Split, Croatia contains culinary multitudes. I spent a month in Split, eating and drinking my way through the city, and here are my favorite bites and sips. Includes plenty of budget options!

Eat and Drink in Split, Croatia

Sunset, my first evening in Split, Croatia. I’d arrived earlier that afternoon after an overnight in Dubrovnik. It had poured on the bus ride to Split, but everything cleared up, just as Kliss Fortress came into view, and, with it, Split and the Adriatic below. I’d gotten settled into my apartment and decided to stroll down toward the water to see what I could see, as well as what there was to eat and drink in Split, because I was getting a bit peckish.

My first sunset beer

I arrived at the Riva, and, seeing all of the cafés lining the seaside promenade, decided that I needed to get a drink. Most of the good seats were already taken by sunset takers in the know, but I found an empty table at Caffe Romano, ordered a cheap beer, and took in my first of a month’s worth of Sunset Beers before I headed off in search dinner. I would not be disappointed.

Eat and Drink in Split, Croatia

An allergy note

Those who’ve been to Croatia’s coast before are going to notice something reading this post—there’s no crustaceans or mollusks on this list. That, alas, is not because I’m a picky eater, but because I have an allergy. Split boasts world-class seafood, and you should indulge if you can. As I like being alive, I did not.

Eating and drinking in Split on a budget

Also, I was in Split for a month on a three-month journey around the Balkans. While fine dining in Split is more affordable than in, say, Paris, I was nonetheless on a budget. To my mind, my eating and drinking experiences were no less stellar, but this post doesn’t include the heavy hitters of Split’s dining scene.

Drinking lemonade at Restoran Vidilica overlooking Marjan Hill into Split, Croatia below

Eat & drink in Split: my favorites

With that out of the way, let’s begin. Here and there, I include an honorable mention, because it was just so close, but if you really want to get all of my best tips, you’re going to want my guide to Split (coming very soon), because I ate a lot of good food and drank lovely drinks, and you aren’t going to want to miss them. Subscribe today for access!

Consult the map below for locations and websites and be sure to consult as opening times can vary in this seasonal destination.

My favorite food & drink experience in Split—All About Olive Oil and Wine

There’s farm-to-table, and then there’s feasting on the farm where absolutely everything you indulge in, each bite and sip better than the last, came from a fourteenth-century farm in the shadow of Klis Fortress, served to you by the fourteenth-generation farmer.

You don’t just tour the farm—you’ll also feast

You can’t miss the All About Olive Oil and Wine tour. You don’t just get to tour the terraced farm (wear good shoes), and learn about olives and wine grapes and other delights from the garden (bonus if you’re there during pomegranate season—you’ll learn how to open one without making a huge mess). You then feast on homemade charcuterie, cheeses, and bread to accompany the spectacular olive oil and wine produced by the farm. 

A generous host and lively company

Marin is a generous host, and the setting above Split could not be more glorious. The groups are smaller, so as to fit around the table, and the conversation lively.

Don’t miss this incredible experience

Fascinating, gorgeous, and, most of all, delicious, this is my favorite experiences eating and drinking in Split, and, indeed, anywhere. You can book it through Airbnb Experiences (not an affiliate link—I’m just a superfan), and transportation is included in the price. Note that the location on the map is approximate, and you must book this in advance for the address.

Eat in Split

You’ll eat so well in Split! And also a lot. Unlike other parts of Europe, Croatia tends toward larger portions, so keep that in mind when ordering!

Menu from Villa Spiza, one of my favorite places to eat and drink in Split

Favorite dinner—Villa Spiza

Listen to what everyone says and head to Villa Spiza. Sometimes the sign of a great meal is that you don’t have a single useable photo, save for the menu. I was having so much fun and eating so well that I forgot to snap pictures. 

No reservations, cash only, and so worth it

Villa Spiza in the heart of Grad doesn’t take reservations, accepts only cash, has a rotating menu of whatever looked good at the market, and, provided you eat at the counter—which you absolutely should—a lively atmosphere. You’ll leave having had an excellent dinner and a wonderful time.

A lively evening

As I mentioned, it can be tough to snag a table at Villa Spiza, even in shoulder season, as this is a place popular with tourists and locals alike, but it’s totally worth the effort. One Saturday night, I managed to snag the last seat at the counter, next to a woman from Austria who was passing through. At the counter, we watched our meals and everyone else’s being prepared by a team that sang along to the disco/80s hits and watched servers ferry food to the more quieter area across the way.

