The Most Popular Dishes in Istria, and Where to Try Them

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Where to go online to find the very best Istrian food and its most authentic recipes?

Food and wine are essentials for a successful holiday, and with people travelling more than ever and wanting to find those local, authentic experiences, learning about and trying traditional local dishes is a holiday highlight for many. And while guidebooks will always give a certain amount of information and recommendations, and TripAdvisor will always rate the ‘best’ restaurants, it is often the case that such recommendations focus on food in general, and not the local dishes that foodies want to check out on their travels. Travelling to a new country to try a TripAdvisor-recommended pizza may be ok for some, but if you are looking to learn more about the dishes which locals eat, this approach is unlikely to help too much. 

Enter TasteAtlas, a new website and food information concept, which we have already featured on TCN, with an interview with its owner a few months ago

The concept of TasteAtlas is extremely simple that one wonders why it had not been done before – a global map of local dishes, with detailed descriptions on each, more than 5,000 so far – and recommendations on where to try the best examples of an individual dish. Unlike TripAdvisor, however, the reviews are not based on customers, but rather on an algorithm based on reviews by food critics. 

The site, which still has not officially launched, but which can be navigated via its search tool, has already received critical acclaim all over the globe, and it continues to grow daily, as new dishes are added. It is growing in popularity as more people learn of this new way to educate themselves and find the very best local food in the most-highly recommended eateries. 

The site is nicely arranged in various ways according to region and type of food, and the French cheese map and Italian pasta map have both proved popular, for example. Croatia is famed for its regional cuisine, and a search for Dalmatia brings up some of the lesser-known dishes which don’t appear on many tourist menus. Here is how the popular dish, Istarska jota, is described, complete with recommended restaurants in Istria where the best servings are to be found:


Istarska jota is an old dish that has been considered a poor man’s meal in the past. It is made with simple ingredients such as beans, sauerkraut or sour turnips, potatoes, bacon, spare ribs, onions, and garlic. All of the ingredients are seasoned with a few selected spices. The only constants of the dish are sauerkraut and olive oil, an unusual blend of Mediterranean and Central European influences on the region. This stew is extremely popular in Istria and north-western Croatia, but also in parts of Slovenia and north-eastern Italy, specifically the territories that were under the Austro-Hungarian rule.

To check out other local Istrian specialities, click here.


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