It’s no secret that I love to travel. Yet, traveling with Celiac can sometimes pose a bit of a challenge. Despite the abundance of fresh produce and seafood, I found Croatia one of the more difficult locations to eat gluten free. That said, it’s definitely doable and helps to have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve for eating gluten free in Croatia.
Restaurants In Split
Out of all the places we visited in Croatia, Split was probably the easiest to navigate for gluten free food. Some restaurants even had gluten free menus, and there was a variety of fresh local markets where we could pick up produce and gluten free items.
Makarun was our first dining stop when we arrived in Split. My parents, who are also gluten free, visited this restaurant on their trip to Croatia about a year ago and highly recommended it. I have to say, Makarun did not disappoint. The restaurant is located in a hidden courtyard and has a beautiful, private outdoor area where you can enjoy your meal away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Split.
We ordered the catch of the day baked in salt with the classic Dalmatian side of Swiss chard and potatoes. Makarun had gluten free bread and we got a bottle of dry white wine from Korcula. It was the perfect first meal on our trip to Croatia.
Step By Step Restaurant and Health Food Bar
Step by Step was so good that we ate there twice! I loved the extensive gluten free menu, filled with smoothies, salads and fresh seafood. I had peace of mind eating at Step By Step because they clearly addressed and understood cross contamination, so I knew my meal was safe. We tried the Croatian classic, squid ink risotto, and yes, it turns your mouth black.
Zoi is an incredible restaurant located on a terrace of Diocletian’s Palace in Split’s Old Town. Fun fact: Zoi is located where the Emperor’s apartment was! So of course it had the best views of the palace and waterfront. If it was fit for an Emperor, it’ll definitely satisfy tourists looking to sample fresh gluten free food in Croatia! We timed our dinner perfectly, as an impending thunderstorm poured right after we finished our meal.
The food was delicious! Plus, they had gluten free bread and we were able to choose what to eat easily, as most of the menu items are naturally gluten free. Because Zoi is a fine dining restaurant, they’re more equipped and familiar with catering to dietary restrictions.
Brasserie On 7
Brassiere on 7 is a great restaurant right on the waterfront with stunning ocean views. The patio area is a gorgeous place to watch the sunset and enjoy delicious food. While the menu did not clearly mark gluten free items, the server was very well versed in gluten and told us what was safe and not safe. I had the risotto and the restaurant even had gluten free bread.
One thing I loved about Split was all the fresh juice stands scattered around the city. I was hesitant to try one at first because items portrayed as fresh juice are often loaded with sugar and mystery ingredients. Luckily, that was not the case with these juice stands, as each one had fresh squeezed juice on site. It was really refreshing on a hot day to grab a fresh squeezed juice to quench my thirst.
We spent 7-days sailing around Croatia, and after our final night in Split we had dinner at Chops, a steak and seafood restaurant. Most of the menu items at Chops were gluten free, but I was surprised to learn that a lot of the sides had gluten or flour in them, which was disappointing. I played it safe and stuck to a grass fed steak and grilled veggies on the side.
Restaurants On Brac, Vis, Hvar and Palmizana
Croatia’s islands are remote, making the food options a bit more limited. We were fortunate to have at least one safe restaurant option on each island. The best way to eat gluten free while island hopping is to stick to fresh seafood and veggies. Additionally, the markets on each island were great to stock up and make a salad or simple dinner aboard our sailboat as well.
Ranc Restaurant - Brac
Brac was a little bit of a challenge to find a safe gluten free restaurant. We tried to eat at a restaurant near the waterfront because we wanted to try the catch of the day. However, after talking with the manager we decided the restaurant wasn’t a safe option because of the risk of cross contamination. Good ol’ Google led us to a restaurant at the top of the hill called Ranc, and it was awesome. There are no reservations allowed, and you show up and use the honor system; the restaurant calls for tables depending on party size. Fortunately, we were the second party waiting for a table for two and got seated fairly quickly. We indulged in the fresh seafood platter for two and it was delicious!
