Local cuisine is under a considerable influence of the neighbouring countries’ cuisines: Austria, Italy, Croatia and Hungary. Its basis is cereals, dairy products, meat (especially pork), sea and fresh-water fish, vegetables, beans, olives and grape.
Slovenia has borrowed sausage, Wiener Schnitzel and strudel from the Austrian cuisine.
Among popular Italian dishes, which can be tasted in Slovenia, there are almost all kinds of dishes made from pasta (testenine), potato dumplings called gnocchi, pizza (pica), risotto (rižota) and zlikrofi, which resemble ravioli a lot.Hungarian cuisine has gifted the local one with goulash (golaz), braised chicken or beef (paprikas) and palacink – thin pancakes which are filled with jam or nuts and chocolate is poured over them. Apple pie and meat double-cake (burek) relate to the main Balkan dishes.
Slavic traditions are reminded by a great variety of mushroom soups and dishes, buckwheat porridge, wide application of bakery products, dumplings, as well as local equivalents of meat pockets and curd or fruit dumplings.
The traditional first course soup is beef soup (goveja) or chicken-noodle soup.
For the main course you can order:
- shashlik «radsnici»,
- sausages “cevapcici” which are served with sliced onions and fresh white bread,
- pork sausages with onion and horseradish,
- ravioli «zlikrofi»,
- air-dried meat «prsut»,
- calamaris with cheese and ham,
- chicken paprikas, with red sauce,
- goulash «bograc»,
- Bulgarian sweet pepper stuffed with various fillings,
- dough balls called “strukjli” which are stuffed with minced meat,
- nut or cheese dumplings,
- Slovenian pilaf, made of rice with crabs, shrimps and mussels,
- meat pockets with mutton.
On the table you will necessarily see the tastiest local bread, and any meal starts with local cheese, made both according to original Slovenian techniques and according to common standards. As for spices, Slovenian cuisine uses sweet marjoram, mint, sage, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, cinnamon and pepper.
Traditional brand dishes:
Millet or buckwheat porridge as well as barley porridge with smoked meat.
Struklji – meat pockets made according to 70 different recipes, both with sweet fillings and with meat and vegetables.
Soup Šara got its name from the abundance of colorful vegetables in it: turnip, carrot, parsley, leek and celery.
Njoki – potato dumplings.
Kraški pršut – ham from a pestle of pork rubbed with salt (resembles the Italian dish of proshutto).
Jota – soup with sauerkraut (or with sour turnip, beetroot leaves, fresh cabbage), kidney beans, flour, potatoes, dripping, pepper and garlic.
Thick soups take an obligatory and very important place in Slovenian cuisine. These are:
- beef broth – “goveja jukha”,
- pork soup with vegetables, soured with vinegar – ‘kisla jukha”,
- cabbage soup (tschi) with sauerkraut – “vipavska jota”,
- fish broth – “ribji brodet”,
- mushroom soup which is served in a loaf of bread with taken-out bread,
- «minestra» and «minestrone» - meat and chicken soup with asparagus, carrot, leek, peas and potatoes.
Dietary and vegetarian dishes.
The basis of nowadays Slovenian cuisine is fresh products. Here they sell salads and fresh vegetables all the year round. They highly appreciate dandelion salad and different dishes with potatoes, for example, potato halves stuffed with sour-cream, salad or butter.
To make different dishes they widely use all kinds of beans – peas, kidney beans, beans, lentil, chickpea. Traditional pickles and marinades with carrot, pepper, cabbage, tomatoes and other vegetables are also in favor. And any woman in Slovenia has stores of sauerkraut and sour turnip.
One of the unique gifts of nature, used to make simple dishes, is chestnuts. They are usually baked for lunch or dinner, and people eat them drinking wine or whipped apple juice. Boiled chestnuts are used for making puree which is served as garnish to the game. Chestnut is known as dessert – it is chestnuts in milk, cakes of all kinds, strudel from chestnuts, and of course, ice-cream with chestnuts added to it.
To the main meat dishes belong:
- sausage (klobasa),
- cutlets (zrezek),
- goulash (golaž).
All of them are mainly made from mutton and pork.
A very popular dish is goulash “bograc” which is stewed in a copper pot on a slow fire during a long time, double pie with meat and cheese (burek), and famous slices of pork fried in melted pork lard. One more traditional meat dish is “krovjanka”.
Dishes which are also made from pork:
- stuffed rolls,
- blood sausage,
- roast meat,
- smoked sausages,
Dishes from poultry are made according to centuries-long recipes – from goose, turkey, chicken and duck.
The vicinity of the Adriatic provides Slovenia with a great choice of seafood and fish (cod, eel, trout, cuttle-fish, lobster, calamari). Calamaris have a special popularity in Slovenia – but their prices are quite affordable.
As for desserts and pastry, Slovenia is good at:
- prekmurska double pie, stuffed with poppy, nuts, apples, raisins and curd.
- cake-type bun with raisins.
- nut pie made from sweet thinly rolled-out yeasted dough, which is spread with nut meat, then rolled, baked and cut across into portions. It is usually stuffed with ground walnut or poppy seeds. It is traditionally made for Christmas and Easter.
- sweet buns.
- Austrian strudel.
- pancakes with whipped cream and nut butter.
- apple dessert served with whipped cream.
- plums and apricots rolled as balls in potato dough. They are boiled and served with warmed butter and rusks.
- honey gingerbreads of various shapes (usually in a shape of a heart).
- covered in chocolate dried figs,
- dessert of biscuit with the filling of whipped cream and wild berries.
Strong and sweet Turkish coffee is usually served in tiny cups in Slovenia. Besides, you can order coffee with milk or whipped cream.
This beverage is not so popular as coffee – the Slovenes usually drink tea in winter and prefer black tea to other fruit and herbal sorts of tea. In a café you can order tea with lemon and honey.
