Discover the tradition of Slovenian Istria with new flavours
From the sea to the hinterlands: every corner of Slovenian Istria is brimming with authentic, traditional dishes with a modern twist. This inviting symphony of flavours and aromas is waiting for you.
Michelin plates epitomizing Mediterranean flavours
Slovenian Istria tells so many stories. Some of the finest ones are undoubtedly of the gastronomic variety, satisfying even the most demanding food connoisseurs. Five local restaurants boast their very own Michelin plate. The Municipality of Piran has as many as three such restaurants. The team at Stara gostilna in Piran explains that they depict culinary art on their plates and, judging from the diners’ reactions, they are managing this wonderfully. The Rizibizi restaurant between Portorož and Piran considers the recognition from Michelin to be just the cherry on top, as they have already been admitted into the prestige Jeunes Restaurateurs d`Europe association in 2012, and they are also one of eight Slovenian restaurants to have received 15.5 out of 20 points by renowned French restaurant guide Gault millau. They offer home-made specialties with a modern twist and the perfect finishing touch provided by their home-grown, multiple award-winning olive oil. The third recipient of the Michelin plate is the Sophia restaurant in the Hotel Kempinski Palace Portorož. The restaurant is devoted to the beauty of Italian diva Sophia Loren and offers top Mediterranean cuisine, complemented with local produce and flavours from all over the world.
The restaurant of the Marina hotel in Izola earned its Michelin plate by using fresh, local ingredients. They offer a standard menu alongside a seasonal one, for which they strive to follow the Zero Kilometre initiative. Their seafood plates, served with a gorgeous sea view terrace and paired with olive oil from the Belvedere hillside, are sure to create a real gourmet experience. In Izola, the restaurant Hiša Torkla was also awarded the Michelin plate. The restaurant is nestled in the picturesque Izola hinterland and is renowned for tasty meat dishes, especially grilled beef, and for dishes with truffles. You can also sample a Michelin plate in the restaurant Za gradom in Koper. It has sweeping views of Koper and has been renowned for its fresh seasonal and local ingredients and imaginative flavour combinations for many years.
Epicurious diners should not miss the latest addition in Portorož. COB restaurant offers a unique menu that tells stories of Slovenian gastronomy to food lovers in an unexpected and interactive way.
The mysterious world of truffles
The Istrian hinterlands also offer genuine culinary treasures, with truffles being the undisputed, most prestigious Istrian culinary crown jewel. Meet an actual truffle gatherer and their loyal four-legged helper who will introduce you to the mysterious world of truffles. Of course, save the best for last: taste the intoxicating aroma of truffles in the wonderful surroundings of the Gold Istra restaurant in the village of Padna.
Olive oil for culinary delights
One of the best olive oils far and wide can be sampled at the Morgan family in Grintovec, near the village of Šmarje pri Kopru. Olive oil tastings along with a presentation of olive tree growing and virgin olive oil production and purchases are welcome by appointment.
Visit Čebelji rtič beekeeping
By making an appointment at the Debeli Rtič Landscape Park, you can sample special and aromatic honey at the Čebelji rtič beekeeping. Their honey has a specific, unique flavour, because the bees are surrounded by Mediterranean plants and herbs, as well as some foreign tree species.
Enjoy a fine vintage in the heart of nature
Visit Ankaran to sample amazing wines by Goran Besednjak, who was crowned “King of Refošk” at last year’s 47th annual Refosco and Slovenian Istria Day. Besednjak Wines are produced in a completely organic manner, as the producers believe people should work in unison with nature and let it lead the way. You can make an appointment to visit the pleasant homestead and get an authentic nature experience.
The culinary tradition of the sea
The culinary tradition in Izola is inextricably linked with the town’s fishing practices. Daily menus diligently follow the motto “From the Sea to the Plate” by offering the freshest daily catch. You can sample the best of the sea with traditional dishes as well as seafood dishes with a modern twist. Bujol restaurant will treat you to authentic flavours in a homey atmosphere; they make dishes following recipes that are over a hundred years old. In September, they occasionally prepare their famous fish stew, depending on the catch of the day, but the restaurant’s specialty are undoubtedly the bluefish and the cod spread.
The cod will also take centre stage at the festival from 12 to 27 September that envelops Izola in all sorts of traditional and contemporary flavours. The popular cod spread will be prepared in a variety of versions at the Days of Cod, showcasing this dish that is traditionally served on holidays; it is quite possible some family secrets will be revealed about how to prepare it as well.
MasterChef Taste of Istria
Two contestants from the MasterChef Slovenia 2020 have selected the Ankaran Peninsula as their culinary hub. Villa Andor features finalist Sanja Sirk, who has created an unforgettable culinary experience. The scent of Mediterranean herbs will awaken the nostalgic flavours of home cooking, intermingled with the freshness of modern-day dishes. Kaja Balentič will treat you to her tasty dishes combining Mediterranean, fresh, summery flavours with a mixture of traditional and experimental in the eateries on the Valdoltra and Študent Beaches.