To help make your visit to Ljubljana as enjoyable as possible, we've assembled a list of quality restaurants featuring Slovenian, international and other cuisines that have received favorable reviews from foreigners and locals alike.
You might also enjoy reading one of our longer reviews previously published in Ljubljana Life magazine:
Kitajski zid, Cesta Ljubljanske brigade 5, 01/505 33 59, 12pm to 11pm daily
Though endless debates about "the best Chinese food in Ljubljana" seem every bit as futile as the ones about the best pizzeria, Kitajski zid, i.e. "The Great Wall of China", certainly has its supporters. Despite an off-center location, the place is often filled to the last of its 200-seat capacity. Pondering over the bountiful menu takes some time, but experience has shown that it's hard to go wrong here.
Bon Appetit, Miklošiceva 28, Tel: 01/430-8080
Well hidden in the cellar of the Kinoteka theatre, Bon Appetit is a new French restaurant, wine bar and boutique (stocked exclusively with French wines) that is becoming quite popular with the local French community. Run by a native Parisian, Bon Appetit offers a modern, cosmopolitan ambience with as genuine a taste of France as you will find in Ljubljana. The weekly lunch menu start at €8.40, and the wine list runs from €8.50 to €150 per bottle.
Chez Eric, Mestni trg 3, Tel: 01/251-2839, Mon-Sat 12pm - 4pm + 7pm - 11pm
Situated next door to the Ljubljana Town Hall, Eric has a setting that is posh, as would be expected for the location. The menu offers a unique fusion of French and Slovenian cooking, with a selection that is broad for both food and wine, and service that is prompt if not ceremonious.
Le Petite Cafe, Trg francoske revolucije 4
The rustic trappings of this extremely popular south-of-center cafe form the generally disregarded backdrop to an incessant buzz of activity, which completely fills both rooms and spills out onto the sidewalk as well. Provided you can find a seat, a more than generous mug of bela kava, a toasted baguette sandwich or any of the breakfast & lunch entries come highly recommended.
Gostilna As, Čopova 5 (entry from Knafljev prehod), 01/425 88 22, 9am to 2am daily
The pedestrian court linking Wolfova and Slovenska is blessed with plenteous shade trees and a couple of swanky eateries. Gostilna As has been around a while now, and looks it; yet its menu of Slovenian specialties, seafood, pasta and fine wine remains superb. Not to be confused with As Pub, its loud-mouthed live-at-home offspring, Gostilna As is a cozy, intimate dining establishment that demands your Sunday best, a big wad of cash and, most likely, a reservation.
Evropa, Slovenska 47, Tel: 01/438 24 00, Mon to Sat 9am to 10pm
Styling itself as a modern café & eatery with first-class a la carte service, Evropa sits inside the venerable building of the same name at the corner of Slovenska and Gosposvetska streets. During the day it offers simple and inexpensive business lunches, while during the evening it serves up a fusion style a la carte menu with Italian and Asian Influences. You’ll still find a hint of the elegance and ease of the grand old Central European café tradition, which makes it an ideal spot for watching the world go by on an idle afternoon.
Guliver, Vilharjeva 43, 01/434 44 28, Mon to Fri 9:30am to 12am, Sat 12pm to 12am, Sun 12pm to 10pm
As befits a place named after this legendary traveler, Guliver is located not far from Ljubljana's train and bus stations. The menu offers decent if unspectacular Slovenian and Mediterranean fare, including a cheap daily set menu and a great selection of colorful salads (or try the salad bar). The dark, comfy interior houses both the restaurant and a pub, while the shady outdoor patio gives you a great view of outbound traffic through the vegetation.
Pri Vitezu, Breg 20, 01/426 60 58, Mon to Sat 12pm to 12am
There's been an eatery of some sort at this riverside address for almost 250 years now. The latest change of management has put Pri Vitezu at the very top end of Ljubljana's cuisine scene. The menu may seem a little pricey, though the consensus seems to be it's well worth it. Truly excellent food is complemented by pleasantly posh decor (period paintings and such) with a convivial combination of old and new styles.
Špajza, Gornji trg 28, 01/425 30 94, Mon to Fri 12pm to 12am, Sat 7pm to 12am
Formerly affiliated with the Vitez, Špajza has brought high-end dining across the river. In fact, prices here are slightly less astronomical, and the surroundings a bit more casual. Popular with enterprising foreigners and discriminating locals, this place makes a fine setting for intimate occasions and group celebrations, offering affable service, a good selection of wine, a cozy rustic-style interior and, of course, fine food, with a focus on local specialties.
Tartuf, Mali trg 3a
Located in a semi-concealed courtyard just off trendy Trubarjeva Street, this small, friendly restaurant is a great favorite with students and vegetarians. Offering quick snacks (pizza, crepes, pies, soups) as well as full meals, many items on the menu draw on solid, character-building ingredients like buckwheat, millet and barley. There's also a number of meat entrees and a well-stocked salad bar. The atmosphere is laid-back, prices are reasonable (did we mention students?) and outdoor seating helps ease the lunchtime crowding.
