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Restaurant “Girotondo” Vodnjan: Excellent minestrone and white truffle spiced honey grappa

by Gogo on March 7, 2009

in Restaurants

In Girotondo they serve first class extravirgin olive oil from Vodnjan

In "Girotondo" they serve first class extravirgin olive oil from Vodnjan

This is the second time I visit Girotondo, a very extraordinary place (here is the map). What is so special? First, it has incredible opening hours in a very American style. During the weekend they close only from 4-5 AM just to clean up, and during the week the break is from 2-5 AM. This is completely out-of-space for Istria in wintertime! Second, this is far away from being a fast food, or even a common pizzeria, as it might seem when you step inside. Here the food just tastes genuinely istrian.

The place is recently renovated, in a not too sterile modern style that still manages to keep signs of old-fashioned Istrian trattoria. On the bar, you will always find some locals hanging out, just drinking or in some live discussion which makes atmosphere very Mediterranean. Girotondo is quite packed, so I recommend reservation in the summer season or during the weekends.
Ambient 8/10

The bread, although not homemade (too bad!), was crusty and tasty. We are in Vodnjan, the capital of extra virgin olive oil in Croatia, and yes! On the table you get an excellent local olive oil, probably from the very last vintage 2008, full of fragrant, green, grassy notes and harmonic taste with peppery finish. I read on their web they offer also local olive oil tasting but we did not go for it. The house red wine was young, fruity nose, with too marked acidity but in general of decent quality.
Details 8/10

We were not too hungry and wanted something light so we ordered a portion of maneštra (it. minestrone), a bean soup that has many varieties in Istria. Ours was with corn and was truly delicious, cooked in traditional way with slightly smoked pork ribs.

Istrian minestrone

Istrian minestrone - a rustic style beans soup

We got a little extra in the soup, sausages very similar to the ones I bought in Juršići, completely of not-industrial taste. The quantity was copious, more than enough for two persons. Maneštra is a simple meal, but in fact is an excellent test of cook’s skills and his knowledge of traditional tastes. Here, he passed the test with excellent grades!
Score 10/10

Later on, we shared a portion of pljukanci “Vodnjan” – homemade worm-like shaped pasta with the sauce of istrian prosciutto and tiny chops of sausages. Again, one portion was more than enough for two persons. Last time I was here I took the same pasta and, honestly, the sauce was much better and the ingredients felt fresher. Probably because last time on duty was the main chef, and this time his young recruit.
Score 7/10

We accompanied the pasta with red radicchio (hr. crveni radić) salad with eggs. My compliments to Girotondo for including this old-style salad in their offer.
Score 9/10

Honey and white truffle spiced grappa

Honey and white truffle spiced grappa

The dessert was skipped and we headed down for digestives – two kinds of honey grappas (hr. medica or medenica), regular one and one spiced with white truffles (see tiny particles in the picture above). Although the regular one was very aromatic and sweetness was nicely equilibrated with acidity, the truffled one was an extasy. I was a bit suspicious that the pungent smell of truffles can go along with honey grappa, but I quickly changed my mind. This stuff really created a memorable evening to all of us. As soon I get the address of the producer I will post it here. 10/10

Total cost is only 140 kn (19 eur) for two persons. They even packed us the remaining pasta in a box, a good habit not so common here. To conclude, excellent price-quality ratio, food prepared with care, a decent house wine and really extraordinary extravirgin olive oil from Vodnjan, all this make Girotondo a place where you return with pleasure.

Overall 8.5/10

Restaurant Girotondo
Istarska 1, HR-52215 Vodnjan
tel. +385 52 511120
http://www.girotondo.hr/


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