Trieste, the capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia is another new place for me, I came here on my day off to see my friend Barbara who took good care of me during the 36 hours I was here.
First stop on her evening tour of the nineteenth century centre was Piazza dell’ Unita with the glowing lights of the town hall at one end (pictured) and to the side the former head office of Lloyd Triestino, once one of the world’s biggest shipping companies. The other end of the square looks out over the Adriatic and on a good day you can see both the Croatian and the Slovenian coasts over the water.
Trieste was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and this is very much reflected in its food culture. The city is a culinary crossroads where the Latin, Germanic and Slavonic cultures meet. You will find restaurants selling beer, sausages and goulash next to ones offering pasta and wine and either might have dishes on the menus have Slovenian names. It’s also the home of Illy, Italy’s largest coffee company.
Knowing my love of good grub, Babs had laid plans for me and took me with her daughter Elisa to her favourite beer hall near Piazza dell’ Unita.
Kapuziner (Intermediate A), 1 Via Pozzo del Mare
This Bavarian style beer hall and sausage specialist is one of the most unusually decorated restaurants I’ve ever been to.
The walls are mounted with deer antlers, bearskins and old French horns with the blue and white check of the Bavarian flag being the main colour theme.
The serving wenches in their period costumes finish the effect of a Black Forest bierkeller.
One of these friendly waitresses pointed me in the direction of the house special, the Kapuziner Teller; five kinds of grilled Bratwurst with Tirolese style sautéed potatoes and two types of mustard on the side. This pressed all the right buttons for me (A) as it brought back memories of char-grilled sausages at family barbeques in Norway when I was a child.
Of course the essential drink to have with this was beer and I tried two types that had been brewed on the premises; the double hop…
…and the Kapuziner weiss, both of which were great (B+).
Finally, a slab of Tiramisu which met our sugar needs but had a slightly soggy base (B).
This is a fun place to come, and Gianni the owner (Barbara’s friend of thirty years standing) is a very friendly chap, so I would totally recommend coming here when in town.
After this we went on a short tour of the buzzing bars around Piazza dell’ Unita.
I particularly liked the row of pubs on the intimate Via del Ponte where I had a glass of Tongerlo, a ‘red’ beer from Belgium (B).
Buffet Rudy (Intermediate B+), 42 Via Valdirivo, Tel. 0122 453 0327
The next day we went to another restaurant near Barbara’s office, also owned by a friend of hers. It’s one of four little places in a row, all of which look very nice.
I had my beloved Spaghetti al Vongole which I had been fantasising about eating for nearly two years since my last time in Italy. It hit the spot (B+) and went perfectly with a chilled glass of Friulian Tokai, or Fruilano as it should be known,
The sweet of vanilla ice cream, sweet strawberry sauce, sour plain yogurt and a thin crispy biscuit (somewhat similar to a ‘sable‘) was recommended by the waiter as a dessert his mother made for him as a child. It was very nice (B).
Hosteria Malcanton (Elementary B), 1d Via Malcanton
We were unlucky with the weather during my stay here and had to leg it through a torrential downpour to get to this place. Babs chose it in an attempt to avoid getting too soaked as it’s fairly near the hotel, but with little success. The warm pub atmosphere was most welcome as the three of us came through the door dripping wet.
The dishes here seemed to have a Slovenian slant and always on the hunt for something new, and on the suggestion of my hosts. I went for the Ljubljanska (named after the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana). Although it doesn’t make for the most attractive photograph, it’s a tasty (B) combination of layers of veal, ham and cheese which is battered and deep fried.
A logical accompaniment to this is Patate in Tecia, aka mashed potato and sauteed onion with small pieces of bacon, presumably fried in the bacon lard (B).
Finally a slice of Strudel which means ‘whirlpool’ in Middle German although the dish is Hungarian in origin. In this case it was Apfelstrudel; a combination of apple, raisins, cinnamon and breadcrumbs and sugar wrapped in very thin layers of dough and baked (B).
You will find lots of other meat dishes on the menu here, including wild boar and venison. It’s a nice homey hostelry to come for comfort food on a cold rainy night.
So just a short stay in Trieste for me, which left plenty more for me to come and see next time. Many thanks to Babs for showing me around and generally taking care of me! x x
Here are some more places listed in my 2010 copy of Gambero Rosso’s ‘Ristoranti d’Italia’:
Amarina (€45 restaurant), 2 Via Diaz, closed Sunday and Monday.
Bollicine (€45 winebar), 2b Piazza Sant ‘Antonio, closed Sunday.
Buffet de Pepi (€20 trattoria), 3 Via Cassa di Risparmio, closed Sunday.
Ai Fiori (€55 restaurant), Piazza Hortis, www.aifiori. com, closed Sunday and for lunch on Monday.
Pepenero Pepebianco (€65 restaurant), 14a Via Rittmeyer, www.pepeneropepebianco.it, closed Sunday.
Al Ritrovo Marittimo (€35 restaurant), 3 Via del Lazzaretto Vecchio, closed Sunday and Monday.
Scabar (€60 restaurant), 63 Erta Sant Anna, www.scabar.it, closed Monday.
Antica Trattoria Suban (€40 restaurant), 2 Via E. Comici, www.suban.it, closed Tuesday and open evenings only except for Saturday and Sunday.
Le Vele de Hotel Miramare (€55 restaurant), 325/1 Viale Miramare, www.hotelmiramaretrieste.it, closed Sunday.