The Slovenia Times

Haute cuisine pioneer named Gault&Millau's Slovenian chef of the year


Janez Bratovž of JB Restaurant in Ljubljana has been named Slovenian chef of the year by the French restaurant guide Gault&Millau and his restaurant was added to the ten that received the highest accolade, the four toques.

"If you've ever eaten well in a Slovenian restaurant, Janez Bratovž certainly contributed to that," the restaurant guide said.

Bratovž started his first restaurant in Domžale in 1992 before moving to Ljubljana in 2000 to a prestigious location near the city centre, where it is still located today.

When it opened in Ljubljana, it was the first restaurant in the country that really did haute cuisine and several cooks who are now celebrated chefs worked there for some part of their career.

While considered one of the best restaurants in Slovenia by many guides, it has so far been snubbed by the reviewers of another storied French restaurant guide, Michelin.

Now, Gault&Millau added it to its list of the ten best restaurants, alongside Hiša Franko near Kobarid, Gostilna Pri Lojzetu near Vipava, Hiša Denk in Zgornja Kungota, Ošterija Debeluh in Brežice, Strelec in Ljubljana, Mak in Maribor, Pavus in Laško, Grič in Šentjošt nad Horjulom, and another newcomer, Restaurant Milka in Kranjska Gora.

"There are now ten restaurants with four toques, which is phenomenal for such a small country," Mira Šemić, the director of Gault&Millau for Slovenia, said as the accolades were handed out on 11 April.

"Over these past five years I have noticed that the quality has improved at an incredible pace. I imagine we have added to this development," she said.

The Young Talent award was conferred on Kristian Zule of Stara Gostilna in Piran, Naser Gashi received the top confectionery chef title, and Ljubljana's eVino wine bar won the Best POP award for popular destinations. Miralem Junuzović from Bistro Štorja in Postojna was named best waiter or sommelier of 2023.

The 2023 edition of the Gault&Millau guide features 180 restaurants, over 100 popular hangouts or "POP places", 93 wine cellars, and 25 traditional Slovenian agritourism farm houses.


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