On both entrances there are small places that offer drinks, snacks, sandwiches and more substantial meals. Lots of people travelling along the D1 road just stop here to eat in fresh air. They also have an outdoor seating so everything tastes better.
At entrance 1 there is a good restaurant called "LIcka kuca" (House of Lika; Lika is the name of this region of Croatia) that offer local specialties.
If you take an early morning bus from either Dalmatia or Zagreb this is the place for some coffee and sweets before you start your walking inside the park.
Inside the park food options are limited: bland not too cheap food at the few cafeterias - or tasty but overexpensive food at the hotels. As a middle of the road solution you could buy your food... middle of the road! Along the main road - where the buses stop - there are several women selling delicious home made bureks, jams and bread. So just buy your lunch there and head inside the park - and enjoy a pic-nic
Favorite Dish: bureks.. really delicious ones... my favourite (very subjective) are cheese bureks. and here near pltivice most are made with home-made cheese
There aren't many places to eat around the Plitvice area, so when we passed this good-sized restaurant with an inviting outdoor deck, we turned right in. The menu was the typical Croatian stereotype: some meat, some pasta, some fish--not too thrilling, but after a day of hiking around the lakes, it tasted mighty fine.
Favorite Dish: For some reason, the cheese plate at this restaurant stands out in my mind as one of the big winners among cheese plates I ordered in Croatia. Whatever the local cheese specialty was, I liked it!