Druga Violina (Second Violin) is named after the proximity to the local music academy. This Ljubljana restaurant uses locally grown produce from a nearby farm, only serves traditional Slovene dishes and a prime location in the city’s old town, but there’s a twist in the tale with the “second violin.” It’s actually a project for people with special needs, who complete tasks on a farmland near Ljubljana and also work as servers in the restaurant.
We stumbled upon Druga Violina after meandering through Old Town looking for lunch at an affordable price. Wow! That is not an easy task in Ljubljana. Lured in by its 5 euros daily menu, Druga Violina had many more surprises for us. As we perused through the menu, with choices for anyone with special dietary needs, we decided to sit outside overlooking a fountain. The daily specials offer two courses. I ordered a salad with a pork tenderloin with leek sauce and semolina dumplings along with my son.
My husband wanted a lighter, healthy option and order a salad and grilled fresh cheese with leek sauce and semolina dumplings. It is great finding vegetarian options on a menu when traveling through South Europe.In addition to the daily specials, we ordered the pražen krompir (sautéed potatoes) as a side dish. In 2002, this Slovenian love for this dish resulted in the creation of the world’s first Society for the Recognition of a Sautéed Potatoes as a Main Dish and organized a World Sautéed Potato Festival, held each year in a different Slovenian town, so it is fitting that when you visit Slovenia, that you enjoy this dish. 🙂My daughter, who has a huge sweet tooth, honed in the daily special which also included this delicious apple strudel!Lastly, the rest of us didn’t want to end our meal without a sweet treat, so we ordered the Ljubljanski štrukelj (phyllo-dough filled with a apricot jam), which was the perfect “coda” to our musical culinary concerto! Did you know that the film “What We Do” by director Maja Šubarič Mahmuljin, which portrays the work in the Druga violina restaurant, won at the Manhattan International Film Festival in New York in 2014?! The film “Pri našem delu” (“What We Do”) is an inspiring portrait of an individual with Down syndrome, who leads a satisfying, full and active life. It is very explicit in representing the integration of special needs individuals in regular environments, which is simultaneously an excellent sign of the open attitude of the community in Ljubljana and Slovenia. It’s not secret why you need to taste the special note at Druga Violina the next time you are in Ljubljana. The whole experience will put a smile on your face. 🙂