Pula feels quite different from every other city we’ve visited along the Croatian coast thus far. An industrial port city, it lacks the charm of a Dubrovnik, Zadar, or Rovinj and feels very much like a real working city. Outside of the spectacular Pula Arena, it doesn’t have as much in the way of tourist attractions.
But like any other city along the Croatian Coast, one thing you’re sure to find plenty of in Pula is amazing food. From restaurants serving traditional Istrian cuisine to pizzerias and health food restaurants, people who fly for food will certainly have lots to look forward to in Pula.
PULA RESTAURANTS QUICK LINKS
To help you plan your trip to Pula, we’ve put together links to top-rated hotels, tours, and other travel-related services here.
Recommended hotels and apartments in downtown Pula, the most convenient area to stay for first-time visitors to Pula.
- Sightseeing Tour: Historic Sites Guided Walking Tour
- Food Tour: Pula Food Walking Tour
- Olive Oil Museum: House of Istrian Olive Oil Museum and Guided Tasting
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MUST-VISIT PULA RESTAURANTS
1. Bistro Alighieri
Our Airbnb host gave us lots of good suggestions on where to eat in Pula. We wanted restaurants that serve traditional Istrian dishes so Bistro Alighieri was tops on our list.
Bistro Alighieri’s menu features many Istrian and Croatian specialties like prsut (Croatian prosciutto), local cheeses, pasta dishes, grilled fish, Adriatic squid, and blitva. The beautiful plate pictured below featured three of those aforementioned specialties so it was the obvious choice for me.
Called Sea Trio, what you’re looking at here are three types of seafood – Adriatic squid, skewered shrimp, and grilled white fish – served on a bed of blitva. Blitva refers to a garlicky Croatian dish made with Swiss chard and boiled potatoes. It’s a popular side dish that’s almost always served with seafood.
The Sea Trio was delicious but if you want something that’s a little less common, then you may want to try this black gnocchi with shrimp and peaches. Topped with arugula and slivers of cheese, the gnocchi probably gets its color from squid or cuttlefish ink, similar to black risotto.
We aren’t used to eating peaches in savory food so we were surprised with how well they went in this dish. They added a touch of sweetness and brightness to make an already delicious dish that much more interesting. Soooo good!
Like many restaurants in Pula, Bistro Alighieri offers both indoor and outdoor seating.
It’s worth noting that the people who own and operate Bistro Alighieri have another highly-rated restaurant not too far from here, called Pjero Istrian Gourmet.
Address: Danteov trg 3, 52100, Pula
Operating Hours: 8AM-11PM, daily
What They Offer: Seafood, meat dishes, vegetarian options
2. Bistro Romantic Alley (Great Restaurant for Traditional Istrian Cuisine)
Bistro Romantic Alley is a great restaurant we randomly found while exploring downtown Pula. We became excited to eat here after seeing these four words on the restaurant’s menu – boar with homemade gnocchi.
Before doing our best Obelix impression, we lined our stomachs with these refreshing bowls of seasonal salad.
We haven’t encountered dishes with wild boar too often in Croatia so we jumped at the chance to try it here at Bistro Romantic Alley. Gamier than pork and with a soft, fall-apart texture similar to slow-cooked beef, this heaping plate of boar with homemade gnocchi was absolutely delicious.
We chatted with the friendly owners during our meal and they confirmed that the dark color comes from the boar’s blood. It reminded us of a Filipino dish called dinuguan so we added a splash of vinegar for some acidity. It made an already tasty dish even better!
We’ve had many delectable dishes in Croatia thus far, but this has been one of our favorites.
I’m a simple guy. If I see octopus on a restaurant’s menu in Croatia, then there’s a good chance I’ll order it. Served with blitva, these octopus tentacles were tender and super delicious, which pretty much describes every octopus dish we’ve had so far in Croatia.
Whether you’re into fresh fish or grilled meats, Bistro Romantic Alley will have something for you. The owners are warm and friendly and make really good food. Eating here made us feel like we were enjoying a meal with family.
Bistro Romantic Alley
Address: Maksimijanova ul. 9, 52100, Pula
Operating Hours: 10AM-12MN, daily
What They Offer: Seafood, meat dishes
Located just a short walk from Forum Square, Orfej is another good restaurant to visit for traditional Croatian food in Pula. They offer a wide menu of grilled meats, seafood, salads, and pizza.
