Croatia -- Istria - Buzet area -- Toklarija
My family and I ate at Toklarija in May, 2012.
(There were four of us.)
This is an outstanding restaurant, probably the best of our trip. (We didn't do too many fancy upscale places, stuck to local cuisine for the most part.)
Six course meal, designed around local specialties, and paired with local wines.
Very very tasty, well executed and well presented. Took about 4 hours and was well worth it.
Inexpensive for what we got, comes in at only 400-500 KN per person (varies depending on the meal and wines of the evening.) Gotta love countries that aren't on the Euro for value!
This is a husband and wife shop, just the two of them, they do everything.
The restaurant is in a 600 year old olive oil mill, that has been refurbished and remodeled. Decor is great, loved the ambiance. In warm weather they also have outdoor seating and a wonderful view.
Reservations are a must, no walk-ins. They only buy enough for those they are expecting.
Was a little hard to find (thank god for GPS, makes back road European travel much easier, even though a bit of the adventure is lost......) but is only about 15-20 minutes outside of Buzet in a little town called Sovinjsko Polje. No web site, but you can find it on tripadvisor.com. Phone is: 091 926-6769
I highly recommend Toklaija, too. My husband and I were there last week - July 19, 2012. Here's my review:
It is in a remote village in the mountains above Buzet and we get lost several times trying to find it (including ending up the stone rubble of someone’s backyard in the wrong village). But we finally find our destination, a house and restaurant in a 600-year-old olive mill. We are the only guests and sit in a lovely outdoor space between the house and the garden, overlooking the valley. Our waiter Noan serves us six courses prepared by his father, with wine pairings for each. After an “appetizer” of wild pear liqueur, we had:
--Marinated dandelion buds, aged sheep ricotta and mixed mushrooms
--Homemade beef broth, cooked 12 hours, with house produced noodles
--Beef carpaccio w parmesan and arugula and olive oil
--Local prsut with cantaloupe and black pepper, with olive oil and arugula
--Fresh pasta wide noodles with two whole grated and sliced truffles (ancient recipe)
(Roxanich Ines u bijelom)
--Suckling pig with rosemary and roast potatoes
--Sheep milk ricotta fried in olive oil over sage and cherry
--Chocolate cake w olive oil
One of their house olive oils won 16th place among thousands in a Mediterranean-wide competition. (They have three types.)
Then coffee and she has a sip of 170 proof homemade grappa (distilled from quince soaked in grappa).
I can't wait to go back.
Chef says he has a friend in Belgrade working on a website.
We adore that place. Our most recent experience was in May. We fell in love with Croatia so hard on our first trip six years ago that we bought a house there (in Istria, actually!) so we spend each May and October there. It is a dream and each time we go we pinch ourselves.
Off-the-beaten-track local places like this are widespread throughout Istria but I believe this one to be one of the very best. Not only is the food carefully and thoughtfully prepared and very seasonal, the konoba itself is so full of charm and atmosphere.
Thank you so much for your report! Love your enthusiasm. :-)