Vegetarian cuisine has never been one of Croatia’s strong points, but there’s usually enough to choose from on restaurant menus if you look hard enough. Strict vegetarians should exercise caution however: many items that look like good vegetarian choices – the various risottos and bean soups are invariably made with fish or meat stock. Even in well-meaning restaurants, it’s not uncommon to find dishes advertised as “vegetarian” that turn out to have ham or chicken in them. Yummy-looking grilled vegetables may have been cooked on the same grill as the meat dishes, so be sure to ask.
Vegetarians can however construct a handsome meal from the meat-free dishes listed as starters or side dishes. Pastas with various sauces, mushroom dishes and sizeable salads are rarely hard to find. Mushroom omelettes (omlet sa gljiivama) and cheese fried in breadcrumbs (pohani sir) are fairly ubiquitous. Italian-influenced pizzerias and spaghetterias are perhaps the best bet: most pizzerias offer a pizza vegeterijanska featuring a selection of seasonal vegetables, and there’s usually a choice of meatless pasta dishes including, if you’re lucky, a vegetarian lasagne. One traditional meat-free dish is the cheesy štrukli although this is a north Croatian speciality that can rarely be found on the coast.
“Ja sam vegeterijanac” (vegeterijanka is the female form of the noun) means “I am a vegetarian.” To ask “Have you got anything which doesn’t contain meat?”, say “Imate li nešto bez mesa?”