Croatian cuisine is quite diverse so it is hard to say what meal is most typically Croatian. In the eastern continental regions (Slavonija and Baranja) spicy sausage such as kulen or kulenova seka is a must-try. Čobanac ("shepherd's stew") is a mixture of several different kinds of meat with a lot of red spicy paprika. In Hrvatsko Zagorje and Central Croatia pasta filled with cheese called štrukli is a famous delicacy, as is purica s mlincima (baked turkey with a special kind of pastry). Sir i vrhnje (sour cream with cottage cheese) can be bought fresh in the Zagreb main market, Dolac. Croats love a bit of oil and you will find plenty of it in piroška. In mountainous regions of Lika and Gorski Kotar meals made of mushrooms, wild berries and wild meat are very popular. One of typical dishes in Lika is police (oven-baked potatoes covered with bacon) and several kinds of cheese (smoked cheese and škripavac).
The coastal region is well known for truffle delicacies and soup maneštra od bobić (Istria), Dalmatian pršut and paški sir (Pag-island cheese). Dishes made of fresh fish and other products of the sea (calamari, octopus, crabs, scampi) shouldn't be given a miss.
Croatian cuisine has yet to come up with a Croatian fast food representative. The market is dominated by globally ubiquitous hamburgers and pizzas but you will also find burek and ćevapčići imported from the medieval Ottoman empire which stretched from Turkey to neighbouring Bosnia. The latter two dishes are widely popular in the entire South and Eastern Europe. Burek is a type of cheese-pastry whereas ćevapčići are seasoned minced meat shaped in finger-size portions served in bread and often covered with onions. Although definitely not a fast meal, also foreign in origin is the so-called sarma or sauerkraut rolls filled with minced meat and rice. For those coming back from nightclubs at 4 or 5 am, as is common in Croatia, it is popular to go to the local bakery and get fresh bread, burek or krafne (Croatian chocolate filled doughnuts) straight out of the oven.
Tobacco smoking is now banned in all enclosed public spaces, including restaurants and cafés.
Some say that eating is a Croatian sport and Zagreb is full of places to train, although the range of cuisine choices is narrow because most restaurants offer nearly identical bills of fare. Expect to find menus heavy with grilled meat and fish, Italian pastas and risottos, and a few traditional Croatian dishes. Other ethnic cuisines (except for Croatian and Italian) are thinly represented, but some of the better restaurants are adventuresome enough to experiment with unusual sauces and preparations. Pizzerias are the most common type of casual dining spot around the city centre, and Croatian pizza is remarkably good and inexpensive.
For snacks, many bakeries sell pizza by the slice as well as meat- and-cheese filled burek, baguette sandwiches, and other filled doughy treats that work as quick meals. For sweets, the city's ubiquitous cafés and slasticarnicas (ice-cream/pastry shops) provide indulgent treats in a dizzying array of types and flavours.
Restaurant Kvatric (Maksimirska 9) is a Croatian restaurant with very nice food for a reasonable price. It also has a nice terrace in the back garden. Another traditional Croatian restaurant is Mali Medo (Tkalčićeva 36). Lively atmosphere, youthful clientèle, and very affordable. Excellent ćevapčići and gulaš, not to mention superb beer.
Zagreb may not be synonymous with sushi restaurants, but Takenoko is superb. It is located in the Centar Kaptol. It is not cheap, but the sushi is incredible. If you are into French and Istrian style food, head to Panino; the restaurant is also located in the Centar Kaptol. Le Bistro, which also serves French cuisine, is within the Regent Esplanade Hotel.
For Mexican cuisine, Mex Cantina (Savska cesta 154) has good service, great food, and on Mondays (starting at 9 pm), they offer live music by the best Croatian mariachi band, Los Caballeros. Caramba (Frankopanska 6) and Feniks (five minutes walk from the Zagreb's main square), also serve Mexican food.
Restaurant Suhina (Dr. F. Tuđmana 1) is an old family-run restaurant on the old Samobor Road that offers a variety of roasted food.