Who ordered cheese?

One of them, wearing what looked to be a bridal-shower headband, burst into our area shouting, “Looking for the man in black top who ordered cheese! No? Where is the man in black top who ordered cheese?”

You probably had to be there to appreciate how funny it was, but this wasn’t a quiet meal. My companion and I at first were a little shocked, but we got into it, too, joining other diners and staff in singing bars of Blondie’s “Dreaming.”

Oh, and the food!

And the food? Delicious. The tikva (pumpkin soup) was perfectly seasoned, and I couldn’t stop eating the giant portion. I wasn’t expecting a meal-sized bowl, but that was on me, after over a month in the region. When the Balkans, expect huge portions. The lamb chops (alas, they had served the last of the sea bass just as I ordered) were perfectly cooked, and the pea mash, while simple, was a perfect accompaniment.

Great wine, too!

As I’d come to expect in the region, the wine was excellent. I was too full for dessert, but I ordered it anyway, enjoying a few bites of my tiramisu before surrendering. My only regret about Villa Spiza was that they took the remainder of October off, and I wasn’t able to eat there again.

Best Pizza—Pizzeria Gŭst

Pizza is relatively new to Split, having arrived in the 1970s, but they have more than made up for lost time. I tried a lot of pizza in Split, and I’m sorely tempted to award this in a few categories (fancy pizza, old-school pizza, etc.), but the pizza that satisfied me the most was from Pizzeria Gŭst.

Half the fun is finding Gŭst

Finding Gŭst is half the fun, because it’s not easy, even with Google Maps. You’re going to think that you’re lost, but it really is down that little alleyway. See that sign? Yeah, that’s it.

The place hasn’t be redecorated since it opened. Seasoned guys man the wood-fired pizza oven, slinging out pies that would cure your hangover if you had one and will comfort you all the same if you do not. The service is delightfully brusque.

Just a little bit greasy

Unlike a lot of pizza in the region, this pie is a teeny tiny bit greasy in the best possible way. You will be grateful for your knife and fork. The menu’s extensive—I got the prosciutto and was most pleased with my choice.

Wash your pizza down with a beer and just bask in the retro of it all.

Runner-up: Pizzeria Portas

It’s not entirely fair to compare these two pizza places, as, other than the main dish, they aren’t the same. Pizzeria Portas is located just inside the Golden Gate (hence the name Portas) and features an utterly charming grape-vine-covered terrace. The pizza, which is wonderful, is on the more upscale side, and it’s the kind of place to have wine with your pizza. I had pizza with proscuitto, cherry tomatoes, cheeses, and arugula, and enjoyed it very much. Depending on your mood, choose one or the other, and you really won’t go wrong.

Ćevapi at Kantun Paulina

Kantun Paulina is a Split institution, serving up ćevapi, Southeastern Europe’s delicious wonder (ignore what it looks like—really, it doesn’t look good), since the late 1960s. Wade past the people crouched around the bench outside, and elbow your way up to the tiny counter and order a ćevapi with everything (cheese, onions, and ajvar [a spread popularized in the former Yugoslavia]). If you’ve traveled in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the ajvar is heresy, but it’s delicious, and you should absolutely enjoy Split’s take on this classic.

Hope you’re hungry!

I hope you wore your eating pants, because this is super filling and messy as hell. Wash it down with a can of beer that you either picked up at the counter or at one of the nearby shops. You’ll probably need a nap afterwards.

Luka Ice Cream & Cakes had one of my favorite things to eat in Split, Croatia. This ice cream cone with Chestnut, Plum, and Rum with the shop in the background, will haunt me.

Best ice cream (perhaps anywhere, ever)—Luka Ice Cream & Cakes

I had the good fortune of staying just around the corner from Luka Ice Cream and Cakes, and someone had told me that it was The Place for ice cream. They were 100% correct, for Luka’s  makes some of the best ice cream I have ever had.

Ever-rotating flavors

You order your ice cream from a list of flavors that rotates daily through the window (go into the tiny bakery for the cakes—or the donuts, which are delicious). Specify your scoops, cup or a cone, and be prepared for the incredible. Traditional flavors like chocolate shine, but I will dream of the Chestnut, Plum, and Rum ice cream until the day I leave this mortal coil.

