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After two months living in Split, Croatia, I got well acquainted with the Split food scene. If you’ve read any of my travel food blogs before, you’ll know that’s what I do best! Although some of the top Split restaurants were closed for winter, I still managed to find some fantastic places to eat including several suitable for vegans and those travelling on a budget.
If you love coffee, go check out my Split coffee shop guide!
What is Croatian food like?
I asked this question to a local who told me there’s no such thing as Croatian food. My response was ‘huh?’ but after he explained, I got it.
Croatia has been split between different kingdoms throughout history. The north is influenced by Central Europe and has links to Austrian or German food while Istria has a strong Italian influence… as I well know after gorging myself on truffle pasta there! Then, there’s the Balkan influence with tasty dishes like ćevapi (ground meat sauces) and ajvar (roasted red pepper paste).
Then, there’s the matter of the different regions. The food in Split is influenced by the fresh seafood available on the Dalmatian coast, while central Croatian areas are more likely to rely on farmland for meat, vegetables and potatoes. There’s no specific Croatian cuisine: it’s super varied and depends where you eat it.
To give you a rough idea though, restaurants in Split commonly serve seafood, pasta, pizza, risotto and meat dishes. In this guide, I’ll share what to eat in Split and where.
Heading over the border to Slovenia? See my equally huge guide to where to eat in Ljubljana
Where to eat in Split – restaurants for local food
If you’re keen to try the local cuisine in Split, the following restaurants are for you. In the atmospheric Old Town, eating and drinking in the sun is easily one of the best things to do in Split. Look out for the word ‘konoba’ referring to modest eateries, usually with simple interiors and food made according to traditional recipes.
Here are a few of my favourite places to eat in Split Old Town...
Note – make sure to check the Trip Advisor reviews and opening times. Things change all the time in hospitality so I can’t promise all the details below will stay the same.
Villa Spiza Split
I can’t sing praises of Villa Spiza loud enough and, from looking at the Trip Advisor reviews, neither can anyone else! With a simple menu handwritten on a board outside, it’s a no-frills vibe with all the focus on simple, quality Dalmatian food.
Down a quiet alleyway near the Diocletian’s Palace, it’s a cosy venue with checkered tablecloths and friendly staff offering advice on the dishes. No reservations are taken so simply rock up between 12pm and midnight, preferably early for lunch or dinner because Villa Spiza gets (unsurprisingly) busy.
I had a generous portion of linguine with clams, giant shrimp and a light sauce made from olive oil and garlic. I finished with tiramisu which can be so hit-and-miss in restaurants but I can confirm it was a good one, even though my expectations were high after my first course.
Other menu highlights include starters like Pag cheese (which you can read about in my guide to Pag Island), Dalmatian prosciutto and soups. For mains, there are various pasta dishes; fresh fish including sardines, clams, prawns and scampi; and meat dishes like lamb, duck and veal ranging from 80-150 kuna.
There’s also a huge range of local red and white wines with glasses from 20 kuna and bottles from 110 kuna.
Although there are plenty of excellent traditional restaurants in Split to choose from, I think this is my second favourite after Villa Spiza. Konoba Fetivi is only a few minutes walk from the Old Town but it feels nicely hidden away from the busy Diocletian Palace area.
From the outside, the restaurant doesn’t look like much so you’d probably pass by if you weren’t looking. Inside is a spacious courtyard with artwork and antiques displaying a rowing and fishing theme.
The menu offers meat and fish dishes cooked accordingly to Dalmatian recipes. I loved the octopus and chickpea stew which was enormous even though it’s listed as a starter. I also tried the shrimp soup which was delightfully rich and creamy. I only tried this dish in one other Split restaurant but this was by far the best.
Other dishes mentioned in their reviews include the cuttlefish and black risotto so I’d recommend trying them, too!
Not only is it a relaxed, ambient restaurant but I can still remember the friendly waitress even though I’m writing this 2 months after my visit. All-in-all, this is a fantastic place to eat in Split!
Brasserie on 7
On the popular Riva with plenty of outside seating and ocean views, Brasserie on 7 is one of the most atmospheric restaurants in Split. Of course, it’s no hidden gem and the prices reflect this, but it’s not outrageously expensive given its location.
