Oštarija Fortica

Željko Markus
Price range:

Highly overlooking Rijeka and boasting a view of the sea and the islands in the distance, the Fortica Tavern has settled at one of those small, picturesque squares one can only find in this part of the world. A magnificent terrace located at the place of the once cult restaurant Kukuriku is overshadowed with natural shade, and the interior is more than pleasurable, with living plants, some details and modern music and a showcase with superb wine bottles.

The story of the Chef and owner Željko Markus has been around for five years now, and given the numbers of visitors in the autumn season, booking is desirable. The Fortica team approaches everything with extreme seriousness. They love doing thematic dishes while running away from the classical menus, and above all, they try to talk to diners asking them what they like so that they could customise dishes to the latter’s wishes. The tavern offers exclusively homemade food in a modern form, actually, everything our ancestors used though in other combinations.

The underlying base of every dish is old-fashioned – salt, pepper, and Mediterranean herbs with the addition of high quality wine, exactly as nonice ( the grannies) in Primorje and Istria made it. Homemade dish, homemade flavours, return to the old fashion. This predominantly meat offering restaurant also offers some salads and the Adriatic tuna, but still, what is most important here is meat. Most foodstuffs come from Kastav and the surroundings, and quality and freshness of fruit and vegetables is evidenced by the fact that they do not have a refrigerator with vegetables – everything is local-based or picked up from their own garden.

The restaurant is open all year around save in January. It is most famous for veal over hot ashes, but this dish was not meant for us because the Fortica is also known after boškarin, the autochthonous Istrian cattle. For the start, besides manually sliced homemade prosciutto, sausages of local producers and a plate of selected cheeses, we tasted boškarin carpaccio on recommendation of the whizzing and smiling staff. An extraordinary piece of meat (white fricandeau) is a story in its own right – hard, thickly sliced, alike gentle prosciutto, coming on a bedding of arugula with parmesan cheese and germs. The black wine of the house, a blend of the cabernet, merlot, and teran Franc Arman, goes perfectly with and emphasises meat quality.

The base of the cuisine is pasta, which is home produced in up to 4 tons a year, and not anything is bought. Bread is also homemade, and olive oil is exclusively of domestic brands (mostly Moje Uje iz Istre and Chiavalon), whereas the wine list has 70 Croatian wine labels. The white wine of the house is Pavlomir Žlahtina blend however we were served the Graševina Krauthaker Mitrovac 2017 with the second appetizer. Homemade ravioli with cheese come in several combinations, and we were served them with puree of sour cabbage, garlic, chard, tomato and home-dried meat and sausages. This domestic farmer dish is a fantastic reflection of what has been eaten here for centuries. Sourish and bombastic with pleasant patina, it is exquisitely accompanied by the earthy wine aroma. Powerful wine, a satiating and fully innovative dish for every praise!

For the end, we tasted boškarin facepiece sous videane between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. at the temperature of 70°C, in sauce of teran on homemade pasta. A dish of the month, if not the year, featuring softness and gentleness of the meat opposite roughness and resistance of the pasta and sauce, with all this put on a wave of pure hedonism bathed in the Merlot Superior 2013 of Franc Arman, is a true master-piece. One would think that they eat a chocolate cake. The boškarin feeds on blossoms of plants so its meat smells pleasantly and has a quite different taste. We left osso bucco and tail and long and attentively prepared lamb knuckle for another occasion.

Desserts depend on the season and inspiration: various strudels, creams in a glass, and currently, chestnut cakes. The apple strudel was delicious but this place will be remembered as an oasis of meat where the Chef really knows how to accompany that quality with likewise wines. A deluxe restaurant, you simply have to come back here.

-- Your Gourmet 365

Contact number: 0915590372

E-mail: anamarkus@gmail.com

Working hours: MON - FRI
11 AM - 11 PM

11 AM - 12 PM

Winter: 12 AM - 7 PM
Summer: 12 AM - 10 PM

Region: Kvarner

Address: Trg Matka Laginje 1, Kastav

Capacity: 60

Price range: 100-200kn

Restaurant description:

The restaurant has two levels: an upper hall decorated rustically, while the lower one resembles a littoral tavern.
A summer terrace with wisteria vines. The restaurant includes a wine cellar.
Seasonal menu