Guide To Ordering Food In Croatia, Speaking Croatian!

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Post author Ana

Written by our local expert Ana

Croatian born Ana is an avid traveler who is always looking for the next travel story from the Balkans to share. Her passion is creating travel itineraries and in-depth guides.

When visiting Croatia, apart from the fantastic beaches, wonderful nature, and charming little places, one thing that comes to mind is excellent food! Wherever you go in Croatia, you will find all sorts of restaurants where you can try delicious local food. Here you can find some useful vocabulary to order food in Croatian.

Types Of Croatian Food

Are you already feeling hungry? Let’s start by deciding what type of food you are in the mood for.

  • Riba / morska hrana: fish / seafood
  • Domaća hrana: domestic food
  • Mediteranska kuhinja: Mediterranean cuisine
  • Brza hrana: fast food
  • Zdrava hrana: healthy food

It is always helpful to do some research on the good local restaurants; however, if you feel like wandering around and suddenly feel hungry, have no worries; you can always look around the corner. Or you can ask a local for a recommendation!

How To Ask For A Local Recommendation

Oprostite, ima li u blizini neki dobar riblji restoran? – Excuse me, is there any good fish restaurant around? Hear how it sounds here.

Možete li preporučiti neki dobar lokalni restoran? – Can you recommend a good local restaurant? Hear how it sounds here.

Getting There And Deciding What To Eat In Croatian

Now that you’ve chosen your place to eat, let’s get your table and your menu.

Oprostite, imate li stol za dvoje? – Excuse me, do you have a table for two?
Nemamo rezervaciju. Imate li slobodan stol? – We don’t have a reservation. Do you have a free table?
Mogu li dobiti jelovnik? – Can I have the menu?
Koji je specijalitet kuće? – What’s the specialty of the house?
Želim probati neki lokalni specijalitet. – I want to try some local specialty.
Još nisam odlučio (male) / odlučila (female) što želim. – I still haven’t decided what I want.
Je li riba svježa? – Is the fish fresh?


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On Your Croatian Menu

Once you’ve taken your menu, you can decide between…

Hladna predjela – cold appetizers
Topla predjela – warm appetizers
Juhe – soups
Glavna jela – main dishes
Kuhana jela – cooked dishes
Jela sa roštilja / jela sa žara – grilled dishes
Prilozi – side dishes

Tip: If your chosen restaurant serves jela ispod peke / sača / cripnje / čripnje (dishes cooked under the bell) – don’t miss out on these! Peka, sač, cripnja, or čripnja is a traditional way of preparing the food on an open fire under the cooking bell – usually metal, but sometimes also ceramic – which is covered with ashes and coal.

The bell keeps the steam circulating, enabling the food to remain juicy and keep all of its flavors with a nice smokey touch. More or less anything can be cooked this way, but some of the most popular choices are:

  • Meso i krumpiri (meat and potatoes)
  • Riba (fish)
  • Hobotnica (octopus)
  • Povrće (vegetables), etc.

Ready To Order In Croatian

Now that you’ve studied your menu, it’s your waiter’s term to ask some questions!

Jeste li spremni naručiti? – Are you ready to order?
Što biste željeli jesti? – What would you like to eat?
Želite li naručiti i nešto za piće? – Would you also like to order something to drink?

And finally, once you’ve made up your mind:

Želim naručiti... – I want to order…
Želio bih (male) / Željela bih (female) naručiti… – I would like to order…

Tip: If you’re ordering a steak:
Želim slabije / srednje / jače pečen odrezak. – I want my steak rare / medium / well done.

Enjoying Your Food

Croats generally eat a lot of kruh (bread), not just as an appetizer but also as a side dish with pretty much anything. The good thing about this is that some restaurants serve homemade bread or buns, which come to your table steaming hot directly from the oven. If you are lucky enough to have your bread baked under the peka, what else can you do but ask for more?!

Mogu li dobiti još kruha, molim? – Can I have some more bread, please?
Je li kruh domaći? – Is the bread homemade?

Croats like to spice up their food with some olive oil, especially in the southern parts. Since Croatia is generally known as a producer of superb olive oil, you should definitely try some. Any decent restaurant will have an excellent local olive oil, so don’t hesitate to ask for some (if it’s not on your table already, that is!).

Možete li mi donijeti maslinovo ulje i ocat, molim? – Can you bring me olive oil and vinegar, please?
Je li ovo maslinovo ulje domaće? – Is this olive oil homemade?

How To Order Food In Croatian

How To Make A Complaint

As much as we’re hoping you’ll enjoy the service as much as the food, here are some useful phrases if you need to complain about something.

Ova juha je hladna. – This soup is cold.
Meso je sirovo. – The meat is raw.
Oprostite, moj tanjur je prljav! – Excuse me, my plate is dirty!
Gdje je knjiga žalbi? – Where is the book of complaints?

When You’re Done…

After you finish your meal, the waiter will, of course, ask you if you enjoyed it.

Je li sve bilo u redu? – Was everything alright?

So here’s some useful vocabulary to express your happiness with the food!

Hrana je bila vrlo ukusna! – The food was very tasty!
Sve je bilo odlično / izvrsno! – Everything was excellent!

Last but not least – don’t forget to pay before you leave! Most restaurants will accept credit cards, but it’s still useful to check if they do.

Račun, molim. – Cheque, please.
Oprostite, primate li kreditne kartice? – Excuse me, do you accept credit cards?
Želite li platiti u gotovini ili kreditnom karticom? – Do you want to pay by cash or by credit card?

Tip: In Croatia, a tip is rarely included in the price. If you were happy with the service and want to reward the waiter…

U redu je, zadržite ostatak. – That’s alright, keep the change.

We hope that you enjoyed your Croatian food and that the food speaks for itself as an invitation to come again, but it’s never too much to hear it from the waiter, too! So…

Hvala i dođite nam opet! – Thank you and come again!

Want to learn to speak Croatian? Here is how you can:
Learn Croatian Online
We’ve been taking weekly Croatian language Skype lessons for some time now with our teacher, who provides an excellent service. She is currently taking on new students, so if you’re interested in learning or improving your Croatian, now is the time.

Learning Croatian one-on-one with a language teacher via Skype has been. It continues to be an excellent experience, as you can learn at your own pace, you have the flexibility of taking the lessons in the comfort of your own home, and you have your very own teacher to help you along the way.

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  1. Really useful article. Did not visit Croatia on my last Europe trip but surely planning to visit next time :)

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