Local foods of the Dalmatian coastline
Ah yes, I’m so filled with anticipation trying my first dish here in Split, one of the major historic cities along the Adriatic coastline in Croatia. I ordered a local Dalmatian seafood specialty green pasta from an outdoor cafe far from the touristy old center of Split. The dish I just ordered was taking some time to prepare due to the fact that we were the first lunch diners at the scene – no worries, I’m just enjoying my first glass of a local white wine from the area. My dish finally comes out in a huge platter enough to serve two people even though it’s a single serving of seafood pasta with clams, mussels and some other shell-fish I can’t seem to distinguish. Ah so yummy with the buttery and a pungent garlic flavored sauce that silky smooth in each bite. I am enjoying my first taste of Croatian food and it is delicious!
The local wines in the area are delicious, I’m drinking a local house white wine called Malvasia – it is smooth and flavorful paired with the seafood pasta. While I’m busy devouring the pasta, a nice simple green salad is presented afterwards to clean my palate. Everything I’ve tasted so far is amazing, I’m also guessing when you just fly into Split before lunch with no snacks on the plane anything will taste good. I was pleasantly surprised at the good quality of both the wine and the fresh seafood pasta – this was a nice first meal and I was excited to try other local specialties from the Dalmatian coastal areas of Croatia.
Local Dalmatian specialties
Starting a meal with appetizers is a great way to explore the variety of fresh ingredients grown or produced in the area. Very popular appetizer dishes from Dalmatia include: tuna and shrimp salads, carpaccio, grilled calamari with lemon garnish or grilled sardines. Presented to our table below is a dish of olives, anchovies and mixed greens in a simple vinaigrette – perfectly balanced and nice acid bite that make you really focus on the fresh ingredients.
Of course any type of local fish is preferred at a café or restaurant, most dishes are prepared simply by grilling and served with lemon slices for garnish. You can also try any type of fish prepared in a stew, soup or breaded and fried.
You will not be disappointed with ordering seafood from a menu at any local restaurants – but do be forewarned, that restaurants typically in the historic districts especially along the main bay front or promenade areas tend to be tourist driven and are expensive – I had sticker shock just looking at all the menu prices for seafood dishes – and that was just for lunch time.
Here are a few more specialty local foods from the Dalmatian coastline:
Risotto is a very popular dish along the Adriatic coastline especially when you add fresh seafood caught that day, the Croatian version called Crni rižot is simply outstanding. Juicy morsels of squid, clams and local shell-fish make this a must try dish in any café or restaurant that you may happen to see on the menu.
A very popular side dish presented with any type of stew of meat or seafood, the Croatian dumplings or gnocchi along with a very simple mixed salad made with local olive oils and vinegar.
Some other Dalmatian specialties worth trying while you are visiting the coastal areas:
Brudet or local fish stew
Goulash variations are popular throughout Croatian with many regional specialties
Pasticada – a Dalmatian beef stew with prunes and dried figs
Croatian bakalar na bijelo – Salted cod with potatoes
Žganci – cornmeal dish in Slovenian and Northern Croatian cuisine, also known as polenta in Dalmatia
The foods of Dalmatia along the central coastal towns and cities of Croatia offer many of choices of delicious seafood, meat and fresh produce combined with Mediterranean flavors and culinary influences from surrounding countries bordering Croatia. Look for any of the specialties mentioned above and you will be in for a wonderful dining experience when you visit Dalmatia .
For more posts on visiting the fascinating city of Split, Croatia – check out my other stories below
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