Sofia offers a wide array of eating options. Though it does not have the same number of international eateries as some other European capitals, it certainly has an attractive restaurant scene, with options to fit every budget. Bulgarian baked goods, for example, are a tasty and cheap dining option, while hearty stews dominate the menus of the many traditional eating venues in town. Some of the best eats (and best atmosphere) can actually be found in the city’s simple cafes, soup kitchens, and pubs.

Here are the best ways to enjoy the restaurants in Sofia no matter what your dining budget is.

Sofia offers a wide array of eating options. Though it does not have the same number of international eateries as some other European capitals, it certainly has an attractive restaurant scene, with options to fit every budget. Bulgarian baked goods, for example, are a tasty and cheap dining option, while hearty stews dominate the menus of the many traditional eating venues in town. Some of the best eats (and best atmosphere) can actually be found in the city’s simple cafes, soup kitchens, and pubs.

Here are the best ways to enjoy the restaurants in Sofia no matter what your dining budget is.

Budget eats: delicious options for low prices

Banitsa
Photo: Merle ja Joonas / Flickr

Overall, restaurants in Sofia are cheaper than eateries in many other European capitals. If you want to eat on a budget, there are plenty of places to grab a quick sandwich, a hot dog, or a slice or two of pizza. However, it isn’t much more expensive to enjoy some great only-in-Bulgaria specialties. The crepe-like dish katma has a variety of fillings and is available for only a couple of euros. Banitsa is another popular pastry option available at bakeries and coffee shops. A few “fast-food” type places like the Trops House actually serve quality Bulgarian dishes that will give you a taste of the country while also keeping you on your budget. For €5 to €10, you can have a full meal.  In fact, portions are large enough that this could actually be considered your main meal of the day (if you are on a very tight budget).

Where to find traditional Bulgarian dishes

Mehana Karajata
Photo: Mehana Karajata

Happy’s Bar and Grill is a nationwide chain that serves accessible versions of Bulgarian favorites, as well as some standard bar-and-grill fare. Most of the staff her can speak at least some English here. Some people might complain that this chain lacks authenticity, but it certainly does offer an introduction to Bulgarian cuisine Hadjidraganovite Kashti is a more authentic option, with old-style Bulgarian and Macedonian design and a menu that is filled with specialties from all around Bulgaria. The friendly waitstaff can help you choose dishes if you are new to this region’s unique cuisine. Mehana Karajata is another similar restaurant in Sofia. Here, dinner is accompanied by traditional Bulgarian folk music.

Sofia’s unique soup scene

Soup
Photo: Katrin Morenz / Flickr

Much like retro diners or bagel shops in American and other parts of Europe, soup shops have become hip in Sofia. These places generally serve half-a-dozen to a dozen specialty soups. In general soup kitchens are open for lunch, though some also serve during the dinner hour as well. They are very clean and the soup is quite cheap and often quite filling. Some of these spots stay open late into the evening and cater to the after-bar crowd. Soup House, Supa Star, and Soupteria are popular broth options in Sofia.

Cafes, bakeries, and coffee shops

Baklava
Photo: Isabelle Hurbain-Palatin / Flickr

Bulgaria has some very delicious baked specialties and a variety of tasty traditional salad dishes. You can enjoy these at simple cafes, bakeries, and coffee shop-style places around the city. Baklava, shopska, and garash are traditional specialties, though standard bakery items familiar to international travelers are also often available. Though these dishes are not enough to constitute your main meal of the day, they are certainly enough to fill you up until lunch or dinner.

 Fine dining, Sofia style

Panorama Restaurant
Photo: Ресторант “Панорама” / Facebook

The Panorama Restaurant, on the top floor of the Arena di Serdica Residence Hotel, serves up gourmet food to go along with unbeatable views of the city skyline.  If you want to splurge on one restaurant in Sofia, the ambiance and views alone make this place an obvious choice.  Of course, the term “splurge” is relative here.  Meals be had for €20 to €30, even at a high-end place like this.

Have you been to Bulgaria’s main city?  What restaurants in Sofia would you recommend to our readers?  Use the comments section to share your insights.

Categories: Sofia

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