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If you were following on social media, you’ll know I recently had a fantastic first trip to Slovenia after a very travel-less 2 years in 2020 and 2021. As well as finding all the top things to do in Ljubljana, I also discovered many of the best restaurants in Ljubljana serving everything from traditional meaty dishes to veggie versions, desserts, drinks and more.
Read next: the perfect itinerary for Slovenia
I love writing about food. From Asia to Mexico and Eastern Europe, I now have a LOT of food guides on this website! Some other Europe articles you may find useful include:
What is food in Slovenia like?
As the capital, it’s a melting pot between traditional Slovenian cuisine and modern food with plenty of fusion dining and international restaurants thrown in.
I didn’t have a vision of what the food would be like, although having eaten on past trips to neighbour countries like Croatia and Austria (where I had a fantastic foodie time at Vienna’s Naschmarkt), I was expecting lots of hearty meat and potato dishes.
I’d tried some delicious seafood while visiting Slovenia’s coastal town of Piran but, since the capital isn’t near the sea, the typical dishes in Ljubljana are more commonly land-based.
Want to explore with a local guide and meet new people? This small group food tour of Ljubljana samples nine dishes and four wines. Rated 4.8 stars out of 5 by Viator, powered by Trip Advisor. Book for €65.
Traditional Slovenian food in Ljubljana
Before I talk about where to eat in Ljubljana, let’s run through the typical dishes…
Štruklji – originally cooked in monasteries several hundred years ago, these moreish dumplings have made it into modern Slovene cuisine and I couldn’t be happier about it. They commonly have savoury fillings like meat and cheese or sweet fillings such as apple, nuts and poppy seeds. I can suggest a fantastic restaurant in Ljubljana to try them so keep reading!
Potika – this rolled dough cake is a typical dish in Ljubljana; you can’t miss its distinctive dark & light swirled pattern. First mentioned in 1689, it was originally food for the upper classes but now it’s readily available for everyone.
Prekmurska gibanica – a prize for anyone who can pronounce this! Strudel dough separates nine layers of sweet ingredients including poppy seeds and cream cheese. I also have a great suggestion coming up for where to try it.
Bograč – this meat stew reminded me of ones I tried when discovering the Budapest food scene and there’s a reason why: it was invented by local shepherds while the region was under Hungarian rule. It’s rich, hearty and flavoursome.
Sausage Kranj – no one could talk about Ljubljana food without mentioning the country’s most famous dish, made from pork and bacon and protected by the European Union. It’s rumoured to have been a favourite with Emperor Franz Joseph during the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Jota – this sauerkraut stew is tangy and tasty. Beans, potatoes and meat are thrown in for substance. It’s a warming dish for winter days.
Best restaurants in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Let’s get stuck in…
Slovenska Hiša – Figovec (a traditional Ljubljana restaurant)
We’d heard a lot about Slovenska Hiša – Figovec and finally made it there on our last night. To try traditional dishes in atmospheric surroundings, this is one of the best restaurants in Ljubljana centre.
The menu is informative, sharing fun facts about the dishes including which celebrities are known to enjoy them. I tried famous kranjska sausage and my friend, Kerrie, tried truffle fuži pasta, an Istrian classic (that I’d eaten FAR too much of during my Croatia itinerary the month before).
I really enjoyed the rich kranjska sausage and tangy sauerkraut although the buckwheat base wasn’t my favourite as it was dry and not too flavoursome.
We managed to get a table without a reservation (in May) but I think during peak season and at the weekend, you’ll want to book ahead.
Most main dishes cost €10-20. Cocktails cost around €7 or order a bottle of famous orange wine which we’d come to love while wine tasting in Ljubljana. The waiter explained that the one we were ordering was only slighty orange in colour, but the next one up was quite expensive. We stuck with the cheaper one and it was delicious!
Gujžina (best vegetarian restaurant in Ljubljana)
Vegetarians will enjoy visiting Gujžina because they serve vegetarian versions of the classic Ljubljana dishes, as well as other tasty meals. Our guide on the free walking tour recommended this restaurant so we visited that evening for a veggie feast.
We tried the baked dödöli dish made with potato dumplings and a cream and onion sauce, alongside gnocchi with pumpkin seed pesto. Both were delicious! Washed down with a bottle of wine, we were stuffed and couldn’t manage any of the desserts.
Other dishes include the vegan bogračj, hearty mushroom or buckwheat stews, and vegan steaks with different sauces. Traditional desserts include prekmurska gibanica, plum dumplings and pumpkin ice cream.
We managed to get a table for two without a booking but it’s best to book on weekends.
