Visiting Lake Bled in autumn has a big advantage over the peaks summer months – there are very few other tourists are around. But it also has the disadvantage that the weather may not be quite so clement.
That proved to be the case during my recent three-night visit to Bled in the middle of October. There were not many tourists around, just the odd group of Japanese or American happy-snappers, but plenty of mist and rain.
However the weather didn’t spoil my holiday since many of the highlights of the Bled region, such as Vintgar Gorge and Savica Waterfall, are more impressive following heavy rainfall. And we did manage to get one afternoon of bright sunshine. (For all the details check out my Lake Bled, Slovenia – Short Break article.)
The rain also in no way spoilt my gastronomic pursuits. The Hotel Garni “Berc” provided an excellent breakfast, setting us up well for our daytime activities. These pursuits were laced with the odd beer or three – the local Union beer is a heady lager with real bite – and some of Bled’s famous cream cake, Kremna rezina, though not together.
After indulging in various physical excursions during the daylight hours – rowing to Bled Island and cycling and walking up steep inclines – when nightfall arrived we were well and truly ready for our evening meals. Bled has many fine eateries and after much deliberation the ones we eventually chose for our three evening meals were quite varied but all were conveniently near to the centre of Bled.
Mayer Penzion Restaurant
The first night we sampled local Slovenian fare at the Mayer Penzion Restautrant. This is in a traditional chateau with a quiet, relaxed atmosphere. The staff members were very friendly and helpful in patiently explaining the menu, which included a range of game meats and other hearty fare. Whilst we attempted to study the menu and wine list at the bar, we were given a blueberry grappa drink, which was an intriguing mix of sweetness with a bitter kick – like a little old lady ambling up and giving you a nice smile before kicking you in the shin.
Although tempted by the brown bear carpaccio and the grilled calamari, we opted for the deer goulash with dumplings and the local sausage with cabbage. Both were excellent, washed down with the very drinkable local Slovenian red wine. The meal was completed with very tasty poached pears in a red wine sauce. And another grappa for the road.
The second night we went for something completely different, the Peking Restaurant, serving, not surprisingly, Chinese cuisine! We had been in Eastern Europe for four weeks by that point, so a change of menu and vibe very much appealed. The restaurant was bit bleak and hall-like inside and it occurred to us that it would have been better visiting in the summer since it has a large number of tables outside.
The food however was excellent, particularly the wonton soup, spring rolls, roasted duck and Mongolian beef. The meal was rounded off with a generous portion of banana fritters and complimentary plum wine.
Oštarija Peglez’n Restaurant
On the final night we opted for the Oštarija Peglez’n Restaurant. From the outside it looked more like an English pub than a restaurant. Inside it is quite small with diners fairly crowded together, but that in many ways added to the warm atmosphere with banter passing from table to table.
There was a good range of Slovenian and international dishes, including Italian, all well presented and the service was very speedy without feeling rushed. Although the seafood looked tempting, we opted for the ‘Slovenian meat platter for two’ and were served up with a massive dish of meat delicacies, including local sausage, chicken, pork and beef, on a bed of vegetable rice and fried potatoes. Okay, not exactly ‘nouveau cuisine’ but a lot more satisfying and excellent value at €13 per person.
TripAdviser ranks the restaurants 8th, 29th and 6th respectively, out of 43 restaurants in Bled. I’m happy to go along with the first and third restaurants being included in the top ten, but feel that the Peking Restaurant should be placed higher. Looking at some of the reviews, it would appear that it has improved greatly over the last year following the arrival of a new chef.
I’d happily visit all three of these restaurants again, although, maybe next time I’ll visit the Lake Bled region in the summer!
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