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Tavern Aquarius - Culinary Joys of Buje

Since 1988, people have been going to the Aquarius restaurant in Buje for pizza. It is the oldest pizzeria in Buje, jointly run by Karmen and Josip Bepo Vorić. Over time, Aquarius has turned into a beautiful Istrian tavern, which we often visit with pleasure. Connoisseurs of the gastronomic scene of northwestern Istria will know that this is not just an ordinary pizzeria and tavern, but a very special place with original flavours.

Attention to the equipment of the kitchen contributes to this, so dishes are prepared here from the bread oven as well as in a modern grill. However, this culinary readiness is not enough for Vorić's success. First of all, it is about traditional Istrian cuisine, which Karmen learned from her mother Irena, in the unbroken chain of culinary heritage of the Istrian grannies. These are simple Istrian village dishes enriched with modern requirements, adapted to the season and tastes of Bujština.

We had the opportunity to taste pasta with Istrian sauces, wild mushrooms for which Bujština is famous, the inevitable truffles and asparagus. All of this is prepared by hand in the form of enticing gnocchi, pljukanci, fusilli and ravioli, regularly filled with cheese. These flavours are far different from industrially produced pasta and exude the historical heritage of the northern Adriatic, which is crazy about pasta in all forms and ways of preparation.

Bepo tells us all this in the seductive Istrian dialect, which he never gives up. In his hands is a bottle of Malvazija from the Vorić winery. The family is also involved in viticulture in their native Vižinada, which is not so far away. The vine is sacred, Bepo tells us and explains how Malvazija, Chardonnay, Teran and Cabernet Sauvignon can be found in his cellar. The classic wines of the Istrian terroir have recently acquired an exquisite taste and aroma through cellaring skills. It is a proud legacy of grandpa Riko, which we spend mercilessly every time we visit, and it is also inevitable to stay at the bar, where you can find homemade brandies and liqueurs from the surrounding area.

Attention to the quality of food led the Vorić couple to the decision to produce from field to table. They have their own wheat, which is ground in a mill, and the flour is used for pizzas and other dishes. In addition to wheat flour, spelt flour is also used. And the difference between spelt flour pizzas is immeasurable. Because of this skill and dedication, the Aquarius pizzeria has been awarded multiple awards in Italy, which speaks volumes for the skill of making this very Italian dish. It is rare to find pizza made from spelt flour, and even rarer that it is produced in-house! Saint Hildegard, the great dietary icon of the Middle Ages, also praised spelt with all her mouth. Spelt pizza is a hit, and we don't even need to talk about health!

Dedication to local products and honesty towards the guest is also outlined in the preparation of meat. It is exclusively produced from Croatian meat, and is prepared on the fireplace in front of the guest. The interior of the tavern is harmoniously designed so that nothing can be hidden from visitors. While the guests are hungry, the veal cutlet, the favourite meat of the wealthy men's table, is prepared on the grill, which is harmoniously accompanied by Mediterranean spices such as sage, and goes great with various vegetables.

For slightly more refined tastes, there is ramsteak matured for thirty days in a dry chamber, which becomes a fantasy with a glass of Vorić's Teran or Cabernet Sauvignon. An Istrian tavern cannot exist without homemade sausages and ombolo, those meat delights of the largest Croatian peninsula that have become a means of a healthy catering race for better meat and even better preparation. It is a real pleasure to sit in Aquarius in winter. While the bura and jugo winds are beating outside, the guests warm themselves by the fireplace, on which sausages with homemade sauerkraut are being prepared at the same time. What a fiest! At Aquarius, you can also order dishes under the grill, so veal and octopus with home-made potatoes are masterfully prepared here.

Various desserts are the end of every fair visit to Aquarius, and Vorić couple prides itself on vanilla ice cream with boiled terranino and blackberries. Expert staff prepare these desserts with incredible care that make everyone drool, and every bite begs to return to Buje!

Konoba Aquarius

Digitronska 14, Buje

+385 52 773 417

Fotografije: Konoba Buje

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