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Pelegrini: Rudolf Štefan's Mediterranean Breviary

Dalmatian grandmothers don’t care about presentation, they want pure taste and simplicity. I am convinced Rudi’s dishes would equally satisfy any Dalmatian grandmother and sophisticated palate of well travelled Epicurean.

Staff's voice

Best of both sides - Croatian-Hungarian culinary routes

Sunny morning was an extra motive to get up on Sunday and spend a whole day with Siniša Kovač from Dekanter Association and Hungarian friends from Turizmus Zrt. The trip was a part of Hungary-Croatia IPA Cross Border Co-operation Programme.

Zabrebites

Food & Wine Venues

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Restaurants
The area around Jastrebarsko and Plešivica is known for great winemakers, but not so good restaurants. They are scarce, boring and mostly very traditional. Karlo stands out. It's run by a local couple with international experience in restaurant business, who immediately set high standards. The setting is amazing - a lovely traditional wooden house in the middle of Plešivica hills, surrounded with vineyards and sleepy villages. The view from the terrace is amazing, refills your batteries immediately. The hosts are not only knowledgeable and professional, but also friendly and relaxed at the same time. It was hot and we walked to the restaurant from the nearby winery, so the only starter we ordered was local sparkling wine. Our hostess Marijana also brought their own cherry tomatoes with garlic to cool us down. For the main and only dish we chose veal liver with homemade pasta and duck breast with miniature štrukli, with mixed vegetable salads on the side. Both was skillfully paired with local wines. The food was really tasty and well prepared. Little details like presentation and creativity reveal that Navoj family knows what they are doing and they follow culinary trends. Even though the ingredients are local and seasonal, and most of the basic recipes simple and traditional, some international flair is present. Food is full of taste, familiar but not boring at all. Unfortunately, there was no time for dessert (strawberry dumplings!), but we did have some very interesting local aromatized wine to wash this filling lunch down. Prices are very reasonable, mind you. There's a story behind each dish or wine in Karlo, and I can't wait to hear and taste more of them.
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Trattoria Vodnjanka

Istria
Dinka Vitezića 4
Pula
+385 52 210 655
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Farm To Table
Although there are plenty of good restaurants and taverns in south Istria, like Konoba Batelina, Alla Beccaccia, Konoba Vodnjanka, Restaurant Milan and Restaurant Bodulka, the sad fact is that the center of Pula, with its tourist trap and fast food eateries, is a gourmet’s nightmare. Fortunately, a short walk from the fish and farmers market will take you to Buffet Vodnjanka, a family-run tavern offering a truly local experience and the flavors of good old times. The best time to eat there is between 11 am and 1 pm when the clientele is very mixed and atmosphere very relaxed, so don't be surprised to see businessmen in tie and suit and construction workers wearing blue coveralls occupying neighboring tables. It's the charm of "marenda", local name for a quick lunch/brunch, a respectable tradition that still thrives here despite the threats of unification of flavors and dietary habits. Gina Civitico, the cook, explains the winning formula of Vodnjanka: "We serve only traditional dishes, in a sense very modest and accessible to everyone but always prepared with great care." Her tripes in tomato sauce are literally melting in the mouth, leaving a delicious flavor. Then, her gnocchi with žgvacet or mouth-watering game stew, fuži and inevitable polpette in the most delicious sauce prepared following Gina's secret recipe... A must is also Gina's sardines in savor that can be served as a cold starter or with warm palenta. A few years ago, Moris, Gina's grandson and former roller skate champion, took the role of innkeeper. Although he is currently more involved in taking orders and serving guests (very efficiently and always with a smile!), there is no fear, Gina assures us, the secret recipes she inherited from her mother will be forgotten. No doubt, there is another generation who will passionately carry on the tradition of family Civitico. The full story of Buffet Vodnjanka.
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Trapan

Istria
Last impressions Classy rock & roll joint, meet ... Complex yet easy-to-understand ...
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Wineries
Open cellars day in Istrian wineries - what a treat. Bruno Trapan's Wine Station in Šišan is a bit off the beaten path, and that's just the way he likes it. Coming there just before closing time, we thought we'd only find a couple of tired waiters. But that's just not the way Trapan does business - this laid-back wine artist prides himself in swimming upstream. For example, having bought a stretch of land in the vicinity of the small village of Šišan a couple of years ago, Bruno experimented with the Istrian red variety of teran in what was considered an unorthodox place to complement his already renowned whites such as Uroboros malvasia. Both he and his customers were rewarded with some of the best teran in recent years, for which he has received unanimous praise from his peers. And we most definitely agree. Come to this classy rock & roll joint, meet your first people's winemaker and take home a few bottles of Terra Mare - you won't regret it one bit!
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Dobravac

