Ljubljana: where to eat, drink and party

ljubljana

I’ve lived in Ljubljana my whole life and have probably tried every cafe, bar and restaurant worth knowing (frequently updated).

Since I had way too much to share about my home city in the Ljubljana travel guide post, I had to make a separate post just for recommendations on where to eat, drink and party.

Ljubljana cafescape

To start it off, if I had to choose amongst all the cafes, I would recommend:

  • Slovenska hiša, a recent addition to the Ljubljana cafescape, featuring traditional Slovenian food and lovely drinks for relatively decent prices for what you get
  • Tozd, where me and my best friend like to go for coffee and get our water in a chemistry flask or a beaker (also, their toasts are pretty good)
  • the artsy Pritličje cafe/bar with a nice atmosphere
  • the quiet and quaint NUK library cafe (the library by itself is a must-see)
  • cafe Čokl, where they roast their own delicious coffee and are very eco-conscious
  • the cosy Čajna hiša tea house, where me and my boyfriend go for dates.
My favourite ice cream since I was a child: vanilla with hot sour cherries and cream.

There is also Makalonca, which is located on a pontoon on the river, so the setting is amazing, but the prices are extortive for Slovenian standards. As for the best treats, there is Cafe Romeo with rhubarb and cream pancakes (extremely worth it, although the rest of the food is normal and overpriced), Vigo and Cacao for ice cream (usually pretty crowded, for a reason), and Pri vodnjaku, where you’ll get ice cream surrounded by a hot chocolate moat. I realise most of my selections are quite fancy and popular, but they are popular for a reason, because they really are good and I don’t believe in being stingy with my food.

Where to eat

There are plenty of eating options, both the usual and exotic, so I will not even attempt to go too deep into that – I’ll just list some of my current affordable favourites in and near the city centre instead. My two all time favourites with healthier food have recently closed, but Barbarella and Kucha are two very tasty vegan/vegetarian restaurants with amazing food. Since I’m not vegan, let me recommend two delicious burger & co. options immediately after: Centralna postaja, Fany & Mary, as well as Klobasarna, a small venue offering tastings of traditional Slovenian sausages. If you’re a huge meat lover you’ll also love Rodizio do Brazil, a Brazilian all you can eat meat restaurant, where they serve you meat on a sabre, but it is quite expensive. There are plenty of food trucks and small eateries around the Central market as well, where they host the Open kitchen food festival every Friday during the warmer months, and the Luda restaurant nearby is quite good too.

The beautifully arranged Korean food from Suwon.

As for more exotic options, one of my recent favourites is Suwon, the first Korean restaurant in Slovenia with decent prices and amazing food, which always looks so pretty. Maharaja serves decent Indian food and super tasty imported mango drinks, while Maru offers delicious affordable sushi and Japanese food (Sushimama probably has the best sushi in Ljubljana, but it’s really expensive). Joe Pena’s also has great Mexican-ish food and cocktails. Sadly I haven’t been able to find a truly good Chinese or ramen noodle option in Ljubljana, so I don’t want to recommend anything for that. I also don’t know much in the way of fancy food, since I’ve lived on a student budget until recently, but it pays off to take a look at the list from Teden restavracij (restaurant week), a culinary project where critically acclaimed, fancier restaurants offer a promotional 3 or more course menu for a fixed price twice a year. They usually select great restaurants to participate.

Where to drink

In terms of evening drinks, there are several classy bars like Dvorni bar, which I do not tend to visit often, but I can recommend some nice cheaper pubs: Pivnica Union, which is part of the brewery and also has nice food, the Captain’s cabin for decent cocktails and Cutty Sark, which is always busy. There is also Pr’ Semaforju, which sells the cheapest beer available and is usually full of drunk students. The colourful Žmauc is also a popular student hang out, both as a cafe and as an evening venue, but it always reeks of weed. Daktari and Nostalgia cafe are a bit classier, with a vintage vibe.

Where to party
“And when the music goes around, everybody goes to town…” L. P. – Sing, sing, sing

In terms of partying, Ljubljana also has a lot to offer. As I am not one for crowded fancy clubs, I cannot really recommend any, but there are the many venues of Metelkova city for something a bit more alternative, as well as the Orto bar and the K4 club. Since I’ve spent so many evenings there, I also cannot neglect to mention the Pub pod Skalco, out of gratitude, if nothing else. It is a bit of a hole in the wall, even after the renovation, so expect horrible Balkan music, a dark and a bit smelly venue with cheap alcohol, but that is precisely what makes it fun, because sometimes you just need to drop your IQ a bit. I quite like classier venues like Jazz club Gajo and the Prulček bar, which frequently host concerts. Since I am also an avid swing dancer: Studio Dansa hosts swing nights on Fridays, while the Grand hotel Union has them on Tuesdays and the SEM cafe occasionally pitches in too. For other dancing events, see here.

You can find all the places I mentioned marked on the map below.

Obviously, there are many more venues and eateries, but let this be enough to help you get your bearings on where to eat, drink and party in Ljubljana.

Feel free to ask me for more recommendations in the comments! 🙂

P.S.: I try to frequently update this post and add new places as I try them out or they appear. Last update: February 2020.

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