Yesterday we went to Rural House Montizel (itl. Monticello) in Zavrsje with some friends. I don't know how familiar you can be with the term Rural House.
In Istria, somebody can register as Rural House (cro. Agroturizam), if among other requirements, the place meets following specific requirements: tourist place where people actually do agriculture, and beside accommodation, tourist can taste local dishes prepared exclusively with owner's own homegrown products.
So if you drink a wine in any Rural House, it is wine made by the owner from his own grapes. Or if you eat a chicken, it should be a chicken grown by the owner. Or if you – ok, you get the pattern?
Zavrsje is beautiful hilltop village above Mirna Valley, not far from Groznjan, in inland Istria. Just 1 km off Zavrsje, on the Montizel hill, you will find Rural House Montizel (itl. Monticello).
The view from the Montizel is amazing, it is surrounded by the vineyards, with views over hilltop villages Motovun and Zavrsje. Rural House Montizel is the only property in the area, and it has a beautiful terrace for dining out on warmer days.
Terrace can accommodate up to 40 people, and inside the capacity is another 40 persons. The Rural House is run by Pincin family.
There is no menu available, but the meals are suggested by the owner. They have classical Istrian dishes like dry cured Istrian ham, homemade sausages, Istrian soup, homemade pasta and gnocchi with homegrown chicken, beef, venison.
Other specialties like wild asparagus, chanterelles, or other wild mushrooms are on the menu seasonally.
They serve their own olive oil (very good), wine, and selection of homemade liqueurs. You can also buy them there to take home. Besides, they have homemade jams on sale there.
My experience at Agroturizam Montizel
I loved the place the moment we entered. It seemed like we traveled back in time. The place reminded me of ventas I ate at, many years ago, in Pyrenees.
The place is very welcoming, with its rustic interior, red and white checkered tablecloths, stone walls, wooden beams, wooden tables some made of old sewing machines and benches (yes, benches are in place of chairs).
A large stone fireplace and wood burning stove add even more ambiance to the place. Walls are decorated with old wooden wagon wheels and pieces of old wooden plow, and lamps are made of straw.
The food was very decent. Actually homemade pasta with chicken stew, a typical Istrian dish, was one of the best I have eaten so far. The sauce was thick and stuck to pasta well, making it really juicy, while pasta was perfectly cooked al dente.
Manestra, a typical Istrian soup, was yummy. At Rural House Montizel, you feel like the time has stopped. The waitress is laid back and not in rush. Something that at other places could be quite annoying, here, at Rural House Montizel was perfectly normal.
The only downside for Rural House Montizel is their toilet. Toilet is attached to the restaurant but from outside. On the cold winter day, one should get dress to go to the toilet.
This is a small downside. But at 90 kn (approx. 12 €) per person for three course meal with bottle of water and a coffee, Rural House Montizel will be seeing us again. I am already planning my next visit.