Vrh might be a barley pronounceable name, but it's a great restaurant worth seeking out. Located in the village of the same name, this family-run restaurant is loved by locals and foodies for few things: for tartufo vero, or a real Istrian truffle (including praised white truffle); for boskarin peka (braised Istrian ox), laid-back atmosphere, and friendly owners.
We've been planning to try out this restaurant for a long time. Similar to the tavern Toncic in Zrenj, this place is off the main touristy routes, and it really takes some planning to get there.
Vrh means summit and the village of Vrh is located at the summit of a hill in central Istria, between Motovun and Buzet. The village is quaint with pretty views over the lake Butonigla on one side, and hills surrounding Mirna valley on the other side. The drive uphill is interesting and scenic, passing among vineyards and olive groves.
Vrh is often used as a starting point for truffle hunting tours as there are many truffle hunters in the village. Not far from Vrh you can visit Karlic Tartufi, one of the best known local producers of truffle-based products.
The restaurant of the same name (Vrh) is located at the village's main road. A rather modern looking house, painted in dark orange color, looks unexciting from outside. Even interior is rather odd, with two separate dining areas, large 80s style bar counter, and corner bench and table booths with lots of empty space between them. The restaurant has a wonderful outdoor terrace, though.
Anyways, while the decor isn't a turn on, the food and service certainly are.
Our experience at the Konoba Vrh Buzet
We've visited this restaurant on a Sunday afternoon. After a nice 40-minute ride from Porec through Istrian countryside, we were happy to arrive to Vrh. A village is small and it was easy to find the restaurants.
A full parking was a good sign. We got a table at the front dining room, just at the entrance. Two other empty tables there, filled up shortly afterwards.
The young owner was our waiter and a host. We ordered scrambled eggs with white truffles and homemade prosciutto for starter. Prosciutto was excellent and fritaja all covered in white truffles was yummy.
The owner brought to our table a basket with fresh white truffles. He was clearly proud of the produce. The smell of truffles was amazing.
Although we planned to indulge in truffle shaved dishes, the waiter persuaded us to order their daily specialty – a boskarin peka. Peka is a method of cooking, where meat or octopus along with potatoes and other veggies are slowly baked under a lid bell and covered in embers. It's seriously one of my favorite Croatian dishes. But I normally never order it in a restaurant. Unless it's made on order, it's usually warmed up prior to serving and the taste is simply not the same. A secret of peka is in potatoes and a sauce. But warmed up potatoes aren't my cup of tea.
However, boskarin peka at Vrh was delicious. Boskarin meat was tender, we didn't even need a knife to cut through. And the potatoes were cut in half and freshly baked with potato skin. We regretted to order only a half portion. We also ordered a plate of homemade gnocchi with white truffles.
We've also had a dessert, a chocolate cake sprinkled with young olive oil. For drinks, as usual, we've ordered a bottle of still water, and a glass of white table wine – Malvazija Istarska.
As for the bill, or as I call it la dolorosa, it was high (all that truffle!). But, the plate of boskarin peka shown above (with these delicious potatoes) costs only 45 Kn (as this was considered “only” half a portion?!). So if you are moderate when ordering truffle dishes, Konoba Vrh Buzet comes as quite cheap. But once you go crazy on truffles, the bill goes high as well.
Konoba Vrh Buzet: location on map and contacts
Contacts | a: Vrh 1, Vrh | t: +385 52 667 123 | e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Working hours | Apr.-Dec. daily 1 pm-10 pm | Jan.-March Sat & Sun 1 pm-10 pm
Have you been to Konoba Vrh Buzet? Do you like truffles? Do you mind traveling off the beaten path in a search for a great local restaurant? Let us know in the comments below.