Second Violin (Druga Violina)
Druga Violina (Second Violin) is a local enterprise, employing staff with learning difficulties. It’s a great place for those travelling on a budget because it’s one of the cheapest restaurants in Ljubljana: €5.50 including dessert!
After a lovely Slovenian soup with crusty bread, I tucked into a slice of raspberry cake that I probably didn’t need because I was headed to a famous dessert cafe less than a one-minute walk away that I’ll mention later.
So, to do a great deed and enjoy tasty food, head to Druga Violina on Stari trg, a lovely historic street worth checking out.
In the shaded archway beside Ljubljana Central Market, Kodila Gourmet is a relaxed cafe serving tasty lunch dishes like bograč (the meaty stew pictured below) and cheese platers with salad and nuts. I can vouch for them being as tasty as they look!
I hear the prekmurska gibanica (layered cake) here is very tasty but, alas, we were stuffed again!
Moji Struklji (best dumpling restaurant in Ljubljana)
Moji Struklji (My Dumplings) had come up time and time again when researching where to eat in Ljubljana. Beside Kodila Gourmet and the Central Market, this gem of a restaurant specialises in – no prizes for guessing – dumplings!
Struklji probably isn’t what you’d envisage when someone says ‘dumplings’; they’re not like the Asian kind. Instead, strudel dough is layered between sweet or savoury fillings. I knew what to expect as I’d tried them in Zagreb a few months before and couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into them again.
Kerrie and I tried two, the tarragon and garlic struklji. If you’re dining as a group, I advise you to try as many as possible! Happy Cow lists the chocolate, strawberry and vegetable flavours as being vegan.
Did I nearly miss a day trip to Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle because I was buying deep-fried cheesy carbs? Yes. Was it worth it? Also yes.
Burek Olimpija is the opposite of a fancy restaurant in Ljubljana. The takeaway counter is open 24 hours, serving just one dish: burek.
If you’ve been in the Balkans more than five minutes, you’ll have seen burek before. This flaky pastry is almost holy. It’s found everywhere from supermarkets to restaurants in Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo.
Usually, it’s made with either meat, cheese or spinach. At Burek Olimpija, you’ll find these flavours and more. I was interested in the pizza burek with cheese, ham and tomato. A local told me this variation is ‘east meets west’: an Italian-influenced take on the traditional Eastern European dish.
It was delicious although I think I brought down my life expectancy by 2 years after consuming this greasy, cheesy, meaty mess!
Modern & international restaurants in Ljubljana
Tasty as burek, struklji and other typical Balkan dishes are, they can be stodgy and heavy. The Ljubljana food scene also encompasses international cuisine, healthy food and more.
A few places you can try are…
My first meal in Ljubljana after a long travel day was steamed buns and dim sum at this Cantonese takeaway. Niam Niam serve stir-fries, noodle soup, spring rolls and other tasty dishes. Unlike Westernised Chinese food, the fare is authentic and non-oily (with no sweet and sour sauce in sight, thank God!).
The food is available for collection or delivery via the Wolt and Glovo apps. If you’re still on the fence, check out their 4.5-star Trip Advisor reviews.
For the undisputed best burger in town, head to Pop’s Place. With over 4,000 raving Google reviews, this gourmet burger restaurant has a cult following. Ingredients like cheddar cheese, chipotle aioli, pickled jalapeños and crispy onion rings bless the rich beef patties.
Run don’t walk!
We LOVED Abi Falafel. It was an accidental find as we wandered past and got drawn in by the delicious smell of fresh cooking.
Abi Falafel has thousands of positive reviews and one more from me! They serve amazing falafel and hummus. We went for a sharing platter also including tabbouleh, baba ganoush, fried potatoes, veggie pastries and stuffed dolma leaves. Everything was fresh and flavoursome!
It’s a chilled vibe: order at the counter and grab a seat. Nothing fancy, just lovely veggie-friendly food.
Ek Bistro (best brunch restaurant in Ljubljana)
The best brunch restaurant in Ljubljana is easily Ek Bistro, a lovely cafe with indoor and outdoor seating beside the river. They serve all kinds of inventive and creative brunch dishes but I stuck to a classic eggs benny. The shakshuka also looked great.
It’s a cool cafe with exposed brick, quirky light fittings, and colourful bowls of fruit attached to the walls. Due to its reputation, it’s VERY popular so it’s best to arrive early, especially at weekends, and prepare to wait a while. It’s worth it!
As we were recovering from experiencing the Ljubljana nightlife, we had plenty of drinks. The coffee was great but we also had some of the delicious juices and lemonade. Everything was sustainably served with not a plastic straw in sight. Yay!
