if you want a black risotto – you’ll enjoy it too. It is made with rice and cuttlefish which gives the dish that unique black coloring.
Light breakfast, hot appetizer, or simple main dish – frittata is perfect for every course of the day! Istrian frittata presents delicious scrambled eggs with mushrooms, asparagus, prosciutto, and olive oil. Quite simple, isn’t it? But the final flavors are just amazing! Besides the already mentioned ingredients, frittata can be prepared with other vegetables too, it all depends on the restaurant and household. But no matter which version you try, it will give your palate beautiful flavors, trust me!
Chard Prepared On Lešo
Vegetables are one of the most basic and most important ingredients of Croatian summer cuisine, and Croats prepare chard in numerous ways. One of the recipes is for chard prepared on lešo. Chard is cooked and combined with potatoes and olive oil, and the dish brings simple and light flavors and aromas. Chard on lešo is a classic Dalmatian dish and it will give you all the nutrients you need to enjoy your time on the coast, wandering through the streets, and exploring new places!
Kvarner shrimps are considered to be one of the most delicious Adriatic seafood and thanks to that, they certainly are one the best delicacies of the Mediterranean. In Croatia, shrimps are prepared in various ways – they can be served raw, in the combination with rice or pasta, or simply prepared on the already mentioned buzara. Whichever recipe you try, you will certainly enjoy its unique Mediterranean flavors!
When we’re talking about the sweets during the summer, they need to be simple and light, without those heavy fillings and flavors (even though if you’re craving those, I can’t blame you, I do too sometimes!). But despite that, the sweets and desserts need to have those beautiful flavors. And that’s what rožata has to offer. Rožata is a traditional Dalmatian pudding with vanilla flavor and caramel dressing. It nicely combines vanilla, caramel, liqueur, and lemon into an amazing palette of unique flavors. Rožata is served cold and due to that, it presents a perfect summer dessert!
If you’re looking for a simple snack, kroštule are perfect for you! They are small, knot-shaped sweets coated with powdered sugar. Kroštule are crunchy, sweet, and delicious, and they are the perfect snack throughout the day – for all generations! You’ll probably find them on small events such as the fisherman’s nights or by the coast served as simple street food. Great for snacking while sunbathing or being on the picnic!
Arancini & Limuncini
This is the simplest summer dessert you will find in Croatia and it will certainly seduce your palate. Arancini are made of orange peel, while limuncini are made of lemon peel. The peel is cut into strips, covered in sugar, and then dried for a couple of days. These desserts perfectly combine sour peel with sweet nuances of sugar and they will definitely satisfy your desire for a simple and light snack during the summer!
And these are the must-try summer specialties while enjoying the beauties of the Croatian coast and islands!
All the dishes are light and simple, but despite that, they bring the best flavors and aromas of the Mediterranean and sea depths. The dishes are local, traditional, and classic, and thanks to them, you’ll meet Croatian culture and gastronomy in the most interesting (and delicious) way! Now, are you ready for the summer and all its beauties – from the untouched nature and old towns to the flavors of the sea depths and traditional cuisines? I know I am!