Vinoteka Movia, Mestni trg 2, 01/425 54 48
Though there's probably a food menu here just waiting to be dusted off, Movia is much more a place to come after a fine meal than a place to get one. This charming wine bar, situated right next door to Old Town Hall, boasts all manner of vintages and varieties. If the choice overwhelms you, the man behind the bar will be glad to advise. And yes, all those nice bottles are for sale.
Allegria, Nazorjeva 8, 01/426-7402, Mon to Fri 11am to 11pm, Sat 12pm to 11pm, Sun 12pm to 5pm
The recently opened Allegria delivers a breath of fresh Tuscan air to Ljubljana’s otherwise stodgy business district, with an interior decor that is modern, but casual and unpretentious. The menu serves up a fine selection of light and flavorful cuisine as one would expect for a Tuscan eatery. Combined with innovative desserts and popular Slovene and Italian wines, Allegria is becoming a lunch-time hit with local business execs and tourists alike.
Foculus, Gregorčičeva 3, 01/251 56 43, Mon to Fri 10am to 12pm, Sat+Sun 12pm to 12am
The most likely off-the-cuff reply to any survey about the best pizzeria in Ljubljana, Foculus is certainly very popular these days, with all the crowd-related ailments that that entails. Still, the pizza (over 50 varieties) ranges from average to excellent, and the salad bar is fresh and colorful. The overloaded waiters grin and bear, while the muted decor helps keep things relatively civil. Be warned: you may have to wait a while for a table.
Ljubljanski Dvor, Dvorni trg 1, 01/251 65 55
Neatly coinciding with the completion of chaotic building work in its near vicinity, this veteran of the Ljubljana restaurant scene seems to have undergone some rejuvenation lately. That goes for the quality of the service as well as the food, with the vast selection of tasty and enormous pizzas a particular highlight. Ljubljanski Dvor's two spacious patios, offering wonderful views of Old Town just across the river, make it a summertime favorite of locals and tourists alike.
Mirje, Tržaška 5
Located just a few blocks south of the city center, this fairly new self-styled trattoria boasts a wide array of pizza and pasta, plus desserts, breakfast options and a cocktail list. While the clean, roomy interior, with its light wood furniture, checkered tablecloths and blue and white trim, is a bit too spiffy to rank with your average mom-and-pop Italian diner, it does make a pleasant, comfortable environment for a fine meal.
Pizzicato, Gornji trg 23, 01/425 72 65
Situated far up along Old Town's Gornji trg, Pizzicato is worth the two-minutes' extra trudge. There's certainly lots to try here: plenty of starters, several soups, a good salad bar, many meat, fish and pasta entrees and, of course, three dozen kinds of pizza, ten or so of them veggie-friendly. The restaurant's white but not too bright interior, sparsely adorned by plants, pictures and wrought iron, and its fair but slow service make for a pleasant, unhurried meal.
La Storia, Linhartova 3, Bežigrad (beneath Plava Laguna), 01/234 45 92, Mon to Sat 11am to 11pm, Sun+Hol 12pm to 11pm
A heady mélange of carved wood, quaint antiques and thick pastels, La Storia (formerly Puccini)is practically a condensation of the maestro's music – rich, garish, even bombastic. None of this, however, should distract you from the menu, which offers generous portions of well-prepared pasta (sorry, kids – no pizza), delicious desserts and fine wine, all moderately priced and politely served. And then there's the grand piano salad bar, a very happy marriage of form and content – true art.
Trta, Grudnovo nabrežje 21, 061/126 50 66, M-F 10am to 11pm, Sat 12pm to 11pm, Sun+Hol 4pm to 11pm
The best pizzeria in Ljubljana? Sure, you've heard that one before, but if it's the genuine Neapolitan article you're after – rich, slightly oily layers of cheese and fresh tomato sauce, plus loads of toppings – then Trta is IT. The ingredients, including seafood and seasonal vegetables like ruccola, are always amazingly fresh and flavorful. Add to this good house wine, attentive service and a slightly quirky dining room, and you'll never need to go anywhere else.
Tunnel, Karlovška 5, 01/426 40 00
Set right beside the entrance to the car tunnel under Castle Hill, and bearing an uncanny resemblance to a highway motel, this two-story pizzeria does tend to attract motorists; yet it's an easy walk from anywhere downtown, too. Though it has a proper wood oven churning out two dozen kinds of big, tasty pizzas, a decent salad bar and OK service, Tunnel is somewhat lacking in atmosphere. Worth a stop, for sure, but you'll soon be on the road again.
Joe Pena's Cantina y Bar, Cankarjeva 6, 01/251 08 68, Mon to Thu 4pm to 12am, Fri+Sat 4pm to 1am
The only place for Mexican in the city center, many would say this two-tiered, mellow-yellow saloon is the best in town. Simple decor and keep-smiling service create a relaxed atmosphere even when Pena's is packed – as it almost always is. The food – a wide selection of soups and starters, plus main dishes like enchiladas, fajitas, tacos and grill specialties – is fresh and well-prepared, though a bit pricey, and probably not as spicy as you'd like.
