Although there are plenty of good restaurants and taverns in south Istria, like Konoba Batelina, Alla Beccaccia, Konoba Vodnjanka, Restaurant Milan and Restaurant Bodulka, the sad fact is that the centre of Pula, with its tourist trap and fast food eateries, is a gourmet’s nightmare. Fortunately, a short walk from the fish and farmers market will take you to trattoria Vodnjanka, a family-run tavern offering a truly local experience and the flavours of good old times.
Outside of high season, the place is popular with locals, and the clientele is very mixed and atmosphere very relaxed, so don’t be surprised to see businessmen in tie and suit and construction workers wearing blue coveralls occupying neighbouring tables. It’s the charm of “marenda”, local name for a quick lunch/brunch, a respectable tradition that still thrives here despite the threats of unification of flavours and dietary habits. In the high season, the place is packed, so best to book your table in advance. And bring cash – no credit cards accepted!
Gina Civitico, the cook, explains the winning formula of Vodnjanka: “We serve only traditional dishes, in a sense very modest and accessible to everyone but always prepared with great care.” Her gnocchi with žgvacet or mouth-watering game stew, fuži and inevitable polpette in the most delicious sauce, are prepared following Gina’s secret recipe… A must is also Gina’s sardines in savor that can be served as a cold starter or with warm polenta.
A few years ago, Moris, Gina’s grandson and former roller skate champion, took the role of innkeeper. Although he is currently more involved in taking orders and serving guests (very efficiently and always with a smile!), there is no fear, Gina assures us, the secret recipes she inherited from her mother will not be forgotten. No doubt, there is another generation who will passionately carry on the tradition of family Civitico.
- Phone: +385 52 210 655
- Region: istra-i-kvarner
Ulica Dinka Vitezića 4
- Ambience: Rustic, Romantic
- Services: Multilingual