Juices and nectars.
- Мalinovec – beverage with raspberry syrup.
- Tolkovec – juice from whipped apples.
- Sour Alpine milk is very popular. It is neither kefir not yoghurt – as this beverage reaps in the fresh Alpine air, it has a special unique flavor.
- Whey – dairy product, which is left when butter is produced. This sour beverage is not only drunk, but it is used for baking bread and making sauces.
- Sabesa – fragrant alcohol-free beverage having a refreshing effect which is made from elderflower syrup.
- Hot chocolate – this beverage has a special respect among the Slovenes.
Slovenian beer.This is, after all, the most popular drink in Slovenia. The best beer brands are:
Slovenia makes perfect wines with special flavor and of high quality. Geographical nearness to such distinguished neighbours-winemakers – Hungary, Italy and Austria – has predicted similarity between their winemaking technological traditions. Bouquet of local wines resembles the bouquets of Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and German wines, but there are wines with unique, Slovenian flavor.
The main winemaking regions of the country are Primorje (Primorye), Podravje and Posavje.
The most well-known Slovenian wines are:
In the city of Ptuj, “Wine Academy” with its permanent exposition and tasting room is situated. Here unique “Ptuj city wine” is displayed in special bottles that resemble a banana in their shape. It is produced from the grapes of a small vinery which is located at the walls of an ancient fortress right behind the Academy. You cannot buy this wine – it is presented as a gift to the honored guests of the city.
Slovenia produces about 900 thousand gallons of red and white wine every year, the main part of which consists of quality wine without sugar added to it – «Vrhunsko vino» and wines with preserved identity – «Kakovostno vino ZKGP», and the rest part is table wines «Namizno vino», which are not to be exported.
Unidentified wines with the mark «uvoz» (import) do not sometimes have the highest quality.
If the wine is young, it is sealed with metal or plastic cork.
Slovenian wines owe its authority to the excellent quality control system. The Association of Slovenian wine-makers and wine-growers vigilantly keeps an eye on the compliance with strict rules on all stages of processing chain – starting with the choice of grape variety and ending with particular appearance of labels. Compliance with all these rules invariably provides high quality of wines and empowers to use the Association’s special stamp: red stamp is applied for table wines with the obligatory indication of their geographical identity, silver stamp – for quality wines, golden stamp – for wines of the highest quality.
Where to eat
There is a great number of restaurants, coffee bars, pizzerias and many other nice places where one can always have a snack. Narrow streets that Ljubljana and many other Slovenian cities are so much renowned for host sidewalk cafes and small restaurants. In Slovenia they enjoy having long meals outdoors in the morning and slow drinking coffee at lunch time being protected from the sun by big tents.
There are restaurants and cafes of different kinds:
Reštaurácia – gourmet restaurants.
Gostilna and Gostišče - not that high class but they usually serve traditional Slovenian cuisine. One can also have a taste of other traditional world cuisine.
Okrepčevalnica – small snack bars that offer quite a large menu of tasteful meal.
Pinvnica – one can try beer and snacks here but they also serve hard liquors.
Kaviareň – coffee bars where one can try all possible kinds of pastry.
Slaščičarna – they serve different kinds of sweets and ice-cream.
The most popular Slovenian restaurants are:
Nazorjeva ulica 8, Ljubljana.
This nice place serves soups, specialties, salads, desserts and beverages. There is also a great choice of Italian cuisine dishes such as Carbonara or Bolognese (6 EUR). A cup of Capuccino coffee costs around 1.40 EUR.
Restavracija in kavarna Park.
Cesta svobode 15, Bled.
Here one can try a delicious «Kremna REZINA» fancy cake which is a symbol of Bled city and drink a cup of coffee. Except from the sweets and beverages that are served here, the restaurant offers meat and fish dishes, soups and salads. A full meal will cost you around 10 EUR and a «Kremna REZINA» costs 3 EUR.
Gostilna Pod Lipo.
Borštnikov trg 3, Ljubljana.
This is a cute place in the center of Ljubljana which is one of the best public catering places in Slovenia. One can have a normal meal here and try meat, fish or vegetarian food.
Ciril Metodov trg 18, Ljubljana.
This is the best place to try traditional Slovenian cuisine. The restaurant offers a great number of fish and meat dishes. One should definitely try fried calamari.
Wolfova 14, Ljubljana.
The place is very popular among tourists and locals. When having a walk round the city center one can stop here and drink a cup of coffee with the most delicious pastry in the world.
Most of the Slovenians prefer traditional cuisine to fast food but fast food is also becoming more and more popular among young people. If you’d like to have a quick and not expensive snack you can also go to the following fast food restaurants:
Quite expensive. Big Mac Menu costs about 4.5 EUR.
Tasty horse beef hamburgers.
Pinki fast food.
They serve pizza, hamburgers, sandwiches, different kinds of salads, sweet pan-cakes and ice-cream. All kinds of beverages (cold and hot).
Pizzarija In Spagetaria Al Capone.
This is a big pizzeria located at City Park area. A big choice of delicious pizzas.
Pizzerija in Spageterija Veneziana.
Tasty pizzas and good service. The place is located at “BTC” mall.
Slovenia is much less expensive than Italy and Austria for example. The prices won’t disappoint you.
A full meal in an inexpensive restaurant will cost you around 4-10 EUR. A bit more expensive places will offer you 8-14 EUR meals and a meal at a fancy restaurant will cost about 15 EUR. So if you want to deny yourself nothing and enjoy every day spent in Slovenia you will have to spend about 55-58 EUR per day. Eating in fast food restaurants will cost you about 30 EUR per day.
If to talk about tipping, restaurants and cafes will be grateful to you if you leave about 10% tip.