A brief fifteen minute walk above the stunning surrounding landscape of Fužine and its Bajer Lake brings you to the Hunting lodge and restaurant “Arnika”. Before it was founded in 1995., the owners worked in Opatija, with a dream of promoting the values of Gorski Kotar and creating an establishment where people could eat its traditional cuisine. With 14 rooms available for booking and an outdoors children’s playground, this is a perfect destination for summer tourists because of the constant freshness in the air, while also being an excellent place to visit during the winter months due to the mountain atmosphere and numerous attractions present in the area. The most noteworthy event, however, is the New Year’s Eve celebration at noon on the 31st of December, a growing manifestation which attracts more than 10 000 people each year!
A mere ten minute ride away from Delnice, and approximately an hour and a half from Zagreb, or an hour away from Rijeka, you will be greeted in a warm house by the very likeable hosts who guarantee your table to be filled with exclusively traditional and homemade food, a feature that lies at the core of the Arnika’s business philosophy. The restaurant menu offers up to fifteen meals, and guests are encouraged to talk to the amiable owner for suggestions on what is currently most fresh and readily available. Here, only the best seasonal and truly natural ingredients are used, and simplicity is always number one.
Winter specials are “maneštrice” bean soup wth sausages, dried meat and bacon, as well as meals with sauerkraut. The menu also offers wild game steak with blueberry gravy and Fužine beef tenderloin with sauce, and also homemade hunter’s dumplings and potato gnocchi. The selection of wines is modest, since Gorski Kotar is, unlike the rest of Croatia, not famous for its winemakers, but trying the local appetizers which include Jäger and dog rose are definitely a must. As a starter, smoked venison, boar sausages, Škripavac cheese, smoked cheese and bacon are served on a platter before meals. The white wine of the house, which comes from nearby Istria, is Malvasia, which complements the delicious dried game meat very well. Besides all this, when it comes to what is served on the platter, we consider the creamy, aromatic and perfectly soft homemade cottage cheese to be the best of all.
The spring menu of Arnika is also based on winter dishes, because of the lingering cold in these parts, and they are most famed for their nettle soup and endive which goes which goes with almost any meal, from starters to salads. The selection of ingredients is based on the expanding local agricultural businesses which offer everything from fruit, vegetables and cheese to anything the rich and diverse mountain landscape provides.
For the main course of the day, we could choose between a homemade peasant pot with sausage, bun and dried meat with bacon and grilled cabbage and potatoes, or roe deer goulash with hunting bread dumplings. Delighted with the choice, we tried both. The house's red wine, a blend of Vranac and Cabernet Sauvignon perfectly accompanied the acidic notes of both dishes, and it is especially nice to see the pans in which the dish is served - a return to the past.
Last but not least, the dream dessert is a fantastic strudel with 90% forest fruit and an excellent vanilla ice cream. Play of the day, well above expectations, and there are several other types of pancakes on offer.
Arnika is not a place where you will be choosing between hundreds of dishes. Arnika is a modest Hunting lodge where you can eat the best what Gorski Kotar has to offer, exactly the same food which the family that runs this delightful place will be having. Plaid tablecloths, the forest, nature, walking trails, hunting tourism, fresh air and the proximity of a beautiful lake combined into a perfect destination for an escape from the rush and monotony of the city, with local delicacies deserving of your attention. Spend a day of your hard earned rest here, in the unspoiled nature of Central Croatia.
Contact number: 051 835 187
Working hours: 08:00 – 22:00
Address: Klađe 22, 51322, Fužine
Price range: 100-200kn