Tag Archives: Rijeka

Classy Dining in the Hotel Kontinental

Hotel Continental is the oldest still working hotel in Rijeka, opened in 1888, at the time in town of Sušak which is now eastern part of the city. When opened, it gained much popularity for its interior, many activities, and excellent position on the bank of the Rječina River, after which Rijeka got its name. Among the other things, this hotel was famous for its old-style coffeehouse and a restaurant.

Photo by Hotel Kontinental

Still today, the hotel is one of the most recognisable buildings in Rijeka and the square in front of it, the Kont, is popular gathering point for youth in summer. Some things stayed without much change, others seized to exist, but every generation of Rijeka citizens knows by heart the summer evenings on the terrace and the splendid restaurant and café offering refreshments and combination of classic Kvarner and continental foods. It continues somewhat the tradition: in 1914, an invitation to the hotel emphasised the restaurant with beautiful garden, excellent homemade and German cuisine, good wines and always fresh Budweiser beer.

Our arrival at the hotel coincided with the festival “Sardines are IN”, and we enjoyed exciting sardine meals in various combinations. The friendliness of the staff and their easy-going attitude make a particular Rijeka atmosphere, while the terrace provided us with cosiness although the rain was falling (which is quite often in this indeed rainy city).

The old facades of the hotel and the pictures inside the restaurant evoke the memories of the past and days when this city was the glorious harbour of the Austro-Hungary, and when the town’s elite gathered in this very spot to chat and conspire.

The chef “conspired” with fruits and fish, giving us indeed an unusual starter, marinated anchovies with marinated orange fillets. Soft and fresh anchovies, marinated in lemon, sits on a basis of ricola, fennel, and onion rings, while the orange slices and cherry tomatoes give a festival of colours on plate. It is a refreshing and joyful combination, where tastes combine and blend in a unique late spring starter. A few drops of Blato Amfora extra virgin olive oil makes it even better.

How about deep-fried sardines with cabbage and potatoes? One would say there is nothing special in this very traditional and classic dish. But, the surprise comes after first bite – the sardines are filled with mild sheep cheese! It was another example how much this small fish can give. More than that, it regained its status as the feeder of the islanders. For a long time, sardine was completely underestimated in the gastronomy, given banally only as a salty fried starter or as a snack in summer fishermen nights. The young chef in Hotel Kontinental showed yet again that sardine is a small fish with big opportunities.

As the Days of Cherries and sardine week combine, the cook also gave us such combination, consisting of fillets of fried sardines, polenta with olives and Mediterranean herbs, and cherry sauce. Again, very specific dish, which is predominantly mild and gives lots of flavour within the aromatised polenta. The cherry addition is very ingenious and playful, which is always a sign of a confident cook. Everything blends greatly with wine of the house, red blend named Namori, containing a ruby colour and full taste with fruity background.

Cherries were the basis of our dessert too. We tried the cherry pie with maracuya or passion fruit sauce, excellent finish for anyone into not-so-sweet desserts. Whole experience in Kontinental shows simple but imaginative approach to the combination of fish and fruits, which resembles in a way the history of Croatian biggest port. For decades, it has been fisheries’ harbour but also entry point for southern fruits and citrus fruits, giving colourfulness and enjoyment to the elites.

Hotel Kontinental – Jadran Hoteli
Šetalište Andrije Kačića Miošića 1, 51000 Rijeka
(T) +385 51 372 008 (F) +385 51 372 009 
continental@jadran-hoteli.hr

http://www.jadran-hoteli.hr/

Conca d’Oro – the sardine masterpieces in the oldest restaurant of Rijeka

Just a few steps hidden away from the Rijeka’s main pedestrian zone Korzo there is the oldest still working restaurant in the centre of this biggest Croatian sea port. Many generations of citizens of Rijeka and their guests loyally were coming for decades to this place to enjoy the classic Kvarner cuisine.

Hospitable and jolly staff of this restaurant will offer you rustic dishes with a modern twist, and we experienced it during the days of sardines. The meals somehow resemble the restaurant’s interior itself – undoubtedly emerged into the tradition of the area, there is a significant modern atmosphere included, while the old legend still survives.

