Some of Ljubljana’s shops and bars, as well as individual sellers, are downright legendary. Almost every resident of the city knows them, and there are often queues in front of their shops or bars, as their reputation has spread far and wide. We made a list of such bars, shops and sellers partly with the help of our Facebook group, and partly ourselves. We have to admit – it was hard to make such a list, and it is subjective, biased and imperfect. But we assure you that we received no compensation. You are definitely invited to discuss the list and add to it.
Marjetka Žabjek is one of the most popular greengrocers at the central market in Ljubljana. She sells produce from her farm, the most famous of which is sauerkraut. She knows how to attract customers with her eloquence, kindness and a smile, as well as with her cabbage, which is definitely something special, as it is a native Slovenian variety, called Ljubljana. It has thin, soft leaves that are especially suitable for making sarma, or stuffed cabbage. The queue in front of her stall is therefore especially long in winter, during the sarma season.
Butcher’s shop Marinček
The Marinček butcher’s shop on Peričeva ulica in Bežigrad is famous for its excellent meat products and fresh meat, especially ćevapčići. The queue in front of their door is longest during warmer months, when picnics are generally held, as well as on Fridays and Saturdays. Their shop is small but nicely decorated, with the products carefully stacked on shelves. In addition to ćevapčići, customers also praise their aged meat, steak tartare, hot dogs, spicy sausages, salami, burgers and meat for grilling.
The Rašica confectionery in Črnuče, Ljubljana, has become a legend with its doughnuts. They are fluffy, soft, moist, filled with apricot jam, and not necessarily all the same shape. The queue in front of their shop forms primarily around the time of the Slavic carnival. The confectionery also offers excellent cakes, ice cream and burek.
For many, the Viki confectionery in Ljubljana’s Trnovo is a place of nostalgia, a memory of their childhood and youth. The confectionery tradition in Ljubljana has been preserved in this confectionery, as the first owner, Viktor Stanislav Ocvirk, learned how to bake at Petriček, adding recipes he had brought from Germany. They are famous for their pies, particularly the rhubarb pie, cakes, Ischler cookies, cakes and more.
When you enter the Osem bakery on Stari trg (Old Square), you feel as if you have entered Bakery Mišmaš. Black bread, white bread, cornbread, hand-shaped loaves and baguettes, croissants, all crispy and fresh, baked using sourdough, without additives, and with a lot of love. The bakery is engulfed in delicious aroma, and there are always many customers, even though this bread is slightly more expensive than industrially baked bread.
Olimpija and Nobel
The eternal dilemma in Ljubljana is which burek is the best in the city. Some Ljubljana residents swear by Nobel Burek, others by Burek Olimpija. Both are almost considered an institution of Ljubljana, both serve a delicious burek – the one by Olimpija is triangular and crunchier, while the one by Nobel is spiral-shaped and slightly softer. Both are greasy and delicious.
Newsvendor Rudi Kovačič is probably the most famous person on this illustrious list, a true legend, a city icon. The location under Plečnik’s Arcades at the Ljubljana market, where he sells newspapers, is illuminated by his kindness, smile and loquacity.
Pizzeria Parma was the first pizzeria in Ljubljana, and perhaps in the whole of Yugoslavia, bringing a taste of the West to socialist Ljubljana. The pizzas they make are the same as they used to be, a true prototype of the socialist pizza – small, with thick dough, richly topped and delicious, but now with fun names from Slovenian culture and history, as well as many different toppings, while their blueberry juice is just as sweet as it has always been. Today, this is a true retro-style pizzeria, giving its customers the impression that they had walked into a time capsule.
Farms Dovč and Avšič
There are quite a few farms on the outskirts of Ljubljana that supply the city’s population with fresh vegetables and other produce. The two most famous farms are Avšič and Dovč, located in Savlje. The Avšič farm is known mainly for its organic vegetables and pumpkins, while the Dovč farm is best known for its fresh vegetables, which are sold at the central market in Ljubljana, the Koseze market, and at the local store in Savlje.
Confectionery Pri Vodnjaku
Today’s Confectionery Pri Vodnjaku (literal translation: Confectionery at the fountain) on Stari trg (Old Square) has preserved the look of the former confectionery Gris, which was famous for its excellent schaumrollen and cremeschnitte, and evokes memories of sweet pleasures in youth for many residents of Ljubljana. Today, it impresses customers with its ice cream, ice apple strudel, hot chocolate … as well as its antique façade look.
Photographs by: Denis Simčič