A Slovenian culinary project, which equals affordable fancy food.
Teden restavracij (restaurant week) is a Slovenian culinary campaign, which promotes excellent Slovene cuisine, as in fancy gourmet restaurants. The participating restaurants allover Slovenia offer a special menu for the duration of the week, consisting of at least 3 courses for a fixed price, which is considerably lower than usual. That means it’s a great chance for us plebs to enjoy some much fancier food than we could usually afford and discover some new restaurants, but beware, they get you hooked on coming back at full price.
All restaurants that participate are invited to do so by the food critic Uroš Mencingar after he visits and reviews them. He seems to know what he’s about, because restaurant week is getting increasingly successful. The restaurants are supposed to be the best in Slovenia and range from fancy slow dining to more hearty, comfort food or exotic options, so there’s something for everyone.
Restaurant week runs twice per year for 10 days, even though it is called a week, and has been running for a few years now. In autumn 2019 there were 100 participating restaurants and the price for one meal was 19 eur, excluding drinks, but they offer an accompanying wine selection or additional courses if you want to go the extra mile. The menus are posted online in advance so you can pick and choose where to go and reservations are mandatory. You need to book a spot as soon as possible, because they usually fill up quite fast. Since restaurant week happens twice per year, I really recommend it if you’re ever in Slovenia at the right time. 🙂 In fact, you should probably plan your visit around this if you’re a foodie, as this is the right time to visit and enjoy some fancy food.
Autumn 2019 – Kult 316
I’ve known about it for quite a while now, but I never got around to making a reservation until October 2019. My boyfriend and I tried out the Kult 316 restaurant, which is a fancy place run by the Higher school for hospitality and tourism in Ljubljana, where the students get to show off their work. We were more than satisfied, with both the service and the food. So much so, that we’re planning to come back and blow our budget during non-restaurant weeks as well. It turns out, that their regular menus are not actually eating-bread-and-water-for-a-month expensive, so this was a winning choice altogether, as we now know a new fancy and affordable place.
Here’s the menu photographed on the cover photo that I’ve tried to translate into English to give you a sense of the fanciness we got on our plates:
- Choux dough pastry with curly sprouts pesto and purple carrots with plums, mustard, trout caviar and crunchy breadcrumbs
- Cold almond soup with Indian cress oil and apples
- Venison tartare with elderberry gel, pine tree mayonnaise, hazelnuts, penny bun mushroom foam and lettuce
- Guinea fowl fillet and chicken mavželj, celery root with brown butter, quince, Brussels sprouts and meat sauce
- Chestnut cream with white chocolate, chocolate crumble, meringue with mandarins, plum and black tea sorbet
You can see the food photos here, without the soup course, because I was too excited about the food to take that photo. 🙂
Spring 2020 – Altroke
The spring edition of restaurant week usually happens in April, but this year it got postponed to June due to the coronavirus crisis. This time we went to Altroke, a restaurant in Ljubljana Oldtown with Istrian-inspired food. The menu looked delicious and I actually had quite high expectations – although the food was good, I was a bit disappointed, because it just wasn’t WOW! good like last year.
- Broad bean pate with homemade olive grissin
- Beef tagliata autochthon Istrian cow Boškarin, dandelion, truffle mayonnaise, toasted bread, capers
- Creamy soup with fennel and chips chopped olives, fresh dill, herbal oil
- Asparagus and saffron risotto, Parmesan chips
- Duck legs, dumplings with dandelion and sweet mashed potatoes, refosco sauce
- Homemade albumin curd, almond biscuit/streusel, frizzantin sparkling wine cream, raspberries, refosco reduction
The dessert was just a bit too sweet, with nothing sour to balance that, and the appetiser beef tagliata was a bit bland. The service was somewhat rushed and they kept forgetting to pour us more wine (they were pouring by the glass), same with tiny jugs of water. This may sound like nitpicking, but that’s what you expect when you go to a fancy restaurant, particularly during restaurant week when all the places are flexing their culinary muscles. Nonetheless the food was good and even great for the promotional price of 19eur, and the fennel soup was amazing! I don’t think I’ll be coming back to pay the full price though, because Altroke is quite expensive and definitely overpriced from what we’ve seen here.
Autumn 2020 – Shambala
Even though Slovenia is right in the midst of the second wave of corona, we still managed to attend the autumn edition of restaurant week. So, this time we went to Shambala, an Asian fusion restaurant in the centre of Ljubljana, which got the Michelin plate award this year. Honestly, I was quite impressed! The flavour combinations were innovative and absolutely delicious, the ambient and the service was nice, and they even had me voluntarily eating pineapple in 2 dishes. For the record, I can’t stand pineapple, but they somehow marinated it into something quite tasty, so I didn’t mind it at all. I loved that all the dishes came with flowers for decoration (because we are a bit weird we even ate the one that came with the salad), although the meat was a bit overcooked. All in all it was absolutely worth the money we spent though.
We also ordered 2 extra courses that weren’t included with the regular Teden restavracij menu, but were meant as a complimentary special offer, as well as dessert. I’m really glad we did, because the beef noodles with kimchi might just be my new favourite thing, which I’ll try to recreate at home as soon as possible. Here’s the translated menu:
- Greetings from the kitchen: “Faux gras” made of shiitake and chestnut
- Salad with smoked trout, pear and orange ponzu
- Black tiger prawns in miso marinade with pineapple
- Slightly spicy carrot soup with Asian spices and tofu marinated in pumpkin oil
- Beef noodles with kimchi
- Pork ribs marinated in butter and sesame oil, prepared sous vide, with smoked blackberry sauce and mashed hokkaido pumpkin, melon, pineapple and sweet potato
- Chocolate souffle with mango ice cream and coconut cream
- Matcha tiramisu
I’ll keep updating this post with quick restaurant reviews from Teden restavracij every time we attend one, so make sure to check back occasionally. 🙂
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