Gostilna Kunstelj – Taste Radol’ca

In my personal quest to help promote Radovljica’s great restaurants and ‘Taste Radol’ca‘, and having already written about three of the seven restaurants involved, last week I turned my attention to another – Gostilna Kunstelj – (http://www.kunstelj.si/). I had already visited the restaurant previously to attend a birthday/anniversary celebration, which began in the wine cellar, for the obligatory schnapps and other aperitifs, followed by dinner and live music in one of the halls, as well as having attended the launch event of Taste Radol’ca here too (more about that can be read here – https://adeleinslovenia.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/radolca-taste-the-best/ ). However, until recently I hadn’t ever actually been just for a regular meal. Now however, I’ve been twice in as many weeks – once for ‘Restaurant Week’ and, since it was offering a special chocolated-themed menu to coincide with last weekend’s Chocolate Festival, well, it would have been rude not to…..!

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The family run restaurant, located just a few metres from the entrance to Radovljica’s medieval old town, has been in operation since 1873 and still retains the name dating back to its first owner, Rudolf Kunstelj. It later changed hands before the Stiherle family took ownership in 1926 and today the restaurant is still run by the fourth generation of the family.

Gostilna Kunstelj is ideally located within just a few minutes walk of the train and bus stations. Its position affords marvellous views towards the Jelovica Plateau and the Julian Alps, with Slovenia’s highest mountain, Mount Triglav, dominating the skyline. In my seven years of living here, I cannot fail to still admire the view on a daily basis, and I hope that I never will.

The place is huge, with lots of different cosy rooms such as the Hunter’s Room, the Poet’s Room or the Golfers’ room, yet despite its size it still retains a homely, friendly ambience, something which can also be attributed to the warmness of the staff and owners, and it is popular with locals and visitors alike. During the winter I can recommend one of the tables next to the wood burner, whilst in the summer a table on the terrace looking over at the magnificent views, is the place to be.

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Gostilna Kunstelj is also a favourite place for group celebrations and events such as wedding receptions, anniversaries, team building, themed events, cookery events and more; it has two halls and a wine cellar which can be adapted to cater for a wide variety of functions.

In addition to the restaurant, there are also 10 guest rooms, each individually and tastefully furnished and, of course, complete with those jaw-dropping views. Bikes are available to hire and its just a quick 2 minute walk to the Radovljica Tourist Information office where you can find a whole wealth of information, maps etc. of the town and surrounding areas.

A speciality of note at Gostilna Kunstelj is the vine in the small Wine Square area which is a descendant of Slovenia’s oldest vine, which isover 400 years old and listed in the Guinness Book of Records, located in Slovenia’s second biggest city of Maribor – http://maribor-pohorje.si/the-old-vine–the-oldest-vine-in-the-world.aspx

The restaurant menu is wide and varied, with an emphasis on local, seasonal produce and traditional Slovene food. As far as possible all the ingredients are local and the delicious chocolate-themed menu I sampled consisted entirely of food locally sourced:

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* Herb curd cheese, from the Podjed dairy in nearby Olševek, with wholemeal bread with chocolate pieces – Gorenjka chocolate from the factory in Lesce.

*Roast pork fillet, from the local butcher in Lesce and a farm in Bitnje

*Baked trout – from the Mošnje fish farm

* Chocolate Mousse and grizike* from the 18sedem3 Farmer’s Market shop

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Mmm, grizike, otherwise known as cake-pops, I must confess that these are one of my favourite cakes around, although one is never enough so its just as well that they produce a range of 3; white, milk and dark chocolate, each with a different flavoured centre. Though cake-pops are nothing new in the US and UK, they are still something of a novelty here and the Gostilna Kunstelj grizike have been trademarked and they were, almost literally, flying off the shelves at last weekend’s Chocolate Festival. I will certainly be going back for more, again, and again…….. How lucky then that I live just a stone’s throw away.

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