Bluefin tuna is a specialty along Croatia’s Adriatic coast so you’ll find many restaurants serving tuna steak. This wasn’t the best tuna steak I’ve had in Croatia (slightly overcooked) but it was hefty and still pretty good. At just EUR 18 (November 2023), it was one of the cheaper tuna steaks I’ve found as well.
We’re partial to seafood – especially in a country like Croatia – but once in a while, we’ll crave the occasional meat dish as well. Today, we tried the raznjici which refers to different types of meat grilled on a skewer. A popular Balkan dish, you can think of it as the Croatian version of Greek souvlaki.
Based on what I’ve read, raznjici is typically made with pork or chicken. At Orfej, they make them with pork tenderloin served with a side of raw onions and ajvar (pepper condiment).
Many of Orfej’s main dishes come with your choice of side dish. We chose grilled vegetables with both of ours.
Orfej is a simple restaurant that offers good Croatian food at affordable prices in a relaxed atmosphere. Our server was super friendly and attentive as well which made the dining experience even more enjoyable. Hvala!
Address: Ul. Porta Stovagnaga 15, 52100, Pula
Operating Hours: 12NN-9:30PM, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays)
What They Offer: Seafood, grilled meats, pizza
4. Street Food Two
Aside from traditional local food, we prioritize healthy eating when we travel so we were happy to find a few restaurants that offered vegetarian options in the downtown area. Our Airbnb host offered a couple of suggestions for healthy restaurants in Pula but we decided on Street Food Two after reading their reviews.
They aren’t a vegetarian or vegan restaurant but their menu features healthier eating options like tofu poke bowls, chicken burritos, and salads. The beautiful and bountiful dish pictured below is their tofu poke bowl. It’s made with marinated tofu served with rice, carrots, spinach, coleslaw, cabbage, cucumbers, radish, and pickled ginger. If you like, you can ask for the dressing to be made vegan as well.
Equally delicious and heart-healthy was this salad bowl made with sweet corn, carrots, baked beetroot, cous cous, and feta cheese served over a medley of salad greens.
I read a local reviewer call their burritos one of the best in Pula so I had to try it. They make it with either chicken or beef wrapped in a wheat tortilla with beans, corn, bell peppers, salad greens, cheese, and tomato and yogurt sauce. Delicious indeed!
If you’re looking for a restaurant that serves healthy eating options at affordable prices in downtown Pula, then Street Food Two is a great place to visit. In November 2023, dishes ranged between EUR 6-12.
Street Food Two
Address: Veronska ul. 2a, 52100, Pula
Operating Hours: 10AM-4PM, Mon-Thurs / 10AM-3PM, Fri (closed Sat-Sun)
What They Offer: Burritos, salads, vegetarian dishes
After spending nearly two months exploring coastal Croatia, we realized that there are two types of restaurants you’re guaranteed to find many of in every major city – pizzerias and gelaterias. In Pula, we wanted to find the best gelato shop and our search led us to Fortuna – a gelateria and pasticceria that’s been open since 1948.
Pictured below is a scoop each of pistachio and amarena yogurt. By this time, I thought that most gelaterias in Croatia were created equal (ie all delicious) but Fortuna’s gelato has been some of the best we’ve tried so far. Super creamy, thick, and delicious!
If you’re craving for good gelato in Pula, even in winter, then you may want to try a scoop or two at Fortuna.
Here’s a look at some of Fortuna’s gelato flavors. So happy to find them still open in mid-November.
Aside from gelato, Fortuna offers many different types of pastries, crepes, and sandwiches as well.
Address: Istarska ul. 18, 52100, Pula
Operating Hours: 7AM-11PM, daily
What They Offer: Gelato, sandwiches, crepes
6. Brajde Winery
If you’re a wine drinker, then you may want to check out this newly opened winery not too far from Pula Arena. We’d pass this place on our way to and from Konzum supermarket so we decided to give their wine a try.
Brajde offers just two types of wine on their wine list – Istarska Malvazija and Teran. The region produces many different types of wine but if you want to taste something truly Istrian, then Istarska Malvazija and Teran are the two you need to try. They’re flagship varietals and account for the majority of Istria’s wine production.
