Ljubljana’s Next Generation
I think Ljubljana has become a very strong place for foodies. There are more and more interesting places opening. One of them is surely TaBar by the Ljubljana River. The chef is Jakob Pintar, and what I really like about the place is that it’s very informal, with an amazing wine list of mostly organic wines, and the food is better every time I go: very creative, very small and light bites. Strelec is absolutely one of the best restaurants in the country, and its chef Igor Jagodic is one of the best Slovenian chefs. The restaurant is classic but with an eye on the territory, amazing technique and very profiled flavours. Chef Luka Košir is a totally new generation of chefs. In his kitchen at restaurant Grič – which has earned its first Michelin star in 2021 – he slightly draws from a Nordic inspiration but using ingredients completed rooted in the Slovenian ground. He is one of the chefs that I hope will continue holding on to and working hard on the concept of Slovenian cuisine. The restaurant is a little bit outside of Ljubljana, on the hills of Polhov Gradec Dolomites where he has his producers surrounding him. It is absolutely one of the places to go in Slovenia. I believe to visit Grič is to visit one of the best Slovenian restaurants. It also has a very good natural wine carte. There’s a new place called Breg that Jorg Zupan – the chef from one-star Michelin Atelje – opened. I love going there. Ljubljana was missing a place where you could eat very interesting, good food made with very good quality ingredients, but still not too pretentious. It also has excellent wines and spirits.
Majerija is one of those places where you go and it feels like you’re home. There is a huge garden and you enter through a home. The cooking is a reinterpretation of traditional local cuisine but with great vision, which is expected as the chef and owner, Matej Tomažič, is one of the greatest Slovenian chefs. Odprta Kuhna (“Open Kitchen”), is a seasonal outdoor food market that happens every Friday in Ljubljana. Here you can see all kinds of street food from different corners of Slovenia gathered together. Štanjel is a beautifully-restored castle in the Karst village that you would never want to leave. There is a restaurant inside the castle called Bistro Grad Štanjel by Q KOMEL. Chef Q Komel makes incredible homemade prosciutto and a lot of “comfort” dishes that are very good. It’s a place that is worth the detour, but also nice to go to and stay, because you can sleep in one of the old Karst houses and enjoy a beautiful morning in that beautiful stone village. Then of course, there is our amazing Hiša Polonka (“hiša” means “house” in Slovenian) in the centre of Kobarid, which resurrects and celebrates traditional Slovenian dishes from the Soča Valley.
Close To Home
Antonia Klugman is an Italian chef from Trieste working near the Slovenian border (practically one kilometre from the border) in a restaurant called L’Argine a Venco. It is the closest serious restaurant to Hiša Franko – not even an hour’s drive from us. She is one of the best Italian chefs at the moment and a great colleague of mine. Owned by Aleks and Simona Klinec, The Klinec Inn is one of the places where you don’t only feel at home, but where you feel the soul of the Slovenian kitchen. It has an amazing wine cellar based on organic wines. Also, a younger generation team with a lot of wine knowledge has taken over restaurant Topli Val in Hotel Hvala in the centre of Kobarid. They serve incredible fish courses.
Dine (And Stay) On The Farm
LA Subida is kind of an agriturismo (farm-to-table). It’s very comfortable, very beautiful, and has amazing, one-Michelin-star dining. Its unique Slovenian cuisine reflects the territory and it is still the only Slovenian (cuisine) restaurant with a Michelin star. The restaurant is situated on the Italian side but is owned and run by Slovenians. The Michelin guide Slovenia was finally launched in September 2021.
Favourite Pizzeria in Slovenia
Ljubljana has my favourite pizzeria in Slovenia, Pop’s Pizza and Sport. It does a Naples-inspired pizza with great focus on ingredients and a lot of creativity. The pizzas change with the season. I believe that eating at Pop’s can replace a meal in a restaurant.
Mama Knows Best
Sushimama is one of my children’s longtime favourites. The sushi is really good. I think my son still holds the record at Sushimama for something like 80 pieces of sushi in one evening.
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