Kaja Sajovic
Kaja Sajovic

Expert of the week

Kaja Sajovic

Slovenian food and travel writer, and international politics journalist with a love for natural wines

Updated on May 14, 2024 | World of Mouth team

Kaja Sajovic is a journalist and certified sommelier based in Ljubljana. She works at Slovenian National Television and contributes to several magazines, both domestic and foreign. She co-authored with Ana Roš the book Sun and Rain (Phaidon 2020) and co-authored the Slovenian gastronomical strategy 2018-2023.

Please introduce yourself to our members.

I’m a food, travel, and international politics journalist.

Tell us about your current project.

I am starting to write for the first Balkan edition of Vogue and also working with a restaurant in Canada that has tons of potential, Pearl Morissette.

Tell us about the restaurant scene in your current city.

I am based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and unfortunately even though there's plenty of new openings, we lack genuine, casual Slovenian places which makes it extremely difficult to showcase to foreigners what exactly Slovenian cuisine is.

What are your three favorite restaurants in Ljubljana and why?

  1. Grič – it's a bit outside Ljubljana, family run, based on foraging, fermentation, their garden and their duck farm. It's very genuine and one of the rare Slovenian restaurants I think can compete on the international level.
  2. Skaručna  – on the outskirts of Ljubljana this is by far the craziest place in Slovenia, with an unhinged chef and authentic, no bullshit Slovenian food.
  3. JAZ – bistro type of venue, opened by Ana Roš. The dishes are much more casual than at Hiša Franko but still at a very high level, following the same philosophy.

What’s a new restaurant or hidden gem in Ljubljana that you think is doing great things?

Gostilna Striček - probably one of the very last old school gostilna (trattoria) type of places in the capital, serving strictly traditional Slovenian food. A fave among all social classes.

What’s your favorite kind of restaurant and why?

I like a casual place with great natural wine and heaps of atmosphere. Sounds simple, but you'd be surprised how hard it is to come across a place like that.

I like a casual place with great natural wine and heaps of atmosphere. Sounds simple, but you'd be surprised how hard it is to come across a place like that.

What are your favorite food cities and your favorite restaurants in those cities?

San Sebastian/Basque country – Elkano in Getaria is the purest restaurant out there. Straightforward, honest and the best window into the magic of Basque gastronomy. Asador Etxebarri in Axpe is a temple of grill mastery, perfected by chef Victor.

LimaMérito is a beautiful, fun and hip restaurant in the chic Barranco neighborhood of Lima run by ultra talented Venezuelan chef Juan Luis (an alum of Central of course). He and his young team whip up amazingly tasty dishes right in front of you if you get a seat at the kitchen counter (highly recommend it). Central, led by the genius vision of chef Virgilio Martinez, is more than just a restaurant, it really is a universe on its own.

Copenhagen – All the Noma accolades are justified. This is not just a restaurant that has been setting trends for the past 17 years, not just a jump-start platform for some of the best young chefs out there, it's a mesmerising experience. No matter which season you pick, Noma never ceases to amaze, to create that wow factor.

ParisTable Bruno Verjus is very much different to other fine dining places. Serving not just one delicious dish after another, but very much delivering this concept of art of nourishment. But for me, what makes Table Bruno Verjus really the pinnacle of excellence is the way he has been able to make fine dining really fun and entertaining again, with zero gimmick, zero pretension. Le Servan is just tasty AF, everything from the signature blood sausage wontons to the brioche with raw sardines that is to die for. And yes, order everything. Septime is Casual. They do it so well, the effortless cool of it. Septime has always been at the very top of this game with dimmed light and funky wines, and chef Bertrand Grébaut's dishes that look so deceivingly simple, but are really tiny masterpieces.

What is your favorite dish and where is your favorite restaurant to have it?

Kokotxas (hake cheeks) at Elkano.

Who is an up-and-coming chef you are keeping an eye on?

Juan Luis Martinez (Merito), Dylan Watson (Ernst), Iñaki Bolumburu (Contrast), and Michele Lazzarini (Contrada Briconi).

Who is a food expert whose restaurant recommendations you’d like to see?

Andras Jokuti, Rene Redzepi, and Fotis Vallatos.

Find Kaja Sajovic on Instagram: @kajasajovic

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