As soon as we decided to visit Slovenia I told my friend that we absolutely must visit Hiša Franko. I am a big foodie and I have of course seen all episodes of Chef’s Table on Netflix and Ana Roš’s story is intriguing. She was on a path to becoming a diplomat, but her husband’s parents retired and left their restaurant to him. He was a sommelier and somebody needed to be the chef. So she basically hit the library cookbooks and taught herself to cook, developed her skills, and rose to be world-famous without any formal training.
The restaurant is located in a town called Kobarid near Italian border, which is about two hours drive from Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana. We decided to stay at the hotel at Hiša Franko so that we could have our dinner in peace and not worrying how to get to some other hotel in Kobarid. This was actually a very good decision as we could have a wine pairing with wines without worrying that we might still need to drive after dinner. The restaurant/hotel had a parking space right in front of it and we found a parking spot for our car without any issues.
I booked the restaurant and the hotel as soon as we bought the flights, so maybe six months in advance, just to be sure that we get the table.
The hotel seemed pretty new and they clearly put some thought into its design. I mean the room was spacious and pretty, but the setup of the toilet being in one small booth, shower in another small booth, and sink being in the room was weird. I prefer to have all the bathroom things, well, in the bathroom. 🙂 Also there was no space in the shower to hang your towel nor to put any toiletries, which was annoying. If you’re putting all this thought into making this a designer hotel, can you please think about practicality as well?
They didn’t have any twin rooms, so we had to share a bed, which was luckily quite big and comfortable bed. We asked for an extra blanket and we got one right away. The staff was very friendly. They told us that we can show up for dinner any time between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., but they recommended that we would come around 8 p.m. So they only have one seating per night at the restaurant, which is nice because you don’t feel rushed and can spend four hours enjoying the 11-course meal. 🙂
We ended up choosing the 11-course meal with wine pairings and also a cheese course. They served delicious sour dough bread with apple peels and we asked for more several times. 😀
Overall the restaurant wasn’t super fancy, but more like being in someone’s living room. The servers were very knowledgeable about the dishes and absolutely professional without being too formal.
Ana Roš was also there herself and chatted to a few tables, which I didn’t expect as I thought that she is no longer working in the kitchen herself, but I was wrong. She seemed very nice and down to earth, which was evident in her dishes as well. They were well-prepared, beautifully served, and very good without being overly fancy.
I really loved the cheese-course, but the desserts weren’t that much to my taste, but that’s usually the case in all the restaurants. I prefer savory dishes to the sweet ones.
The Slovenian wine was also very good and when we mentioned that we liked some wines more than others, the server/sommelier started to suggest wines, which he thought were more to our taste. It all was done in a very effortless way, just as a discussion between people, who like wine.
After dinner I was so full, but kind of looking forward to the breakfast as I trusted that it would also be a good one. Fortunately I was not disappointed and we got to repeat the experience on a smaller scale during breakfast. Everything was good, fresh, and thought-out, which I loved.
Overall the experience was well worth the drive and the money. Dinner for two (with extra cheese course and wine) and a hotel room for two with breakfast cost 602,53€. I’m not saying that this is cheap, but you get a world-class dinner experience for that money in a very unlikely place – a small Slovenian village.