Black Pepper - Hvar
Black Pepper is located in Hvar Town and I was delighted to find that the menu had an extensive amount of gluten free items clearly marked. I loved the ambiance of this charming little restaurant, which pours into the streets with a terrace of tables and a private back patio. The food was great and the menu clearly listed exactly which items were gluten free, and how they prevent cross contamination.
Hula Hula - Hvar
Hula Hula is a beach club and a restaurant on the island of Hvar. If you want fresh and delicious gluten free food with an amazing view, head to Hula Hula. I appreciated how the staff was willing to accommodate my diet and I enjoyed a fresh salad and delicious seafood with a stunning view.
Totos - Palmizana
Totos is another great restaurant with a view, located right on the beach in Palmizana near the marina. I loved this open air restaurant where you can enjoy a fresh breeze along with a fresh catch and a glass of wine to round out the breezy and comfortable atmosphere. Eating at Totos was a perfect way to end an amazing beach day, and fortunately most of the menu items were gluten free. Our first server didn’t know much about gluten, but thankfully another server was also gluten free and happily accommodated us.
Restaurants In Dubrovnik
After island hopping around Croatia, we returned to Dubrovnik where it was a bit easier to find gluten free options on menus again. Here is a round up of where we ate safe, gluten free food in Dubrovnik.
Porat in The Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik
We stayed at the Hilton Imperial Hotel, which was awesome btw! Hilton hotels are great at accommodating celiacs and allergies in general, and the Imperial had a lovely restaurant called Porat where we ate our breakfasts, as well as enjoyed a lunch one day. We opted for the risotto for lunch and breakfast was a full buffet. As a celiac, I could not eat from the buffet due to cross contamination, but the restaurant let us order eggs, bacon and fruit a la carte that came straight from the kitchen. Even if you are not staying at The Hilton Imperial, Porat provides a safe meal and beautiful terrace to enjoy your meal while out and about exploring the town.
For our first dinner in Dubrovnik, we went to Dalmatino and it was safe and delicious. The food was so fresh, and you really can’t go wrong with local fish, veggies and a bottle of wine when dining in Croatia. Dalmatino’s menu is described as traditional Croatian food with a twist—and it did not disappoint. The server knew exactly what gluten was and what we could eat and not eat. The majority of the menu was already gluten free, which made things a lot easier.
Gradska Kavana Arsenal
Gradska Kavana Arsenal is a gorgeous restaurant right in the mix of everything in the main plaza. I loved sitting at a table and people watching while enjoying a delicious meal. While Gradska did not have a gluten free menu, most of the menu items were gluten free. The restaurant staff understood what gluten was and even had gluten free bread, so it was pretty safe to eat there. I also tried French fries which were cooked in their fryer, and when I tested them with my Nima sensor, I found they were safe!
LAJK Restaurant Dubrovnik
On our last night, we ate at Lajk Restaurant and many items on the menu were clearly marked gluten free. The chef answered questions about cross contamination, which made me feel safe eating there. Fortunately, the food was very good, too! We ate gluten free pasta, risotto and Rožata, which the server described as panna cotta, but better. I honestly think it tasted more like flan, but either way, it was delicious and gluten free!
While Croatia did pose challenges as a Celiac, one thing that made eating gluten free there was how many fresh ingredients are used in the local cuisine—especially the seafood and produce. The real risk factor is cross contamination, which is why it helps to always ask questions and go to restaurants that know how to cater to gluten free guests.
Are you planning a trip to Croatia? Be sure to follow my gluten free restaurant guide and check out my other Croatia guides below!
Check Out My Other Croatia Guides
Are You A Gluten Free Restaurant In Croatia?
I am always on the hunt for amazing gluten-free food when I travel. Please reach out and tell me about your restaurant and I will let you know when I am back in Croatia!
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