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    The smallest country in the world offers the heart of Catholicism and among the world's finest art collections, including the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms (ceiling pictured). Go to Vatican City!

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    Belvedere Palace (pictured) is just one of many palaces found in Vienna. The capital is a good start to Austria, which also features the Alps, the Lakes District, and incredible history & food. Go Now!

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    Ukrainian culture is based on village life, particularly that found in the Carpathian Mountains (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

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Food, Dining, & Drinks in Croatia

Culinary Influences

Croatian cuisine is based on fish grilling techniques using different kinds of wood to give each fish a different flavor. Beyond that there is little about Croatian food that is authentically Croatian.

Being on the Adriatic Sea, Croatia has adopted many Mediterranean flavors, particularly with the use of olive oil. Meanwhile, in the mountainous interior, the foods are more Serbian, Austrian, or Hungarian. In these areas, pork and lamb are more common, as are dairy products.

Staple Foods

Croatia doesn't have any true staples. Along the coast most dishes contain fish, while in the mountains and in the north most dishes contain cheeses, meats, and a bread product.

Regional Variations & Specialties

Burek: cheese, meat, or fruit pastry, typically served as breakfast
Cevapcici: spicy beef or pork ground up and gilled
North Croatia: Austria-Hungarian food are common, including something similar to schnitzel and goulash

Dining Etiquette

As you arrive for dinner in Croatia you may find everything to be too formal, since introductions have specific rules, like never using a first name unless invited to do so. Before fearing the rest of the evening, relax, dining is quite the opposite, very informal.

A good icebreaker is to bring a small gift like chocolate or wine (but make sure your hosts aren't Muslim and don't drink alcohol). Your host will probably show you to your seat and make sure you know the rules of the table, which are few and far between in Croatia.

After sitting down, place your napkin on your lap and eat with your knife in the right hand, the fork in the left. Be warned that if fish is on the menu, it will most likely be served whole. As you finish eating you will be offered more food, but turn it down. If you truly are finished eating, leave a small amount of food on your plate, if you want more food, finish all your food and accept your host's second attempt to give you more food.

Many sit down restaurants include a service charge, but if not, you should tip about 10% of the bill. Small tips for bar tenders are also appreciated, but not necessary.

Drinks

Between Italian and Turkish influence, the Croatians love their coffee, which can be found as a dark and strong Turkish-styled coffee or in a lighter version. The Croatians also enjoy their mineral water. Of course tea, juices, soft drinks, and milk are also widely available.

There's a growing wine industry in Croatia, however most wines haven't quite hit international standards. These wines tend to be very sweet so are sometimes mixed with water when poured. A more unique alcoholic drink found in Croatia is rakija, which is plum brandy. There are also other brandies made from grapes and herbs similar to rakija, a regional specialty. Popular international beers, wines, and hard liquors are also widely available.

Generally speaking, the tap water is safe to drink in Croatia, but check with locals for any particular regional differences. Also, many people may have troubles adjusting to the local tap water, as it will most certainly be different from what your system is used to.

This page was last updated: September, 2011