In the heart of the Collio wine zone, surrounded by rolling hills and lush vineyards, is my favorite restaurant in all of Friuli–Venezia Giulia: Trattoria Al Cacciatore de La Subida (known to locals simply as La Subida). Inspired by the nearby border where Friulian and Slovenian cultures merge, owners Joško and Loredana Sirk serve a variety of traditional dishes, including Friulian frico (crispy fried cheese) and Triestine jota (bean and sauerkraut soup), as well as the Slovenian pastas mlinci and zlikrofi.
The menu rotates seasonally; for example, pumpkin gnocchi is served in autumn, while summer brings gnocchi stuffed with fresh plums. Don’t miss the stinco di vitello, a melt-in-your-mouth-tender roast veal shank that Joško will carve for you tableside. While their food remains authentic, each dish is refined to an exquisite level through added touches such as fried sage leaves, elderberry flower syrup, and herb-infused sorbets.
The best way to experience this slice of culture is with La Subida’s multi-course tasting menu. After an aperitif and some light snacks under the lime tree or inside by the fire, diners will feast on an appetizer, two or three first courses, two meat dishes, a palate-cleansing sorbet, and a dessert that inevitably includes a plate of homemade biscotti. This must all be accompanied, of course, by local Collio wine from Joško’s cellar.