Dišpet is defiance, stubbornness, but it is actually much more and different from the usual idea of defiance. Unlike spite, dišpet is a worldview, an attitude towards the world, and sometimes a powerful weapon for which Dalmatia is especially famous. Dalmatians say that dišpet is "not to be given enjoyment to anyone", but surprisingly, many Dalmatian taverns and klapas adorned themselves with that name. One may also enjoy in dišpet, including in the tavern Dišpet, the only tavern in the area of the Municipality of Pićan in the heart of the Istrian peninsula. They are not Dalmatians here (the owners are a combination of Labin and Pićan), but Dišpet is also present here in the best way with Elvis Zuliani, who stubbornly defied all odds, only to give a great taste. Therefore, we visited it during the gastronomic event "Autumn on the plate" organized by the Tourist Board of Central Istria, the Guild of Caterers in Pazin and the agency AZRRI.
Elvis Zulijani and his sister Samanta welcomed us in their family house whose ground floor has been turned into a beautiful tavern that offers several gastronomic hits, brunches and deliveries. It is located right next to the road from Kršan to Pazin, below the old town of Pićan, known as the city of legends. Culinary legends are created in this kitchen, where Elvis sovereignly rules as a chef with experience of Rabac hotels and restaurants and with the knowledge acquired at the Faculty of Management in Tourism and Hospitality in Ika. Among these edible icons are the "plate for the hungry," steak tagliatta, lamb chop, and chicken fillet; 'Capo di mare', filleted gilthead sea bream fried in olive oil, seasoned with rosemary, fish stock and lemon juice, and served on a bed of polenta and rocket; and the "chubby piglet" that we tasted ourselves.
As befits good Istrian taverns, every food that enters through the stone walls is from local butchers such as Compari from Pula, Jelen from Labin and Licul from Šumber. The fish comes from Cromaris, while the boškarin sausages are a proud product of AZRRI. It’s autumn and the mushrooms are in full swing, especially the porcini mushrooms and champignons which are also brought from the immediate vicinity while Zulijani’s mother is a source of fresh vegetables and salads. When you add to that that all the pasta is handmade in Dišpet’s kitchen, then the enjoyment is rounded off and heralds a festival of autumn flavours.
For a start, we tried excellent taiadella with pumpkin and mushrooms, a great combination of autumn with deliciously made pasta, pumpkin that greatly goldens Istrian fields, including those below Pićan all the way to the slopes of Učka, and with mushrooms that are popular throughout Istria. In the last ten years, over 70 holiday homes have sprung up in the vicinity of Pićan, and everyone knows that guests get hungry in the rural air of central Istria. Dišpet, therefore, introduced deliveries, and culinary love soon blossomed. The tavern has used "Autumn on the plate" to the maximum and guests are looking for a table more. All of this is a great success given that the tavern opened in 2019 and had to survive the 2020 pandemic as its first big challenge. It did it better than many famous gastronomic destinations in this part of Istria.
A chubby piglet comes to our table, a dish whose name delighted us as we approached Dišpet. This delicious piece of pork is filled with Istrian prosciutto, mushrooms and cottage cheese that comes from the nearby Zlata cheese manufactory, the award-winning craft in Potpićan. With delicious fries and grilled vegetables, the piglet met all our expectations, and a red blend from the nearby Baćac winery went well with it. The sun warmed up beautifully on an autumn day and we would almost say that we were enjoying ourselves on the terrace of the tavern "like pigs", if we would have not enjoyed the flavours of one piglet on a plate. And it may have once feasted in this hilly area where the natural beauties are magical. We saw it for ourselves by taking an easy walk to Benkovski waterfall, which (when there is water) falls into a deep canyon. Only a few kilometres from Dišpet is also the famous waterfall Sopot.
The sweet finish in Dišpet were great pancakes with figs, but who wants to try something more specific can order flambéed Krafi, which is in a way a dowry of Elvis' Labin origin, from where this dish comes from. Breaded ice cream is also made here, as well as many other desserts that will delight any guest who is looking for a little more than fritters and crostuli. Certainly, the tavern Dišpet is a great choice for all who travel this area, but even more as an ideal destination of local flavours of Istria!
Zajci, Most 1G, Pićan
+385 (0) 52 561 262, (0) 95 895 2820