The rich tradition of this place goes back to the first half of the 19th century, when brothers Ostrogović kept an inn which name got lost, but it was present on the same spot. For a short time, it was a hotel named “K zlatnoj zvijezdi” or “Albergo alla stella d’oro” (At Golden Star). In 1885 the legend was born when Leopold Zwetti opened the restaurant and only one year later it was included on the prestige list of the best restaurants in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During its past, it changed many owners but the “golden” name stayed.

Robert Whitehead, the owner of the first torpedo factory in the world based in Rijeka, owned also the houses around the inn, but the restaurateurs complained because of the noise and transportation of building material. Thus, they positioned three stones in the small alley where the restaurant still is, so that the workers don’t disturb the guests. Whitehead did win the court suit, but the stones remained until today.

The restaurant got its present name in the beginning of 20th century, with the new owner Edoardo Budicin from Pula. It served local cuisine and brunches, while enriching the offer with the prestigious Italian wines from the regions of Piedmont and Emilia Romagna. Even today, you can find the traces of this tradition in the corners of the restaurant, especially in the emblem of the place, resembling the fatty, greasy, and utmost hedonistic region of Italia (mind the Bologna Grassa – The Fat Bologna!).

But, back to the sardines. This small, yet compact fish nourished generations of islanders and coast dwellers, and there are numerous ways how to prepare it. The chef of the Conca d’Oro presented us with three rustic-styled sardine dishes with very common ingredients.

We’ve started with marinated sardines, nested with ricola and cherry tomatoes in a classic glass jar, with topped bruschetta aside. Refreshing start gives a boost to explore more opportunities of this fish.

And it succeeded greatly with sardine dumplings, made of mixed sardines and sesame, with addition of pine nuts and served on brodetto sauce with Kalamata olives. Full flavour of sardines blends perfectly with quickly fried ricola and with polenta aromatised with olives and Mediterranean herbs. One just wonders how much is possible with a simple sardine!

The classic sardine meal in the Adriatic is, without doubt, fried sardines with Swiss chard and potatoes. One cannot go more traditional than this, and the fish served in the Conca d’Oro evokes the memories of grandfathers in the way they are prepared.

But no grandparent can serve the sardines in such posh way as they do it in this restaurant, making almost a construction of sardines and a richness of old flavours. In every way, staff wants us to feel the rustic history blended with modern lifestyle. Possibly, that is why they surprised us with a delicious cherry pie, a true testimony to the spring and the Kvarner cherry.

Conca d’Oro is rich with top quality wines and whiskeys, but we tended to try the very basic Istrian Malvasia. And we were indeed surprised by the Terzolo Malvasia, originating from Nova Vas near Poreč. The red soil terroir gave the champion status for the young Malvasia at Vinistra competition 2013, done by the family Tercolo known also for a very good olive oil that we’ve enjoyed immensely.

Every gastronomad should know by its instinct that the best places can be found off the beaten track. Conca d’Oro is exactly few steps away these beaten tracks of Rijeka and indeed well worth of a visit.

Conca d’Oro
Kružna ulica 12, Rijeka
phone: 00 385 51 213 782
text and photos by: Vedran Obućina & Bruno Vignjević

Srdela is In – Botel Marina, Hotel Kontinental, and Conca d’Oro

According to legend, the first sardine was eaten by the Greek God Dionysius, who offered it eternal life, if it were to substitute the sea with the wine from his goblet. The sardine refused by responding: the sea is my abode, and I belong to the fishermen and sea folk from all shores, islands and ports, thus I am obliged to assuage the hunger of fish and men alike! And so it was.

Botel Marina – Ship of Gastronomy Delights

The sardine is the fishermen’s favourite, it has been dubbed the queen of the sea because it was the primary food source for many generations. Healthy food does not have to be expensive and the often underestimated sardine is living proof of this.

Classy Dining in the Hotel Kontinental

Sardines are oily fish, although they mostly contain unsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 being the most common). The human body requires them to remain healthy because it cannot produce them on its own and pelagic fish contain more unsaturated fatty acids than farmed-raised fish.

