Croatian in Croatia
Foreigners eating out in Croatia have to choose between formal restaurants and several informal alternatives. Formal restaurants are mostly found in big cities and along the coast. The most elite restaurants usually have a dress code, but even moderate sit-down restaurants will expect at least nicer casual clothes (no jeans, no shorts). Restaurants are typically open all day, but the lunch hour is between noon and 1:00 p.m. and dinner is served between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. Dinner is the main meal of the day, but many restaurants serve the same menu for both lunch and dinner. A formal dinner begins with a meat-broth based soup and continues with a main course of meat, potato, and salad. Common salads include lettuce salad, tomato and cucumber salad, or cabbage salad--all come with the dressing already mixed in. Croatian cuisine is meat-based with very few vegetarian alternatives. Dessert is usually a sweet cake or strudel. Desserts tend to be very sweet and rich by American standards.
A variety of informal options also exist. Pizza places serve medium to large size pizzas but also sell "pizzete" or "mala pizza," miniature pizzas designed for one person. Ice cream shops serve ice cream as well as pastries, cakes and "burek" made with either cheese or meat. Burek make a good lunch and are also available in bakeries. "Warm meat sandwich shops" serve hot sandwiches made with thick pita-like bread stuffed with meat. These sandwiches are the equivalent of Croatian "fast food." Many kiosks on the street sell hot dogs, sandwiches, pretzels, and special types of Croatian rolls. There are always plenty of places to get something to eat near the main market.