Ljubljana’s Open Kitchen: Fabulous Outdoor Street Food Market

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 than visiting Open Kitchen.
Open Kitchen in Ljubljana

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 such a thing!

Introducing Open Kitchen in Ljubljana

It’s one of the jewels in Ljubljana’s crown and yet another reason why a visit to the city is so worth it.

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 worth it.

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.

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.

Food stalls in the sunshine in central Ljubljana

Chatting with friends at Open Kitchen Ljubljana

Chatting with friends at Open Kitchen Ljubljana

Everyone is welcome and Open Kitchen Ljubljana

Everyone is welcome at Open Kitchen Ljubljana

A chilled-out atmosphere pervades throughout the square

A chilled-out atmosphere pervades throughout the square

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.

Seriously Juicy and Sweet In-Season Cherries

Seriously Juicy and Sweet In-Season Cherries

Fresh In-Season Cherries

 Ljubljana Central Market Pogačarjev trg square
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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 literally piled high with fresh, juicy cherries. We bought a punnet which we then grazed on for the next few days.

Chicken Dosa filled with chicken cooked in spices and served with coconut chutney

Chicken Dosa filled with chicken cooked in spices and served with coconut chutney

Chicken Dosa

Namasté |  Breg 8
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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.

Fresh, crisp and delectable Vietnamese Rolls

Fresh, crisp and delectable Vietnamese Rolls

Vietnamese Rolls

Shambala |  Križevniška ulica 12
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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.

An organic Black Salmon Burger, made entirely in Slovenia

An organic Black Salmon Burger, sourced entirely in Slovenia

Black Salmon Burger

Organic Garden |  Ciril-Metodov trg 11
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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.

Chocolate mousse, crushed biscuit and chocolate buttons stuffed inside a jar

Chocolate mousse, crushed biscuit and chocolate buttons stuffed inside a jar

Chocolate Pudding

Organic Garden |  Ciril-Metodov trg 11
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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

Human Fish Brewery |  Available all over the city
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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.

Organic, locally-sourced food is just one of the options on offer

Organic, locally-sourced food is just one of the options on offer

An overview of the square where Open Kitchen takes place

An overview of the square where Open Kitchen takes place

The two of us at Open Kitchen in Ljubljana, Slovenia

The two of us at Open Kitchen in Ljubljana, Slovenia

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.

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.

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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Do ThisTaste This

Matt lives in the UK and is the editor of Here To Travel. He's someone who will try anything once, particularly if there’s an opportunity to take some photos, shoot some video and write about it.
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