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Gourmet street food – not an oxymoron!

//Gourmet street food – not an oxymoron!

Ljubljana‘s city centre on Fridays sizzles with special flavours, colours and smells. Slovenia’s most popular open-air food market, Open Kitchen (Odprta kuhna), runs from late March to late October and attracts gastronomic enthusiasts as well as those who are just simply curious or hungry. Open Kitchen is held in the central market area, located in the centre of Ljubljana’s historic old town next to the Ljubljanica river. The central market, designed by the renowned Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik plays host to the famous, colourful and tasty Open Kitchen.


The recently-opened sixth season of Open Kitchen saw chefs from some of Slovenia’s finest restaurants once again putting on their aprons and turning on their stoves in order to widen the culinary horizons of domestic and foreign gourmets. Along the lines of similar food markets abroad, the basic idea of Open Kitchen is to allow visitors to sample a wide variety of foods all in one place. However, one distinct feature differentiates Ljubljana’s Open Kitchen from other similar food events in Slovenia and abroad: the street food is conceived and prepared by top-notch Slovenian chefs. This allows visitors the rare opportunity to enjoy pleasant socialising in the open-air, and, for a reasonable price, the chance to try a wide array of amazing culinary creations and supremely prepared street food classics, not to mention unique desserts and ice-creams.


The key criteria for the street food offered at Open Kitchen is quality combined with creativity and innovation, which are accompanied by local and seasonal ingredients. The idea for Ljubljana’s Open Kitchen was introduced six years ago by Lior Kochavy, who wanted to showcase Slovenia’s top cuisine in one spot. The main acclaim of this food market is its versatile play on Slovenian cuisine stemming from several of the country’s gastronomical regions, thus it presents an innovative introduction to Slovenia’s gastronomy.


As Lior Kochavy says, the focus of Open Kitchen is on Slovenia’s culinary treasures that constantly impress and astonish him. And he is not the only one, since foreign visitors have an unparalleled opportunity to try the creations of some of Slovenia’s best chefs all in one day and one place. And word about Open Kitchen is out! Foreign media and acknowledged food bloggers became curious, came, saw, tasted and have several times ranked Open Kitchen as one of the best food markets in the world, which puts Ljubljana amongst the world’s capitals of street-food.


Alongside authentic local delicacies prepared by chefs who follow Slovenia’s rich culinary traditions, it is possible to try dishess from different parts of the globe: Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Turkish, African, Lebanese, Italian, American, Oceanic, … Visitors can try creative bites accompanied by the best domestic and foreign wines, sparkling wines, cocktails, craft beers and other interesting beverages.


The main stars of the event are the tempting plates cooked up by their creators who knead, mix, fry, roll, grill and work their magic to provide great food and drink and an excellent atmosphere. Open Kitchen is a mixture of everything: happiness, friendship, and a pure joy for life. It makes an ideal event to offer business guests, conference delegates or even as an incentive. In co-operation with the Open Kitchen team, by prior arrangement, and the meeting planner’s request and knowledge of his/her guests’ wishes and preferences, it is possible for them to receive coupons enabling the tasting of a selection of different foods. Even if the congress, conference, or any other meeting extends into the late afternoon hours, there is no need to worry, as Open Kitchen is open from 10am until 9pm every Friday, and until 10pm during summer. So, there’s more than enough time to immerse one’s soul into food, wine, cocktails and Ljubljana’s joie de vivre.