Where to find some of the best coffee, pastries and chocolate in Slovenia’s capital, as recommended by locals
When planning my travels, I always leave enough time for visiting coffee shops. It’s one of those activities that connect me closer to the city I’m in – I get to walk around different neighborhoods, watch people go about their day, and sometimes strike a conversation with locals and get further recommendations. Ljubljana was no exception.
Besides staying caffeinated, I had another appealing task: researching local sweets. The assignment came from The Travel Mob, a group of bloggers with whom I was exploring Slovenian food as part of our #TasteLjubljana project. With a sweet tooth and appetite for Central European desserts (mom’s creations are second to none), I didn’t need convincing. The only problem was time.
Having made a list of chocolate and pastry shops, I felt that there were too many places to try in one day. I wasn’t sure which ones would be worthwhile and needed someone knowledgeable to point me in the right direction. Enter local foodie and traveler Iva Gruden.
Iva is the founder of Ljubljananjam, a company providing food, wine, and craft beer walks around the city. She focuses on customized experiences in small groups and takes visitors to places she frequents herself.
Within a few minutes of meeting Iva, I had a good feeling about the afternoon and even decided to tuck the list back in my pocket. Not only was my new acquaintance eager to share in-depth information about Ljubljana’s dining scene, but she knows the chefs and shopkeepers. I was in for a treat, so to speak.
Here are some of the places Iva took me to, plus others recommended by JA Café attendees, and my own finds.
Bi-Ko-Fe (Židovska Steza 2, now closed)
This artsy spot, whose name means “Would you like some coffee?” in Slovenian, is popular with musicians, hipsters, and students. The rooms inside are decorated with recycled materials, and there is an outdoor patio in the summer. Besides coffee, you can order light snacks and alcoholic beverages.
Cafe Čokl (Krekov trg 8)
Čokl is a small café near the Ljubljana Castle funicular, serving organic and fair-trade coffee. Beans are roasted in-house, then used within several days to ensure freshness. The shop also serves cold brew coffee (launched in June 2014), hot cocoa, and homemade iced tea. A shaded patio is open in the summer.
This split-level café serves Italian-style coffee made from freshly-ground beans, plus an assortment of sweets (chocolate croissants, mini donuts, biscuits). Coffee beans are also available to go. In the summer you can enjoy one of Ljubljana’s loveliest streets from the outdoor terrace.
LP Bar (Novi trg 2)
LP (the site of JA Café Ljubljana) is a combination bar/coffee shop. The main hall features arched ceilings, comfy couches and low tables. There are also two bar rooms and a back courtyard. In addition to coffee and drinks, the menu lists tea, sandwiches, desserts, and local wine. Live music and art events are hosted frequently.
Čopomana (Čopova ulica 14)
Located next to a major fast food restaurant, this small shop is easy to miss, but well worth a visit. Besides natural homemade ice cream (in traditional and inventive flavors such as chili-chocolate, apple pie, and black sesame), they specialize in Torta Ljubljana. The chocolate-covered cake is made with ingredients from around the country: buckwheat flour, chestnuts, dried figs, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and honey. Čopomana’s owner co-created the original recipe.
Domača peka (Igriška ulica 3)
The name of the cake shop means “home baking” and is an accurate representation of what you’ll find inside. A family-run business, Domača peka has been producing traditional cakes and pies since 1991. They also have gluten-free and vegan desserts. My favorite: apricot strudel.
Güjžina (Mestni trg 19)
This inn-style restaurant offers traditional dishes and products from the Prekmurje region (northeastern Slovenia), including a variety of desserts. Iva took me there to try prekmurska gibanica, a type of layered cake with apples, walnuts, poppy seeds, and cottage cheese.
Lotos (Breg 16)
The pastry and marmalade shop overlooking the Ljubljanica River opened in June 2014. Family-owned and focused on using natural ingredients, Lotos makes gourmet cupcakes (including lactose-free and gluten-free varieties) and a variety of jams with a high fruit content (70%). Also on offer are shortbread cookies, fruit tarts, muffins, and gift items.
Zvezda (Wolfova 14 and other locations)
One of Ljubljana’s most popular sweet shops, Zvezda offers a range of quality pastries, pies and cakes (including vegan). The deli on premises also sells ice cream, handmade chocolate, marmalade, and lollipops.
Čokoladni atelje Dobnik (Trg Republike 1)
Despite its location inside an unappealing, concrete shopping mall, the chocolate café is cozy and not to be missed. Dobnik makes high-quality products (classic chocolates, pralines, cakes, and desserts) without the use of preservatives. I recommend trying their dark chocolate-covered prune with a walnut inside.
Rustika (Trubarjeva 44 and other locations)
The local chocolatier and gift shop offers a wide selection of truffles, pralines, cookies, cakes, and chocolate-covered fruit. My pick: pralines with Teranov liker, a type of Slovenian liqueur made from spiced Teran wine.
Which of these treats would you like to try? Let me know in the comments box!
I traveled to Slovenia as part of the #TasteLjubljana project, organized by The Travel Mob blogging team and Visit Ljubljana. Thank you to Fine Ljubljana Apartments for providing accomodation in the city center. All thoughts and opinions expressed on Jetting Around are mine.