on April 15, 2009
This very popular restauarant is part of the Hotel Fontana and is situated in the old historic quarter of Trogir on the Dalmatian Coast. It is a little different than other restaurants in Trogir because it stays open throughout the year. In winter it retreats to a cosy interior and in the warmer months it spreads out on to the waterfront.Inside the restaurant there are spaces for approximately fifty people and the terraces along the waterfront can seat up to 200 people so overall it is quite a large restaurant. So what is the best restaurant in Trogir like? Well, it is in a wonderful situation especially if you sit outside as you really do take in a fantastic view of the port and in the early evening it can be quite spectacular to sit and watch the small boats bobbing about on the water as the sun begins to dip behind the clouds.Inside the decor is very Dalmation and with the whitewashed stone walls and paintings you could think you were dining out in very large house belonging to one of the local citizens. The dining area has a warm and cosy feel to it. Tables are made of solid pine as are the chairs but to give a little extra comfort the seats are backed with an emerald green cloth. Flowers are placed on every table and I did notice that there were quite a lot of various plants dotted around the restaurant. The room is very light and airy and has air conditioning which is needed during July and August, believe me.So what's on the Menu?Well you may have guessed by now - this restaurant is famous for its seafood and has a good selection of other fish dishes, as well as an International menu.Let's start with the starters - should we. A trip to the Dalmation Coast goes hand in hand with two things - Dalmation Ham and Pag Cheese. There are other starters on the menu like octopus salad, Livorno cheese which is delicious and cooked mixed vegetables but I always choose the ham and cheese together because they are my favourites. I love the slightly salty but oaky smoked taste of the ham and the Pag cheese is Croatia's best cheese, in my opinion. I love the firmness of the cheese and the sharp taste. This usually comes wih a small bowl of black olives. Absolutely delicious.These are cold starters but you can order a warm starter if you choose to. Warm starters on offer are mainly various spaghetti dishes like Bolognese, Napolitane, Frutti di Mare and Milanese. All a bit too filling for me and from what I could see other people eating looked like large portions. Omelettes are also on the menu - various flavours like cheese, ham and mushroom. For lovers of cuttlefish or squid the restaurant will prepare a black rissotto which is a rissotto made from cuttlefish, garlic and olive oil, parsley , butter and the ink from the ink sac of the squid which turns the rice black. Not for me, though. I really do not like squid at all. After living 10 years near the sea you think I would but it makes me squirm to think about it.Soup ChoicesThere are about 5 soups to choose from - tomato, vegetable, mushroom, clear beef soup and you can have an egg added to the beef soup if you wish but the one I love is a Croatian speciality and this restaurant excel at it - Dalmation fish soup (Dalmatinska riblja juha). The aroma coming from the bowl as it approached our table was out of this world. I could smell garlic, celery, parsley and of course - fish.This is a very simple fish soup and not as exotic as some Italian and other Mediterranean soups but I find it warm and very comforting.The main ingredient being hake. The soup was served in a large deep bowl with a sprig of parsley on the top and a basket of fresh rolls by its side. Piping hot and delicious. My husband passed on the soup.So we now come to the main meals and you can choose from fish, seafood and meat dishes. Looking at the menu I saw that veal, pork and beef were the main cuts of meat in the dishes and some of the dishes were veal escalopes, sirloin of beef, rumpsteak with mushrooms, veal medallions, veal liver and sirloin of beef. Apparantley these had to be ordered at the moment of sitting down. This particular day we passed on the meat dishes as we don't actually eat a lot of meat and mostly prefer fish. I chose the Scampi Buzara and my husband chose grilled seawolf.I always seem to choose messy dishes. The scampi is cooked in a bread and tomato sauce with red wine and I think cognac as there is definitely a brandy taste to the dish. Something else that the Croatians add to their cooking is Vegata which they call it their secret but I think it is only a vegetable stock. My scampi consisted of 12 large prawns served on a long dish in the Buzara sauce. Pieces of bread were the only accompanient and I suggest eating with your fingers even if it is messy because this is the best way to enjoy the succulent taste of he fleshy meat of the prawns.Grilled seawolf is an unusual choice for my husband but I think he thought he was being adventurous that day. Sea wolf is the name of a fish caught in the Atlantic and is quite ugly and looks like a catfish. However, the fish served on my husband's plate was in fact, sea bass and he chose it first before it was grilled on the barbecue. I think the restaurant just use the name seawolf to make the dish more exciting. You pay by the kilo for freshly cooked fish in Croatia and sometimes it can work out very expensive. The fish was cooked to perfection - the flesh was firm but springy to touch and to accompany this wonderful fish he chose boiled potatoes with freshly, cooked sliced green beans. He was very pleased with his meal which is a good sign because he has had some bad experiences with fish in Croatia over the years so the Restaurante Fontana must be doing something right.All this glorious food was washed down with a bottle of crisp white Croatian house wine - which was palatable to say the least.Ice cream and lots of varieties were on the dessert menu but by this time we were bursting at the seams and worried that we might not fit into our small camper van so we said No thanks.Waiter service was a bit slow and a few extra smiles would have been nice but I am used to Croatian customer care which still has to be improved on so it didn't bother me that much. There is free car parking organised by the hotel and restaurant and is situated in the centre of Trogir.Pricewise - it isn't so cheap. The price for the above meal was 90 euros taking into account that my husband's fish was 24 euros and we had 2 small beers and a bottle of house wine at 11 euros a bottle.Still, the food view and ambience was worth every penny.
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