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An adventure with Rijeka's Pirates

In the centre of Rijeka, you can sail into a very special pirate harbour, inspired as much by the owner Tomislav Milinović as by legendary pirates from various seas of the world. For a port city like Rijeka, a place inspired by pirates is a complete hit, and judging by the interests of the guests, imaginative pizzas and excellent meat offer cause delight. We also enjoyed the offer of Pirati, whose pizzas are widely talked about in the town on Rječina.

The pleasant interior is not decorated with some excessive maritime reminiscences, as one might think, but decently reveals the charm of pirate giants from history and imagination, which is then translated into the names of the dishes. The very first look at the menu reveals great care for ingredients and their origin, which is complemented by quality staff in the kitchen.

The owner tells us how they created the standards that all chefs must adhere to.

Of course, most people come to Pirati for the pizza. This is the only place in Rijeka that produces Biga pizzas, which is a specific style of pizza preparation based on the old Italian method of fermented dough. This gives very light pizzas with an excellent texture, and imaginative combinations guarantee the best pizzas we have tasted in the northern Adriatic.

About ten types of pizza bear the names of pirates, and the most popular is Edward Blackbeard, a black pizza with tomato, mozzarella, ham, ricola, prosciutto, burrata, basil and olives. Pretty simple, you'd say. And it would be if all these weren't top quality products, as Tomislav explains: "Prosciutto is San Daniele, pelates are San Marzano, mozzarella is Fior di Latte from Naples. We used to source burrata from northern Italy, but now we have found an excellent supplier from Puglia, its original birthplace. That burrata is Disneyland, and everything else is a bit of an amusement park!“

From Edward the Blackbeard's Disneyland, which once terrorised the shores of the British North American colonies and found its refuge in the Bahamas, we came to Captain John Roberts pizza, where mozzarella, arugula, Grana Padana are served with truffles from the famous Istrian truffle maker Karlić. Just as the inveterate Roberts hunted for some of the world's greatest treasures, we also enjoyed a pizza with treasure hunted in the Istrian underground.

But probably the most famous pizza is Torpedo di Fiume. Just like in the cartoon, anyone who tries this pizza can expect steam coming out of their ears, because it is the hottest pizza - if the owner is to judge, in the world! "We were told this by people from India, Pakistan, Mexico, all countries known for their spicy food. They said that our Torpedo is a monster! Our absolute record holder is a young boy from Marinići who ate two such pizzas in nine minutes. So far we have made 500-600 Torpedoes, but only about 30 people managed to eat the whole pizza. It consists of Macedonian hot sauce, scorpion sauce, hot chili pepper, hot pepper with hot cheese, jalapeno and finally sweet sauce. Eyes tear, sweat flows in streams. That feeling lasts for half an hour, but after that everything is easier. The next day you don't have problems with your stomach, because these are all natural ingredients." For the sake of warning, anyone who wants this pizza must sign a consent to do so at their own risk.

But it's not just pizzas that come from this pirate port. We were delighted with the leading meat dish, steak a al chef. Tomislav explains the logic of combining steak, truffle and shrimp: "The best piece of meat is steak, and the best mushroom in our area is truffle. And the best quality shrimp comes from the Adriatic sea. We combined all three things on one plate, in one unusual combination." All the ingredients feel flawless on the palate, and the combination of flavours is a real art!

We also wonder how the pirates got to Rijeka in the first place: "The inspiration comes from my life. Our family is from Cesarica and at first we wanted to give that name, but all my friends told me that I lived as a pirate all my life. And really, there is no one in the whole of Kvarner who has that name", Tomislav explains to us as we toast with beer in unique mugs in the shape of glass skulls. Going to Pirates is truly an adventure!

Bistro Pirati

Pavla Rittera Vitezovića 11, 51000 Rijeka

+385 51 555 555

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