A portion of Pordenone
This was my first time in Friuli, a part of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in the north east of Italy. Pordenone is a pretty little town; very clean and civilised (lots of greenery and cycle paths) and everyone seems to be cycling around with a smile on their face.
Founded in the Middle Ages as an important river port, it is now the home of Zanussi the electronics company. It has a slightly Germanic feel to it so it didn’t surprise me when I read that it was once an Austrian enclave belonging to the Habsburgs.
At the end of the street is the pretty City Hall with its medieval clock with the sun in the middle.
If you bear left from here you get to the cathedral of St Mark which has a famous altarpiece and fresco inside. The impressive campanile stands alone off to one side.
I only had one night here but arrived early enough to do a little tour of the towns restaurants before plumping for this one:
La Ferrata (Intermediate A), 7 Via Gorzia (which is through an arch on the right as you near the end of Corso Emmanuele), www.osterialaferrata.it
After looking at the other places (all of which seemed fine) I chose La Ferrata for its ambience (trad meets modern), low prices (just €7 for a primi piatti) and the fact it gets the most honourable mention in many guides, including Michelin. The service is good too and the head waiter is quite a character.
The area is known for its ham and cheese so I negotiated smaller portions (they are separate on the menu) so I could try both. The affettatti (cold cuts of meat) included a couple of smoked varieties which were quite interesting (B).
The cheeses were my favourite though (B+) as I got six different small slabs of varying ages, the oldest being the best and most powerful. I wasn’t too keen on the accompanying dips though. The yellow Mostarda (candied fruit in a mustard sauce made I think in this case from quince) didn’t really suit me (C) but the accompanying red concoction was ok (B) although I could only get from the waiter that red wine was one of the ingredients.
To drink with this a quartino of white Tokai (B), a wine I’d only heard of before in Hungary and the subject of some debate between the two countries. With the main, another quarter litre carafe of Cab Sauv, also good (B).
For my next course I had the classic Italian dish for Spring; Risotto di Primavera, a very tasty (A) combination of rice, stock, Parmesan, green vegtables and herbs which gave it a vibrant green colour.
Against my better judgement I had the Mattonella di Gelato al Pistacchio, Fragola e Fiordilatte con Salsa di Fragole (or slices of pistachio, strawberries and vanilla ice cream cake with strawberry sauce) which sounded great and was spectacularly presented but sadly had little flavour to speak of (C).
With this a shot of Pagura, a Friulian herb infused amaro (B).
Total cost €40. Despite a couple of weak choices, I would definitely come here again. These other places look ok as well though:
Ristorante al Gallo at 10 Via San Marco, near the cathedral, is a seafood specialist, but you can only sit inside.
Osteria Antico Burchiello at 11/D Corso Garibaldi, one of the streets off the central square. There are only a couple of options per course but the people running it are very nice and you can sit outside. The weather wasn’t great when I was there in May though.
I was put up at the Great Western at 43 Via Mazzini which was fine. They don’t have any facilities except wi-fi but the staff are helpful and the breakfast is fine, and it’s very near the station.
The reception can also give you a 10% food discount card for use at affiliated restaurants and a food map showing where they are. La Ferrata is not part of the scheme but the other two restaurants are.