Every Friday mid-March to October, the Open Kitchen food markets come to life in Pogačarjev trg, in the Slovenian Capital. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking this is a normal weekly food market. Open Kitchen Ljubljana, is more of a gourmet food fair with more than 30 food stalls offering mouth-watering chef cooked meals.
The stalls are hosted by restaurants from all over Slovenia, but the majority are from Ljubljana itself. Chefs might be preparing traditional Slovenian food or experimenting with something new. Excitement is in the air.
Open Kitchen Ljubljana.
How to get to Open Kitchen Ljubljana.
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 Open Kitchen in Ljubljana old town, 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. When the weather is fine everyone comes out in force – the market doesn’t operate in bad weather.
Open Kitchen Market Ljubljana.
Street Food Ljubljana.
Springtime in Slovenia is Cherry Strudel time. I’m not sure if I’d tasted a real cherry or Ćešnja strudel before this. 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 wanted more. I felt like Sméagol with his precious – Marty was lucky I’d previously agreed to share.
Top, middle and bottom layers of flaky crunchy pastry with masses of sour/sweet 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.
Traditional Kitchen Food.
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 Ljubljana – Namaste Restaurant.
As a placard in the market says: Nothing brings people together like good food.
Open Kitchen is the best place to sample Ljubljana food. An enjoyable afternoon taste test will soon sort out where to eat in Ljubljana.
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Budget Travel Tips.
Open Kitchen Hours. On Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mid March to October When the weather is good.
Location. You will find the Open Kitchen in Pogačarjev trg (square).
Cost. Approx 5 Euro/plate.