In the last years Ljubljana has become a vibrant destination for foodies from all over the world. The Slovenian capital’s restaurants offer both traditional food and a modern touch to cuisine, with more and more vegan options.
A true foodie, who is always looking for the next big thing, will surely find Ljubljana a hidden gem with lots to offer for the taste buds spoiling. Exciting traditional dishes, authentic dining and high cuisine are all on the menu of restaurants in Ljubljana. What has to be mentioned is, that the best restaurants really put great effort in selecting their ingredients: top quality, seasonal and local ingredients are their choices. The city’s culinary scene has really flourished lately, and Ljubljana is also on top of the BBC’s list of 10 culinary destinations to visit this year. You can try some of the following restaurant and dishes also by joining Ljubljana’s famous Food Tour.
Traditional Ljubljana dishes: beef soups, beef tongue, boiled oxtail, fried frog legs, kranjska klobasa (pork and bacon sausage), pražen krompir (sautéed potatoes), sirovi štruklji (rolled dough with cottage cheese filling), apple strudel, orehova potica (Slovenian traditional cake with walnut filling). You can taste most of them also by joining the Food Tour Ljubljana.
So where to eat in Slovenia’s capital? These are some of the best restaurants in Ljubljana:
Restaurant Strelec at Ljubljana Castle
The restaurant, which is designed in the Archers’ Tower of the Ljubljana Castle, overlooking the city, is on almost all lists of best Ljubljana restaurants. It offers not only superb food by Chef Igor Jagodic, but also an experience of historical ambience of the city. Even the menu brings traditional Ljubljana dishes and among other food there is also a choice of ‘castle dishes’ with some hints of medieval cuisine. There is also a variety of Mediterranean, game, vegetarian and seasonal dishes on the menu as well as slow food and desserts. And, of course, there is a fine wine chart to accompany those dishes.
When you ask a local about their best restaurants, JB is surely to be mentioned. JB Restaurant is the story of the Bratovž family, and dates back to the year 1992. Chef Janez Bratovž was the first one to put a Slovenian restaurant among world’s 50 rest restaurants. Its location is in the centre of the city, in an old building, designed by the greatest Slovenian architect, Jože Plečnik. It offers high cuisine, combined with chef’s creative ideas in an elegant interior. Guests can choose between tasting, meat, fish or vegetarian menu as well as à la carte. Guests can also buy a copy of chef’s Bratovž book, which also portrays the origin of the first-class local ingredients – from the shores of the Adriatic sea to the Alps and the Pannonian basin to the emerald rivers and rolling hills.
Slovenska hiša and Slovenska hiša Figovec – traditional food, modern way
“A restaurant, where Slovenian food and drinks finds their home,” is how Slovenska hiša (Slovenian house) describe themselves. Whether you want a ‘homemade’ cold plate of cheese and meat with bread and sausage, a cocktail or a glass of wine, you will not only leave with your taste buds satisfied, but also with an authentic experience of a homely meal. The restaurant Slovenska hiša is a point where Slovenia rural ingredients meet the urban vibe and there are exclusively local Slovenian dishes and drinks on the menu.
Klobasarna, where it’s all about Carniolian sausage
The knowledge and skill of making the Carniolian (Kranjska) sausage originates from a centuries-old tradition and the name marks the geographical origin of this special delicacy. The original recipe for the sausage is protected and only a few certified producers from Slovenia make them according to this original recipe. The exquisite reputation of this sausage is importantly configured also by the annual “Festival of the Carniolian sausage” in Sora near Ljubljana and “Days of the Carniolian sausage” which is hosted every year in a different Slovene town. You guessed right, there is not much on the Menu of Klobasarna but the famous sausage, but it is well worth to visit and try it with different condiments or in a soup.
Šestica, Since 1776
As one of the oldest restaurants in Ljubljana, dating back into the year 1776, Šestica is an ideal setting to explore traditional Slovene cuisine and taste all the famous dishes they have on the menu. Besides à la carte there is also a seasonal offer and lunchtime menus. They also make their own bread. To liven up the atmosphere, Šestica occasionally hosts Slovenian evenings featuring live music and traditional dances.
Güjžina – experience the Prekmurje region in Ljubljana
Güjžina is the first Prekmurje region restaurant in Ljubljana. Family roots of both owners are from Goričko in Prekmurje region. At Mestni trg in Ljubljana you get to know best dishes, that Prekmurje cuisine is know for: bograč (a stew made of pork, beef, venison, potatoes and onion), bujta repa (hot pot with sour turnip and pork), dödöle dumplings, variety of meat and vegetarian dishes, with famous pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil, and one of the best Slovenian desserts, the Prekmurska gibanica cake.
Druga violina – Slovenian dishes, served by people with special needs
Druga violina (The second violin) is a special little restaurant where several of the employees are people with special needs. People with disabilities produce most of the food on a farmland near Ljubljana and also work as waiters at the restaurant. Located in the city centre you can find traditional Slovenian dishes, as well as vegetarian and dietary options. Occasionally they host creative workshops and other events. Guests can enjoy the local dishes in a rustic dining room or on the terrace, which is one of the best summer terraces in Ljubljana.
Open Kitchen Ljubljana
Not a restaurant but surely not to be missed, when you are visiting Ljubljana. It is open every sunny Friday from mid-March to the end of October and is a huge thing among locals and tourists. Since its beginnings in 2013, Odprta kuhna (The open kitchen) is located in the famous central food market and is bringing together around 60 of Slovenia’s best eateries from all over the country. Pogačarjev Square in Ljubljana is filled with stalls, where the country’s best chefs and food gurus are preparing delicious food in a beautiful open-air scenery. “It’s a truly varied foodie experience as each stall serves something completely different including the traditional local classics, modern takes on Slovenian food, fine dining meals and international dishes from all over the world, which brings the grand total to more than 150 different dishes each Friday,” says the organizer.
Some more tips on best restaurants in Ljubljana:
- For the best breakfast in Ljubljana, go to La Petit Café near Križanke.
- For a Saturday brunch, visit EK Bistro or Bazilika.
- Best vegan restaurants in Ljubljana are Barbarella and Kucha.
- To taste delightfully tasty and beautiful desserts, try Lolita.
When you want to have a beer like locals and eat some burgers and fries along with the drink, go to Pivnica Union near Tivoli.