“Tre Forchette”:https://treforchette-restaurant.business.site/?utm_source=gmb&utm_medium=referral was the nearest restaurant to our accommodation, “Hotel Partner”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/travel-product/accommodation/201320-hotel-partner, in Vlora, southwest Albania. From the various websites we checked, it looked to be one of the smarter restaurants.
At 7pm on a Sunday evening, we appeared to be the first diners and were given the option of sitting inside or the conservatory at the front. We opted for the restaurant, and then had the usual dilemma of which table to choose in an empty restaurant (a bit like parking in an empty car park). Some of the larger round tables were set with linen napery, whereas the smaller ones, which we chose, just had glasses in the middle. However, it was quickly laid with placemats, crockery and napkins.
The menus were in various languages, and the waiter spoke good English. He delivered a spiel about the fact they served an Italian blend of food with fish and meat and asked which we were interested in. Fortunately, we said meat, which prevented us from having to coo over the three whole fish on a large tray which he brought out for the next unsuspecting customers. The patter also included mentioning a few of their most expensive dishes, including a Fiorentina steak which apparently was big enough to share with a simple spinach salad – the steak was 4,500 Lek. At around £34 it would probably have represented good value in the UK, but in “Saranda”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/travel-product/restaurant/201263-eating-out-in-saranda, we’d been paying on average 1,700 Lek for our total dinner and drinks.
Having ordered, we were served warm bread and two dips: cream cheese and garlic and tuna. Expecting portions to be on the smaller side, we began feasting. We chose the cheapest bottle of white wine, an Italian Chardonnay at 1,500 Lek, and a large bottle of sparkling water. The waiting staff consisted of two young men: the rather fussy waiter and a young boy who was obviously the apprentice and only allowed to clear plates. When he overstepped his duties and tried serving our starter of tuna salad, he took it to the wrong table. It was quickly snatched away by Mr Fussy who took it back into the kitchen, probably walked around a table, and brought it back out for us. We were told it had been lightly dressed, but additional oil was provided. It was a good salad and as we’d not had tuna since the beginning of our trip five weeks ago, it made a pleasant change.
Our main plates of a Little Italy Pasta (tomato, mozzarella and basil) and risotto alla norcina (with pork sausages, mushroom and onion), were both surprisingly large and we could easily have shared one, especially as our breadbasket was replenished.
The ice bucket was placed out of reach, so we relied on our man topping us up: on one occasion, he topped up Roy with water and wine and completely ignored my glasses which were just as empty. As the night wore on however, and a few more customers arrived, his attention was elsewhere, and we rescued the bottle and poured our own. At one point he’d told us if we didn’t manage to finish it, we could take it home. The overall bill was 3,400 Lek which at £25 was pretty good for the quality of the food.