Those searing days and balmy nights we’ve been waiting for the whole year, arrived a bit late this summer. But there’s still plenty of time to enjoy fabulous sea views and sparkly evenings in restaurants of Istria & Kvarner coast. Our critics have chosen their favourite terraces with the view, a list that doesn’t necessarily correspond with the top restaurants lists but that doesn’t make it any less important. Because for a good restaurant experience, the ambiance and location are no less important then food.
1. Draga di Lovrana
Natural ambiance of this terrace is absolutely incomparable, at least on northern Adriatic. Draga di Lovrana is literally hanging between heaven and earth, in the middle of the wild Učka mountain and overlooking the sea. Its night view of the starry sky is unlike any you can have in populated areas. Chef Zdravko Tomšić’s menu offers conventional but good food. Scampi brodetto or scampi with fresh curd are a sure bet.
2. Alfred Keller
Restaurant of Alhambra, the most luxurious hotel of northern Adriatic, is named after Viennese architect Alfred Keller, who 1912. created the original Villa Alhambra innitiating luxury tourism on Lošinj Island. Garden tables at Alfreda Keller’s offer a lovely view of Čikat bay that opens to the sea. Attractive lighting and lush, manicured gardens give the terrace its particular charm. Chef Melkior Bašić promotes clean tastes, local ingredients and highly aesthetic presentation. Wine list is one of the most ambitious in Croatia, especially with top international labels.
Restoran Monte is located at the most beautifull spot of the most beautiful city in Istria, just below Rovinj chatedral. Since most of the restaurant is an open space, Monte cannot work in late autumn nor in early spring. Monte’s gastronomic achievements are a subject of debate among Kult Plave Kamenice staff. Istrian members consider Monte the best restaurant in Istria, while Zagreb group are not quite convinced in the excellence of Monte’s cooking. It is still an interesting experience, thanks to creations such as John Dory fillet with bottarga or big shrimps, sea bass with algae and cauliflower ragu. And the ambiance deserves the highest mark.
One of top Crotian restaurant boasts equally attractive interior and the terrace view. At Bevanda you can enjoy chef Andrej Barbieri’s luxurious interpretations of local ingredients and recipes with a 180 degree view of the Kvarner bay and Rijeka.
5. Plavi podrum
Picturesque port of Volosko makes an incredible scenery for the terrace of Plavi podrum, still the only Croatian restaurant to enter San Pellegrino The World’s 100 Best Restaurants (2011.) Old trees and lovely houses of Voloske create a cool shade that make Plavi podrum’s terrace one of favourite lunch spots during hot summer seasons. Add to that some the best fish, shellfish, scampi and lobsters dishes on Adriatic coast.
6. San Rocco
Stone garden of San Rocco opens into olive grove, a pool and violet distant horizon of western Istria coast, making every stay at San Rocco a splendid isolation in its true meaning. Cooking at San Rocco is constantly evolving and their approach to truffles as the most valuable element of Istrian gastronomy is almost academic. Paradigm of Istria as Croatian Toscana is one of the silliest marketing scams, but San Rocco carries the authentic spirit of best Tuscan estates.
7. L Hotel Lone
Lone is the most fun of Istrian hotels and the concept of its L restaurant is tought ou to the last detail: from sail-like umbrellas, phenomenally aromatic vegetation and waiters poised like models, to informal but luxurious ambiance and fusion menu. It’s obvious that Lone an its owner Maistra have to redefine their gastronomy, especially in luxury segment. But, untill they do, we will be perfectly happy to sit at the sensational Lone garden, surrounded by explosion of lavender, sage and wild flowers aromas, watching the sea less than 30 feet away and eating anything decent with a glass or two of Champagne.