El Patrón Tacos & Store
Sadly I didn’t have time to check out this place BUT I was just about to move to Mexico so I suppose I’ll survive 😉
I heard El Patron serves some of the best international food in Ljubljana so I’m sure it’s worth checking out. Who doesn’t love tacos and margs?
Rustika wasn’t initially on my Ljubljana restaurant hitlist but after seeing the fresh, colourful pinsas in the window, I couldn’t resist grabbing a quick slice. I went for spinach and sundried tomato but there are so many options like salmon, red pepper, potato, creamy mushroom and more.
It was a bit expensive at €5 for a fairly small slice. Two slices would probably make a decent lunch while one is a tasty snack or stop on a Ljubljana food crawl.
I had my eyes on this restaurant on Ljubljana’s Trubarjeva street because of the garlic momos advertised outside. I went in, sat down and ordered a drink, only to learn they were sold out for the day! It was too late to leave but I ended up enjoying a tasty paneer curry with a sticky garlic sauce… All was not lost!
Rikša mainly serve Indian food but there are a few other Asian dishes pad Thai and general wok dishes. Make sure to wash it down with a mango lassi!
Best place for quirky eats – Trubarjeva Cesta
Many of the international restaurants in Ljubljana like Rikša, Rustika and Abi Falafel can be found on this street. With street art and craft beer stores, it’s a quirky place mainly frequented by students and tourists. It was one of my favourite places in Ljubljana and a nice change from the classic architecture elsewhere.
Forgetting all mention of quirky places and international food, the Central Market is THE place for local life and fresh produce. If you’re not planning on cooking during your time in Ljubljana, you may not need fresh meat and veggies but it’s still an atmospheric place to soak up the sights, sounds and smells of the city.
Ljubljana Central Market boasts an open-air market in the square and a covered market beside the river designed by the city’s most famous architect, Jože Plečnik. Downstairs, you can find a fish market and fish restaurant. On the ground floor, there’s cheese, butcher stalls, bakery goods and traditional delicacies made with Slovenian ingredients like pumpkin seed.
Open Kitchen (March-Oct)
The seasonal Open Kitchen street food market takes place on sunny Fridays at Central Market from March to October. It’s a fun, atmospheric affair with fantastic food and drinks.
Vendors range from upmarket Slovenian street food to modern burgers, Korean, Indian, paella, desserts, vegan, craft beer, local wines and more. There are a few recognisable pop-ups from favourite Ljubljana restaurants like Abi Falafel and Rustika.
Where to stock up on goods
If you loved the food you tried in Ljubljana restaurants and markets, why not take some ingredients home? Tartufi Deli Shop is THE place to buy quality produce like honey liqueur, truffles and pumpkin seed oil. It’s a bit expensive but, if you take the city’s free walking tour, they’ll give you a 10% off voucher to use instore.
Cafes in Ljubljana
There are plenty of options when it comes to coffee and cake whether you want a decades-old family-run cafe or somewhere for your modern flat white fix.
Here’s where to eat in Ljubljana when you fancy something sweet…
This is easily one of the best cafes in Ljubljana serving a huge range of delicious cakes and milkshakes. The chocolate and pistachio layered cake is absolute bliss!
Cacao is on the main walking street beside the river. It’s not an old-school Slovenian bakery but it’s also not a modern, hipster cafe. It’s somewhere between with more heavenly cakes and classic desserts than you can shake a stick at.
Slascicarna Pri Vodnjaku
In the local tongue, ‘slascicarna’ refers to a traditional confectionary shop.
Slascicarna Pri Vodnjaku is known to serve the best prekmurska gibanica in town. This dessert is one of the most traditional Ljubljana foods, made from poppy seeds, walnuts, apples, raisins and soft cheese. Getting the layers so perfect must be hard work but this cafe have perfected it!
Being so popular, it’s a little expensive but I’d say worth it!
Tea lovers shouldn’t miss Čajnica Gallus, a lovely riverside cafe serving no less than 70 (!) types of tea. From jasmine to ginseng, Darjeeling, masala chai, oolong, rooibos, Turkish tea and Earl Grey, here’s the menu should you wish to peruse it before your visit.
Everything was atmospheric with proper old-fashioned kettles of tea.
Stow 2 Go
Stow 2 Go is one of Ljubljana’s best speciality coffee shops. I had my first coffee of the trip at their takeaway cafe beside Prešeren Square and, later, we found a coffee van of theirs at the Central Market.
Črno Zrno Specialty Coffee
Ask any coffee snob and they will tell you Črno Zrno Specialty Coffee serve some of the city’s best coffee. The baristas are super knowledgeable about their blends from Ethiopia and Colombia, served in their cute blue & white tiled cafe.
