Recommendations for casual options in Maribor, Ljublijana, Trieste, Rovinj, Pula
Ok, I guess that's are a lot of towns but I'm happy for any advice you may be able to give.
My brother and I are planning a bike tour next month along the Euro Velo 9 route, starting in Vienna and heading down to Pula in Istria. We've got the Austrian leg of our trip down, where we know a few wine makers who will be happy to house and feed us. Neither of us has been to Slovenia very often or is very well aquainted with the food scene there. My brother knows Trieste a bit and I have been to Istria several times and always found it easy to get very decent seafood there but we'd both appreciate any specific recommendations.
Travelling by bike and wanting to stay within a reasonable budget, we're not going to splurge on this trip. We're looking for places where we can have a simple, local meal and a few glasses of good wine in the evening after a long and exhausting day. And where you won't feel embarrassed sitting down in jeans and t-shirt.
Here's my write up about a restaurant in Rovinj from an older thread that got revived recently:
Puntalina Restaurant: This restaurant is along the water, literally the last restaurant after what seems to be many blocks of restaurants next to one another. From the back porch, the view over the water is glorious. Happily, this restaurant doesn’t sacrifice good food for a good view. My husband and I shared an order of spicy octopus and an order of calamari over polenta. For the first dish, we were given a choice between spicy and non-spicy. Chileheads will be very unimpressed by the level of heat, but we found the seasoning to be just right. Spicy enough to have some authority but not so spicy that the taste of the octopus was overwhelmed. The rings of calamari were very tender and the polenta absorbed the lovely broth of tomato and shellfish stock.
In Rovinj add Kantinon, supposedly best sommelier in Croatia there, food was good, wine was best list of trip.
In Trieste, Celestine pizza, totally fun time, busy, all locals.
Pizza and service was just fine.
Sorry all l have for Ljublijana is the best restaurant of our trip which is still happening. Big bucks but worth it, JB
Will do a full new thread on this subject when return to States.
I lived in Ljubljana over 10 years ago and I'm trying to remember my favorites that weren't too expensive. Also, if the restaurants are still there. I'll try to verify with Google.
Top recommendation. My colleague brought me and other new recruits to Pivarna Kratochvill. It is very casual and you can leave your bike outside and go in with jeans, shorts, anything else. Great local cuisine, beer, and wine. There were two of these brewery restaurants when I was there. Now it looks like there are three. One is downtown with a great outdoor patio. BTC (link below) is an old warehouse area where new businesses were set up. This was the largest Kratchochwill and I think might be the most comfortable because it is so spacious with lots of air flowing in from open doors and windows.
A lot of young folks hang out at Kratochwill.
I ate a lot of pizza and never have been able to capture the good Italian pizzas anywhere but Ljubljana. My favorite place across from where I worked was Pizza Oliva. My favorite was pizza diablo, which I don't see on the menu. I do see a salami pizza with garlic that is close. But they had some pickled peppers on it where I would just squeeze the pepper juice over the pizza and it was the most incredible combination.
There are also some neat places at the farmers market in downtown Ljubljana in the white buildings along the river. I remember eating fresh sardines at one of them. I don't remember the exact name of the restaurant.
One of my first favorite meals was goulash and polenta, a wonderful combination of Hungarian and Italian. Slovenia's food often reflects blends of surrounding culture. Be sure and try a dumpling dish called štruklji, which I do see on the Kratchochwill menu. But I see a lot of other good things also.
Have a great trip. I love the areas you are riding through.