Conca d’Oro – the sardine masterpieces in the oldest restaurant of Rijeka

Sardines (lat. Sardina pilchardus) are small, oily fish within the herring family. The largest sardine fishing grounds are located in the western Mediterranean and the Adriatic where the sardines are the primary fish species of exploitation. Sardines are fished throughout the year on nights where the new moon hangs in the sky, but those fished in May and June are supposedly of the best quality, especially if used for salting. Sardines are regular fixtures on traditional menus and despite their reputation for being the food of the poor, salted sardines were held in high esteem by wealthy gourmands and were used as food additives instead of salt.

Rijeka Tourist Information Centre

Korzo 14 / 51000 Rijeka
tel. + 385 51 335 882, fax. +385 51 315 720
e-mail: info@visitRijeka.hr

http://www.visitrijeka.eu

Botel Marina – Ship of Gastronomy Delights

You cannot miss boat hotel (botel) Marina; it is docked right in the centre of the Rijeka’s city port, recognisable by the red chimney. Inside is an unusual and very popular boat hostel, a cosy bar just perfect for the lazy afternoons, and a restaurant serving local and fresh cuisine. It is in this restaurant that we tried the delicacies for the annual days of sardines in Rijeka, with a help of the manager Andrej Kušeta and his dedicated staff.

The ship was not always here. It was built for the Swedish crown princess and she walked the same halls as one can walk today inside this yacht-like ship. In the sixties, it sailed to Yugoslavia, to the port of Rijeka, where it served on the cruise line between Rijeka, the island of Cres, and the island of Susak. Marina was favourite among the locals who cherished the structure of the ship, being built for the northern seas, and which sustained the heavy blows of the strong bura wind. As a testimony to the glorious time, the menu in Marina consists of many dishes bearing the names of the ship’s destination during her prime days.

Its working days are now done, and the ship was bought and reconstructed by the Arhipelag company from the island of Lošinj. Now it surprises the guests who dream about sleeping aboard a ship, even if it is stationed in the harbour. They may dream about the food also, as it is wonderful aboard Marina and gives a special feeling of dining in maritime surroundings. While honouring the history, we raised our glass of cocktail with its beautiful colour consisting of orange juice, brandy and grenadine.

Very friendly staff greeted us with elaborative sardine menu, confirming the knowledge of making fish dishes. The skill of doing sardine fillet is especially noticeable as our first meal of the visit was done surgeon-precise, using the long and sharp knife on the body of small but strong fish. It came with ricola and toast, blending the salty and somewhat robust sardine with the softness of bread and bitterness of herb.

Next, we tried excellent sardine brodetto with aromatised polenta, which was very pleasing in its arrangement and skilfully combined in tastes. It is not unusual that the brodetto sauce takes over and indeed many locals like it that way, as the joy is in dipping some bread in the sauce and just feel the richness of its taste. In this case, advantage was given to the sardine itself but even more to the polenta which was visibly and tastefully aromatised with the Mediterranean herbs, adding to the rosemary and basil that came atop this dish. Indeed, a skilful play of mild brodetto and pure taste of the sardines!

It seems unavoidable thing to have some of the Kvarner’s sardine classics on the menu, and Marina is not an exception. Locals just love fried sardines, almost like a snack. One often eats it as an appetizer, or just a side dish with some wine. In Marina we had fried sardines with potato salad and radicchio, a slightly changed traditional recipe of very known taste.

It suited excellent with the wonderful open Cabernet Sauvignon Pavlomir wine, originating from the beautiful and awarded vineyard of Mr Miroslav Palinkaš. A leading red wine in the Kvarner area invites for more, and we had it with the cherry pie, a sweet finish of our sail through the Marina’s culinary adventure.

The restaurant is very friendly to various flavours and options, including the gluten free diet. In its beautiful wooden ship atmosphere and cosy interior, it serves local foods, mostly classics, but with rather unusual and healthy additions such as chick peas, traditionally not used in this area. Modern gastronomy goes healthy, especially in various kinds of beans, and Marina is not an exception. Overall, Marina is a very cosy and inspiring maritime place, with lots of tradition and skills, excellent place for brunch and in the very centre of Rijeka, where guests can soak in the atmosphere of city’s maritime glory.

