Story: The restaurant was struggling to survive and had some reputation mishaps along the way. Then the property owner, Siniša, decided to try his hand at the restaurant business to showcase what is good and beautiful in Montenegro besides the scenery. Devoting attention to hygiene, food quality, and service, he is now four months into his new labor of love and the prospects look good. He is building a reputation for Restoran Kužina as a place that is quality through and through. It is a great place to experience Montenegrin cuisine and culture in Podgorica, the capitol city.
We met Siniša for an evening of sampling their offerings. Though the evening didn’t quite go as expected, it was superb. Better than expectations actually. Instead of having a small taste of several dishes, we went through eight courses of full servings done family style. Part of the signature of Montenegro and of Restoran Kužina, there is no half-way hospitality. When welcomed as a guest, you are welcomed completely. Sit, eat, converse, laugh, and, by all means, eat some more. We did. It was great. After those eight courses, try as we might, we could not make room for dessert on that trip. You’ll have to sample that one without counsel. I’m sure it will go well. As for the rest, we’ve done the homework for you. It’s tough work, but we do it because we care. (smile)
Vibe: Yes, yes, yes. This is the vibe of Montenegro. From the wooden interior tastefully decorated with Montenegrin antiques, historic pictures, and books to the traditionally styled wait staff and the nightly live music, this place works. It is a place of warmth, hospitality, and national style.
Recommendations: Everything we had was good. Fresh, local-sourced foods, quality cuts of meat, and generous portions were constants throughout the evening. Scattered throughout a strong line-up were several standouts. The fish soup commands attention with just enough fresh-catch fish and sufficient amounts of red pepper to get your attention but not so much as to over-power. One dish that totally surprised us was the grilled carp. Not a norm for the west, we had expected a lot of bones. Harvesting larger carp make the bones a non-issue. This dish was a unanimous favorite of the night. With a light fish flavor, meaty texture, well-seasoned, and grilled lightly, it was perfect.
This is a good place to get a dose of veggies in the deconstructed version of a garden salad (pictured above) and the potato chard combo. Also, the grilled veggies are another good option for the veggie-inclined palate. Other great dishes included the grilled trout (pictured below), the Restoran Kužina beefsteak which is stuffed with pršut (prosciutto) and covered with a peppercorn sauce, as well as pork served peasant-style.
If you want to challenge their creativity, feel free to share what you would like in your dish and ask the chef to give it the Kužina flair with a touch of national tradition.
Notes: There is a downstairs dining area that would be ideal for private meetings and parties. Also, there is live music every night. The guys played a fun assortment of modern and historical national favorites. This was a nice touch and another connection with the national culture. Well done, guys!
The wait staff was very knowledgeable and gracious. You’ll do fine with whoever is available, but we wanted to give a big thanks to Boris. Good work sir.