This little country has long been quietly making its mark on the tourist trail. Thanks to dramatic Alps, turquoise lakes and charming culture, Slovenia is becoming more and more popular.
More recently though, Slovenia's intriguing and sophisticated food scene is is hitting the world stage.
With influences from Italy, Hungary, Austria, Croatia and even Russia, Slovenia's food scene is varied. Slovenian chefs have been taking on innovative twist on traditional techniques. Here's our pick of the best restaurants in Slovenia, that are drawing foodies from all over the world.
1) Hiša Franko, Kobarid
Everything about this restaurant, which has been recognised as one of the top 50 in the world, is a feast for the senses, from grand sculptures and artwork in the open-plan dining room to the food itself, which is an explosion of colours, smells and flavours.
The self-taught chef, Ana Ros, is one of Slovenia’s best and runs the restaurant with her husband Vatler Kramer. Kramer looks after the superb selection of wines sourced from biodynamic vineyards, while Ana creates a carefully crafted and unanticipated delight on every plate.
2) JB Restaurant, Slovenia
The brainchild of award-winning chef Janez Bratovž, this fine-dining establishment has been a long-standing favourite in Ljubljana. Serving a blend of Slovenian, Mediterranean and French cuisines, the menu is set around seasonal specialities with daily changes depending on what Bratovž can find that morning at the market.
The 11-course tasting menu can take up to three hours to complete, but they will easily be three of the most memorable dining hours you’ll experience. As well as spectacular food and excellent service, the cellar stocks more than 500 wines from around the world, including some of Slovenia’s best.
3) AS Aperitivo, Ljubljana
The symbol of this restaurant is a 150-year-old tree that sits between Wolfova and Slovenska streets in Ljubljana and is believed to represent the core values of the region: family, tradition, integration and growth. The restaurant has been established as one of the finest in Ljubljana since the late ’90s.
The menu is centred around authentic, refined Mediterranean cuisine using only the highest quality local ingredients. Relish some of Ljubljana’s best food on the elegant outdoor terrace or in the sophisticated dining room with dark wood furnishings.
4) Strelec, Ljubljana
Situated in the archer’s tower in Ljubljana’s castle, Strelec offers views across the city and a creative menu conjured up by a top ethnology professor Dr. Janez Bogataj and Igor Jagodic, who is recognised as one of the top three chefs in Slovenia.
Dishes are slick and innovative while paying homage to Roman and Medieval cuisines. They aim to connect historic cuisine with gourmet trends of the present day.
5) Casa Nostromo, Piran
This relatively new restaurant in Piran has quickly made a name for itself with simple, Istrian cuisine prepared using only the freshest local ingredients.
The nautical theme restaurant offers views across to the Piran Harbour and serves up the best seafood in the area. A must-try is the fresh red tuna.
6) Bled Castle Restaurant, Lake Bled, Slovenia
The menu is a modern twist on traditional Slovenian recipes passed down for more than 70 years by their grandmother. Each dish is carefully prepared and presented for a visual delight as well as a flavour explosion.