Ribnjak Izvor – The Source of the Pond
Many of the delights of Bosnia can only be found by venturing off the main roads. The open secret in the village of Mehurići nearby Travnik (Central Bosnia) area is visiting Ribnjak Izvor is worth the extra effort.
Visitors are rewarded with some of the best trout in Europe, raised in ponds fed by mountain spring water. Adil Lozo dreamed for decades of building the ponds, which he completed in 2006. As residents flocked to the fishery, they took advantage of grilling stations to eat fresh trout while enjoying the fresh air, greenery, and running streams.
As their customer base grew, the Lozo family expanded the operation. They created a restaurant where families and friends can escape from the world to enjoy food and time together. They added manicured gardens and patios to create a vibrant, natural retreat. Visitors will often stroll around the pond and take pictures and relax before sitting for their meal.
The highlight of the menu is the simply grilled trout accompanied by locally grown potatoes and vegetables. And, visitors typically linger, stretching their visit with traditional desserts and coffee.
There is a welcoming atmosphere, which is an extension of the staff which comes from a few families in neighboring villages. The waiters are professional and will help select your meal, yet they want to ensure you have a relaxed experience and will not rush your service. Of course, you can purchase some fresh trout to take home, too.
WHAT MAKES THIS SPECIAL: The quality of the trout is what initially drew people. The quality has been maintained, but a stunning natural environment that encourages the enjoyment of food and company is what creates a memorable experience. The operation is run family-style, with a passion and pride in their trout and hospitality.
IF YOU VISIT:
Ribnjak Izvor is especially popular on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. There is space for kids to run around and play. The menu includes some chicken and meat entrees for people who are not interested in trout. The restaurant does not serve alcohol.
They are open all year, so you can also visit in winter! While the outdoor space is closed, the indoor restaurant is a cozy place to look out onto the snow. Prices are affordable.
THINGS TO BUY: Fresh trout (cleaned).
GETTING THERE: Ribjnak Izvor is located at https://goo.gl/maps/8oVNhLcmxJHYHyY56 (Google Maps).
Driving from Sarajevo/A1 Approaching Zenica: Drive on A1, about 10 km before Zenica, turn towards E73/M157/M5, cross the Bosna River, take a ramp onto E661/M5, and continue on E661 for 18 km until you turn right onto R440 (no obvious signage); at 12.8 km turn to the left at Ribnjak Izvor. There is a well-paved parking lot.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO NEARBY: Nearby, 10 kilometers away, is Mt. Vlašić (1,943 meters), known for having gentle slopes with accessible skiing and hiking. Travnik is a center of important history and culture. The earliest evidence of inhabitants goes back to the Bronze Age. The city’s known history stretches back to the Roman era but flourished during the Ottoman era. Some key structures have survived since a fire swept through the city in 1903. Explore the Old Town with its fortress, two clock towers and the Sulejmanija/Sarena Mosque. A favorite son is Nobel Literature Ivo Andric, who is honored with a Memorial Museum in his birth home. Of course, Travnik is the inspiration for one of his novels, Travnik Chronicles. Nearby is the Roman Catholic Guča Gora Monastery, established in 1859.
There are two noteworthy culinary note. Enjoy the famous local white sheep’s milk cheese, called Vlašić or Travnik cheese. You can pick up some fresh cheese at Vlašićka Kuća, which has a store on the first level and a restaurant above. Behind the restaurant is their commercial cheese production facility. https://goo.gl/maps/azQWaMDz2R9iZmph9
A famous Yugoslavian culinary folk hero was born in Travnik! Zlara Bartl (b. 1920 d. 2008 in Belgrade) created the legendary condiment Vegeta in 1959 in Belgrade.