9 March 2024

In Gradisca d'Isonzo for a weekend of relax and much taste

Friendship, Spa and culinary delights at the Hotel Franz

We’re in Gradisca d'Isonzo, one of Italy's most beautiful villages and the perfect point from which you can easily reach Trieste, the Collio region, Grado, and Slovenia. Everything’s at your fingertips.

Most will remember that in 2020 I had already told you about it during my stay at Hotel Trieste. It’s still imprinted in my mind, with its wonderful suite with a private spa, and the delightful aperitif on the rooftop we had while soaking in the whirlpool. Also, those who have been following me for a longer time will remember that back in 2015 I had listed this destination among the Sunday markets. If your memory’s short, click here to read my old story.

But let's get to the present day and not get lost in chatter. Alessandra and Marlene’s family has been the owner of Hotel Trieste for generations, and the two decided to embark on a brand-new entrepreneurial adventure a year ago, taking over Hotel Franz, a true gem of hospitality.

The facility has various room types, from Economy to the spacious Wellness Room Infrared Sauna suite, which features a large shower with rain effect, waterfall, misting, and color therapy. The plus? A private infrared sauna cabin for two. In short, a real treat.

Rest assured though, because by opting for the first type of room you won’t need to give up the wellness treatments of the private spa! Oh yes, because here many things await you, such as a Finnish sauna, a Turkish bath, a whirlpool, emotional showers, a relaxation room with headphones and zen sounds, jugs of flavored water, herbal teas, and a rich selection of juices.

I would say it’s the perfect place to get away from the daily grind. You can book for a minimum of two people to a maximum of six (two hours for 30 euros per person or an exclusive, private version for 120 euros). A beautiful idea to share with your better half or in the company of friends. I experienced it with my five long-time friends and fellow adventurers, and it was a priceless moment of well-being. We literally felt transported to another dimension... even though we were only a few miles from home. It was crazy.

Hotel Franz's common areas are modern and well-kept; in the summer season the garden hosts an outdoor pool perfect for cooling off from the heat and a lovely location for a poolside dinner. Just amazing.

Unfortunately, it isn’t summer, ergo I had to opt for an indoor dinner at the hotel's restaurant, Meja, a bistro (open to all) where the cuisine of the very young chef Manuel (born in 2000) pleasantly surprised us with a selection of distinctive and delicious dishes. At only twenty-four years old, Manuel boasts many experiences in starred kitchens (present in the Region, too): here at Meja he’s the head of a brigade only composed of young people. As I already said, the menu has a varied offer and even includes “poor” fish, agreeing with all palates: from meat to game, from vegetarian to traditional dishes, here you can really find everything...

We tried the tasting menu: we had seven courses at a cost of fifty euros (by adding twenty more euros, you can also have wine pairing). What do you say, shall I quickly describe what we have bitten into?

The kitchen greeted us with rice chips and red shrimp tartare, then we were served seared mullet with a clementine, orange, and lemon balm vinaigrette. We continued with an excellent pezzata rossa beef tartare with red tea, apple, and horseradish, and then pappardelle with cauliflower, mustard, and tamarind. Everything was amazing. As a second course we had snapper with a spinach and rhubarb sauce (I must note: a friend of mine who isn’t fond of fish at all, was served a glazed fennel with apple mousse. It was delicious). Our meal came to a close with a pre-dessert with yogurt mousse, plums, and karkade tea powder... and of course the grand finale, the actual dessert: a white chocolate mousse with lavender, and licorice merengue. It was such an aamazing journey 🙂

I have to tell you that, of course, the restaurant offers more than just the tasting menu! In fact, you can choose à-la-carte from many suggestions, suited to all tastebuds. Also, if I deemed dinner to be perfect, I can’t say anything about breakfast either. When I woke up, I found a wide selection of cheeses, cured meats, eggs, and bacon waiting for me, and then I turned to the pastries made strictly by the kitchen (as is the bread) and a rich selection of teas and herbal teas. Impeccable.

In other words, if I haven’t succeeded in convincing you already, here is the trump card (valid until the end of May 2024). Drum roll for a very special "MissClaire Sends Me." In order not to force you to make a very specific choice, we have deliberately created a non-fixed package: you are in fact free to use it as you please, you can choose either type of room and with how many people to go (go as a couple or with friends), all the way to the menu choice (à-la-carte or tasting menu). And if you only want to try the restaurant, no problem: the -10% is valid for you, too!

Enjoy Gradisca d’Isonzo!

Chiara

Ph. Michele Grimaz

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