Friday, 9 March 2012

Daniela's Tartare Triumphs

Near the Istrian town of Porec, Daniela runs a lovely restaurant and guest house.  The restaurant, with rooms neatly stacked above, lies within an absolutely charming walled gate.  A fountain gurgles cheerfully in the courtyard.  Well-appointed outdoor seating presents visitors with the spectacle of a daintily lit landscaped view.

Daniela, in her crisp vest and apron, adeptly and conscientiously serves her customers.  Learning of my sister's and my intolerance to gluten, she carefully advised us on the dishes which were safe for us to eat.

We ate at Daniela's more than once during our stay; her food is beautifully prepared and beautifully served. One evening, we had happily ordered and were awaiting the delights to come when we noticed how many times Daniela brought out her steak tartare tray.  One by one, she made her rounds of every table.  Every single guest had ordered her specialty that night, with the exception of my sister and myself.

We asked in curiosity about the guests.

"They are all local," Daniela confirmed.  Every other table was filled with local regular customers, come to feast on Daniela's tartare.

My brother-in-law, having ordered this specialty, gave us a front-row seat to what she was busily doing with that tray of hers, laden with so mysterious an array of special ingredients.

Watching Daniela mix the tartare was an adventure. Never having seen it done, or tried the dish myself, I was transfixed by her skilled hands, which moved in perfect synchronisation, so quickly that they were a veritable blur.

Now, eating raw beef is not exactly a normal proceeding where I come from.  I was leery - but tried some at my brother-in-law's invitation, out of sheer curiosity.

It was absolutely over-the-top delicious!

The tartare came with a basket of assorted freshly toasted homemade breads.  What a scrumptious fare!

I contented myself with turkey stuffed with local plums and figs, a creation usually served with a sauce, but for my gluten issue, I tried it without.  It was wonderfully flavoured.  I enjoyed every last bite!   I think Daniela was disappointed - she tried a variation on the sauce, and refused to serve it, as it didn't meet her expectations.  I admired her high standards; I understood that she wouldn't serve second-best, and cheered her on for her resolve!  I also appreciated her care and attention to my personal dietary needs.

If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend Daniela's.  You can anticipate great things when you place yourself in her capable hands!  The ambiance is wonderful - the huge old hearth, the cosy bar, the romantic courtyard, the quaint outdoor seating - all add up to an excellent dining experience.  The exquisite charm of the setting imbibes an extra sensitivity to the tastebuds, creating the makings of a meal you won't soon forget.  Less of a meal and more a page out of life, Daniela's definitely delivers.


  1. Thank you! Funny how looking at food can make your mouth water...