I was lucky to try a bunch of different dishes when they participated in ‘Split restaurant week’ in March 2022. Three-course brunch, lunch and dinner menus were reduced to 100-150 kuna which was fantastic value for the high-quality ingredients used. Sadly, this week only happens once a year and not in peak season!
The general theme is French/Croatian so expect lots of fresh seafood, meat and patisserie goods. Brunch dishes start from 75 kuna and main meals start from 100 kuna, plus there are plenty of wines, beers and cocktails to wash it down with.
Corto Maltese Freestyle Food
Although I thought the prices were higher than average here, this is a popular restaurant where I’ve eaten several times.
The theme is Croatian and Italian food so expect dishes like risotto, gnocchi and pasta. Creative ingredients and funny names like ‘ragu against the machine’ give Corto Maltese Freestyle a quirky edge over other many other Split restaurants serving similar dishes.
I had the ‘smoke on the water’ risotto with tomato sauce, smoked mussels, prawns and a rich dollop of cream cheese. The flavours worked perfectly although I could have done with a slightly bigger portion.
They also serve a bunch of fish and meat dishes like rib-eye steak and lamb confit along with a huge range of creative cocktails. Since the interior is fun and quirky, I’d recommend it as an atmospheric place for dinner and drinks. We visited as a group of 10 before a night out.
Tortuga Bar & Grill Split
If you love meat, this is a great place to eat in Split with 5 stars on Trip Advisor. The spacious restaurant with floor-length windows and sea views is located near Bacvice Beach, a 15-minute walk from the city centre. We managed to bag a table for a large group at sunset without a reservation but this was in March so I’m guessing you’ll need to book ahead in peak season.
One of my main memories from dining at Tortuga Bar & Grill is of the amazing staff. Despite the fact you can rarely split bills in Split (the irony), they created us all separate bills and went around with the card machines. If that was a nightmare for them, they didn’t show it.
Steaks, burgers and grilled meat dishes are on the menu. My stuffed chicken fillet was nice enough (I’m not a huge meat fan) but my friend had an aged and marinated T-bone steak that he declared one of the best he’d ever had! As you can probably guess, there’s not much for vegetarians here.
Another meat-heavy restaurant in Split is Fabrique Pub. My friend and I shared a Balkan platter with ćevapi, grilled chicken and sausages, focaccia, bbq beans, ajvar (red pepper paste) and kajmak (clotted cheese).
On another occasion, we shared a rich pasta dish served inside a giant wheel of cheese. To summarise, the dishes at Fabrique are OTT with lots of choice. Long restaurant menus are usually a bad sign and although Fabrique isn’t gourmet, it’s a cool venue that turns into a bar with a dance floor at night.
Come for a late dinner and slide straight into a night out. The cocktails are great as my friend Steph would know after she was hit with a €100 bill after ordering ALL of them! I love the cherry spritz cocktail which slides down easily, unlike the Balkan platter which made dancing very difficult!
Pizzeria Bokamorra Split
This list of places to eat in Split isn’t in any particular order otherwise Pizza Bokamorra would be number one. I went 8 times in 8 weeks and was presented with free shots on my last night in town!
This lively restaurant serves fantastic pizzas, made in a woodfired oven in front of you. My favourite pizzas were the cheezus (four cheese), the tartufizza (truffle pizza), the porco mio (with loads of prosciutto) and the dessert pizza with raspberry, white chocolate and pistachio.
The venue is very cool and funky (although often way too loud for dinnertime) and the staff are great. I love this place!
International restaurants in Split
Now we’ve covered typical dishes in Croatia like pasta, fish and meat, let’s cover the international food in Split. I’m a huge fan of Mexican and various Asian cuisines and, although Split isn’t the greatest city in the world for this, there are a few decent options.
Here’s where to eat in Split for sushi, Mexican and more…
Mini Bota Sushi & Oyster Bar
Adriatic Sushi & Oyster Bar
This is another sushi place that I ordered takeout from. According to Trip Advisor, it’s the second-best sushi in Split but I found it comparable in quality. On the Glovo app, the platters are slightly cheaper so I ended up repeat ordering this rather than Mini Bota.
I don’t think you can go wrong with either sushi place. Although I didn’t eat at either restaurant, I’m aware that Adriatic is a cool and spacious venue with outdoor seating while Mini Bota is smaller and cosier. I guess Adriatic is better for families and big groups but Mini Bota is good for pairs and dates.
