We’re recently received a number of emails from travellers who have (or are travelling with someone that has) specific dietary requirements. The old joke says, “If you’re a vegetarian eating in Croatia, you’ll be given fish…or a plate of cheese”. However, because of the increasing numbers of visitors to Croatia, certain dietary requirements are becoming better understood and catered for – but, depending on what these are, there is still some way to go!
If you do have a special requirement, or there are certain things you cannot eat, we would recommend researching and printing off some Croatian phrases and words prior to your trip. You don’t necessarily have to learn how to say these Croatian phrases – but at least you will be able to point to them when you’re in a cafe or restaurant.
Of all the special dietary requirements, being a vegetarian is probably the easiest. Assuming that you can understand the menu (meaning, that it’s printed in languages other than Croatian) you shouldn’t have any trouble finding some meat- and fish-free options. (Although, yes – most things on the menu will probably be one of the two!) Pizzerias are always a great option for eating out as there will be a number of meat-free choices.
Veganism is a little harder and is less understood as a concept – you may well find that if you say you are vegan, some people will think you mean you’re vegetarian. Nevertheless, you should still be able to get by with a little patience (and hopefully those in restaurants will have some patience too!) if you describe what you cannot eat. Many restaurants serving up freshly made/prepared meals may well be able to adjust to what you can’t eat.
Supermarkets probably won’t have much (or any choice) of items that cater for vegetarian, vegan or gluten free diets. You are better off looking for gluten free items at pharmacies/drugstores – most branches of DM stock a decent selection of items.
If you’re self-catering, do make sure that you pop to the local market (there’s one everywhere) to buy some fresh local produce, especially the wonderful fruit and veg.
Here are a few websites that might be helpful to you:
- Prijatelji Zivotina (Animal Friends) has a very useful list of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Croatia
- The Croatian Society for Coeliac Disease has a useful page for visitors, including (brief) information on restaurants for gluten-free meals and where to buy products, and some pages to print out to take to restaurants)
Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Croatia
- Up Cafe is a organic cafe in Split serving up light meals and desserts
- Art of Raw Food is a vegan restaurant in Zagreb
- Vegehop is a vegetarian restaurant in Zagreb
- Nishta is a vegetarian restaurant in Dubrovnik Old Town
Gluten Free in Croatia
Moje Malo Zlato is a small family-run bakery that produces fresh, great-tasting gluten-free (and lactose-free) bread and muffins, with their products stocked in locations all across Croatia. Check out their map to find out where to buy their products.
Special Dietary Requirements in Croatia – Useful Phrases
- vegetarian (as in food, not person!) – vegetarijanski (ve-geh-tarry-yan-skee – with a hard g sound)
- vegan – vegan (veh-gan)
- coeliac – celijakija (seh-lee-ya-kee-ya)
- Male: I am vegetarian… – Ja sam vegetarijanac (Ya sam ve-ge-tarry-ya-nats – with a hard g sound)
- Female: I am vegetarian – Ja sam vegetarijanka (Ya sam ve-ge-tarry-yan-kah – with a hard g sound)
- Male: I am vegan – Ja sam vegan (Ya sam veh-gan – with a hard g sound)
- Female: I am vegan – Ja sam veganka (Ya sam ve-gan-kah – with a hard g sound)
- Male: I am alergic to… – Ja sam alergican na… (Ya sam a-lerr-gee-chan – with a hard g sound)
- Female: I am alergic to… – Ja sam alergicna na… (Ya sam a-lerr-gich-na – with a hard g sound)
- I do not eat… – Ja ne jedem… (Ya ne yeah-dem)
- I do not drink… – Ja ne pijem… (Ya ne pee-yem)
- …eggs – jaja (ya-ya)
- …meat – meso (meh-so)
- …fish – ribu (ree-bu)
- …milk – mlijeko (mlee-yeah-koh)
- …dairy products – mlijecne proizvode (mlee-yech-ne pro-eez-vo-deh)
- …peanuts – kikiriki (kee-kee-ree-kee)
- gluten free – bez glutena (bez glue-ten-ya)