It’s right beside El Patrón Tacos so why not visit one of the best restaurants in Ljubljana and one of the best coffee shops in one go? Two birds, one stone!
Tozd is another riverside cafe popular with young people. With excellent coffee, topped toasts and craft beers, why not join them? Inside, it’s a stylish cafe with a bicycle hanging from the ceiling and outside, there’s tons of seating overlooking the river.
Vrt Lili Novy (outdoor cafe)
On a May day, we spent hours hanging out and drinking craft beers at this wonderful outdoor cafe. Beside Tivoli Park, it’s a real find with iced teas that look more like cocktails. Definitely swing by!
Wine in Ljubljana
We can’t talk about the cuisine of Ljubljana without mentioning wine! It’s a huge part of the culture. Slovenian wine might not attract much international acclaim but that’s mainly because it’s made on a small scale and not widely exported (and drunk by the locals before it has a chance to go anywhere!).
Decent Slovenian wine can be found at many of the top restaurants in Ljubljana, as well as the following wine bars…
Ljubljana Wine Tasting
We had a fantastic afternoon with the team at Wine Tasting Ljubljana in their atmospheric wine cellar underneath Dvorni Bar. We got to try a wide range of Slovenian wines, cheeses, meats and other local delicacies while learning about Slovenian wine-making, history and culture.
It was a great experience that I can highly recommend. Book your wine tasting.
Best wines bars in Ljubljana
A few of the best bars in the city include:
- Dvorni Bar – this bar is above the Wine Tasting Ljubljana experience but you don’t need to book a wine tasting to pop in and order a glass or two (or bottle!) of Slovenian wine
- Vinoteka Movia – in the summer, this is a lovely bar with outdoor seating on a pleasant walking street. The bartender was very knowledgeable, advising me on what to order. They serve Slovenian and international wines alongside delicious cheese and meat platters
- Wine bar Šuklje – this is another highly-rated wine bar with outdoor seating and river views. There are hundreds of wines on the menu; the majority Slovenian. The food is amazing and so are the staff.
Try the local orange wine
By far my favourite culinary experience in Ljubljana was trying orange wine. I’ve been trying to find it ever since but unfortunately it’s pretty expensive overseas. This delightful beverage first made in Georgia 6,000 years ago leaves grape skins in contact with the juice. The result is an orange tint and a unique flavour reminiscent of a fruity, full-bodied white wine.
There are plenty of places you can try it but the wine bars mentioned above ^ are your best bet. We also found it at several Ljubljana restaurants like Figovec.
Beer in Ljubljana
Before my trip, I didn’t know that Slovenia had a craft beer scene but I certainly do now. There are lots of great lagers and IPAs; my personal favourite was the 3rd Pill IPA that became my go-to order.
Try Slovenian craft beer at…
Lajbah – Craft Beer Bar
Labjah is easily the best place for craft beer. They have 23 varieties and the staff are happy to help you pick. It’s a cosy pub inside with a large outdoor seating area.
It’s a bit far from the city centre but it’s a pleasant walk along the river, away from the hustle and bustle.
Union Beer Factory experience
Union Brewery is one of the largest in the country with an onsite pub, museum and tours. Head here to get your beer fix!
Sip honey liqueur
Slovenian honey is a big deal and intrinsically linked to the country’s bee-keeping traditions. It’s widely used in the cuisine and has even extended to the drinks. You should certainly try this sweet and strong beverage thought to warm you from the inside and make you better when sick.
Rooftop drinks at Neboticnik skyscraper
Thanks for reading!
Read my other Slovenia posts:
- The ultimate Slovenia itinerary for 5, 7 or 10 days
- 38 things to do in Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Guide to Lake Bohinj, Slovenia
- Review of Wine Tasting Ljubljana
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TRUSTED RESOURCES FOR VISITING SLOVENIA
Getting around by air – I use Skyscanner and search by month to see the cheapest dates.
Driving in Europe – use Rentalcars.com to compare car rentals in European countries (and all around the world).
For trains, I use Trainline. The search feature allows you to compare prices, and they show live departure times on the website.
For buses, I use Flixbus. Find journeys between European countries from €1!
Use Omio to compare trains and buses in one search. It’s so handy!
For hotels and self-catering apartments, I use Booking.com. You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.
To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters, a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets.
Browse tours and activities on GetYourGuide and Viator.
Need travel insurance? I use True Traveller (for UK & Europe residents) since it’s affordable but covers everything you’d need including various activities, valuables and pre-existing conditions. Unlike some companies, they insure you if you’re already travelling / don’t yet have your flight home booked. Get a quote.
For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing.
Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and budget tips from my 10+ years on the road!