SILK – Pan-Asian Fresh Street Food
The third place I ate sushi – alongside other Asian dishes – was SILK. This Asian fusion restaurant in Split serves dishes like ramen, kimchi rice, fried chicken, okonomiyaki, dumplings and katsu curry. I usually prefer when a restaurant sticks to one cuisine but there aren’t too many other Asian options in town so I shouldn’t be picky.
I’ve tried the pad Thai (not the best I’ve had but I have been to Thailand) and the Vietnamese fresh spring rolls (amazing and I’ve also been to Vietnam!), the kimchi rice, fried chicken, sushi, seaweed salad and mochi… Not all on the same occasion 😉
Prices are quite high but I guess that’s expected for tourist food in Split especially since it has great reviews.
To Je Tako
To Je Tako is closed for winter and my friends fought tooth-and-nail for a table at their April re-opening party. After living in Mexico and becoming obsessed with authentic Mexican food, there was no way I was missing soft blue corn tacos!
It’s a small but atmospheric restaurant with quirky Mexican-themed details and live music (although this may have been just for the opening party). The classic margarita was great and my friends tried the frozen mango ones which aren’t my thing but apparently tasted good.
We shared a bunch of tacos including carnitas, chicken tinga and al pastor. No Tex-Mex food here! To Je Taco is actually a Honduran restaurant so why not try some things you haven’t before like the Anafre clay pot or the patacon dishes (fried plantain with toppings)?
It’s one of the more vegan-friendly places to eat in Split.
What to say about Terminal F? It’s definitely not gourmet but my friends and I ended up here often when arriving back from Split day trips by boat. Even though the menu is huge and I suspect things aren’t the freshest, the American-themed food is hearty, cheesy and affordable with generous portions.
The truffle veggie burger was better than I expected and they serve Croatian wines including Merga Victa Pošip (from the Smokvica region on Korčula island) which is one of my favourites.
To be honest, this wasn’t my favourite meal in Split. It was expensive (I paid 110 kuna for a wrap and fries) and the wet salad made it soggy. Still, many other people seem to like it and it’s a change from pasta, pizza and seafood.
Sexy Cow serves Mexican wraps and there’s even a spicy one: a rare treat when it comes to Croatian food. The truffle fries were very indulgent, loaded with parmesan and truffle mayo.
It’s just around the corner from Kava2, one of my favourite coffee shops in Split.
Cheap eats in Split
The food in Split Old Town is not cheap. In fact, I was quite shocked by the high prices while living there. I set myself a challenge to find budget eats in Split and succeeded in finding some decent options.
If you’re wondering where to eat in Split on a budget, look no further…
Gostionica Apollo 11
Recommended to me by an adventurous friend, Gostionica Apollo 11 is a 20-minute walk from the Riva in a quiet residential area. Unlike the upscale restaurants in Split Old Town, it’s a modest eatery frequented by locals on lunch breaks. The food is authentic, hearty and affordable.
After reading the hand-written menu sharing the dishes of the day. I settled on roast pork with rich gravy, a huge portion of mash and a whole basket of bread. Including a soft drink, I paid around €5. Bargain!
There’s nothing fancy about this takeaway cafe serving fresh, affordable Dalmatian food like stuffed peppers, Greek salad and meat stew. The line of locals outside means more than any Trip Advisor review!
I had octopus stew with bread for less than 40 kuna. For central Split, that’s ridiculously good value. Although most people get their food packaged for takeaway, there are a couple of seats if you wish to sit down. Just let the staff know otherwise they’ll package your food in plastic.
Kogo is cash-only and I’d recommend getting there as early as possible. When I visited at 2pm, most of the dishes were already gone.
For a cheap eat in Split city centre, Kantun Paulina is an institution. This cash-only takeaway serves tasty, no-frills Balkan dishes like cevapcici, burgers and sausages.
I had a double burger stuffed with spiced meat, ajvar paste, kajmak clotted cheese and onion. I paid 40 kuna and was absolutely stuffed!
I have a love-hate relationship with börek after eating way too much in Croatia. This flaky pastry dish is stuffed with ingredients like cheese, spinach and potato. It’s filling and tasty but often very oily.
When grabbing food on the go, börek is cheap and widely available. You’ll find it everywhere from cafes to supermarkets often for as little as 5 kuna a piece.
