I often take friends just over the border for delicious meals at some of the classic Slovenian Gostilnas, but on a Tuesday nights, many are closed. Luckily my pals on a Triestine cooking page on Facebook suggested I try Trattoria Valeria 1904 in Opicina. A friend of mine who is a “buona forchetta” (a “good fork”– which in Italian means someone who enjoys good food) had mentioned it to me in passing and so on Fat Tuesday night, with my out of town guests, we headed to Opicina on the “Road to Vienna #52” to try it out.
Trattoria Valeria does not look like the typical gostilna. It is bright, uncluttered and has more of a Swedish-style decor instead of the normally rustic look one is accustomed to. The first thing you see upon entering is a beautiful clean and shiny kitchen with Chef Tom Oberdan at work. Oberdan began his culinary experience at 18, in Val Badia where he spent four intense years learning from the best chefs. He returned to Trieste after working in several restaurants overseas and found a spot at Valeria, at the time known as the historic Gostilna Bak trattoria, an iconic local restaurant of the Carso. In 2010, he and his wife had the opportunity to take it over from the owners and out of respect for them he kept the original name. However, last year, ( January 2017), Tom and Jana launched their new (ad)venture; Valeria 1904, Restaurant and Hotel.
The atmosphere is warm and pleasant as are the staff who speak several languages fluently. The menu is varied and the dishes very sophisticated at a surprisingly reasonable price point. Nearly everything Chef Oberdan prepares is locally sourced.
The crostini with lard were melt-in your-mouth delicious. The salad with radicchio and duck speck really hit the mark in terms of flavor. The giant gnocco was as beautiful as it was satisfying and the artichoke risotto with foie gras was sublime. There was also a pasta with a generous serving of sauce made with chicory and peppers as well a tender, flavorful and perfectly cooked steak “tagliata”. Accompanying the meal was a delightful local Refosco.
We finished dinner with little room to spare but managed to devour a plateful of Carnevale treats nonetheless.
I cannot wait to go back to Valeria 1904 to try their other seasonal dishes and check out the rooftop dining room when the weather permits.
Hours Open from 12.00 – 14.30 & from 19.00 – 23.00
Sunday only open from 12.00 – 14.30
Closed on Wednesdays
TRATTORIA VALERIA 1904
Strada per Vienna, 52
Tel. 040 922 0286