Slovenian cuisine isn’t well-known and is somewhat unexplored in Europe. This is a shame as it has plenty of different and exotic dishes. For us, it was like exploring a new territory, adventuring in the unknown. You will be surprised and find delicious food, especially stews. So come with us and discover what to eat in Slovenia.
We will explore Slovenia’s most famous traditional dishes, from soup and stews, meat to fish and desserts. We will also mention some dishes that aren’t traditional or originally Slovenian, but you find them everywhere in Slovenia. This will guide you in your visit to Slovenia.
What should you know about Slovenia food?
Slovenia’s cuisine is influenced by the imperial Austrian-Hungarian, which they were part of until WW I, and by Balkan cuisine. Italian cuisine also influences it, especially in southern Slovenia (Piran, Isobar, and Koper). This is because Southern Slovenia previously belonged to the Republic of Venice.
So Slovenian cuisine is heavily influenced by the country’s past and the available ingredients. Slovenia’s traditional food is hearty and simple. It’s farmers’ food! Slow-cooked dishes, soups, and stews are a staple in day-to-day cuisine.
Pork is also an essential and appreciated protein, giving origin to sausages like the famous Carniolan sausage, pork cracklings, and smoked pork. Buckwheat and mushrooms are adored. Slovenians enjoy going on wild mushroom hunting.
In the South of Slovenia, by the Adriatic Sea, fish is the main protein—prevailing dishes with fish and seafood, grilled or fried.
Slovenians are also famous wine producers and consequently have several good quality wines. So if you like wine, it is an excellent place to drink it.
Besides the ingredients above, Slovenia is also a specialist in honey production. Slovenski med, or Slovenian honey, has protected geographical indication. The Carniolan honeybee, an autochthonous Slovenian bee, makes the honey.
But if you don’t want to eat Slovenian traditional food, don’t worry. Slovenians love pizza and pasta, and you will find many restaurants with amazing pizza, nearly as good as in Italy.
Be aware that some dishes have different names and variations depending on the region.
Where to eat Slovenia food
The best place to eat Slovenian traditional food is in traditional restaurants called Gostilna. You will find them everywhere, and they serve traditional simple good Slovenian food.
In the countryside, you will find some charming and beautiful Gostilnas, with tables outside which allow you to eat in the woods, which is pretty cool. Some of the best restaurants we ate were in Gostilnas, in the middle of the mountains. It is an unforgettable experience.
In Slovenia, there isn’t much street food. In Ljubliana, you may find some street food joints with Balkan dishes, but it isn’t common all over the country. The best places to eat are really in restaurants or in Gostilna. Conversely, you will find plenty of terraces and restaurants where you can eat outside when the weather is good.
The best tip we can give you is to try to eat where the locals eat. They know where the best places are. And stay away from the very tourist places. With some exceptions, they usually are overpriced and not fantastic.
In the end, don’t be afraid to try and ask if you don’t understand the menu. Slovenians speak excellent English and are typically friendly.
Without further ado, let’s explore – What to eat in Slovenia.
Soups and Stews – Slovenia traditional food
Obara is a stew made with different kinds of vegetables and meat. It is a Slovenian National dish original from Štajerska, a region of Slovenia.
It is a comforting and tasty stew made with vegetables like carrots, turnips, green beans, peas, and onions. It usually has beef and internal organs. But many places also serve a simple vegetable Obara, but be aware it may not be vegetarian.
Between each region of Slovenia, Obara can have variations and different names.
Jota is a famous Slovenia stew. It is made with sauerkraut, beans, potatoes, and smoked bacon or sausage. It is a tasty soup or stew with the right balance of sour, salt, and smoked flavors. It is very satisfying.
You can find this stew all over Slovenia. There are numerous different variations of Jota. There are versions without potatoes or with turnips instead of sauerkraut, or just vegetables without the meat. Typically it is eaten with bread. We highly recommend trying this stew in Slovenia.
Ričet or Ješprenj is a traditional Slovenian soup made with barley, beans, potatoes, carrots, parsley, celery, leeks, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and cured pork. It is a hearty dish that will leave you full. Basically, it is a soup with everything.