Botel Marina
Adamićev gat, Rijeka
+385 51 410 162
info@botel-marina.com
www.botel-marina.com

Text by: Vedran Obućina

Photos by: Edvard Badurina & Vedran Obućina

JARBOLA – WINE PRIDE OF ZVONEĆA

The WineRi festival also included the association Jarbola, named after an autochthonous grape sort from Zvoneća, a mountainous area in the Rijeka’s hinterland. For centuries people cultivated this sort in “Zvonejske njivi”, a splendid example of rural architecture of stone dry walls, akin to the Bakar Prezidi.

Zvonejske njivi date somewhere between 15th and 17th centuries, and cover an area of 60 ha, on rather high 300 up to 450 metres above sea level. This height determines a distinctive acidity of local wine. Today only some 30 per cent of dry walls are cultivated, but nevertheless the locals are happy they are preserved as monument of culture since 1994.

Source: KanalRi

Wine maker Franko Ružić and other Zvoneća enthusiasts (Alen Kinkela, Marin Ružić, Alen Ružić, Gordan Kinkela, Đani Sušanj, and Ervin Stanić) gathered together in 2003 and with help of Institute for agriculture and tourism in Poreč realised a project of protecting the autochthonic sort Jarbola. This authenticity was proved by chemical analysis.

Unprecedented love for culture and heritage drives this association to work hard and accomplish remarkable renewal of the Jarbola. In 2005 they harvested first vine in old dry walls and cared for it full five years to deliver first drops of real wine. Jarbola is not an easy sort. The grape skin is thin, the bunch thick, and this makes it vulnerable to sickness.

Once accomplished, Jarbola gives full quality and freshness, with aromatic potentials, and various possibilities to explore blending it with local food. It has light yellow colour with green nuances, fruity bouquet with some blossoms and very strong aroma of green apple. Today only family homestead Ružić bottles this wine in a unique Kvarner product – Jarbola Ružić.

Franko Ružić
Zvoneća 17, Jurdani, 51211 Matulji
+385 91 509 7932
opgruzic@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/Jarbola-OPG-Ružić-1619272395032448

Photos by: OPG Ružić

WINE RI REPORT

For the first time town of Rijeka hosted an international wine event in its historic Governer’s Palace. An enjoyable event gathered over 70 wine makers on February 22 and 23 to somewhat uncharted territory of wine exploration in the third Croatian largest city and the country’s major sea port.

B2B meetings, lectures, workshops, and not to forget the WTF – Wine Tasting Fest, of course – party in the “Bačva” club and Wine&Coffee Bar “Kod Zajca” adorned the oeno-gastro event with participation of Par Business School, several Croatian counties and cities, tourist organisations and high-level officials.

The grand palace of Rijeka’s history was too small for such a big number of exhibitors and guests looking to try some new stuff and recollect the old wine love. Our own grand tour of the palace began in the atrium, where some of the most famous Croatian wine makers were present. As it was expected in the end of Carnival season, the wine makers and their friends were greeted by the bell ringers.

The entry point occupied Curo distribution, the Jarbola Association with a specific wine story of authentic Zvoneće wine, and Krk’s favourite Ivan Katunar whose žlahtina and chardonnay are nationally famous. Going clockwise, Katunar’s neighbour in clifftop town of Vrbnik is Gospoja wine hotel, a boutique hotel of local traditional architecture and indeed an enjoyable place to spend your wine holiday. Local Rijeka’s pride is LikeRi, a liqueur home of lemon and mint, and aronia liqueur, but special varieties include the white wine Žlahtina’s liqueur and especially interesting cannabis brandy MamyJuana.


Photo by: crikva.hr

This local introduction to the Kvarner wines included also other members of Žlahtina Association, named after famed golden island Krk and Vinodol Wine, which include prize winning Pavlomir Winery (where old traditions of wine growing have been renewed), Šipun Winery, House of Wine Ivan Katunar, Agricultural Association Vrbnik, and Nada Winery (that includes beautiful restaurant), all based in Vrbnik, centre of wine production on largest Croatian Adriatic island. Next to the littoral, the home county also proudly presented excellent and unique story of Vid Arbanas from Gorski Kotar, with his splendid brandies made from handpicked herbs and roots.

Slavonia was overwhelmingly presented at this fair. Slavonia has excellent conditions for winegrowing and winemaking. In the past, the wines of Slavonia were often found on the tables of emperors and noblemen and it is this tradition that the present Slavonian vineyards derive from: Srijem, Baranja and Đakovo in the east and Kutjevo in the west of Slavonia.

