Slovenian food is strongly influenced by the cuisine of neighboring countries like Austria, Italy, Croatia, and Hungary. The cuisine is heavy on meats and pastas, and it’s easy to find Slavic dishes like mushroom soups or buckwheat porridge mixed in there as well. What stands out most to me about Slovenian food, however, is the freshness of the ingredients. Outside of the city, most Slovenians grow their own produce and obtain whatever ingredients they don’t have from their neighbors, negating the need to ever step foot in a grocery store. While you should absolutely try and experience a meal at a local’s home, in case you do not have that opportunity, here are the five best restaurants in Slovenia.
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1. Vegov Hram
Dolsko | Website
Vegov Hram is located inside a hotel just outside Ljubljana and is by far the best food I had in Slovenia. All the food I tried at Vegov Hram was either locally grown or made in house. There is no concept of imported or processed foods here. Tine and the staff were incredible hosts and the most laid-back, friendly people. The guests at Hotel Vegov Hram are primarily from other parts of Slovenia, so you feel immersed in local culture despite sitting inside a hotel restaurant. Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to stay at Hotel Vegov Hram, but when I return to Slovenia, I will definitely be staying here for at least a couple of nights. Hotel Vegov Hram is located at the foot of the mountains in a very peaceful community. There are bikes for rent at the hotel, which you can take around the mountains and valleys for some spectacular views of the Slovenian farmlands. Even if you do not plan to stay here, it is definitely worth a drive or bus ride out here from Ljubljana to taste the food at Vegov Hram. Come hungry and try to order a 4-course meal, so you can taste as many dishes as possible.
Ljubljana | Website
Sokol is located on the Ljubljanica River in Ljubljana city centre. The cuisine and ambience here are both very traditional, so if you want a traditional Slovenian meal served to you in waiters dressed in traditional Slovenian attire, Sokol is the place to be. I ordered the country feast here, which lived up to its name. The platter was filled with an assortment of meats and sides, like potatoes and sauerkraut. I am never one for leaving food on my plate, but it was physically impossible for me to clean off my plate. In retrospect, this would have been a good platter to share. I washed it all down with a local beer and headed straight back to my hotel room for a food coma. If you’re in Ljubljana, you can’t miss an experience at Sokol. The prices are reasonable, and on a nice day, you can sit outside on the patio for a nice breeze and good people watching.
3. Gostišče Veselič
Gradac | Website
If you are traveling through the Southeast part of Slovenia, head on over to Gostišče Veselič for traditional Slovenian food and excellent service. The hosts will make you feel like you’re family as you sit in a dining room filled with traditional Slovenian decor. I knew I was in for a treat when I found myself devouring the first course, a delicious and hearty soup. I successfully saved some room for the main course, but by the time dessert came around, I was stuffed to the brim. If you want to enjoy a meal in a nice, upscale setting while still feeling like you’re eating home cooked food at a local’s home, head on over to Gostišče Veselič.
Ljubljana | Website
Julija is the best restaurant in the Stari trg (Old Town) area of Ljubljana. The cuisine at Julija is heavy on pastas and meats, but the special thing about Julija is that it manages to cook these heavy dishes in a sophisticated and intricate way. The restaurant has an extensive wine list and is fairly priced, although I would say it’s more on the expensive side for Ljubljana. The interior baroque decor will bring you back in time, and the outdoor patio is perfect for people watching on a nice day.
5. Druga Violina
Ljubljana | Website
The food at Druga Violina is delicious, but what I love most about this restaurant is its dedication to helping the disabled. It is one of the few restaurants I have ever encountered that makes a special effort to employ mentally disabled staff. Make sure you stop by here when you’re in Ljubljana to sample some local Slovenian dishes and support the restaurant’s mission to help the mentally disabled community in Ljubljana.
Dolenjske Toplice | Website
I had to include Berryshka as a bonus to this list. Berryshka is not a restaurant but rather a family distillery and chocolatier. After all the distilleries in Slovenia were shut down in the 1900s, Berryshka re-opened in 1992 as a family distillery and chocolatier. One of the key ingredients in Berryshka spirits and liqueurs is juniper. I had the opportunity to tour the distillery and saw rooms full of juniper. Berryshka has also just started to make whiskey and integrates a key local ingredient, lavender, into its whiskey.
I got distracted by the views outside Berryshka before even entering the distillery. The way the sun shown down when I arrived around dusk made it hard to tell which side of the photo was real and which was the reflection.
The tasting room at Berryshka was cozy and rustic. I had the opportunity to sample all sorts of chocolates and spirits after touring the distillery and chocolatier.
At first glance, Slovenian foods may not look very different from the cuisines of its neighboring countries, but what makes Slovenia unique is its fresh ingredients. Whether you are eating a salad or a hearty stew, you will taste and feel the freshness of your food in every bite. As you make your way around the country and sample authentic Slovenian food, don’t miss these 5 best restaurants in Slovenia.
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A big thanks to Turizem Ljubljana, Hotel Vegov Hram, and Big Berry for making these experiences possible. As always, all opinions are 100% our own.
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