That old house in Montenegro

A visit to Podgorica and Stara Kuca, a den for good meat dishes, in the picturesque country in old Yugoslavia

Stara Kuca in Podgorica, tel. +382.069.030204, ni

Stara Kuca in Podgorica, tel. +382.069.030204, nice cuisine in Montenegro (translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso)

Unknown Montenegro. This time we’re not referring to the famous Italian Amaro that saves the life of many people in TV ads, but to the small and picturesque Balkan state overlooking the Adriatic Sea. A destination that surely isn’t popular, but is much beloved by those seeking adventure, breath-taking landscapes and wild nature.

It is less popular instead among those who want to discover local cuisine, which is still rather rough and influenced by the bordering countries, or simply based on offering the best local raw materials, without too many complications or aesthetic frills. Over here, practicality and a full plate are values that put a big smile on a guest. But there are a few good trusted places, especially near Podgorica, the capital. One should make a dutiful premise, however: Montenegro is a country of enthusiastic meat eaters and grilled-vegetables lovers. These remain dishes not to be missed, and the best to choose, almost always. Instead, it is rare that fish arrives fresh from the sea and it’s almost always frozen.

Meat in all sorts of types and cuts

Meat in all sorts of types and cuts

For a classic full immersion in local cuisine, however, there’s a really interesting restaurant in the suburbs of Podgorica (you can easily get there in around 15 minutes by taxi), which encloses both the past and present of the cuisine of Montenegro. It is called Stara Kuca (that is to say Old House) and it’s a true local institution, as well as one of the most popular places, given its size, when it comes to organising events, weddings and parties. Just think that what with places inside the various rooms and the summer terrace they can seat over 500 people!

Despite this, each table is served with care and attention, and sitting in one of the rooms, characterised by a large fire in the middle that warms up the setting (and in ancient times would serve as oven) results in a very pleasant experience. The architecture of the place is also interesting. It recalls some old village, with a church, balconies, the clock tower, in a replica of the old town of Podgorica.

What do they serve? Simple: smoked Njegushi ham, a local pride, marinated carp, an imposing selection of meat (from lamb to veal to grilled sheep), excellent meat from Durmitor, a place in the north that also offers tasty cheese and ham, Karadjordje meat, that is to say a breaded roll of veal or pork, filled with kaymak (cream of milk, originally from Turkey) covered with potatoes and tartar sauce. Escalopes, medallions, goat, chicken and turkey. All the meat you can imagine appears here, in quantity and quality.

Picturesque landscapes

Picturesque landscapes

Sure, the Italian influence can be noticed and in the menu magically risotto, tagliatelle and pasta alla carbonara will magically appear, but best not dwell on this. At Stara Kuca people mostly come for the excellent meat and the juicy grilled vegetables, something hard to find. This can be all paired with the wines from Montenegro, which are also worthy, especially when it comes to red grapes. Plantaže is the most renowned winery and their Vranac is a versatile and trustable GPI wine since 1977.

Stara Kuca
Iva Andrica br, 5 – Zagorič
Podgorica, Montenegro

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