As we’ve covered in previous posts, Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana is a mecca for foodies. Visitors are really spoilt for choice, with plenty of modern eateries serving exciting and inventive cuisine from all over the world, as well as lots of places to sample more traditional Slovenian cuisine.
With so much culinary goodness on offer, you wouldn’t be blamed if you spent your entire trip visiting as many restaurants as you possibly could. Doing this though would get in the way of seeing Ljubljana’s beautiful sights and attractions. What you need instead is a way of sampling all of Ljubljana’s fresh and tasty treats in one sitting. If only there was a way to do this!
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Introducing Open Kitchen In Ljubljana
Thankfully, there is! Every Friday (assuming the weather is good), throughout most of the year in Ljubljana’s Pogačarjev trg square, food and drink vendors throughout Ljubljana and across Slovenia congregate for Open Kitchen (or ‘Odprta Kuhna’ as the locals call it). This fabulously colourful and varied street food market in one of the city’s prettiest squares is sure to give any self-respecting food lover heart palpitations. It’s one of the jewels in Ljubljana’s crown and yet another reason why a visit to the city is so worthwhile.
Jade and I were lucky enough to experience Ljubljana’s Open Kitchen for ourselves during our visit to the city. We spent a wonderful couple of hours browsing the stalls, sampling some delicious food and drink and soaking up the atmosphere. We were joined by people of all ages, contentedly eating and chatting in small groups and enjoying the warm late spring sunshine.
A Few Of The Things We Tried at Open Kitchen
Unfortunately, we didn’t have a lot of time, as we were due to catch a bus to Bled that afternoon. So, we had to sample as many things as we could in the limited time we had. Here though, a few of the things we tried.
Fresh In-Season Cherries
While technically not part of Open Kitchen, Ljubljana’s regular central market in Pogačarjev trg square is right next door and really can’t be missed. Not only is the setting frankly glorious, the produce on offer is local and fresh. Our visit coincided with the cherry season (annually from May onwards) and, sure enough, several market stalls were piled-high with fresh, juicy cherries. We bought a large punnet which we then grazed on for the next few days.
We were drawn to this stall by the queues (we are British after all) and the presence of an actual clay tandoor oven upon which the vendors were cooking fresh roti and dosa. The process by which they were made was fascinating and the aromas were far too good to resist. We opted for a Chicken Dosa, Southern India’s answer to a crepe filled with chicken cooked in spices and served with coconut chutney. The dosa was light, slightly crispy on the edges and so delicious, we could have eaten it on its own. Combined with the chicken and chutney, it made a scrumptious and flavourful treat. We happily savoured every last morsel.
After sampling the rich flavours of the chicken dosa, we then went in search of a palate cleanser. This came in the form of some vietnamese rolls from a stall run by Restavracija Shambala. They’d neatly stuffed sour mango, green papaya, glass noodles, coriander and salad inside rice paper rolls to create a fresh, crisp and delectable snack. Really tasty and just what we were looking for.
Black Salmon Burger
Organic Kitchen specialises in providing simple, fresh and seasonal food made with local ingredients and love. A straightforward and admirable mantra. Our hungry eyes were drawn to their aesthetically pleasing (and responsibly sourced) black wild salmon burger. Everything, from the sesame seed bun, the rocket, the vivid purple cabbage to the salmon burger itself, had been sourced in Slovenia. We really could taste the quality and the love that had gone into its making.
Time was pushing on and we’d soon have to head to the bus station. Before we set off though, we needed something sweet. Since we’d enjoyed our burger from Open Kitchen so much, we decided to also try their chocolate pudding. The pudding came inside a cute glass jar and was filled with chocolate mousse, crushed biscuit and chocolate buttons. So good!
Local beers to wash it all down
The Slovenian micro-brewery industry is alive and ever-growing. It therefore seemed appropriate to wash everything down with a couple of glasses of Ljubljana’s finest from the Human Fish Brewery. The beer complimented the atmosphere and sunshine perfectly.
Why We Love Open Kitchen in Ljubljana
We’ve always said that markets are a great way of getting to know a place as they are often a reflection of the local community. Assuming this is true, we can conclude from our visit to Open Kitchen that Ljubljana is a cool, creative, friendly and relaxed city that enjoys socialising over a meal of delicious locally-made, locally-sourced food and drink. We loved the vibe at Open Kitchen and most importantly, we loved the food. If you’ve just arrived in Ljubljana and you want to get an instant feel for the city and its people, we can’t think of a better way of doing it.
Find Out More
Open Kitchen takes place every (sunny) Friday between 10am and 9pm (and even longer in the summer months) in Pogačarjev trg square in central Ljubljana. The 2018 season starts on 23 March. Before setting off, we recommend you check the official website to ensure it’s definitely running on the day you intend on visting.
Have we tickled your tastebuds enough to make you want to visit Open Kitchen in Ljubljana? Have you been to another great street food market? Tell us all about it in the comments below.
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