Slovenia back to 10 Michelin-starred restaurants

Ljubljana, 18 June - Ten Slovenian restaurants have been deemed worthy of Michelin stars by the relevant restaurant guide, one more than in 2023. Ana Roš's Hiša Franko has retained three stars and restaurant Milka run by chef David Žefran kept its two stars. Seven restaurants have kept one Michelin star, while Restaurant Pavus is the only newcomer on the list.

Ljubljana
Chef Ana Roš.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Hiša Franko, serving locally sourced food in the Soča Valley, earned its third Michelin star in 2023 and has managed to retain it this year. The restaurant, located near Kobarid, has also been awarded four toques by the Gault&Millau guide, while Roš has been ranked in the top three of the world's chefs compiled by The Best Chef Awards.

"Each course is a true discovery, in which local and Slovenian ingredients and traditions are skilfully combined with influences from elsewhere in the world with grace, good taste and the chef's own inimitable style," the Michelin guide writes.

Restaurant Milka in Kranjska Gora, run by chef Žefran, has kept two stars. It earned its first Michelin star in 2022, when there were also ten Michelin-starred restaurants in the country, and the second one the following year. "The restaurant offers a fine gastronomic synthesis of its region," the guide writes.

The Michelin guide inspectors were impressed by Hiša Franko and Restaurant Milka, the guide writes. "The consistency of their proposals, absolutely remarkable at such a high level of refinement, is reflected in the fact that they have maintained their accolade at the highest level," it adds.

Pavus, located at Laško Castle, won a Michelin star for the first time. The restaurant's chef Marko Pavčnik pays great attention to sustainability in sourcing local ingredients, foraging and using the nose-to-tail approach, the guide writes. Among the dishes singled out by the inspectors, the trout with elderflower sauce, seasoned with aromatic herbs and fresh strawberries, is particularly representative of the chef's cuisine, it adds.

Among the restaurants that have kept one Michelin star are COB in Portorož, which serves the creations of Filip Matjaž, the Radovljica establishment Hiša Linhart with the chef Uroš Štefelin, Hiša Denk from Zgornja Kungota with Gregor Vračko, and Strelec in Ljubljana with the chef Igor Jagodic.

Also retaining their one star are the Horjul restaurant Gostišče Grič with Luka Košir, Dam in Nova Gorica with Uroš Fakuč and Vipava's Pri Lojzetu with Tomaž Kavčič.

Eight restaurants have earned the green star for sustainability, putting Slovenia in first place among European countries in the number of green Michelin stars per capita, said the Slovenian Tourism Board (STO). Among them is Hiša Franko, which is the 33rd restaurant in the world boasting three Michelin stars as well as a green star.

Ten restaurants have won Bib Gourmand nods for exceptionally good food at modest prices.

Gwendal Poullennec, the international director of the Michelin guides, said that Michelin inspectors have the privilege every year to watch the continuous growth of the Slovenian culinary scene. The growth is led by "restaurant owners trying to promote their region and culinary identity at the highest level and excelling with their commitment to the increasingly complex offer," he was quoted as saying by the STO.

"Slovenia is an attractive, green tourist destination with welcoming citizens and a quality tourism offer. In the world our country is becoming known as an exceptional gastronomy destination," said State Secretary at the Economy, Tourism and Sport Ministry Dejan Židan. He congratulated the recipients of Michelin stars, adding that Slovenia has many more chefs that would deserve to be featured in global restaurant guides.

Slovenia welcomes its visitors with hospitality, nature, rich cultural heritage and top cuisine, said Dubravka Kalin, head of the Tourism Directorate at the Economy Ministry. "Until recently this was known by locals and tourists alone but since 2020 some of our top restaurants are being featured in the Michelin guide and the whole world is learning about us as a gastronomy destination," she said.

Six years ago the tourism sector in Slovenia recognised the rapid growth of Slovenian gastronomy and decided to encourage it by cooperating with global gastronomy guides, said STO director Maja Pak Olaj. "From the first year when six restaurants received stars until today, when 10 restaurants bear a total of 13 stars, we have achieved a reach in the millions with the help of Michelin, and the interest for Slovenian gastronomy has substantially increased," Pak Olaj said.

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© STA, 2024