Lambs are turning in Bosiljevo. Live fire is fulfilling the dream of many lamb and suckling pig fans, those delicious snacks that once spiced up the long drive from the continent to the sea and vice versa. The lambs are turning, as they were turned on the spit generations ago. Time, nature and people change, but this secret love for roasted lamb on a spit is constantly maintained in this border area between Kordun, Gorski kotar and Slovenia. It's turning, gentlemen, and it's turning big. And how could it not be, when Restaurant Bosiljevo is one of the most famous places at the junction of the Karolinska and Lujzijanska cesta, built in ancient imperial and royal times.
Lamb is not the only gastronomic hit of this place. The pork rotates in the bread oven. There is only one person who knows this job because the oven temperature is the key to success. There is no written knowledge that cares about a good piece of meat. Everything is based on experience, and the owner Ivica Frketić has that experience in his hands. And quite literally! A fire burns in a brick tunnel for two hours, and after the embers are cleaned, the roasting begins. The exact temperature is determined by the feeling of the hand, and a real craftsman is distinguished by the fact that he still has all the hairs on his hand. The time is calculated according to the weight of the pork itself, but in the first stage of baking, the attractive skin colour must be achieved. The result is a well-known but slightly crispy crust and incredibly juicy meat.
We are sitting on the terrace of Restaurant Bosiljevo in the pleasant company of married couple Marija and Ivica Frketić. The family has been managing the restaurant since 2000, primarily thanks to the dedication of the mother, Biserka Frketić, who once managed the Rim restaurant in the nearby legendary town of the same name. The new generation brings its own touch of catering, but with the recognisable seal of family dedication to completely local meat delights. Before there was a highway, these family restaurants were extremely famous, especially for their lamb. As soon as the Rijeka-Zagreb highway opened, up to 90 per cent of restaurants closed. Those that survived in the period between 2004 and 2015 became very popular.
Those who overindulge in food and drink can spend the night in one of the five rooms offered by this facility. This will soon be expanded, since new tourist facilities are being built right next to the restaurant, which will delight future guests with wonderful nature, clean air and the smell of local gastronomy. Already, guests are resting on deckchairs that are beautifully placed on the green area next to the restaurant, while the watchful eyes of parents follow the children on the small and beautifully built children's playground.
Pieces of roasted lamb irresistibly remind us of the space we are in. The borders that connect continental, mountainous and coastal Croatia are immortalized with a salty and crispy crust of lamb meat and delicious nibbling on the bones, just as it is done all over the Mediterranean and even in the northernmost parts of Europe. It turns, it is eaten, it is enjoyed. In this delicious circle, food is of particular importance. Sheep offspring are obtained exclusively in Croatia through careful selection, which sometimes happens by chance passing by the herd in the pastures. The local Pramenka as well as the Slovenian sheep predominate here, but there are also Romanov sheep. We just enjoyed a Slovenian, which doesn't give you the right to think about the girls of the neighboring country. The pleasure is, however, equal, as many visitors know, for which more than 5,000 lambs turn around each year. Divide it into days and you will have an idea of how popular Bosiljevo is!
Cheerful lambs spend their days on fams from Vinski vrh near Duga Resa to Bosiljevo. If necessary, they are taken to the slaughterhouse and prepared for the restaurant. It is an excellent plan that always ensures fresh meat on the table, even when many others have to depend on the seasonal offer of lamb. We toast this offer with an excellent viljamovka from the Patrik distillery from Jastrebarsko, which offers drinkability and mildness based on very clear notes of fruit.
Before enjoying the lamb and pork, a rich and thick soup of six types of mushrooms, which come from a selected supplier from Karlovac, comes to our table. This is a seasonal offer, just like the pumpkin soup, and over time we might find special autumn and spring menus in Restaurant Bosiljevo. Shiitake mushrooms, champignone, oyster mushrooms, mushrooms and dried black trumpet are added to this wonderful soup. The soup is filling and comes in a large portion, so don't overdo it if you want to continue your culinary journey.
Lamb is very classic, but this "classic" should not be taken as a negative. In fact, salty snacks are a legacy of former times, and today in Croatia you can count such lamb dishes on the fingers of both hands. Without novelties and various culinary "skills", a delicious, fragrant roasted lamb arrives on the table with excellent potatoes, and the inevitable tomato and spring onions. We drink, of course, gemišt with lunch. The most popular drink with lamb and breast milk is a kind of tradition, and Graševina Viktorovski from Vivodina is a constant base of the wine offer. We really liked the native wine of this region, and it is probably difficult to find even a drop more in that wine cellar, because almost all the wine is used for the year-round supply of the restaurant.
There are also guests who come to Bosiljevo without the intention of tasting the leading gastronomic hits. They can try excellent trout, which arrives from a fish farm near Ogulin. Nevertheless, the Bosiljevo platter with seven types of meat and barbecue are, along with lamb and breast, the restaurant's leading trump cards. From OPG Kolić come excellent cheeses, smoked, with paprika, chives, and other combinations. The family dries prosciutto in Posedarje, they also make sausages, which leaves us completely amazed because it seems to us that the Frketići must be a huge family to get everything. Portions are plentiful, prices are popular.
Desserts include warm chocolate cake with ice cream made by Marija Frketić, and her mother makes homemade apple and cheese strudels. We also enjoyed that dough, which is served with vanilla pudding and contributes to the great feeling on the terrace of Restaurant Bosiljevo. It is not difficult to turn off the highway into this town, so we recommend it to everyone:
Bosanci 4c, 47251 Bosiljevo
++385 47 801 088 ++385 95 312 0468 ++385 99 802 4199