Need help finding your way to the best Sofia restaurants? This guide has everything you need to eat well in Bulgaria’s capital!
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If you’re like me and want to try all the local dishes, these Sofia restaurants have just what you want!
Bulgarian Cuisine: What to Look for at a Sofia Restaurant
I included this in my Sofia guide already, but you should definitely sign up for a free food tour with Balkan Bites! Yes, you read that right.
Balkan Bites is a 2-hour walking tour to 5-6 locally owned Sofia restaurants and shops. They give you samples of some of the local dishes and tell you anything you want to know about the city! I cannot reiterate this enough: it is a free food tour. Why wouldn’t you do it??? Sign up in advance by messaging them on Facebook.
Bulgarian food has a lot of slow-roasted meats & stews. If you’re not sure, ask the waiter for specifics on these – there are so many great ones I tasted that I don’t know I can name them all. Here are a few other iconic dishes you need to try:
Mekitsa is essentially a Bulgarian funnel cake and a common breakfast choice! They’re usually fried right in front of you and so absurdly delicious.
Banitsa is a savory breakfast option, made with phyllo dough rolled up around toppings, often cheese and/or potatoes. They’re a good option if you want something more filling than a pastry, but don’t have time for a sit-down breakfast.
Lyutenitzais a dip made of tomatoes, peppers, and garlic. It’s typically slow cooked and jarred every summer, and every Bulgarian family has their own recipe! It’s delicious as an appetizer typically served on bread.
Yogurt is a really popular ingredient here. You’ll find it in breakfast, sauces, stews, you name it. It’s rich and tasty, so get as much as you can!
Rakia needs to be mentioned – it’s Bulgaria’s favorite spirit! It’s a lot like grappa. To be honest, it’s way too strong for me, but it’s worth a try!
Don’t skimp on wines! Bulgaria is one of the oldest winemaking cultures in the world. For whites, try Vrachanski Misket. With reds, the classic is Rubin but they have a bunch of good blends as well.
Traditional Sofia Restaurants
My number one recommendation for Sofia restaurants! There are actually two Hadjidranaga restaurants. Hadijdranaga Houses is a little further away and decorated to reflect homes – I believe that one is the original location. Hadjidragana Tavern location is right in the middle of things and only a block from my hotel, so I opted for that one. It’s set up like a wine cellar. They fill up, so make a reservation, but they make it really easy on their website.
Moma Bulgarian Food & Wine
Moma serves traditional food with a good wine list (Bulgarian, of course!). The space walks the line between traditional and modern decor, but is dominated by photos and paintings of women in traditional clothing. They’re stunning, and give a little insight into traditional fashion you might not find elsewhere.
I ordered the duck roasted with a dough crust and practically inhaled it! Also, check their seasonal menu; it’s full of delicious traditional options too.
Another fun traditional place is Manastirska Magernitsa. Originally it was a monastery, and the interior retains the house layout on the main floor. The food is delicious, has massive portions, and one of the cheaper sit-down places (for authentic food). Don’t skip a glass of the raspberry wine!
If you need a quick option that’s not fast food, head to Supa Star! This small spot offers six different soups daily, but they choose from hundreds of recipes, so there’s always something new to try. I tried the tarator, a cold yogurt soup that’s popular in summer, and loved it! It’s a bit like tzatziki in flavor, but drinkable! They have a small seating area, or you can get it to go and eat in the nearby park.
Sofia Restaurants: Cafes & Breakfast
Mekitsa and Coffee
If you need a quick breakfast on the go, head to Mekitsa & Coffee. It’s a quick breakfast stop for, surprise, coffee and mekitsa. It’s popular with locals – as I stood outside and tried to keep the sugar off my clothes, a bunch of people ducked in on their way to work!
Sweet & Salty Bakery Cafe
Sweet & Salty Bakery Cafe hits the sweet spot of offering hot breakfast dishes if you want to sit and enjoy as well as good pastry options if you need a quick grab-and-go breakfast. I was headed out for a day trip, so I had a banitsa and it was fantastic!
While you’re there, you can’t miss the gorgeous dessert options filling the windows! Keep it in mind if you need an afternoon pick-me-up.
Rainbow Factory shows up on nearly every list of restaurants in Bulgaria, so you know I had to try it! Their menu is a mix of classic brunch dishes and Balkan breakfast options. I tried the panagurski eggs and loved it! The mix of hot and cold, creamy and crunchy textures, and richness from the cheese and egg was great.
JoVan Dutch Bakery
It’s almost embarrassing to me as a resident of Italy how much I loved the pastries at JoVan. Seriously, it was the best croissant with salty toppings I’ve ever had! Order the cheese croissant and thank me later.
Note that this place doesn’t do coffee or drinks, so you’ll have to make another stop for your morning caffeine.
Chucky’s Coffee House
Chucky’s Coffee House has excellent coffee, so stop here for a cup! It’s a small place but has some seats and they don’t mind laptop users if you need to get some work done. Note that it’s closed on weekends though.
Sofia Restaurants: Bars
Garafa Wine Shop
Come here to try the local wines! It’s a great place to sample their wines on tap. They have seating to drink inside, or you can buy a bottle to take back to your lodging. Garafa has a zero-plastic policy too, so they offer refillable/returnable carafes as well as bottles.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I love a good speakeasy or secret bar. Hambara was a secret bar recommended by a local! It opens around 9 pm, so if you want to see what the Sofia bar scene is like, go here. Go through the green gate and through to the next door.
Go here for a cool and funky cocktail bar! Spunik offers unique cocktail options in a cool space. They also serve coffee drinks during the day, but go in the evening for the drinks!
This has everything you need to eat well for a few days in Bugaria! Want more Sofia restaurant recommendations? My Sofia guides on Thatch have even more suggestions for great rooftop bars, coffeeshops, and places to eat!
You can also grab my weekend guide to Sofia, and check back soon for the best day trip option!