I think Sofia might just be having a gastronomic moment. Exploring the Buglarian capital recently proved to be a total taste sensation. Here are some of the best restaurants in Sofia Bulgaria we tried.
Where to eat?
Sofia is a relatively small city, very walkable, and its dense with restaurants. There are a number of outlets selling traditional Bulgarian fare, but also an array of other cuisines to sample. There is definitely a heavy Italian influence, but a vast amount of Balkan fusion too. Below are some of my favourites:
Best restaurants for a unique experience in Sofia Bulgaria
Try Sofia’s dark restaurant Tenebris. You may have heard of the famous dark restaurants in NYC and London, well there is one in Sofia too! Tenebris lays claim to being the first dark restaurant in the Balkans.
Upon arrival, you’re given a short explanation of the restaurant and what is about to happen, before being led to your seat by your waiter. The wonderful waiting staff here are all blind. Being in the pitch black gives a small insight into what their day to day life feels like.
The restaurant offers 3 tasting menus, fish, meat or vegetarian. Each menu costs €39 (March 2022) and comes with drink pairings. I opted for the fish and it was delicious, albeit eating with my hands (as is recommended) took some getting used to.
Being in the dark is hugely disconcerting, especially as you don’t get to see the layout of the restaurant at any point. But it creates a very special sense of intimacy with your dining companion. At the end of the meal, you’ll be guided out and shown pictures of the food you’ve eaten, suffice to say it looks better than you may anticipate.
Best Japanese Restaurants in Sofia, Bulgaria
For something a little different
There are a number of Japanese restaurants, Sushi in particular. I tried Hamachi Ni. The prices are really reasonable with two of us going home filled with sushi for about €50 including drinks. The layout of the restaurant creates little booths set low to the ground, this imitates a Japanese experience and creates a feeling of being in a private booth.
Italian cuisine is also popular in Sofia. I visited La Bottega Centro on a Saturday evening. It was a bustling family affair with locals out enjoying their evening. The wine list here is extensive and the wait staff are knowledgable about Italian vino. The pasta and pizza selection is great, with gluten free options to boot.
Best restaurants for a quick bite in Sofia Bulgaria
I’d recommend Craft Bistro which has a small garden room. When I visited it was full of well heeled ladies enjoying a glass of wine and a bite. Lovely spot for a few hours!
If you’re in the city centre and looking to take a lunch break, there are an array of restaurants with conservatories offering an outdoor feeling but complete with heaters and fur blankets for those cold Balkan days. Try the truffle fries at Constantinoff Restobar.
What to drink in Sofia?
Beer is big business in Sofia and craft beer even more so. There are a handful of bars that brew their own beer, but plenty that offer beers from around Bulgaria and beyond. You’ll find the craft beer places easily, lots of hipsters milling about!
When in Sofia, drink Bulgarian wine! You can get many recognisable grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I promise you won’t be disappointed. If you’d like to learn more about it, I highly recommend the wine tasting at Tempus Vini. It’s a tiny wine shop packed to the rafters with interesting bottles. The tasting is accompanied by cheese and includes red, white and orange wine. It’s a bargain at around €15. Interested in more wine places to drink read our article of Kent Vineyards here.
Oh Rakia! It’s a love hate relationship. Rakia is popular throughout the Balkans and you can find it on most menus in Sofia. Bulgarians traditionally drink this with ice throughout a meal. Go steady if you’re a Raika virgin.
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