The atrium featured excellent Slavonian wineries, Galić from Velika (with standard but top wines from this terroir); Belje wines which proudly presented its “Danube Prince” Graševina that is awarded with numerous praises; and Pinkert from the Baranja’s Kneževi Vinogradi, more than a century old vineyard where Frankovka, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Graševina give the best from the land bounded by two rivers, Drava and Danube. Here is also Trs Winery from Ilok, the easternmost Croatian town, which is an agricultural community that produces “eight jewels of the Srijem terroir” (Graševina, Rhein Riesling, Chardonnay, Traminer, Frankovka, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Franka). The same wine area is home to the Krešić Winery from Šarengrad near Vukovar.

Buhač from Ilok further accentuated the red wines of Slavonia, while Krauthaker, Perak, Mitrović, and Tandara present the legendary wine territory of Kutjevo, wine growing area known from Roman times to the Templar Knights, monastic orders, right to the present day, giving an enduring name of Vallis Auera – the Golden Valley. Iuris Winery from Dalj is yet another example of ever greater tradition of Slavonian wines. This tradition is well known in the Feravino, which inherits two hundred years of tradition of wine making in Ferinčanci region. Wines from Erdut is another Slavonian brand, especially considering the white wines. Vitis Josipović is a great choice for anyone into the sparkling wines.

From Pleternica arrives Vina Markota, a rather unknown winery but with a very nice story of wine-and-rose, which the family cultivates together while offering classic Slavonian white and red wines. Also from Baranja one should try Kusić, Szabo, and Dobrovac wines. Ever growing demand is for the Slavonian red wines, which have great possibilities, such as the line of red wines from Papak Winery. This trend notwithstanding, white wines still make majority of Slavonian offer, such as the beautiful wines from Agricultural Association Orahovica which also grows hazelnuts and freshwater fish. Many Slavonian family homesteads now combine wine growing with additional agricultural business; one of these is Glavaš from Bizovac which also makes excellent semi-hard cow cheese.


Photo by: Glas Istre

Second most presented Croatian region was Istria. Wine has become a must in Istria. Naturally, times have changed, and recently, wine is not so important for the economic prosperity of this region; however, it strongly accounts for the development of a unique Istrian identity.

Noble presenters of Istrian heritage included north-western Istrian wine celebrities such as Prelac from Momjan, Savudrija’s Degrassi, Umag’s Monte Rosso, Buje’s Franković and Kabola; and Moreno Ivančić from Novigrad. This Istrian area is among the most developed wine area in Croatia. Malvasia, Teran, and Muscat grow beautifully here, and wine makers care for the heritage of local viticulture.

Poreč terroir was presented by Banko Winery, which also produces olive oil, while other Central Istrian Wineries were presented by family Deklić which will in 2020 celebrate a centenary of its existence; Legovina from Kaštelir with its beautiful Malvasias; Poletti, where six generations care for the viticulture; Vicinim, where you can also try donkey milk and meat; and sparkling wine producer Peršurić Misal from Višnjan; Pilato and Franc Arman from Vižinada. From Gračišće arrives a newbie Domaine Koquelicot, which produces French style burgundy wines, in a unique and still untested mix of Istria and France.

Medea was a wine emissary from Southern Istria, delivering its “passionate wines”, while from Eastern Istria comes Licul Romeo. A very special Istrian representative is Buzet’s Aura, the house of exclusive Istrian brandies.

Other regions were rather scarcly presented. From Dalmatia came only Skaramuča from Pelješac, giving a pleasure of tasting famous Dingač, while Kopjar from Budinšćina extinguished Zagorje eco-wine with Sauvignon Blanc, Rhein Riesling, and Pinot Noir. Kos-Jurišić winery from Donja Zelina presented the Zelina terroir near Zagreb.

As Slavonia was in the centre of interest on this festival, it is only natural to learn more about palates going along rich red wines and gentle whites of this historical Croatian region.

We await for this noble wine gathering to become a tradition in the European Culture Capital 2020, in the Port of Diversity.

