Hisa Franko

Kobarid, Slovenia Book from Book from £101 per night

Undoubtedly Slovenia's finest restaurant, with bedrooms upstairs for an unforgettable 1-night splurge on a Soča Valley tour
Hiša Franko is a visual and sensual feast. As you wander into the burnt-sienna reception area, there’s something to admire at every turn: fabulous modern art, an upright piano, an enormous husky dog sprawled under the radiator, lace sculptures and a chaise longue laden with plump pink cushions. The open-plan design leads straight to the crimson dining room where waiters glide past at top speed, wines are opened with a flourish, and husband-and-wife owners Valter and Ana Roš greet guests with open arms.

This is where the main event happens. Ana's culinary creations - featured, among others, in a 2016 Chef's Table and in the 2019 Top 50 Restaurants list - are an explosion of flavours, a treat for eyes and taste buds alike, a real show-stopper. People come to Slovenia purely to eat here - yet it’s buzzy and friendly rather than pretentious. After meandering through the multi-course degustation menu with its accompanying wine flight, you won't want to drive anywhere. So book one of the upstairs bedrooms and tumble, as we did, into one of the deepest, most satiated sleeps imaginable. Next morning you can work off some of the calories (not that there were many, as the food is very wholesome) with a gentle hike through the stunning Soča Valley. One of life's greatest pleasures.

Highs

  • Beautifully presented food in small taster plates - the best meal we had in Slovenia, and one of the best anywhere
  • Based in the stunning Soca Valley, just outside historic Kobarid - a pretty town with a fascinating history and lots of activities
  • Ana, Valter and their staff are absolutely charming; very thoughtful, attentive and generous
  • The rooms are airy and comfy, and some have terraces with mountain views
  • Works well in combination with a stay in mountain-top sister hotel Nebesa, run by Ana's parents

Lows

  • You have to dine in, and there's only a degustation menu - so you probably won't want to stay more than 1 night
  • The restaurant (and therefore the rooms) are closed every Monday and Tuesday
  • Some bathrooms are set within the bedroom rather than being separate

Best time to go

The climate is continental, with warm summers (75-80F) and cold winters - some of Slovenia's alpine resorts are ski destinations in winter. The heaviest rainfall is in June and September/October, though sudden rainstorms can occur throughout the year, especially up here.

Our top tips

Superior 2 rooms (No. 9 and 10) share a large terrace, ideal for an aperitif or digestif.

Great for...

Foodie
Romantic
Wedding
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 10
  • Breakfast (+ dinner on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: every Monday+Tuesday
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

This may be a restaurant-with-rooms, but the 10 bedrooms are stylish, contemporary and supremely comfortable. Ana and Valter are not the type to rest on their gastronomic laurels!

Our 'Superior 2' room (No. 10) was spacious and light with a sloped eave ceiling, cubist oak furniture and a Jacuzzi bathtub. The kingsize bed was low and lovely, with a big satellite TV sitting above a well-stocked minibar.

The semi-open-plan bathroom had 2 cubicles (the first housing the rain shower, the other the toilet) fronted by a green glass door that slid to cover one at a time: not for coy couples, perhaps. Sleek chrome finishes and piles of white towels meant that it looked fab.

More sliding glass doors led onto a shared balcony covered with cool hammocks and chairs that could be illuminated at night: a great spot for a digestif and a chat.

Superior 1 rooms get a Jacuzzi tub (but no terrace), while Standard 2s have a terrace or balcony (but no Jacuzzi tub).

Features include:

  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

The quality of Hiša Franko’s food is even more extraordinary when you know the history behind it. When Ana (then a business graduate) fell in love with Valter (sommelier and owner), she knew nothing about cooking. But as a real foodie and a lady that loves a challenge, she decided to become the hotel chef, and after months of intensive training she made the kitchen her own. Today, Ana is one of Slovenia's top chefs.

Set-menu 'degustation' meals are served at immaculate tables in the intimate crimson dining room or out on the terrace surrounding by meadows and mountains. Every dish in our 5-course dinner was divine, and complemented perfectly by selected wines. A wild herb and flower salad with tarragon, mint, watercress, blueberries, edible flowers and a peanut sauce set the tone - quite incredible. Elegant presentation and creative flavour combinations are a constant. The highlight of our meal was the roasted duck with beetroot, pink grapefruit, kumquat and melting pumpkin, though the pudding - cucumbers marinated with vineyard peach, elder blossom meringue and puffed honey caramel - was also exceptional. Food art at its best.

Breakfasts are much more modest and relaxed, though still very good; local cheeses, meats, handmade bread, and homemade peach and prune jams, all washed down with pots of tea and coffee.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • There's a glorious waterfall loop walk through the lower mountains, which offers bird's eye views of the Soca and some hearty hiking; ask for directions at reception
  • Take a pony trek through the mountains, go white-water rafting or canoeing along the turquoise Soca river, try your hand at fly-fishing, or paraglide over it all. Activities can be arranged in Kobarid
  • If you're feeling super-fit, borrow a bike and venture up into the mountains for staggering views; if not, pedal through the flat plains past wonderfully lush scenery
  • Visit the excellent Kobarid Museum, which presents the events of WWI that took place on the surrounding Isonzo (or Soca) Front
  • After the museum, you may want to do the historic walk of the area, which encompasses the sobering Italian Charnel House (containing the bones of 7,000 soldiers killed on the Soca Front), Tonocov Grad (an archeological site with the remains of 5th-century churches and houses), the remains of the Italian defence line and the famous Napolean bridge

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Rafting

Kids

Children are welcome; Ana and Valter have littl’uns of their own and Ana is happy to cook plainer versions of the food on offer.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

All rooms can hold baby cots and extra beds

Babysitting:

Babysitting, by arrangement

Baby listening:

Baby listening/monitors, on request

Baby equipment:

Baby cots, on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

A kids' playground - though it's right at the back of the grounds so not easily accessible

Kid Friendly:

Location

Hiša Franko is set just outside Kobarid in the beautiful Soca Valley, in western Slovenia. It's a 1.5-hour drive from Trieste (in Italy) or 2.5 hours from Ljubljana.

By Air
Ljubljana Airport (110km) is the easiest. Or try Trieste (100km), but note it's in Italy so you'll need to cross the border.

From the Airport
The hotel offers a transfer service but we’d definitely recommend hiring a car as the hotel’s setting is pretty isolated and you'll feel stranded without one. See our car rental recommendations here.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Trieste (in Italy) 100.0 km TRS
  • Ljubljana Airport 110.0 km LJU

Other:

  • Beach 50.0 km
  • Shops 5.0 km
  • Restaurant 5.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

We had such a nice time here. The hotel was lovely and comfortable. Excellent staff, spacious room, bathtub was a highlight. Our breakfasts were so delicious and amazing and the dinner was really special, especially with the wine pairings. Everyone was kind, gracious and friendly. It was our favorite stop of our 3 week trip. A Plus location was great for our adventures in the Soca valley. Highly recommend.

10/10,

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