8 National Dishes You Must Try on Your Trip to the Mediterranean


When it comes to travelling, one of the best experiences is trying different foods from all around the world, and this is especially true in the Mediterranean. The area is famed not only for its amazing produce and healthy diets, but also for the outstanding local dishes that will leave your taste buds singing. Here we’ve rounded up some of the best for you to sample on your visit: 

Barcelona, Spain


It’s said that during its inception, paella was made with rats and eagles – but thankfully those times have passed and the main ingredients nowadays include chicken or rabbit and sofrito, which is a mix of vegetables fried in olive oil. Sofrito is said to be key element to making a good paella and the secret of its yellow colour is saffron, one of the most expensive spices in the world.

paella national dish spain

Cannes, France


Originally made by Marseille fishermen with bony fish they were unable to sell, bouillabaisse is now one of France’s best-loved dishes. Made with a Mediterranean rockfish broth and Provençal herbs and spices, this delicious soup usually contains at least four types of fresh fish. The delicious spicy rouille, a saffron-spiked mayonnaise, added to the soup when it is served is definitely the standout star of the dish. Make sure you don’t skimp on thick wedges of crusty, fluffy bread, you’re going to need it to soak up every last drop.

Rome, Italy

Pizza Bianca

This focaccia style bread can be found in bakeries all over Rome, and is definitely one delicious treat that you can’t leave without sampling. Translated as ‘white pizza’, it is basically a crispy, fluffy pizza base sprinkled with salt, but it really does hit the spot. It is the ultimate street food of Rome, and one of the few things that locals will eat on the go. Make sure you grab one next time you’re feeling a little bit peckish, and you’ll realise that it’s so much more than just a pizza with no toppings.

Catania, Italy


These delicious, flaky, cream-filled treats were invented in Sicily, and they still make the best ones in the world. There’s nothing about Cannoli that can’t be described as heaven in a tube. They consist of a crunchy, fried dough, that’s then filled with sweetened ricotta and dipped in candied fruit, pistachios, or chocolate chips. As pretty as they are tasty, even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, you’ll be going crazy for this authentic taste of Sicily.

cannoli italian dish

Venice, Italy

Risotto al Nero di Sepia

It might look a little bit daunting, but trust us on this one. Risotto al Nero di Sepia is a Venice speciality, and once you taste this gorgeous, silky black risotto flavoured with squid ink you’ll see why. The combination of sweet risotto with salty squid and the savoury ink is a taste sensation that you won’t quickly forget. If you prefer, you can ask for it to be made with prawns or another type of seafood, but it really is best in its traditional form, tentacles and all

Dubrovnik, Croatia


This delicious beef dish, that is almost like a cross between a stew and a goulash, is a staple food in the Croatian diet. The meat is stuffed with garlic, cloves, carrots and bacon before being salted and left to marinate overnight, creating a mouth-wateringly fragrant flavour. It is then roasted with bacon, onions, parsley, nutmeg, prunes, tomato and sweet dessert wine until it is deliciously tender. It’s usually served with gnocchi and makes a wonderful hearty evening meal that is an authentic taste of Croatia.

Ephesus, Turkey


Whilst Turkey is famous for its doner kebabs, there are plenty of other wonderful local treats to try during your visit. Börek is a kind of pie that is usually filled with meat, cheese, potato or spinach and is sold in most bakeries, although dedicated shops make the best examples. There are a few different types, such as su börek, which has a very soft, wet pastry, and sigara borek, which is rolled into a long, thin shape. They’re perfect for grabbing as a quick snack whilst you’re on the move, or, alternatively, make an amazing breakfast at the start of a long day.

borek turkey national dish

Santorini, Greece

Fava Beans

Greece has so many delicious dishes to choose from, but it is fava beans that tourists and locals alike rave about in Santorini. The volcanic soil in the area makes the ones grown in the region taste sweeter, and they’re made into a tasty mash that is surprisingly moreish. Butter, chopped onions, capers and paprika are added to the mash to make a fantastic meal that you’ll want to eat over and over again. Don’t let the texture put you off, this is one of the few creamy dishes that still tastes good on a hot day.

If this sample of the culinary delights of the Mediterranean has whetted your appetite for a trip to this gorgeous part of the world, book one of our affordable cruises. Browse and book on the Cruise1st website, or call our dedicated sales team on 1300 857 345.

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