Mexico 1867, Medvedova 18, 01/438 24 50, Mon to Sat 11am to 12am
Like a sudden blast in the dull industrial zone behind Union, Mexico 1867 hits you with lurid colors, fiesta fanfares, unappetizing murals of civil war scenes, loads of typical Tijuana holiday junk, and a large menu with lots to choose from. Try the great tomato soup for a start, then sip a cool margarita while awaiting chimichangas, tortillas, fajitas or tacos, all delicious, if somewhat on the mild side. A take-out menu is also available.
Emonska Klet, Plečnikov trg 1, 01/421 93 00
Residing in the once-hallowed halls (or rather cellars) of the Ursuline convent, Emonska Klet has stopped catering to the party elite and made its appeal to the partying masses, who manage to fill even this cavernous space with beer-fuelled revelry night after night. The food here – traditional Slovenian fare, pizza, a faraway salad bar – seems like an afterthought, though prices are decent, and it makes good ballast for the night ahead. Huge murals of debauched demigods provide just the right backdrop.
Gostilna Lovec, Trg MDB 1, 01/426 57 08, Mon to Sat 6:30am to 11pm, Sun 9am to 10pm
Food and drink have been served on this spot since the 1840s, and even after recent refurbishment Lovec still conjures up your typical rustic inn of olden days. Highlights of the bountiful menu, which features both Slovenian and Italian cuisine, include an earthy house goulash with cmoki and a tear-jerking Mexican pizza. There are also hearty soups, a good salad bar, a daily lunch menu, even breakfast. Get cozy in the country-style interior, or sprawl out on the vast outdoor patio.
Gostilna Šestica, Slovenska 40, Tel: 01/242 08 55, Mon to Fri 10am to 11pm, Sat 12pm to 11pm
Ljubljana's oldest and most well-known gostilna has recently come under new management and seen some major renovation work. Once a frequent hangout of exceptionally famous Slovene personalities like Prešeren and Plecnik, Šestica is beginning to regain much of the former glory that was lost during communist times. The menu includes a healthy stable of Slovene fare, such as their famous goulash, as well as number of tasty lighter dishes. Traditional “Slovenian Night” performances take place every Friday from 8 to 11pm with live folk music and dancing.
Gostilna Sokol, Ciril Metodov trg 18, 01/439 68 55, Mon to Sat 6am to 11pm, Sun 8am to 10pm
Two rather spooky black birds mark the spot, midway between Old Town Hall and Cathedral, where sits this unexpectedly labyrinthine dining establishment. A narrow entryway leads into a vast open courtyard with seating on two levels; fair assurance that you'll always find room here. The similarly voluminous menu includes steaks, pasta, lunch specials, better-than-average pizzas, even some quite palatable veggie concoctions. A big favorite with the lunchtime crowd, evenings can find this place rather deserted.
Kratochwill, Kolodvorska 14, 01/433 31 14
Ljubljana's one and only micro-brewery has concocted a fine Bohemian-style pale lager, as well as superb wheat and dark beers. And whereas meals in Czech beer halls tend to be forgettable (if you're lucky), the menu at Kratochwill offers lots of tasty, well-prepared meat, pasta and veggie options, plus soups, salads and desserts. If it's crowded downstairs or outside, never fear, there's more seating upstairs. Open every day till midnight.
Pri Kovaču, Pot k Savi 9, 01/537 12 44
A popular spot as far back as the 19th century, this acclaimed family-run restaurant on Ljubljana's northern outskirts, named for an ancestral blacksmith business, features traditional Slovenian and Central European fare. The head chef favors cooking what the season offers, so the menu's subject to change. But since Pri Kovaču hosts business lunches and dinner parties all year round, making a reservation seems wise. Once you're in, save room for the homemade ice cream.
Pr' Potic, Stari trg 21, 01/425 92 75
A recent rennovation has transformed this once museum-quality specimen of socialist-era beer culture known as "Pavla's Place" into a bright, modern and cheerful eatery. Boasting one of the best locations in the Old Town, Pr' Potic offers a solid, standard pub menu featuring soups, salads, pasta, and the like. Both Union and Laško beer on tap, and plenty of other favorite drinks besides.
Meson Don Felipe, Streliška 22, 01/434 38 62, 12pm to 12am daily
Though being "Ljubljana's only tapas bar" may not seem like such a big achievement, there's no denying that Meson Don Felipe is pretty much the real thing. The wide range of tasty, fairly generous tapas (500 to 1000 SIT) includes calamari, marinated mushrooms, and zesty patatas bravas, while paella and seafood are among the many main courses (check the chalkboard for daily specials). The sangria is likewise the genuine article, though the interior's basically just distilled kitsch, and you'd think the Gypsy Kings had earned a retirement by now.
Copyright 2007, Wagner & Associates and Ljubljana Life Magazine.
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