Via Bona is situated on a small business/shopping mall just outside the centre of Ljubljana so I would never have known about it if I had not been invited as part of an end of project celebration by the company my partner was working with. Furthermore, it means I cannot comment directly on the cost and on a full meal since a banquet had been arranged for our party. However, I am able to comment on the food, the service, and the surroundings. Via Bona is large and has seating over several levels although one could not call them "floors". Our party was seated in the lower area which was set aside only for our group on this occasion although it is large and could have taken other guests. This section was quite rustic with terracotta floor tiles and exposed stone walls, in keeping with the wine cellar theme, wine making related antiques filled the niches in the stone walls. On the next level was a bar where one could orders one's own drinks but it was mostly used by the staff taking orders to tables. There are a few tables at this level where people just coming for a drink can sit but it is also the area the pianist and singer use for their mid-evening slots so it might be a bit noisy.
Overlooking this is the "galerija" pine tables and chairs, a quite informal area. Then you have the "salon" which is the most formal area with elegant furnishings and smartly presented tables. On the walls are painted panels of mid-nineteenth century ladies in their finery. The "kavarna" (coffee area) is very pleasant and we drooped in the next day while shopping. This is all wood, quite Scandinavian in feel. Finally the "restavracija" - this is not so formal as the salon but rather more relaxed with lovely tall plants and the feeling that you could be outside - except you're not. It even has indoor street lamps to complete the scene. I cannot comment on the full menu but we had some fantastic seafood platters and others with local cooked and cured meats and cheeses. Then big dishes of meats in delicious sauces were brought to the table along with perfectly cooked vegetables. Everyone agreed that the food was exceptional. The service was faultless. Given that the party was quite large and included people from four European countries I was impressed that they got all the drinks orders correct and that they kept up cheery banter all evening. They were smartly turned out and very professional without being stuffy.
Via Bona is the sort of place to head for a special occasion although they have something for everyone with all the different sections. However, I don't think you would head out here unless you wanted to experience the best of it. www.via-bona.com. Restaurant open from 10am to 11pm Monday through Friday, from 12pm to 11pm on Saturdays, and from 12pm to 10pm on Sundays; "Kavarna" open from 10am to 11pm Monday through Friday, 12pm to 11pm on Saturdays and from 12pm to 10pm on Sundays.
Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom
December 4, 2006
From journal Delightful Ljubljana