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Concierge.com

Slovenia Restaurants

Cafés
Ljubljana
Slovenia

Ljubljana has more cafés than a dalmatian has spots, and almost every one along the eastern bank of the river on Cankarjevo nabrežje is worth a stop, if only for the ambience. Tables sit atop the river embankments, shaded by willow trees. Choice depends mostly on where you can find an empty table. Zvezda, located just across from the University of Ljubljana, is a favorite of students, young professionals, and anyone with a sweet tooth—try the Torta Zvezda, vanilla mascarpone and cherries in a cookie crust, topped with chocolate and strawberries (14 Wolfova; 386-1-421-9090). For a more artistic scene, head to Le Petit Café. Besides beer and a litany of caffeinated beverages, there's also beef carpaccio, pasta dishes, and big salads (4 Trg Francoske Revolucije; 386-1-251-2575). Tea drinkers should head for Cajna Hisa (3 Stari Trg; 386-1-421-2444; Closed Sundays), which serves more than 50 different varieties—Indian, Chinese, green, herbal, fruit, and iced—in a cozy, vaulted, partially frescoed interior as well as at outdoor tables.

Chez Eric
3 Mestni Trg
Ljubljana
Slovenia 1000
Tel: 386 1 251 2839
chez.eric@siol.net
www.chezeric.si/?lang=en

At Chez Eric the best local ingredients are prepared using French-inspired techniques: Think fluffy and savory strudels filled with salmon and sea bass and sweet vanilla parfait with toasted pumpkin seeds and fragrant pumpkin oil. The extensive wine list also takes advantage of Slovenia's top vintages while offering unusual varietals like zelen, a crisp, almost ethereal white wine from Sveti Martin. The heavily baroque dining room is a bit much (chairs upholstered with flaxen tapestry, gilded mirrors) but during warmer weather you can reserve one of the shaded tables set up alongside the cobblestones on the town square (Mestni Trg).

Open Mondays through Saturdays.

Cubo
55 Šmartinska
Ljubljana
Slovenia 1000
Tel: 386 1 521 1515
www.cubo-ljubljana.com

Don't worry when the taxi pulls up to a bland strip mall outside the center of town: Despite the blah location, this is a slick lounge and restaurant with undulating wood walls and tables separated by shimmering screens. The kitchen sends out excellent tagliatelle with house-made truffle sauce, scampi in buzara (a sauce of tomatoes, white wine, and garlic), and baked John Dory fillets. Since it's so far from the tourist center it's rare to see any non-Slovenians, but the relaxed atmosphere and young crowd will make you feel right at home.

Open Mondays through Fridays 11 am to 11 pm, Saturdays 12 pm to 11 pm.

Gostilna AS
5A Čopova Knafljev Prehod
Ljubljana
Slovenia
Tel: 386 1 425 8822
www.gostilnaas.si

Hands down, Gostilna AS serves the best seafood in town. The always-changing menu includes lobster, oysters, shrimp, and other Adriatic frutti de mare that was caught fresh that day. Everything is "market rate" and you'll pay at least $75 per person, not including wine—worth every penny. Everyone who is anyone in Ljubljana will tell you that this is their favorite restaurant in the city. Luckily it remains reassuringly immune to fashion with a warm atmosphere and classic decor: dark wood inlays, starched white tablecloths, antique photographs. (Just don't confuse it with the pasta shop of the same name or the beer hall next door—the main restaurant is the one you want.)

JB Restaurant
17 Miklošičeva
Ljubljana
Slovenia 1000
Tel: 386 1 433 1358
www.jb-slo.com

There is no real menu at this grand Continental restaurant. Instead, the staff recites the day's menu and gives personal recommendations based on preferences and the freshest ingredients. On one visit this meant goose liver pâté with a mixed-fruit jam, beef medallions with a light and aromatic black truffle sauce, and a duo of tuna and salmon bruschetta sent out as an amuse-bouche. The restaurant is popular with local gourmands as well as high-level business and government officals, so don't be surprised to see a meeting of government ministers taking place in one of the private salons in the back.

Julija
9 Stari Trg
Ljubljana
Slovenia 1000
Tel: 386 1 425 6463

Packed with mod young Slovenes, the interior of Julija is a stylish, fresh take on Baroque, with ornate gilded mirrors and carved paneling, and the cooking is terrific. Starters might include an octopus and arugula salad and succulent beef carpaccio, followed by tagliatelle with a generous helping of shaved truffle and a glorious risotto full of fresh porcini. For dessert, try the near-perfect panna cotta and compote of wild berries. Even with a bottle of the priciest wine on the list, a local red wine called Carolina from Jakoncic, the meal will be startlingly cheap.

Ljubljanski Dvor
1 Dvorni Trg
Ljubljana
Slovenia 1000
Tel: 386 1 251 6555

The riverside terrace on the west bank of the Ljubljanski is the reason to come. The 100 varieties of pizza—or pica, as it's often spelled here—is the reason to pick up the knife and fork and stay. In addition to the usual three-cheese and marinara, the thin, crisp pies also come with gourmet toppings ranging from marinated artichoke hearts to wild mushrooms.

Manna
1A Eipprova
Ljubljana
Slovenia 1000
Tel: 386 283 5294
info@kulinarika-manna.com
www.kulinarika-manna.com

Pay no attention to the decor at Manna. The bright tile floors, garish murals, and curlicued chandeliers stand in direct contrast to the pure, earnest fare coming out of the kitchen. Even so, young Ljubljana professionals pack into this restaurant in a squat earth-toned building on the south end of the city. You'll find local specialties (juicy lamb chops with roasted new potatoes; venison pâté with whipped quark) and Mediterranean standouts (spinach ravioli with tomato-basil sauce)—all expertly prepared with choice ingredients.

Open Mondays through Saturdays.

Pri Vitezu
20 Breg
Ljubljana
Slovenia 1000
Tel: 386 1 426 6058

The main dining space in this formal restaurant looks like a genteel drawing room, furnished with antiques and lit by a chandelier crowned with the Hapsburg double-headed eagle. The other dining room is rustic and homey. There is a menu displayed outside the door, but it bears little resemblance to what's on offer. You'll have to rely on the waiter to talk you through whatever the kitchen has whipped up for the evening. Starters may include an outstanding red-wine risotto and excellent beef or swordfish carpaccio, and may be followed by tagliata (strips of beef) served on a bed of arugula with fried potatoes, or orata (John Dory) filleted at the table. There's no printed wine list, but the waiters will suggest a decent bottle.

Sushimama
12 Wolfova Ulica
Ljubljana
Slovenia 1000
Tel: 386 4 070 2070
www.sushimama.si

Traditional Central European food can get very heavy after a few days. Fortunately, there's Sushimama. The slick sushi bar is housed in a restored Habsburg-era town house and is the first and only Japanese restaurant in all of Slovenia. Excellent nigiri and maki sushi as well as tempura, yakitori, and noodle dishes make this a perennial favorite with local scenesters so reservations are essential.

Open Mondays through Saturdays.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.