Try every flavour under the sun at ST Burek including sweet varieties like stewed apple. For a cheap lunch in central Split, it’s a winner. The staff were friendly and explained all the options to me in English.
Luka Ice Cream & Cakes
Although it’s not a restaurant, I wanted to give this place a quick mention. It was easily the best ice cream I had in Split with a ton of options for 12-16 kuna per scoop. As you can see from the photo, there’s always a line outside Luka Ice Cream & Cakes. I’ve yet to try the cakes but they look fantastic.
Typical dishes in Split
Since we’ve covered where to eat, I thought I’d share WHAT to eat in Split. Here are a few typical Croatian/Dalmatian dishes I think you’ll enjoy.
- Cream shrimp soup – seafood fans should order this delicious, rich appetiser. The best serving I had was at Konobo Fetivi
- Black risotto (crni rižot) – this typical Croatian dish is made from black squid ink. Don’t be put off by the unusual look: it’s very tasty
- Chickpea octopus stew – this dish is rich and filling. You may see it called čičvarda served with added bacon and veggies
- Sarma – pickled cabbage leaves are stuffed with ground meat and other ingredients to make this classic winter dish
- Burek / börek – as mentioned above, flaky pastry is stuffed with spinach, potato or cheese, served as a ravelled rope shape or as a pie
- Ćevapčići / ćevapi– these ground meat sausages are also found in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Slovenia
- Peka – slow-cooked under a bell-shaped lid, this Dalmatian meal can be made with various meats and even octopus, usually with roast potatoes and meat gravy. I didn’t see it in any restaurants in Split so it’s best to book a peka experience. This was one of the foodie highlights of my entire 3-month Croatia trip!
Split food tours
If you’d rather a local help you discover where to eat in Split, there are a couple of highly-rated Split food tour companies. I’d suggest:
- Historic centre gastro walking tour & lunch – €35
- 3-hour Historical & Gastro Treasures Tour including a market visit (small group) – €85
- Diocletian’s Palace food and wine tour (private) – €120
- A culinary tour of the Pelješac peninsular stopping at historic towns, a salt farm, winery and an oyster farm and sampling local olive oils and wines – €220
- Peka experience with wine – €120
- Vegan tour inc 5 locations – €90
For a unique Split food experience, consider a cooking class. I’ve taken these all over the world and always love learning from the locals and feeling like I’ve really earnt my dinner! Including a morning market visit and wine and liquor tasting, you’ll be led by an award-winning local chef. Book for €150.
Wine in Split
Since Croatian wine tends to be produced on a small scale, it’s rarely seen on supermarket shelves around the world so I didn’t know much about it before my visit. I’m now a huge fan, especially of Plavac mali (red) and Pošip (white).
Putalj is a popular place to go wine tasting outside of Split while Zinfandels and MoNIKa’s are cool wine bars in the Old Town.
Thanks for reading!
I hope you have a better idea of where to eat in Split and the best local dishes to try.
- What to see and do in Split
- 21 best day trips from Split
- The best coffee shops in Split
- Things to do in Trogir, Croatia
- The ultimate Krka Falls day trip from Split
- Fun things to do in Dubrovnik
- Visiting Lokrum Island, Dubrovnik
- A day trip to Bosnia & Herzegovina from Dubrovnik
- Top things to in Zagreb, Croatia
- 15 best Zagreb coffee shops
- Zagreb street art walking tour
- How to visit Plitvice Lakes as a day trip from Zagreb
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TRUSTED RESOURCES FOR VISITING CROATIA
Getting around by air – I use Skyscanner to find the best-value flights, using the ‘search by month’ tool to find the cheapest dates. You can also use the ‘to anywhere’ feature if you’re flexible on where you’re going.
Driving in Europe – use Rentalcars.com to compare car rentals in European countries (and all around the world).
For trains, I use RailEurope. The search feature allows you to compare prices, and they show live departure times on the website.
For buses, I use FlixBus. Find journeys between European countries from €1!
Use Omio to compare trains and buses in one search. It’s so handy!
For hotels and self-catering apartments, I use Booking.com. You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.com.
To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters, a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets.
Browse tours and activities on GetYourGuide.
Need travel insurance? I use World Nomads. They cover 150 countries and have 24-hour emergency assistance.
Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and budget tips from my 10+ years on the road!