Istria
Last impressions Seriously good vino accompanied... Oaza dobrog o/ukusa Food and wine pairing worth of ...
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Wineries
Having first tried Dobravac wines and olive oil at Kantinon bistro in downtown Rovinj, we decided to go to the source and explore this family business further. And boy were we happy with what we found! Although it was a hectic day for the staff, with the Red Bull Air Race going on, Karin took the effort to go through the wines with us in detail. The whites were particularly good. From the fresh Sonata and the richer Suita to the nearly honey-sweet Allegro muscat, we indulged in seriously good vino accompanied by tasty nibbles in the form of roasted almonds, cheese and dried Istrian sausages. Another star on the menu is the olive oil, made from a secret mix of several local and international olive varieties - a beautiful hue of golden liquid that just dissolves in your mouth like a light silk cloth full of flavor. See, I've just spontaneously burst into a haiku poem - imagine what this place could do to the faint-hearted?!
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Wineries
You don't expect an ambitious winery right above a central Dalmatian small town known only for tourism and resorts, literally a few hundred meters from the beaches. Kraljevski vinogradi ("Royal Vineyards") are actually on a position where the local monastery was growing grapes in the 11th century! Of course, these vineyards you see today are a bit younger, planted in 2009. Unlike winemakers from the surrounding area in Zadar's hinterland, they decided to focus on native Dalmatian varieties only. The ones you are used to seeing further down south, like Pošip, Plavac mali and Crljenak (Zinfandel). Of course, this was quite a controversial decision, but it's interesting to see these varieties thrive on a different location, with its own touch. Their fresh cold Pošip is a crisp summer wine, very food-friendly, lighter than its southern relatives. Plavac is also far from the full-bodied high-alcohol beast you can find on Pelješac, but very drinkable and pleasant. My favourite is Crljenak, smooth, fruity and very well-balanced. The tasting area is actually a rural tavern with a big terrace on the top of the hill, overlooking the vineyards and the sea. Very basic, but nice and quiet because you're so close to the beach and the crowds, yet far enough to relax and enjoy. Good thing is that they are open to visits daily and you can mostly just drop by. They still have to work on teh whole package in terms of wine tourism, but with a good vision, the potential is big. And I certainly hope to see Kraljevski vinogradi wines available in selected wine shops outside Dalmatia, which is still not the case. It's probably easier to find them in Japan or Sweden, where they export, than in Zagreb :)
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Restaurants
Take a glass of Marastina, local summer white wine coming right from Vodice winemaker Birin, order a handful of chef Anita's tapas like Adriatic shrimps in tempura served with creative salads and your after beach aperitif can start. Then go home, sleep one hour, take a shower and come back for multi course dinner. American style pork ribs with a superb gin tonic? Why not? Bravo Anita and the crew! Vodice have just got a good reason to come there for summer holidays.
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Fast Good
Samoborski lokal iznimno je simpatično i ugodno mjesto svijetlih boja i prirodnih materijala što je u skladu s njihovom filozofijom proizvodnje sladoleda (ali i kolača i sokova) od prirodnih sastojaka. Dakle, ništa iz vrećice. Ono što je najbitnije silna je kreativnost pri odabiru i kombiniranju sastojaka sladoleda. I tu su s igrom tek počeli. Namirnice su sezonske i kako se priča razvija, sve otkačenije, pa će sigurno biti dignutih obrva: sladoled od špinata, kamilice s marelicom, bazgom, ciklom, makom…pustili su mašti na volju. Očekivanja su često puno dramatičnija od samih okusa, pa će recimo sladoled od špinata tom povrću dugovati samo boju dok je kamilica ozbiljno zanimljiv okus. Linija s Cogito kavom (zagrebačka pržionica Cogito Coffee Roasters potekla iz cafea U Dvorištu) vraća među poznate kavene okuse. Naravno, to znači i da je kava kod Medenka svježe pržena stigla iz pržionice koju drže Matija&Matija, dečki koji svoju kavu pomno biraju na malim farmama u Africi i Južnoj Americi. Za one koji iz bilo kojeg razloga ne uživaju niti u sladoledu niti u kavi Medenko će se pobrinuti jednako raskošnom selekcijom fair trade čajeva te domaćih ledenih napitaka. Revolucija domaćeg sladoleda je počela! p.s. sve napisano je od strane osobe koju sladoled u životu uopće ne tangira puno :D
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Benazić

Istria
Last impressions Pioneer of Raša River Valley Te...
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Wineries
Neven Benazić originates from Pićan, a small hilltop town in East Istria, where he inherited the land on steep slopes just below nearby hamlet of Sveta Katarina. As he explains, it is one of those special places where locals have been growing grapes from time immemorial, a place that triggered restart of the family wine tradition. The quality of this still undiscovered Istrian terroir can be tasted in all his wines but especially in Lucija Gold, a luscious dessert wine made from Yellow Muscat grapes that were dried on hay for three months. A must try that you can pair with blue cheese or milk chocolate mousse tart. You'll learn this and much more from Neven's wife Kornelija who majestically and with a dose of humor leads the tastings in their freshly opened tasting room.

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