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Croatian Pizza: What’s the Hype + Where to Try it in 2024

If you’re reading this, you might be looking for the best places to find Croatian pizza. Or perhaps you’re wondering why Croatian pizza is a big deal. Either way, I’ve got you covered!

Croatia, a country renowned for its stunning coastline, rich history, and vibrant culture, has a surprising secret to offer the world: its remarkable pizza.

Now, you may be wondering why Croatian pizza is a big deal. After all, it’s hard to compete with our Italian neighbors, who have long held the title of pizza maestros.

But let me tell you, Croatian pizza is some of the best in the world. While similar to Italian-style pizza, Croatian pizza has its own distinctive flavor that sets it apart, making it an absolute must-try for any pizza-lover.

Having lived in Croatia since 2014, I’ve sampled many pizzas all over the country. From tasty pizzas while exploring Zagreb, to the coastal towns of Dubrovnik and Split, I’ve been working hard to bring you the top Croatian pizzas in the country.

So if you’re seeking the best pizza in Croatia and want to learn more about what makes Croatian pizza so irresistibly delicious, keep reading!

Two wood fired Croatian pizzas on a table

Croatian Pizza

What You Didn’t Know About Croatian Pizza

Before we dive into all of the savory details of Croatian pizza, let me take you on a little trip down memory lane to my very first encounter with pizza in Croatia.

Way back when I was in 7th grade visiting from the United States, my Croatian friend invited me out to pizza with her family.

We went to Dvojka, a famous Zagreb pizzeria in Kaptol that had been in business for decades (it has sadly closed since). There were three major things that happened during this pizza experience that blew my 7th-grade-mind:

  • Pizza in Croatia was eaten with a fork and knife
  • Tomato sauce was synonymous with “ketchup”
  • Sour cream was ordered on the side (kind of like Ranch dressing)

Despite being petrified when the waiter asked me if I wanted “ketchup on my pizza”, the overall experience was fantastic!

Now that you know what to expect, this next section will go into further detail about what sets Croatian pizza apart, and why you should have it on your list of foods to try while visiting Croatia.

What Sets Croatian Pizza Apart

Fresh ingredients

Much like Croatian food, Croatian style pizza prides itself on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The tomatoes used in the sauce are homegrown and bursting with flavor, while the mozzarella is of top-quality, resulting in a creamy and indulgent bite with each slice.

Additionally, pizzas in Croatia almost always incorporate a variety of Mediterranean herbs like oregano and basil.

Wood burning oven

All good Croatian pizzas are baked in a wood fired oven. This technique imparts a unique smoky flavor to the pizza, creating a beautiful contrast between the crisp crust and the toppings.

The intense heat of the wood-fired oven ensures that the pizza cooks quickly and evenly, resulting in the perfect balance between texture and taste. There is just something about the flavor of a perfectly charred, wood fired pizza, that no other type of pizza can compete with.

Homemade Dough

When it comes to Croatian pizza recipes, one of the defining characteristics of a good pie is its thick, bread-like homemade dough.

This style of dough is reminiscent of the classic Napoli-style pizza found in Naples, Italy. The thickness of the dough provides a sturdy base that can hold the generous toppings, allowing you to savor each bite.

Unique Toppings

While Croatian pizza shares some common toppings with its Italian counterpart, such as tomato sauce, cheese, and ham, it also embraces some distinctive additions.

Corn and zucchini are popular toppings for vegetarian pizzas, and some pizzas (particularly on the coast) even include shrimp!

The most common pizza is “capricciosa”, also called “miješana” in the Croatian language. This translates to “mixed” pizza which always includes tomato sauce, cheese, thinly sliced mushrooms, and ham.

If you want to blend in with the locals, this is what you should order!

Sauce on the side

Yes, you read that correctly! While there is already sauce on the pizza itself, Croatians love ordering extra tomato sauce on the side. This allows you to customize the amount of sauce you want on your pizza, and provides the perfect dipping sauce for your crust.

Pizza topped with local prosciutto, arugula, and freshly grated parmesan cheese at Pizzeria Rumore in Labin, Istria
A freshly baked pizza at the Zagreb Pizza Festival

Where to Find the Best Croatian Pizza

Zagreb – if you’re staying in Zagreb, there are a few excellent pizzerias that are worth checking out. Franko’s Pizza & Bar serves up delicious Neapolitan-style pizza in a lovely atmosphere, Pizzeria Duksa makes pizza with a super thin crust and original toppings, and Basta is always a fantastic choice in the city center boasting a certificate from the True Neapolitan Pizza Association.

Labin – when traveling through Istria, Pizzeria Rumore is an absolute must-visit! Stop here for a lunch break and sink your teeth into a pie from one of the award-winning pizzerias in all of Croatia. (Their pizza is pictured in the photo above on the left).

Pula – also located on the Istrian peninsula, Pula is home to Jupiter, one of the longest-standing pizzerias in the area that is a favorite among locals.

Split – break up Split boat tours with some tasty pizza at Bokamorra, and try one of their specialty cocktails while you’re at it!

Hvar – when visiting Hvar Town, stop by La Bocca for delicious pizza and Croatian wine.

Dubrovnik – while the prices for pizza in Dubrovnik may be slightly higher, Pizzeria Tobasco is a great little spot outside the city walls for grabbing a cheap bite of tasty Croatian pizza.

Here’s a pro tip if you’re ordering pizza at a restaurant in Croatia – ask for a pitcher of water. The tap water in Croatia is perfectly safe to drink, but many restaurants make you think you have to buy the bottled water.

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    How to say pizza in Croatian?

    Pizza in Croatian is said the same way it is pronounced in English – “pizza”.

    Is pizza popular in Croatia?

    Yes! Pizza is a popular dish in Croatia. In fact, Croatian pizza is some of the best in the world!

    Final Thoughts on Croatian Pizza

    By now you know that pizza in Croatia vs Italy is definitely a close tie.

    While Italy may be renowned for its pizza, Croatia offers a distinctive and delightful twist on this beloved dish. From the freshness of its ingredients to the unique toppings and the artistry of wood-fired ovens, Croatian pizza is one of the best in Europe.

    Whether you’re indulging in the classic “capricciosa” or embracing the creative variations that Croatian pizzerias have to offer, one thing is certain: Croatian pizza is an experience that will leave you craving more.

    Before you go, make sure you check out these amazing restaurants in Zagreb (including some more of my favorite pizza spots)!

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