Pula’s restaurants offer a variety of great delicacies
Istria’s eventful past has left a significant trace on its cuisine – the influence of Italian, Central European, especially Austrian and Hungarian, as well as Slav cuisine can also be felt in Pula’s restaurants that offer a great variety of dishes where you can taste both seafood dishes and also those from the interior of Istria.
In Pula, just as in most towns of Istria, be sure to taste seafood specialties, of which frogfish, sea bass or delicious stewed savory buzara with Kvarner scampi are just some of the offered delicacies. You should also try clams in Pula, because owing to the clean sea the local ones are especially tasty. Oysters are delicious too; the only thing to add is a few drops of lemon.
One of the specialties in Pula is tasty brodetto, or just as popular black cuttlefish risotto. For those who prefer oily fish there’s pilchard in savory sauce known as sardele na savor. This dish is eaten cold and prepared by pouring sauce made with oil, onion, vinegar and seasoning over fried pilchard.
But, not everyone likes seafood specialties. There are other tasty dishes you can order. The perfect starter in Pula’s restaurants is Istrian prosciutto, a true delicacy that is one of the most important brands of Istria. Istrian prosciutto is unique by the way it is prepared and cured and then dried in the cold wind bora. When ordering prosciutto in the restaurant, ask the staff to cut it with a knife since this gives it a special charm.
So-called fritaja or scrambled eggs are traditional dishes prepared in many ways, surely one of the most popular is fritaja with wild asparagus, wild growing plant rich in potassium, vitamin C, A and B. Fritaja is also prepared with dried sausages, young onions, truffles…. And each one is special in its own way.
In Pula you should also try maneštra, traditional thick soup, the main ingredients of which are potatoes and beans with pešt (bacon and garlic roux). This delicacy is even tastier when bobići (young corn) or crumbled corn is added, and just as delicious with chickpeas and barley. When cooking maneštra very often the bone of Istrian prosciutto is put inside. Another specific taste is achieved if it is prepared with young fennel. Jota is a variety of maneštra in which, apart from the basic ingredients of potatoes and beans, sauerkraut is added.
The influence of Italian cuisine in Istria is best felt in different types of tasty pasta offered in Pula. The most popular are fuži and gnocchi. Fuži are made with eggs, flour and water. The mixture is then kneaded into smooth dough, which is rolled out and cut into rectangular shapes and then folded over.
Gnocchi are prepared with flour, eggs and potatoes kneaded into dough. Fuži and gnocchi are usually served with various sauces, locally known as šugo. The most traditional one is žgvacet, sauce made with onions, tomatoes, chicken and seasoning.
In addition to fuži and gnocchi be sure to taste other delicious types of pasta like ravioli, pljukanci, pasutice or makaruni na žlicu. Ravioli is pasta with different types of filling, a special type is definitely Labin krafi.. A recommended dish for vegetarians is posutice with fresh cabbage, which has a specific taste when olive oil and garlic are added.
At the end of the meal in Pula you will be offered simple yet very tasty sweets, the most traditional and typical ones are kroštule, fritule and cukerančići. On the other hand, if you are served povetica (walnut roll) or peaches be sure to taste them. The perfect wine to accompany dessert and fulfill this experience is typical Istrian Muscat, a wine with a strong characteristic flavor and semi-sweet bouquet.
Over the last few years Istria has become the leading Croatian region in the production of top quality wines. Wine was once simply divided into red and white wine, but today in Pula’s wine shops you can also taste Borgonja, Hrvatica, and other fine varieties known all over the world like Chardonnay, Grey and White Pinot, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. However, the most famous Istrian wines are Malvasia and Teran. The synonym for white wine in Istria is Malvasia produced from an autochthonous white grape variety. Istrian Malvasia is dry and has a golden yellow color. Connoisseurs say that it is at its best during the year of production.
Red wine also has its typical representative – Teran. Teran is intensely colored, almost purple, and just like Malvasia, it tastes best in the year of its production. Malvasia is the perfect choice to accompany seafood dishes, risotto and pasta, whereas Teran is an ideal combination with Istrian prosciutto and game.
Teran is also needed to prepare Istrian supa – characteristic dish or drink, as you like it. Toasted bread and sugar are put into an earthenware jug called bokaleta, and poured over with Teran. Some olive oil, pepper and salt are added to taste. Supa is eaten with a spoon, but of course you can also drink some of the wine.
In Pula’s restaurants you can also try truffles, rare and precious fungus growing under the ground in the very heart of Istria. Truffle dishes are the ultimate gastronomic delicacy. Local restaurants serve fuži or gnocchi with truffles, and once you get used to their specific smell and taste, you can also try steak or cheese with truffles. The Istrian truffle is one of the most prized in the world, and it is in Istria that the heaviest truffle in the world was found which entered the Guinness Book of World Records. An important fact is also that truffles are one of the most important aphrodisiacs.