Here’s my better half proudly showing off our bottle of Teran. At the time of our visit, a liter bottle of Teran was being sold for EUR 3 while the Istarska Malvazija was a little cheaper, at EUR 2.50 per liter.
What better way to say goodbye to Pula than with a glass of its locally-produced Teran?
If you prefer white, then you can try the Istarska Malvazija. Also known as Malvasia Istriana, the name Malvasia is shared by many grape varieties in the Mediterranean but Istarska Malvazija can be found only in Istria.
Address: Poljana Svetog Martina 25, 52100, Pula
Operating Hours: 11AM-10PM, Wed-Mon / 11AM-1PM, Thurs-Sat (closed Sundays)
What They Offer: Istrian wine
We didn’t go to these last four restaurants but I thought I’d add them anyway in case some travelers needed more recommendations in Pula. With the exception of the last one, all these restaurants were recommended to us by our Airbnb host.
7. Pizzeria Jupiter
From reading the reviews, it’s clear that Pizzeria Jupiter is one of the most popular restaurants in Pula. As of this writing, they maintain a Google rating of 4.6, even after over 10,200 reviews!
As you can guess from the restaurant’s name, Pizzeria Jupiter is a local favorite known for their pizzas, pasta dishes, grilled meats, and seafood. They stayed open even at the start of winter – even though many restaurants in town were already closed – so it looks to be a good place to visit at any time of the year.
Address: Castropola ul. 42, 52100, Pula
Operating Hours: 12NN-11PM, Tue-Sat / 1-11PM, Sun (closed Mondays)
What They Offer: Pizza, pasta dishes, seafood, grilled meats
8. Gagliardo by Boccaporta
Our Airbnb host recommended Boccaporta to us. I’m not sure if she meant this one or Konoba Boccaporta which is located around a 50-minute walk from Forum Square. Both appear to be owned and operated by the same family.
We love konobas (tavern-style restaurants) so we decided to check out Konoba Boccaporta. Around a quarter of the way there, we realized that 3.5 km (2.2 miles) may be a bit much for most people so we turned around.
Located in central Pula, Gagliardo by Boccaporta is the more accessible of the two. Like the konoba, they’re a highly-rated restaurant that offers breakfast, Istrian pasta dishes, burgers, steak, and seafood dishes.
Address: Trg Portarata 2, 52100, Pula
Operating Hours: 8AM-10PM, Mon-Wed / 8AM-12MN, Thurs-Sat (closed Sundays)
What They Offer: Breakfast, burgers, steak, seafood, pasta dishes
9. Fresh Sandwiches and Salads
Fresh Sandwiches and Salads is one of two healthy restaurants that our Airbnb host recommended to us. Located in downtown Pula, they offer a wide menu of salads, smoothies, wraps, and sandwiches. Check them out if you’re interested in having something light and heart-healthy in Pula.
Address: Anticova ul. 5, 52100, Pula
Operating Hours: 8AM-2PM, Mon-Fri (closed Sat-Sun)
What They Offer: Salads, wraps, sandwiches
10. Backyard Restaurant
I take early morning walks everyday and I was happy to find Backyard Restaurant by chance. It’s located in a residential neighborhood not too far from Pula Arena.
Aside from their impressive Google rating, I was intrigued by the restaurant’s location and its focused menu featuring just breakfast and a handful of seafood dishes. They plate their dishes beautifully and the space itself looks interesting as well.
Outside of breakfast, their prices were a bit on the high side so we decided to skip it, but if you like going to these hidden gems, then you may want to check them out.
Address: Emova ul. 12, 52100, Pula
Operating Hours: 9AM-9PM, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays)
What They Offer: Breakfast, seafood
To help you find these restaurants in Pula, I’ve pinned them all on the map below. Click on the link for a live version of the map.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST PULA RESTAURANTS
We visited Pula during the fall/winter shoulder season so many restaurants were already closed. You’ll have more options during the summer season but as this list shows, there’s still plenty of good food to be had in Pula even during the off-season.
In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading this article on some of the best restaurants in Pula. Have a great time in Istria!
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