While the terrace is somewhat typical of tourist destinations on the Adriatic, the interior of Čok is more like a tavern in transformation into a family owned restaurant. The loyal clientele keeps coming back for Chef Vilijam’s adherence to a modus operandi of preparing everything in house, including fresh tagliatelle, spaghetti, rigatoni and other pastas. Menu highlights include raw langoustines with skuta (fresh whey cheese), wild oysters, and traditionally prepared seafood from Novigrad fishermen’s daily catch. This is without mentioning the allure of Mama Vilma’s decadent cakes and the short wine list featuring very carefully selected vintages. Nevertheless, the place is overly expensive for what it offers.
But owner Sergio Jugovac – one of Istria’s top sommeliers and an avid beekeeper – reveals the true reason for Čok’s popularity without a shred of false modesty when he says, “They come here mostly because of me and my character!” He remarks on a prominently displayed photo of himself with Giorgio Clai, the most charismatic of Istrian winemakers, “I don’t know if I’m like him, or he’s like me.”