Every Friday mid-March to October, the Open Kitchen food markets come to life in Pogačarjev trg, Ljubljana, and what a life they have. This is no normal weekly food market. There are over 30 food stalls offering Chef cooked meals that are mouth wateringly good. The stalls are hosted by restaurants from all over Slovenia, but the majority are from Ljubljana itself. Chefs might be preparing a favourite dish or experimenting with something new. Excitement in the air.
I’ll assume you are in Preseren Square because, well, most people are at some stage. To get to the market cross over triple bridge and turn left, browsing the souvenir stalls as you drift toward the crowds and wafting smells. The colonnade on the left was designed by Ljubljana’s famous architect Jože Plečnik. Plečnik’s Covered Market has cafes/bars and on river level fresh and dry-cured meat products, fresh fish, bakery products, cottage cheeses and herbs.
The Open Kitchen is in the square on the right, if your nose hasn’t already alerted you. Customers crowd the cute timber stalls watching the chefs prepare their tapas sized meals. Markets in Ljubljana have a neat, uniform appearance generated by the identical stalls. These ones were covered in bold green and white canvas with restaurant names jumping out in bold letters. The food is what I would expect from a once a year International Food Festival, except this one happens every week in season. The mix is traditional and modern Slovene dishes and a definite Asian influence with Japanese Yakitori and Chinese Chicken Wings. They even had my old favourite… Calamari.
Our Airbnb host recommended Namaste an Indian Restaurant. I lust after curry when we’ve been on the road for a while and it was so good to taste it again. Then the very next day we discovered they had a market stall at Open Kitchen – we probably could’ve saved ourselves some dollars!
Colonnade’s by Jože Plečnik.
The market is a great place to try some interesting food and wash it down with a beer or wine, consumed of course on the steps of the Cathedral. Add some music and you’ve got a buzzing Friday afternoon meeting place. It was a gorgeous day and everyone was out in force – the market doesn’t operate in bad weather.
Springtime in Slovenia is Cherry Tart time. I’m not sure if I’d tasted a real cherry or Ćešnja tart before this. If I had, it has been wiped from my memory. It was the first of many we tried as we made our way south to Montenegro. Every single one of those was good – but none as good as this. We snagged the last slice and I nearly cried because I immediately knew I wanted more. I felt like Sméagol with his precious
ring tart. Marty was so lucky I’d previously agreed to share.
Top, middle and bottom layers of flaky crunchy pastry with masses of tart cherry filling.
Yakitori and Chicken Wings from the stall of Shambala – Traditiional/Fusion Asian restaurant. We scoffed the fresh spring roll before the photo.
Vegans aren’t forgotten.
Look at the size of the traditional Potica (rolled dough) cake. This one’s from Peka Kukelj at Trubarjeva cesta 31, so if the market is closed when you’re in Ljubljana you know where to find some.
We had a long conversation with the Chef of Pri Škrubiju from the far north of Slovenia. We’d bought far too many dishes by this stage but he was so enthusiastic – we asked for just one dumpling to taste but ended up with one of each variety. So full!
Apple, Pear, Meat dumplings with pork crackle sauce.
Cooking flat bread at Open Kitchen – Namaste Restaurant.
As a placard in the market says: Nothing brings people together like good food.
Thanks for reading and commenting – we really appreciate it. If you have a blog, please add a travel post to the link below for Nancie’s Travel Photo Thursday which we co-host with Ruth from Tanama Tales and Rachel from Rachel’s Ruminations.
Budget Travel Tips.
When. On Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mid March to October When the weather is good.
Where. Pogačarjev trg (square).
Cost. Approx 5 Euro/plate.