Dharma-Inspired Luncheons at Tifan

When an imaginative restaurant is opened in former factory, it is only worthy of praises, but our own arrival to the Tifan restaurant in eastern outskirts of Rijeka was also full of impressions. Namely, there aren’t many places in Croatia that give so much attention to the healthy gastronomy, active holiday, yoga, meditation, and care for the environment – everything in one place!

img_3461

img_3462

Our first intention was to visit yet another vegetarian restaurant in Kvarner region, but we found so much more in Tifan. The combination of health, past experience, and travels of owners result in a particular offer, possibly unique in whole Croatia. If you are looking for meat-free, alcohol-free, and smoking-free environment, with only fresh ingridients on the plate, Tifan is the right place for you.

img_3523

img_3466

Tifan is closely connected to the Dharma hostel, another interesting facility, providing accommodation in the healthy environment. A beautiful terrace and garden provide a blissful view on the sea, giving a feeling we are sitting somewhere far from the city. In this tranquil setting we are introduced to the international vegetarian dishes served in tifans.

img_3475

img_3464

The name of this food bar is based on an inox pot, a kind of lunch box used widely in Indian for tiffin meals. Normally they come in two or three tiers, and as the bar has take-out options, members of Tifan club have their own tifans at home and use it for multiple purpose. Zypically it contains a soup, main course, and piece of cake. Tiffin, on the other hand, is an Indian-English word for a light midday meal, luncheon. In Indian Subcontinent, tiffin is generally a snack between meals, consisting mainly of rice, dal, curry, vegetables, chapatis, and spicy meats.

img_3520

img_3528

In Croatian Mediterranean environment it fits the “gamelice”, also lunch boxes full of food prepared early in the morning for people at work or for children in school. Thus, it makes a solid basis for slow food, home-cooked meals, with preserved tradition of healthy nutrition. Same can be ordered up until 10 am at Tifan bar, and lunch is served between 11 and 1.30 pm. In the restaurant itself, you can enjoy three-course lunch until 4 pm (exept Sundays) for only 30-35 kuna!

img_3481

img_3485

We enjoyed tifan lunch as well, in genious style of local and Balkan cuisine. The use of international and national healthy and no-meat ingridients gives an opportunity always to reinvent lunch choices, and tells a lot about the imagination of cooks. We had originally Macedonian lunch of spicy baked beans (gravče na tavče), served with polenta and aubergines, along with cucumber and lettuce salad. With a touch of chilly and turmeric, this main meal had a distinctive Macedonian-Indian twist, with addition of tomato sauce made from the tomatoes in nearby home garden. Delicious and plentiful, it is always a winning combination for luncheons!

img_3487

img_3491

More than 40 spices, both Mediterranean herbs and Asian spices, are present in Tifan, some bought directly from India, some grown in the garden itself. Other ingridients originate mostly from the local homesteads or bought from the town market. The owners prepare homemade marmelade, hummus and other spreads. Cooks are dilligent in making various sweets and we had a Turkish-style baclava with deeply felt walnuts and excellent honey, brought from a northern Croatian honeymaker.

img_3534

img_3537

Everything in Tifan is based on dharma, a particular relation between man and nature, rightful behaviour, and sort of synonym for sustainable growth and development. Indeed, with additional Dharma Hostel, and Yoga Training Centre, we predict a bright future for dharma-based getaway.

img_3511

img_3505

Tifan
Spinčićeva 2, 51000 Rijeka
mob: +385 98 850 019
faks: +385 51 583 574

img_3480
info@tifan.hr
http://www.tifan.hr
http://www.dharmahostels.com

PANCAKE DAYS IN RIJEKA

June 13-16, Rijeka

After 1st successful Zagreb Pancake Festival „Pancake Days“, this great event is travelling to Rijeka for the celebration of the Day of the city of Rijeka also known as St. Vid Days.

61217157-palacinke

Here you can taste many festival cocktails that are combined specially with many different pancakes. Also, you can find out how do Dutch Poffertjes, Japanese from Confusion Buddha Bar or Mexican Master Grill BBQ pancakes taste like. We offer you healthy vegetarian pancakes also gluten free.

If you like good Rakia, you will enjoy their RAKIA BAR that promotes 60-year-old recipes and tradition in Rakia making called BB Klenovača.