Sunday, 27 September 2015

Marconi - Porec, Croatia

Day one of our Croatian adventure and we arrived in Porec around 12pm, having been awake since 3am we promptly napped as soon as we got in to our apartment. We awoke a few hours later hungry and ready to explore our local area.

After stopping by the supermarket (Konzum) to grab some essentials and breakfast for the morning we headed out in to Porec old town. 

We timed it perfectly by accident, as we walked towards the Roman streets and harbour the sun was beginning to set, giving us our first glimpse of how beautiful Croatia is. 

The streets of Poreč can be disorientating at first and I don't think we completely got the hang of it until our last night two weeks later. Lined along the streets are gift shops, craft shops, tourist crap shops, restaurants of varying qualities and your usual tourist trap trattorias and pizzerias. 

I had carried out some brief research in to places to eat a month or so before we arrived but a busy work and social schedule meant I wasn't fully versed before we arrived. All I could remember reading was that Poreč doesn't have any great places to eat and I guess I left it at that feeling rather down heartened. 

With absolutely no idea where to go we tried our best to avoid what we perceived to be tourist traps (the ones with picture boards and men grabbing you as you walk past) and finally settled after much wandering on somewhere that had a great big clay oven on display. Perfect, you can't go wrong with pizza. 

We entered the courtyard and looked around a bit feeling a tad awkward until someone approached us and we asked for a table for two. It was then that we were highlighted to the fact that there was another courtyard beyond the one we were standing in, this one had a live guitarist so we jumped at the option to sit in the alternative. 

We were sat to the side with my back to the kitchen door, I felt slightly side lined and hidden but then I looked across and saw that in actual fact it gave us a perfect view of the Euphrasian Basilica and we appeared to be sitting right in its courtyard.  With the sun now set, dipped lights and a live guitarist the mood felt very romantic and I was pleased with our choice.

We were asked almost straight away what we would like to drink without a glance at a menu, I took the risk and ordered a generic glass of white wine and D ordered a red. 

We were given menus which had a variety of dishes but our eyes (and bellies) were set on the pizzas. I had a craving for olives and so scanned the menu for pizzas containing such, I set my eyes upon the Istrian Pizza - it seemed perfect for our first night in Istria. 

The Istrian Pizza - topped with prosciutto and olives.

D went for the Diavlo - topped with paprika flavoured ham (i.e chorizo) and hot chilli peppers

In addition to the pizzas we also ordered a pot of olives, they were very small, stones still enclosed, and a bit tasteless.

We both found the pizzas to be overly cheesy and soggy in the middle. The pizzas didn't taste stone baked with barely any crispness to them. The olives on my pizza also still contained their stones, but as I went on to learn through the holiday this tends to be the way in Croatia - somebody please introduce them to the de-stoners! 

My wine was more a Chardonnay and not to my taste but I drank it all the same. Schnapps were served after the meal, with the waiter choosing to serve D a dark glass and myself a light glass... Who knows what it was but we downed it, it was free and a custom after all. 

Service was okay, meals arrived timely and correctly, we managed to grab someone for the bill relatively easily (probably because we were so close to the kitchen) but there was no rapport built or additional attention given - except for when the waiter asked if the lady had really finished. I held my tongue and nodded politely.

Great ambiance and it looks nice it's a pity the food isn't up to scratch. I guess we did walk in to a tourist trap after all. 

The bill came to 178 kuna, that's about £17.80. The two glasses of wine came to approximately £2.80, amazingly cheap. Wine became my staple drink for the duration of the holiday for this very reason.

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