I have been spending summers in Ičići for the last 15 years. And before, I used to spend summers in Ika. For you who are not familiar with this part of Croatian coast, I am talking about two little towns (maybe rather villages) near Opatija (Rijeka), who are 2 minutes apart with a car (and 10 by foot).
In Ika my grandfather bought a house in late 1970s, which was left to my uncle, so we, attached to this area, bought an apartment in Ičići. I first came here as a newborn, and practically all my life, continued coming here for summer vacation, even if it was only for a week. With years passing by, I used to spend more time with my friends, visiting other cities on the Croatian coast, Croatia islands, or traveling around. Today, when I have a family, I like to return.
Although summer vacation in Kvarner (are around city of Rijeka) has some disadvantages, the great advantage of it is that people and infrastrucutre is urbanized, but also that Italy is close. In less than an hour you can hop to Trieste, where they always serve a great coffee and creamy gelatto (ice cream). We like to visit it at least once every year, treat ourselves with something nice, buy a jar of artichockes in oil, a piece of parmigiano regianno, some San Daniele ham, and a sack of Mulino Bianco cookies (Baiocchi, tea cookies filled with hazelnut and cocoa cream are my weakness).
However, what specially draws our attention for the past few years is Trieste surroundings (Carso, in Slovenian: Kras) , because of its great gastronomic offer, beautiful landscapes and history traces. First time husband and I started exploring this are was after reading a great article in a culinary magazine Iće i Piće (in translation, Food and wine) (no.26 , 2011). This year, on our way home, we went to a village Draga, where a little restaurant (trattoria), something like an inn, is hiding of road. Locanda Mario is simply decorated and it offers domestic produce typical for Kras area. They serve fresh snails, deer prosciutto, buckwheat on a salad, apple and ricotta desserts etc. All with an interesting kick of chef Rudi, a Croat who came here 30 years ago when he married a local Slovenian girl…
We had an apple and ricotta cheese strudel for desert, and another glass of Teran, and this whole feast cost us around 30 EUR. Therefore, when you visit Trieste or are just passing by, stop by this place.
Ristorante Locanda Mario di A. Lupidi & C. s.a.s.
Draga S. Elia (Trieste)
34018 – San Dorligo della Valle
(Martedi chiuso- Closed on Tuesday)