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. Thankfully, this is very possible.
Introducing Open Kithen In Ljubljana
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.
Just so you know, we visited Open Kitchen back when we were meat-eaters. We’ve since become vegan. We’ve edited the article to remove any mention of meat and we’ve filled in the gaps with mentions of the vegan options that are on offer.
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. The dosa we sampled was light, slightly crispy on the edges and so delicious.
Vegan options available.
These vietnamese rolls from a stall run by Restavracija Shambala were neatly stuffed with sour mango, green papaya, glass noodles, coriander and salad. They were a fresh, crisp and delectable snack and just what we were looking for.
Time was pushing on and we’d soon have to head to the bus station. Before we set off though, we needed something sweet. This vegetarian 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.
Please do check with staff to see whether these are vegan.
Other vegan options
The official website has a separate section where it lists a few vegan vendors at the market. At the time of writing, these are;
- Abi Falafel
- The AMAZE
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. Before setting off, we recommend you check the official website to ensure it’s definitely running on the day you intend on visting.