For years Valsabbion restaurant, just outside Pula, has been considered one of Croatia’s finest gastronomic restaurants, maybe even the finest. Part of the Valsabbion hotel, the restaurant was known for its creative, even daring dishes, a rarity along the Croatian coast where expertly grilled fish is usually enough to please the crowd. Yes, it was pricey relative to other local restaurants but the quality was superb. A similar meal would cost many times more in neighbouring Italy. What happened? In an interview, owner Sonja Peric remarked that the cost of running such a restaurant was extremely high and the profits were negligible. It seems that the local population does not have the financial means to support such a restaurant and tourists are too easily satisfied with a seaside inn serving inexpensive food.
It’s a serious blow to the Croatian gastronomic scene just at a time when Croatian food and wine is starting to attract international attention. Yes there are other restaurants in Pula but none, frankly, at that level.