It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful and magical setting for a restaurant than the top of the medieval village of Rovinj. With it’s sleepy fisherman village vibe, it’s shiny white stone alleys spiraling up the ancient hillside to the Church of St. Euphemia, the breathtaking seaside views. The feeling, the experience, is surreal. It’s hard to imagine such a place exists. But it does.
Opened in 2008 by chef Danijel Dekić, the restaurant Monte has managed to slip under the international radar until it received Croatia’s only Michelin star in 2017. Nestled in the upper Istria region, the restaurant has access to world class seafood, wine, and ingredients.
My expectations were high and I was not disappointed by this charming little spot. The ambiance was great, the service was very accommodating, and much to my enjoyment the cutlery was very creative and fun. I have a fondness for unique utensils and I found myself snapping picks and googling many of the interesting sporks and gadgets.
I had been wanting to sample Istria’s fabled wines and the pairing was superb. Great wine and well paired. The sommelier custom printed the pairing list at my request and like the thoughtful guest that I am I promptly forgot it at the table. I’m very sad about that.
The restaurant offers three tasting menus at six courses. A red traditional menu, a blue modernist menu, and a green vegetarian menu, each for 889 HKN or about $132 USD. Pairings are flexible at 67 HKN a glass or about $10. We chose the blue menu and I chose a glass for each course.
Before you’re even given the menu, you get two amuse bouche courses then a third after your selection. And at some interval in the meal, I suspect that the kitchen was running slow, we got another impromptu truffle shrimp bite that was excellent.
Our meal was well worth the $135.