Ajdovi Žganci means buckwheat spoonbread, and it is a National Slovenian dish. It used to be eaten as breakfast by the farmers to give them energy for their hard work.
It is made by dry-frying buckwheat flour for a couple of minutes, then you add boiling water and cook for a few minutes. When cooked, shred it into smaller pieces, and add cracklings. It is served with milk.
You will find this dish throughout Slovenia, particularly in the north by the mountains. There are also variations made with potato or wheat flour as well.
It is a strange dish, especially for someone not used to it, but it is worth a try. At the very least, it will be an experience, and I guarantee you will feel full afterward.
Golaž or goulash
Golaž, or goulash, although famous and original from Hungary, is also a Slovenian dish, and you will find it all over Slovenia. It is one of the best things to eat in Slovenia.
Goulash is a stew made with beef, onion, tomato, paprika, and other spices. It has a strong taste of smoked paprika and tomato and is delicious. It is served with bread or polenta.
The Slovenian goulash is very similar to the Hungarian. We didn’t find much difference in the taste.
Although, in Hungary, it is served as a soup or stew and is eaten with bread. In Slovenia, it may be served with dumplings, Idrijski Žlikrofi, as seen in the photo. Or with other ingredients. If you haven’t tried it yet, you must.
Idrijski Žlikrofi is another must-try dish in Slovenia. It is even classified as protected status by the European Commission and is from Idrija. However, you can find it all over Slovenia.
It consisted of dumplings with potato filling molded into a traditional hat shape and then cooked in boiling water. It can be served as a side dish, on its own, or in a soup.
We ate Idrijski Žlikrofi in a goulash soup, as seen in the image above. But it can be served in other soups or stews. They are very tasty.
Gobova juha is a traditional Slovenian mushroom soup. It is made with various wild mushrooms and vegetables like onions, garlic, and potatoes. Although there are plenty of variations of the recipe, each family has their way of doing Gabova Juha.
This soup is generally eaten in the fall, the season when mushrooms are available in the Slovenian forests and mountains. One of Slovenian’s favorite hobbies is mushroom picking in the forest.
Traditional Meat dishes in Slovenia
Carniolan sausage or Kranjska klobasa
Carniolan sausage is the most famous Slovenia specialty. It is a semi-cured smoked pork sausage that has protected geographical indication.
It is made with pork cuts and bacon, seasoned with salt, black pepper, and garlic. You need to cook it before eating. It is served with sauerkraut, freshly grated horseradish, or added to soups and stews. It is easy to find in restaurants all over Slovenia.
It has to be on your things to eat in Slovenia. It is a delicious sausage with a smokey taste. Delicious with some mustard.
Štruklji is a typical Slovenian and Balkan dish. It is made of rolled dough filled with savory or sweet ingredients. It can be baked or cooked. The fillings are usually cottage cheese, walnuts, apples, and poppy seeds, but there is a wide variety of fillings.
Štruklji can be called Slovenia dumplings, but don’t be fooled like us. It does not resemble a dumpling. It has a roll form and is soft and delicious.
It is made with filo pastry and buckwheat or wheat flour. Traditionally, it is filled with farmer’s cheese, walnuts, apples, and tarragon and served as a side dish beside the meat. It is soft with a strong cheese taste, unlike anything we have tried. You have to try them.
Ocvirki is pork crackling. Pork is frequently used and appreciated in Slovenian Cuisine. And in the past, farmers used all parts of the pig for food, even its fat.
Ocvirki is done by melting the lard until it is crunchy. It is used as a topping for stews and soups or as a snack. Other countries have similar recipes, like chicharrones in Mexico or torresmos in Portugal.
Traditional Slovenian food – Fish and seafood
The south of Slovenia is one of the best places to eat fresh fish. You will find fantastic fish restaurants in Piran, Portorož, Izola, and Koper.
The fish is served as a whole, customarily grilled, with fried polenta garlic and butter sauce. If you like fish, we advise you to try a dish with a mixture of different fish and seafood. The most common fish are sea bass, sea beam, sardines, or the day’s catch.
Fried fish and seafood
Besides grilled fish, Slovenians know how to do fried fish, squid, and seafood. It is crunchy but not soggy with oil and has a touch of lemon. There are several restaurant options for fried fish in the south of Slovenia, by the Adriatic Sea.
