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Cafés, Coffee & Bars

Croatian cafes (kavana or kafić) serve a full range of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks throughout the day, and serve as important social hubs in the evening as well as the daytime.

Most of the smaller cafés do not serve food, although an increasing number of establishments (especially those in cities and tourist areas) are offering cakes, sandwiches, breakfasts and other snacks in response to changing lifestyle habits.


Coffee is a key organizing principle of Croatian society; people start the day with coffee, friends meet over coffee, business deals are done over coffee. For many, the cafe terrace is a substitute living space in which work, social contact and the art of enjoying the present moment all come together.

Most coffee (kava) is of the espresso variety; served black in small cups or in slightly bigger cups with milk (kava sa mlijekom). Filter coffee is sometimes available in areas that are used to tourists but is rarely consumed by locals.

Locals like their coffee strong; the large cups of milky takeaway coffee common in western countries are not popular here, and western coffee-shop franchises have found it very difficult to put down roots in a country that considers its own brews to be better.

Eat & Drink Zagreb

Art Kavana, Zadar

Tortes & tarts

Cacao, Rijeka

Great choice of cakes (b,l,d; €)

Čorni Petar, Jelsa

Bay-side bliss

Dubrovnik Beer Company

Laid-back spot for local brews (pm; €)

Gradska Kavana, Dubrovnik

Traditional venue for coffee & desserts (am & pm; €)

Oš Kolač, Split

The desserts of dreams (am & pm; €)

The Daltonist Craft Bar, Split

Craft beer, cocktails & good food (b,l,d; €€)

Slastičarna U Prolazu, Samobor

Creamcake heaven

Uliks, Pula

Café with a James Joyce connection (am & pm;€)

Yum Pastry Shop, Šibenik

Creative cakes (am & pm; €)

Text © Jonathan Bousfield

Image by jb