Zlatna Potkova

Ivan Jovanović
Price range:

Spit-roast, wild edible mushrooms, cured and smoked meat are main things we think of when we enter Lika’s dense forests and pristine nature. While you’re traveling to the coast, heading back to Zagreb or looking for colder weather during long hot summer days, you’ll also think of game dishes, smells of homemade bread or pickled vegetables.

Strudels with rich stuffing also come to mind... These are the guiding principles of the kitchen at restaurant Zlatna Potkova in Gospić where travelers and visitors alike come to have a bite to eat before they set out to Plitvice Lakes or the museum of Nikola Tesla in Smiljan. The people of Lika are as harsh as their winters so Austria-Hungary, Venice and Turkey all had just a slight culinary influence in this region.

But potatoes, which have been farmed in Lika since the era of Maria Therese, are a deeply entrenched crop. It has a cult following in today’s Croatia. Baked potato halves are one of the specialties at Zlatna Potkova. They are most commonly served as a side dish. But with dried meat and local cheese, they make a fantastic dinner after a hard day’s work. Halves (pole) are especially tasty if you have them with bosa, a type of cheese you can’t try anywhere else but Lika. At Zlatna Potkova they take great pride in bosa. According to the superb waitress, its preparation is top secret. It’s as creamy as homemade whipped cream. It’s most commonly made from sheep milk which is boiled and mixed with yeast and then drained or boiled milk is added to a wooden container for a couple of days in a row so that the curd could dissipate and then only cheese is left. You should also try the tender and delicious Škripavac cheese. The soups are also something else, especially during spring or summer when mushrooms are aplenty. You shouldn’t overdo with soups or stews; save some room for spit-roasted lamb or goat kid.

Spit-roast maestros enjoy a cult status in Croatia. Their skills are translated in faithful guests and a good reputation and they enjoy a cult status at Zlatna Potkova. When the lamb is served to your table, the only things you’ll need are just a few slices of homemade bread, spring onions, and home-grown tomatoes straight from the garden. This simple salad is called škanjula. Forget about knives and forks, it’s best to eat with your fingers.

You’ll get a true experience of Lika if you have a glass of spritzer. Given that they don’t have any vineyards, there are no local wines. But if you skim through the menu, you’ll find some good wines such as the ones from Ivan Dolac. Even though homemade pies and crepes are not listed on the menu, you should definitely ask about them.

-- Your Gourmet 365

Contact number: 053/573-692

E-mail: zlatnapotkova@net.hr

Working hours: Monday - Saturday: from 07:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Sunday: from 08:00 AM till 4:00 PM

Region: Lika-Karlovac

Address: Smiljanska ul. 24; 53000 Gospić

Capacity: 150

Price range: 100-200kn

Restaurant description:

The restaurant has been running since 1978 and it was named after a horse owned by Ivan Jovanović, who used to work as a forester. Upon retiring, he adorned the restaurant’s walls with his memories by making a drawing of his faithful horse. Zlatna Potkova is open all year-round and can drop by every day around noon to have hot Lika lamb that has just been taken off the spit. If you’re not in the mood to have lamb, you can choose from any spit-roasted meat dish. During winter you can have sauerkraut, a true Lika specialty. If you’re up for a lighter meal, then they’ll recommend you have the Gacka river trout or the local squid.
Seasonal menu