There are an ever increasing number of people who choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan way of eating, as well as those of us - myself included - who have dietary 'challenges' to be overcome. It was with this in mind that I decided to check out what some of the Taste Radol’ca restaurants have to offer.
Written by Adele Gray, August 2020
Restaurants such as those that are part of the Taste Radol'ca collaboration, where the focus is on the best available, fresh, local and seasonal produce, are the best ones to seek out when looking for a meal that ticks all the required boxes, and where you can get friendly personal service and even have the opportunity to discuss your requirements directly with the chef!
All the dishes below are either vegetarian or vegan, or suitable for pescatarians, and are also – due to my requirements - all gluten-free. All the dishes are available on the menu and/or can be ordered by prior arrangement.
Gostišče Draga is situated in the tranquil Draga valley. It is particularly known for its wild game dishes and fresh trout, as well as numerous other traditional Slovenia dishes. Gostišče Draga also has newly renovated guest rooms, and its idyllic location makes it perfect for those looking for total peace and relaxation, whilst it also makes a great base from where to explore the pastures and peaks of the Karavanke mountains.
I used to particularly enjoy the various sweet and savoury štruklji at this restaurant, as well as elsewhere, however, up until now, I hadn’t found anywhere that offers gluten-free štruklji. I had kind of resigned myself to never being able to eat one of my favourite Slovenian foods again, well, unless I made them myself and that isn’t about to happen!
So, I was more than over the moon to discover that owner and head chef Ales Tavčar finally lived up to his promise and prepared gluten-free štruklji for me! And, even better, they were such as success they will be featuring on the menu sometime in the near future.
Štruklji are also a great choice for vegetarians. You can order them savoury with a mushroom sauce or sweet with a cranberry sauce. I think my face tells the picture of how delighted I was, and, trust me, they tasted as good as they look!
Vegans are catered for too with dishes such as buckwheat with apple and almonds, which is also gluten free.
One of the most scenic terraces in town and Maja’s deft skill in the kitchen make Gostilna Kunstelj a popular eatery among locals and visitors. It is now run by the fifth generation of the family and continues to go from strength to strength. The menu includes traditional Slovenian dishes given a Maja ‘makeover’!
The buckwheat with pumpkin seed tempeh and vegetables, which is suitable for vegans as well as being gluten-free, was a revelation for the taste buds and beautifully presented too. I’m delighted to have discovered another gluten-free food, and I’m now eager to seek out other tempeh-based dishes too.
There are also numerous salads on the menu. The majority of produce used in the kitchen is grown in the restaurant’s own vegetable garden or sourced from nearby local farms.
There are also 10 newly renovated rooms available, all of which have balconies and views of the Jelovica plateau and the Julian Alps.
Great traditional Slovenian food with fabulous views towards the Julian Alps from the terrace is served in Gostišče Tulipan.
I tried rice noodles with homemade pesto, which is suitable for vegans and shrimp and truffle risotto, which is suitable for pescatarians.
Other such dishes on offer (some of which I sadly couldn’t try as they contain gluten) include buckwheat with toasted tempeh, homemade cheese štruklji, and homemade gnocchi with curd cheese and seasonal pesto.
It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that Restavracija Center has become my lifeline in terms of eating out since being diagnosed with coeliac disease! Why? Well because it’s the only place far and wide that does good, and safe, gluten-free pizzas. Having grilled the pizza chef about how the pizzas are prepared, I feel safe eating pizza there, and have already filled up more of their pizza loyalty cards than I am prepared to admit!
But, of course, it’s not just about pizza, and in fact in recent times Restavracija Center has updated its menu and added some modern twists to its range of cuisine. Vegans and vegetarians are catered for too. I enjoyed a vegetable risotto, which was vegan and also gluten-free, and, I can hands down say, the tastiest risotto that I’ve ever eaten.
Of course, I can’t end without mentioning Radol’ca’s finest restaurant. Vila Podvin was awarded a Michelin star at the beginning of this year's summer. The result of the first visit to Slovenia by Michelin food critics was five restaurants being awarded one Michelin star, while one restaurant was awarded two stars. We are delighted that one of the restaurants is also part of Taste Radol'ca
Congratulations to head chef Uroš Štefelin and all the team, since it is undoubtedly a team effort that led to this success. And, of course, those looking for fine food – including vegetarian and vegan options – will also find something on the (ever changing) menu at Vila Podvin, though do be sure to book ahead!
Autumn is a wonderful time to explore Slovenia, whether for outdoor activities or learning about cultural heritage, and not forgetting a visit to great restaurants. Below you can read our latest suggestions for an autumn trip in the surroundings of Radovljica.
Written by Adele Gray, June 2019
As someone who works at home, when deciding to eat out, it’s as much about a change of scenery as it is about the food – though of course bad food with a good view doesn’t cut the mustard!
Written by Chef Uroš Štefelin, November 2018
Taste Radol'ca restaurants in November are doing really well and are full. However, we don't only want full restaurants but, above all, satisfied guests who return and are keen to discover ever-new culinary stories.