The Michelin guide: Ljubljana’s gourmet soul

Modern cousine with traditional roots

Exploring Ljubljana, Slovenia’s centre teeming with life, as well as a hub for the best local produce, through the eyes of a gourmet lover means exploring different restaurants that nonetheless share a desire to showcase the region’s best ingredients via modern cuisine with strong traditional roots.


The story of Istrian inspired cousine served at Altrokè, a restaurant run by Matjaž Čok, begins in Plavje, a village on a small hill overlooking the Gulf of Trieste in Koper near the Italian border, where the family produces olive oil and wine as a part of the family business. Čok and his staff serve dishes made from local, seasonal ingredients – fish from the Adriatic sea and boškarin beef, olives, grapes figs, different types of fruit and herbs, which is why their menu also changes with the seasons.

The restaurant is situated in the old medieval part of Ljubljana and its name means “certainly” in Istrian dialect – a way of expressing appreciation and confirmation.

A love for Istrian territory, as well as for food in general, is what drives Matjaž Čok, whose family have always been involved in agriculture. Čok’s decision to work in the restaurant sector was influenced primarily by his grandmother, who ran an Italian trattoria in Koper in the 1960s, which became renowned for its Bolognese cuisine. Čok opened Altrokè in 2015 and although his work in Ljubljana focuses mostly on the management of his restaurants (the second, Vino&Ribe, which is dedicated to fish dishes and wine, was opened in the same month as Altrokè), he is ably assisted in the kitchen by young chef Tadej Dolinar, while the strictly Italian desserts are the responsibility of Roman pastry chef Carlo Panico.

The restaurant’s signature dish is venison tartare served with pears, lovage mayonnaise and a salad of wild woodland plants, but some other, such as fresh scallop carpaccio served with oysters, mayonnaise, kiwi, shallots and crispy shallots are also popular. The pasta is homemade and includes agnolotti (a type of ravioli) with ricotta and truffles, and sweet-chestnut gnocchi served with a velouté of roasted seasonal mushrooms. Fish courses include a delicious fillet of white fish from the Adriatic served with barley pasta, pumpkin cream, marinated fennel and anchovy mayonnaise.

PETI 181

The name of this restaurant, chosen by its owner-chef Petra Kapetanović Orlić, refers to the date it was opened – January 18 2018. Peti is an elegant and welcoming restaurant situated just a stone’s throw from the River Ljubljanica which runs through the capital, adding its own rhythm and essence to the city’s atmosphere.

Although influenced by France, where the chef trained on Cordon Bleu courses in haute cuisine, the dishes served at Peti 181 represent a mix of experiences from various countries with a focus on top-quality Slovenian ingredients. Nothing is left to chance here, as demonstrated by the unique, handmade plates created by the chef during the pandemic. The restaurant’s main concept is that of offering hospitality – making guests feel at home thanks to attentive service, a welcoming ambience, and food that is always deeply satisfying.

Guests come here to enjoy dishes such as ravioli made with Slovenian cheese, eggs, truffle cream and trout roe, tuna tartare, and typical Mediterranean seafood. Other highlights include sea bass with buttery mashed potatoes, turnip with black pudding, greengage plums, fried pork skin, foie gras, and their seasonal collection of soups.

Peti 181 follows a strict “zero waste” policy, only cooking small quantities (the amount that is strictly necessary) at a time – when a dish is finished, they simply serve something else.


The soul and the undisputed reason for its success is self-taught restaurateur Boštjan Trstenjak, one of the leading figures in the local gastronomic scene. Situated just a few minutes’ drive from the centre of Ljubljana, Cubo is a modern restaurant which guarantees privacy and quiet, as well as its fine cuisine which showcases the best ingredients from Slovenia and surrounding countries.

Other qualities, such as friendship, complicity, esteem, positive energy, and sharing and at its peak when we look at Trstenjak’s relationship with his most loyal guests – guests who become family. This is a group of people is a loyal and creative team which helps Trstenjak enhance his menu as well as the whole Cubo’s experience. The relationship with local suppliers is of utmost importance: this is why typical local pasta is sourced from Branko Lukšić (Croatia), the meat from Brda (Slovenian side of Collio), and the vegetables from small-scale Slovenian growers such as Klemen Dovč.

Cubo is first and foremost a family, which is why recipes once prepared by Trstenjak’s mother and grandmother are still served here – the famous minestrone soups, roast leg of lamb, and tuna fillet in a maize crust with curry and broccoli. The restaurant has a passion for Italian cuisine as a whole, but Slovenian specialities also feature here. Some of them are Istrian fuži with truffle sauce, and Pljukanci with beef fillet and sun-dried tomatoes, as well as their own version with prawns, truffles, and porcini mushrooms.

Cubo is also famous for its desserts – the restaurant has even dedicated a cookery book to them and won the Best Desserts Cookbook in the World award by Courmand Cookbooks with it.

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