I apologise for the lengthy hiatus. I’ve now moved to Sheffield and started my Journalism MA. It’s been a busy time, but I am trying to get back into blogging!
My friends decided to come to Bulgaria this summer. As their dietary requirements range from vegan to pescatarian, I naturally decided to do a little research to see how I could cater to their needs. It was then that I stumbled upon a BBC article entitled “Is Bulgaria Europe’s undiscovered foodie capital?”. Apparently Sofia’s food scene was now dotted with fancy concept restaurants ran by famous chefs. Innovators were transforming traditional Bulgarian cuisine into something cosmopolitan.
I had the opportunity to experience some of these places over the summer, and I thought I’d share some of my favourites. If you happen to be in the central part of Sofia, I found all of these places to be an easy walk to most sights.
Sofia is a crumbling post communist mess, a city with rich history, a place desperate to reinvent itself. This makes it the perfect canvas for a creative food scene. Quirky hipster restaurants have found homes in now renovated but previously derelict buildings and warehouses.
Made in Home
[30A Angel Kanchev, Sofia, Bulgaria]
I came here on the recommendation of a friend and wasn’t disappointed. There is a wide range of choices, catering to vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike. Everyone found something to their taste!
This deliciously filling avocado/chicken/bacon salad set me back 15.90 leva, or roughly EUR8. I thought it was a fair price for the massive, filling meal you’re getting. You will find the prices to be within this range at most of these new restaurants and cafés.
The interior at Made in Home is gorgeous as well. Unique wall art and quirky furniture add to the experience. I felt like I was in a painting.
Some people recommend it for dinner, but I wouldn’t. The style is casual, with comfy couches and tables perfect for lunch or coffee, but not really ideal for a sit down dinner.
Old is New
[18 Angel Kanchev, Sofia, Bulgaria]
Another place you have to go to, if just for the interior! These restaurants put a lot of work into their concept, and in essence, turn their venues into art work.
I had this delicious goat cheese and fig salad. The prices are slightly lower than those at Made in Home, but the portions are smaller too. Nevertheless, a filling lunch and an interesting menu is what you will find if you choose to eat at Old is New.
Oh, and did I mention the art work?
[9 Lavele, Sofia, Bulgaria]
Traditional cuisine and culture meet eclectic modern twists at this gorgeous restaurant. By Bulgarian standards, it is on the pricey end with some mains, like the Rib Eye Steak, costing 66 Leva (around EUR33). On the lower end, the Honey BBQ Ribs will set you back 21 Leva (around EUR11), so it isn’t a total write off if you are traveling on a budget.
I had this delicious caramelised pear and cheese salad. It cost around 17 Leva.
The Bulgarian Rose, a nod to Bulgaria’s rose valley, is a delicious meringue style desert. But, I’m not going to lie, the awesome bit is when the chef comes out and lights it on fire for you, like so:
*Apologies for the awkward angle, I have since learned to always shoot in landscape. You get the idea though!
Out of all the places we went to in Sofia, this one was probably my favourite! I just loved the concept – a warm interior with brick walls and non-intrusive minimalist chandeliers, bottles of wine lining some walls. There was a subtle nod to tradition when I visited; they’d placed books of translated Bulgarian poetry and their own philosophy statements on all the tables. Here is a bit:
Sense Rooftop Bar
[Tsar Osvoboditel 16, Sofia, Bulgaria]
This is the perfect place to finish a lovely day exploring Sofia. Head over after dinner, and if you can call ahead, do so. It fills up pretty quickly, and tables near the big, french windows are usually reserved. The views of the iconic Alexander Nevsky Cathedral are not to be missed! The hotel is a stone throw’s away from the church, and at night, it lights up and looks stunning.
The interior is classy, the music doesn’t discourage conversation, and there is a huge variety of drinks. I found the prices very reasonable for a 5* hotel. A glass of prosecco only cost 9 leva (around EUR4.50).