Sit in the square and watch the world go by

Enjoy your treat while sitting on the bench in the Imperium Caesar square and watch the world go by. While still in the pedestrian zone, the square is outside the palace, and, especially on football match days, you’ll catch a slice of local life.

Pomegranates from Split’s Green Market

This is a plug for Split’s Green Market, especially on a Saturday, as you might not be there during pomegranate season. However, if you are lucky enough to be there when this delectable fruit is in season, do not miss it (see my post on how to open them, or go on that Olive Oil and Wine tour and learn from him).

Whatever’s in season though, a Saturday morning trip to the Green Market is in order while you’re in Split. It’s open every day except for Sunday, but do be aware that the afternoons are for tourists and you aren’t going to see too many real farmers there.

Baked goods from Pekara Solin

Head to this bakery for fresh-baked bread. It’s off the tourist path, just outside the pedestrian zone, a bit and frequented more by locals. I stayed just down the street from them, and I got bread there all the time and was never disappointed.

Drink in Split

Split has loads of bars, and they get wild in the summer. This is more about the quality of the quaff (or the view) than clubbing or getting trashed.

Most welcomed coffee—Pour-over at D16

One of my favorite things about traveling in Europe is the coffee. Little cups of strong espresso goodness consumed in picturesque cafés make me so very happy. However, sometimes this American gal just wants her pour over. D16 delivered, and I was so very grateful. I’ve written about D16 before, as the location inside Diocletian’s Palace is a great place to work, but the coffee is excellent and worth the expense, compared with other cafés in Split.

Best cocktail—the Old Fashioned at Kava2

Speaking of cafés I’ve written about before, Kava2 deserves mention here as well. As with a good-old fashioned pour-over coffee, after a month and change in Europe, I found myself dearly missing a good cocktail. When I saw the Old Fashioned on the menu at Kava2 during their evening cocktail time, I ordered one up.

Make sure to not just get coffee at Kava2!

Having had the excellent coffee at Kava2, I expected a decent drink, but what I got was an outstanding one. In a region not known for its cocktail prowess, this was one of the better Old Fashioneds I’ve had in my life (if you like them, you know how easy they are to mess up). The guy told me that it was his special recipe that he’d tinkered with and was pleased that I enjoyed it as much as I did. The photo really doesn’t do it justice, but I was to busy enjoying it to snap photos of it.

Update, it looks like they do this a little earlier in the evenings now. I would check to confirm.

Runner up: Gin cocktails at KaKatun

This little café bar, tucked into Diocletian’s Palace, is open on Sundays and serves up gin cocktails, as well as coffee. A friend introduced me to it, and I went back a few times, pleased every time. If gin’s your poison, don’t miss it.

Wine at Marvlvus Library Jazz Bar

I’m cheating a little bit here, because, while I loved drinking wine at Marvlvus Library Jazz Bar, it wasn’t  because the quality of the wine was superior (it is very good). No, the reason why I loved this bar was beause it’s not often that I have ducked into a tiny little jazz bar with a floor built by the Romans, named after the father of Croatian literature.

That rare combination of popular AND good

This is another rare example of an establishment that is both popular AND good. I dearly miss this lovely spot, one of the best places to have a drink in Split. If you want a table and to savor things a bit, go at off-peak times. Otherwise, cram in there and enjoy it with everyone else who’s also heard that this bar can’t be missed.

Sunset beers on the Riva

This is also cheating a bit, because this is more of a plug for taking advantage of the location than the quality of the beer.

I’m not actually a big beer drinker anymore, but I made an exception in Split. There was something about sitting along the Riva, usually at Caffe Romana (good location, but only trust the beer), watching the sun set over Marjan Hill (or on the beach, over the water), that really hit the spot. If you want a different view, head on the Riva toward the West Bank and catch Split during golden hour.

Eat & drink in Split, Croatia: The map

Here’s the map of my favorite food and drink experiences in Split. Where available, the listings below include websites. Do note that Split is very much a sesaonal town and not every location is open year-round or with full hours.

Get Directions

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What are your favorite bites and sips in Split, Croatia?

I’d love to hear what you feasted on in Split! Let us know in the comments.

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