In Piran, we highly recommend going to Fritolin Pri Cantini. We had lovely fried squid on the terrace in front of the restaurant. It was delicious and so pleasant.
On a sunny day, a fresh drink and fried fish is all you need to be happy.
One of the things you should eat in Slovenia is trout, especially in the Triglaw National Park. Trout prosper in cold rivers and streams of the National Park, especially the Soča River, which are ideal habitats.
In Slovenia, trout is served as a whole, lightly dusted with wheat or corn flour, and fried. It is served with vegetables or fries and salad. We weren’t able to eat trout, but in the mountains, there were several restaurants, Gostilna, serving them.
Traditional Desserts in Slovenia
Potica is one of Slovenia’s most famous and appreciated desserts. It is traditional at Christmas and Easter, but you will find it everywhere all year around. It is also common in other Eastern European countries.
It is a rolled pastry made with a thin sweet yeast dough filled with a walnut paste. Although, there are other fillings like hazelnut, tarragon, quark, or poppy seeds. It is dense and nutty.
Potica is made in a particular mold with a hole in the middle. They are adorable. You will find this dessert easily, as most coffee shops, bakeries, or shops have them.
Prekmurska Gibanica is a layer cake classified as the National Specialty of Slovenia. It is made with layers of poppy seeds, walnuts, apples, raisins, and curd cheese layer between filo dough. It is a mouth full of different textures and flavors.
It is simply delicious and our favorite dessert in Slovenia. It was even chosen to represent Slovenia in Café Europe, an event that elected some of the best pastries in Europe.
Prekmurska Gabanica is originally from Prekmurje in Slovenia. It isn’t easy to find this cake, although it is available in some restaurants and coffee shops in Ljubljana.
Kremna Rezina is a cream cake traditional of Slovenia. It is also known as Bled cream cake since it was created by Ištvan Lukačević, a baker who worked in Hotel Park in Bled.
This cake is made with a crispy, buttery pastry filled with a layer of vanilla custard and whipped cream topped with filo pastry. It is soft and silky and melts in your mouth. Eating by lake bled in one of the many coffee shops while you appreciate the views is especially pleasant.
Although Kremna Rezina is associated with Lake Bled, you can find it elsewhere in Slovenia, and frequently cheaper.
Sweet Štruklji is a dessert made with rolled dough filled with sweet ingredients. Above, we already talked about savory Štruklji. Sweet Štruklji is made with the same ingredients, filo pastry and flour but has sweet fillings. Like apples, chocolate, pistachio, orange, you name it.
This is a dessert that you can eat all over Slovenia. But we found that Ljubljana had several places specializing in this pastry. We particularly like Moji štruklji Slovenije, a restaurant in the center of Ljubljana that serves all types of Štruklji, savory or sweet.
Krofi are like Slovenian berliners or Portuguese bola de berlim. They are sweet fried dough, like doughnuts, but in a ball filled with jam or pastry cream.
You don’t have to have large imagination to guess they are delicious. You can find them all over Slovenia in bakeries or supermarkets.
Breskvice means little peaches in Slovenian. They are delicate and beautiful Slovenian cookies that resemble peaches, thus the name. But they don’t taste like peaches in any way.
These cookies are traditional in all former Yugoslavian countries: Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia, and Montenegro. They are made with the usual cookie ingredients flour, eggs, butter, and sugar. And are filled with walnut paste and apricot jam. And are decorated with yellow, orange, and red food coloring, giving them the beautiful color of peaches.
Although cookies, they aren’t crunchy, but soft, quite humid, sweet, delicious, and beautiful. You can find them in supermarkets all over the country. And Slovenians like them a lot.
One of the things Slovenia is famous for is the production of wine. It has over 28 000 wineries and has the world’s oldest grapevine.
Slovenia’s main wine regions are on the coast and the East. The three wine regions are Podravska, Posavska, and Primorska. The top wines produced are sparking, dessert, and Red and White.
So if you like wine, Slovenia is an ideal country to try out all its specialties. We aren’t wine experts, so we can’t recommend any. But our advice is don’t be afraid to try, and if you ask for information, Slovenians generally are friendly and speak English very well.