Three flavorful houses of the Soča Valley
Haute cuisine in the Soča valley
We’re back to where it all begins. At the basics of life. Food – essential for survival, but at the same time much more than that. It gives us pleasure and plays a big part in socializing. It inspires and provokes experimentation. It is art. While traditional, local food sets the basis for modern creative cuisine, it is time for us to climb a bit higher.
We have good news for all of you foodies! In the Soča valley there are three unique houses. Each with its own story. Behind their walls, it is something magical going on. Peek through the door, inhale the scent and treat your taste buds to a real gourmet experience.
The pink one – Hiša Franko
Let’s start on the top – with the cherry. Local and pink. Placed on something that is definitely not the ordinary sweet cream. Welcome to the world of haute cuisine squeezed into a pink house.
Hiša Franko. Photo: Miha Repič
Hiša Franko is surrounded by the Julian Alps and next to the emerald Soča river. Food is inspired by nature and made out of local, sessional ingredients. It tells a story about the terrain, the river, the forest, the rural life at the border, and the strong, rebellious local character. It is local – yes, but far from traditional expectations. Two parallel worlds occur simultaneously – elegant service in the foreground and orderly chaos in the background.
Clattering pans, steam, heat, chopping knives, mixing, assembling. One can hear almost all world languages in the kitchen. Fire, passion, and creativity combined with hard work. Every day the incredible Hiša Franko team, led by one of the top female chefs, Ana Roš, creates impressive dishes.
The second scene. The dishes are cooked, platted, garnished, and ready to greet the guest. Expectation rises behind the laid tables. The presentation of dishes sounds like poetry, and a thoughtfully prepared plate is a unique piece of art. It looks so good that it feels almost sinful to take a bite. First, second, third… plate. The dishes are accompanied by fine and carefully picked wine.
Hiša Franko has more than half a century-long tradition. The former local diner today ranks among the 50 best restaurants in the world. Chef Ana Roš is a proud owner of the title: the best female chef in 2017 and is an ambassador of the World Tourism Organization for gastronomic tourism. The restaurant received two Michelin stars in 2020. Ana managed to pin the pink house and Slovenian cuisine on a world map. Now the world is rushing to a tinny Slovenian valley. The experience at Hiša Franko is a special treat and a unique memory from the Soča Valley.
The blue one – Hiša Polonka
Not far from its big sister Hiša Franko, in the narrow street of Kobarid, stands a blue house. A Slovenian trattoria, a real local diner, the idea of Valter Kramar.
Hiša Polonka. Photo: David Štulc Zornik
The atmosphere – that is what Polonka is all about. Rock and roll, lively bustle, high tables, chairs, clinking glasses, smiling faces, loud debates. Here you can get the most exciting local treats: cold antipasti, frika, goulash, and the famous Franko roast beef sandwich. Dessert? Kobari dumplings, of course. The ingredients are local and seasonal, and the recipes are likely older than the building itself. Relaxed home cooking is accompanied by home-brewed Feo beer or a glass of selected wine.
This house is affordable, simple, and welcomes everyone with that genuine, strong, and shameless grandma hug.
The vintage one – Mangrt Restaurant
We are moving up to the village Log pod Mangartom. The settings are flawless: the village is surrounded by green pastures, wild rivers, and rugged, striking walls of Mangart and Jalovec mountains. Waterfalls, challenges, climbs, sweat. It is an outdoor paradise where you walk, bike, climb, run, admire and eat well. Something special is cooking in an old, charming house in the center of the village.
Mangrt Restaurant. Photo: Petra Repič
Restaurant Mangart, once a popular village bistro built in 1828, has retained its homely warmth. Alpine architecture, low doors, thick walls, old objects, and old clocks that don’t tick. Time flows differently around here.
The local chef Tomaž, and his wife, Japanese confectioner Yuki, united two worlds under one roof. Welcome, “dobrodošli”, “yōkoso.”
The house has a homely but intimate atmosphere. One menu, but several courses. The dishes are a reproduction of the local logic, culture, way of life, and tradition. However, they are all made and presented in a new, creative way. Local ingredients from surrounding farms are carefully combined and prepared with Japanese precision. You can taste the spicy cottage cheese of Bovec sheep, trout from the surrounding rivers, herbs from the high mountain pastures, and at the very end, Yuki’s desserts. Who would ever imagine that you could get a tastefull experience together with that final, unerasable smile at the tail of Slovenia?
There are many flavorful houses in the Soča Valley, but these three stand out and are worth visiting. If any of the above tickles your taste buds, we recommend picking up the phone and booking a table. If you have additional questions or need help planning a vacation in our valley, the foodies from the Outdoor Galaxy will be happy to help.