From: Alice Taylor
Places to Visit: Fustanella Farm

Located a 20-minute drive from Tirana, Fustanella Farm sits below the castle of Petrele overlooking a picturesque valley.

An organic restaurant, Fustanella uses seasonal ingredients that are grown in the grounds of the farm. Meat, for the time being, is sourced from local farmers. The menu changes daily and is based on what’s good, fresh, and seasonal on that particular day.

109830362 1913628622106433 2637598097953307205 n

The food itself is Albanian but draws on influences from the Albanian diaspora including Italy and Greece. It is also strongly influenced by the southern cuisine of the country.

The restaurant opened its doors in 2019 and has finally reopened following COVID-19 restrictions. Reservations are required a day or two in advance as this is a popular place and tables are very much in demand.

We visited on a Tuesday evening, just as the sun was starting to set. The venue comprises of a traditional stone house with a large terrace that wraps around the exterior. Tables sit under thatched canopies and surrounded by vines, or on the main terrace they are shielded from the sun by large white curtains.

108633609 1913628452106450 7587331582037282409 n

In terms of decor, the owners have gone for a rustic, ‘shabby chic’ look with upcycled, mismatching furniture and an array of trinkets displayed throughout. There were kittens playing and prowling around the terrace and birds signing in the trees. Pleasant jazz music played as we sat down to order.

We asked the attentive and friendly waiter to bring us a selection of what he recommended. He poured us two glasses of white wine from Kantina Alpet in Berat and served us the appetisers.

109836638 1913628358773126 2150186690514728219 n

We started with a delicious leafy salad with figs, cheese, tomatoes, and cured meat. This was accompanied by a warm quiche type dish, more cheese with fig jam, toasted bread, and qofte made from courgette with a parsley and yoghurt dip.

To follow, we enjoyed grilled homemade sausages and a plate of fresh pasta with homemade pesto, drizzled with olive oil.

We would have stayed to enjoy a meat dish as well, but unfortunately, our youngest dinner companion was getting tired and wanted to go to bed.

The food was really excellent- perfect sized portions and priced between 100 lek and 1200 for fresh meat. It was seasoned to perfection and didn’t need additional condiments and each dish complemented the others on offer.

I was happy to note that they had child seats and that the area was largely child friendly, meaning children could run around and play while their parents ate.

108239785 1913628672106428 430194081310318681 n

But for me, it is the location that really sealed the deal. Looking out over fields of sunflowers, tomatoes, grapes, and then the rolling hills behind was really magical. You have a perfect view of the sunset from the terrace and the golden light that floods the area, creates the perfect environment for enjoying some wonderful local food and wine.For a romantic dinner, impressing out of town guests, or a special occasion, Fustanella Farm is the obvious choice. Fustanella is open Monday-Sunday from morning until 10 pm and reservations are necessary.