We are an elegant and authentic destination for culinary fans, situated in the perfect balance of sea and mountain, below Mt. Učka and above Opatija. Our culinary philosophy is based on the influence of this region, in contemporary meat and seafood dishes flavoured by the smells and tastes of the coastal region. In Rukavac near Matulji, where the mountain air from Mt. Učka mixes with the fragrance of the sea off the Opatija Riviera – this is where we find Stancija Kovačići.
Vinko Frlan, serving both as owner and head chef, has boldly set off to achieve his long and carefully planned mission – to completely renovate his family’s late 19th century house into a hotel and restaurant, named after the Frlan family nickname, in a house where there was a blacksmith’s shop (kovačnica)
Since his beginnings in Opatija, Chef Frlan has gained a broad spectrum of knowledge in many of the local renowned restaurants, though his culinary skills were best honed during his eight years at the Kukuriku restaurant in Kastav. He participated in the creation of the Croatian avant-garde culinary scene, and continues to nurture its philosophy today in his own Stancija: from the selection of fresh local ingredients and their masterful preparation, to the unpretentious but elegant serving style.
The menu consists of local produce, such as meat, fish, vegetables, cheeses made on the Grobnik plain, Istrian prosciutto, the flavour and scent of truffles, with the addition of olive oil and herbs grown in our restaurant garden, and which our chef carefully selects when creating his dishes. The restaurant at Stancija Kovačići always offers freshly made pasta and freshly baked bread.
Frlan describes his cuisine as Mediterranean, seasonal and creative, with an emphasis on the traditional dishes of Kvarner and Istria, with a modern presentation. He is particularly proud of his homemade pasta and fresh bread, made from several types of grains and with the addition of herbs and wild plants. The menu includes a wide range of dishes, including Boškarin beef, lamb baked under the iron bell, dishes with asparagus, nettle, wild garlic, homemade pasta, gnocci, ravioli…
The restaurant consists of three smaller rooms, for up to 70 guests, with an open hearth. Each room opens onto the terrace, surrounded by the fragrant garden, with a dozen species of Mediterranean herbs, such as lavender, rosemary, basil and marjoram, which Frlan often uses in both sweet and savoury dishes. With the help of his parents, he also grows a wide range of vegetables.
The terrace seats 40 and ensures a relaxed atmosphere during the hot summer days and pleasant evenings, overlooking the picturesque landscape of the small town, and surrounded by the fragrances of the Mediterranean herbs: lavender, rosemary, basil and laurel. For guests wishing to learn more about gastronomy, coastal cuisine cooking classes and guided Croatian wine tasting sessions are organized. The restaurant wine list offers only the wines of this region.
RoomsStancija also offers five rooms 4* for the accommodation of guests, overlooking the nearby hills of Učka Nature Park, with a multitude of hiking trails. Stancija Kovačići is an excellent base to explore the entire Kvarner region: it is near the sea and the urban centres of Opatija and Rijeka, and far enough from the bustle of the city, slightly hidden and off the beaten track, with a dose of mystery.