Finding places to eat in Ljubljana
Besides all the cafes, bars and restaurants along the river, another good area to look for a place to eat is the main street through Old Town, starting at the Town Hall. This pedestrian cobble-stoned street is lined with many enticing eateries, with tables that spill out onto the street in the warmer weather. All of them are pretty good, but one of our favorites is Juliya (Julija, Stari trg 9)
Rod and I sat both inside and outside on our first visit to this delightful city a couple of years ago. Inside has Slovenian-country décor and a warm friendly ambience. Outside seating is fun, as you can watch the world go by.
We were lucky to get an outside table this time with Nath and Sonya, and could watch the parade of people passing by. We were very happy to find it was as good as we remembered from two years before. Excellent meal and the waiter was great—very friendly and helpful. We had beers (Slovenian Lasko) and a bottle of white wine (malvazija), bottled water, 2 rump steak dinners, 2 fish dinners, and a mandljeva torta and a gibanica for dessert. All for euro 107—about US$120. In the USA, a meal for four like that would cost way more!
It must be a popular place, as people line up and wait for a table, but none of the wait staff try to hurry the diners.
A fast-food place on the other side of the street is called Romeo—we guess deliberately, so there’s Romeo and Julija on the street together! We wondered about the name of this restaurant Julija, and think that it probably came from the following romantic background story.
One of the main centers in Ljubljana is Preseren Square, a large open square next to the river and the Triple Bridge, and dominated by the pink Franciscan Church. A huge statue of France Preseren overlooks the square, and many people use this as a handy meeting place. Preseren (1800-1849) is considered to be Slovenia’s greatest poet and a catalyst of 19th century Slovenian nationalism. One of his main works is the lyrics for the Slovenian national anthem.
On a yellow house on a street across the square is a picture of a woman in a picture frame
on the second floor. This is Julija, supposedly the unrequited love of Preseren’s life. Preseren, when in his 30s, was a teacher in her father’s house. At that time julija was four and the reality is that they never met as adults. But, supposedly she was his Muse and inspiration. So, a somewhat thwarted love story, as was that of Romeo and Juliet.
It’s a stimulating feeling to have so much history (and legend) around you when you travel in Europe, West or East. Everywhere seems to have some story linked to it. What fun.