How and what we review
Others have stars, we, however, have hearts! Therefore, we haven’t got three but rather four, and soon, we hope, we will have five!
We use hearts as a measure of reviewing the quality of Slovenian cuisine.
Slovenian cuisine has a rich tradition. However, its not possible to merely live based on the past. Therefore, it is even more important that Slovenian cuisine has a future, and this is being ensured by the persistent increase in the quality of Slovenia’s best restaurants. So, which are the country’s best restaurants? This is the ever-present question to which diners are continuously seeking an answer.
And the answer is hearts! Hearts are a new measure of reviewing the quality of Slovenian cuisine and they are used as a superior form of newspaper culinary critique which we began to use in the 1990s. If we were to add up the number of restaurants, meals, suns, stars and articles that have been amassed, it would be substantially over 1,000. That is why we have also ‘opened’ our School of Flavours (Šola okusov) – a website for gourmets. The website features reviews of the best Slovenian inns and restaurants as well as others further afield.
On the basis of many years of experience and working as professional food critics, we have produced a new method of reviewing the quality of Slovenian restaurants and inns.
– Violeta & Uroš Mencinger
Why do we need hearts?
Because, without diligence and perseverance there are no good restaurants (and good restaurateurs).
Because eating good food fills our hearts with joy and warmth.
Because it is said that the way to the heart is through the stomach!
We need hearts so that we know which restaurants to spend our hard earnt money in without any regrets.
Hearts help us to know where to go, because we should never go to a restaurant in blind faith. If by chance we already have, hearts will let us know what kind of restaurant we have come to.
Hearts are used so that we know what we can expect (there), what we can order to ensure satisfaction, and what’s the best we can get for our money.
Hearts tell us, when, on what occasion, in which company, and why we should choose one restaurant once, and the next time another. Hearts are not a competitive ranking but rather a quality classification.
because it should never be all the same
when, where and why
they go to a particular restaurant!
because it should never be
all the same to them
who, when and why they are reviewed!
Which aren’t the best Slovenian restaurants?
Because, unfortunately there are still more bad than good restaurants, we immediately dismiss the former.
Below are five rules that we adhere to strictly when reviewing restaurants.
We do not award hearts to:
Those who think they can cater for all
and therefore have a long menu and a short wine list. We don’t believe that it’s possible to simultaneously grill good čevapčici, fry good squid, slice good sausages, and knead good pizza dough. We go where we know it will be better than elsewhere.
Those restaurants that are ill-prepared for when we order.
For hearts to be awarded, we don’t (only) eat because we are hungry but rather because we want to also enjoy it. Therefore, we don’t accept sloppiness, shortcuts and bluffing. We only go where they know their art and where they strive to do their best.
Those who have spent a fortune on equipment and glitz but do not have enough chefs.
We do really care about where and on what kind of chair we sit, who serves us and how, and how much and when we pay. However, since we mostly go to a restaurant because of food, it is the chef who ultimately decides if and how satisfied we will be. Therefore, in kitchens that have been awarded hearts, only chefs with knowledge, passion and desire can work, and because they call their boss their chef!
Those who don’t visit at least one of the restaurants, once a month, that has been awarded at least one heart.
In restaurants that have been awarded hearts, we expect that the chef is (always) present. If by chance they aren’t, it should be because they are perfecting skills, researching, discovering, hosting, and/or travelling. But even at such times we expect the chef’s style and signature to be reflected in the food prepared by the kitchen staff according to the chef’s instructions and orders. We don’t want chefs who think they know everything but are nowhere to be seen.
Those smells we can’t get rid of!
When we leave a restaurant, we don’t want its smells to go with us… When we step into the street, we don’t want everyone knowing where we have been and what we have eaten. Therefore, we don’t have to rush to the cleaners from those restaurants with hearts since their kitchens have good ventilation and small deep fryers. We also include having to involuntarily listen to the radio among the unacceptable forms of ‘pollution’ in restaurants!
What and how we review restaurants?
Recognising when something is worthy of a heart is simple!
It is necessary to satisfy a mere three demands:
When we eat, we are in high spirits!
When we pay, we don’t begrudge it.
When we leave, we want to come again.
And, with these three points fulfilled, reviewing can begin.
On the right track
When you pay, you feel satiated in the knowledge
that its better than elsewhere.
Repeat visit: Will come again!
Among the best! Not only are we pleasantly full
but also happy and content.
Although it hasn’t yet reached total perfection,
it is already very good and features a chef’s signature dish.
Visit: at least one per month
The best your money can buy!
Because of their creativity, we can forget about our comfort zone
and totally surrender ourselves to them.
Visit: at least every season!
One of the best in the country!
First-class, creative, a leader – they are our pride and people come
from far and wide because of them.
Visit: at least once a year!
Among the best in the world!
You experience the best of the best, remain speechless,
and remember the experience forever.
You are not only happy but also grateful.
Visit: once in a lifetime!