MICHELIN Guide Slovenia : TaBar, when fine dining and bistro converge


Awarded Bib Gourmand in 2021, this bistro in the heart of Ljubljana's old town promises one of the most exciting dining experiences in the Slovenian capital. At TaBar, creativity and joy go hand in hand.

A story about friendship and shared moments

In 2017, young chef Jakob Pintar embarked on a TaBar adventure with Jurij Osole as the pair set out to write a new chapter in the restaurant's history. In fact, with Jakob in the kitchen, TaBar's mission has shifted from serving delicious platters to sharing with Jurij's selection of wines: it now offers a true gastronomic experience, with dishes perfectly paired with an extraordinary wine list, but still in a relaxed manner .

Friends and colleagues, the couple has worked seamlessly together ever since, with a common philosophy: Enjoy! Their spirit shines in the atmosphere, warm and lively. "We wanted to create a place that reflected who we are and how people feel comfortable. We wanted something simple and friendly, open to everyone, a place you wanted to come back to often," Yuri explained. With a long bar, deep benches, a room full of community tables and bar tables, TaBar invites you to share.

Gardens are a source of inspiration

If these two friends have one firm rule, it's that they only use regional and seasonal products. Most of the fruit and vegetables prepared in the restaurant come from Jakob's garden, located in his village Šentjošt nad Horjulom, about 20 km from Ljubljana. In fact, he shares the property with his brother-in-law, Luka Košir, who happens to be Grič's chef (a restaurant with 1 Michelin and 1 Green star).

"I love spending time in our garden, tending our vegetables. For me, it's a very special time of the day when I can think calmly and think of new dishes," Jacob says. In the fall, he also likes to rummage through the surrounding woods and forests for mushrooms, which of course also appears on his menu.

Contact with the best local producers

Another aspect of Jakob Pintar's deep roots in the region is his many partnerships with local producers. Irena Orešnik, who also lives in the village of Šentjošt, supplies him with a wide variety of goat cheeses, and no doubt her virtuosity is questionable. Not far away, a trout farm supplies chefs with high-quality roe. Žgajner Farm reserves the best cuts for TaBar, as does Biosing, which produces delicious organic cold cuts including pork, venison and bear sausage, which Jakob serves as an aperitif.

The chef also visited the Ljubljana market, where he goes almost every morning. "I like to walk around the stands and see how the season is going. That's how I stay connected to this country." The merchant there is familiar, buying fruit and vegetables from local producers, meat, grain and flour from farmers and fresh fish from the Adriatic.

Technology that underpins creativity

Jacob Pinta's creativity in flavor combinations and dish presentation is undeniable, but his expressiveness stems from his solid grasp of haute cuisine techniques. He acquired this expertise while working with some of the great European chefs: he apprenticed at Joël Robuchon (L'Atelier), worked for Gordon Ramsay (Maze), and then joined the team at Heinz Reitbauer (Steirereck). Perhaps the latter influenced him the most.

So it's no surprise that Jacob's kitchen has an extraordinary sense of composition. It takes technical forms at times, while remaining generous and accessible: in short, haute cuisine and bistro style meet here. Within a few years, TaBar has become the center of a new generation of Slovenian chefs and gourmets.

Authentic, truly personal cooking

Thanks to his vegetable garden, Jakob also enjoys cooking rare vegetables with their original flavors. For example, during the summer months he grows dozens of different tomato varieties. He also pays special attention to growing various herbs and flowers for his dishes, but always uses them more for the taste than for the eyes.

Finally, it is also plants that characterize the chef's dishes: for example, chervil, kale and bitter leaf lettuce play a supporting role in this dish, paired with special cheeses; or dishes with bacon - from the Krškopolje pig - with Flowers, herbs and spices come to life... Jakob is a fan of original combinations that are not only intriguing but exciting. Of course, the aesthetics of the dishes are often second to none, but the taste must be the most surprising.

Some dishes are provocative, like homemade pork nose cheese with beetroot juice...here you want to impress and break the mold! The food fits the image of the TaBar team: young, innovative and unusual. Portions are relatively small, which means you can taste most of the menu and see the chef's talent.

Ambitious wine list

Wine has been part of TaBar's DNA since its inception. With nearly 200 natural or biodynamic wines - some of which are very rare - this place is a European reference. Most of the bottles served here are made in Slovenia, with some rare attempts abroad, but usually for producers of Slovenian origin. The selection is absolutely stunning: all regions, all grape varieties, all colors and all styles of wines are represented.

Behind this impressive variety is the meticulous work of Jurij Osole, who has been searching for the best producers in the country for years. He is open and always likes those who are in harmony with nature and the vines. For example, orange wine - or macerated white wine - is quite representative. “We consider orange wine to be the closest thing to our ancestors. Today, this style is a true icon of Slovenian viticulture. I always like to introduce him to foreigners,” he says.

Jurij has curated a balanced wine list featuring easy-drinking wines and more original bottles. But he doesn't shy away from certain principles: "We are often advised to add some champagne and famous foreign wines to our selection to please everyone. We prefer to showcase our country's myriad treasures." A choice that symbolizes the TaBar mentality : Adhere to its values at all costs.