Be prepared to be wined and dined by the city of Sofia! This city is a foodie’s dream – each and every restaurant that I discovered had a unique and individual ambiance and offered impeccable dishes. Whether Sofia has been on your travel list for years, or you’re in traveling around Europe and find yourself to be in the neighborhood, the food of Sofia is about to blow your mind. I can easily say that some of my top restaurant experiences were had here. A Bulgarian word that will be most appropriate for your visit – Nazdrave/наздраве – CHEERS!
Pro tip: Unlike the way the name “Sofia” is pronounced, the capital city of Bulgaria is pronounced like this! Start talking’ like a local – and certainly master the word “thank you,” – and you’re bound to have a grand time!
Blagodarya/благодаря (thank you) for visiting my blog!
Top Restaurants in Sofia
1. The Hadjidragana Tavern
Traditional Bulgarian food, Bulgarian folklore music, and a cozy, cellar feel. This restaurant will make you feel as though you have time traveled to the mid-1800s and tells the story of a wool and silk trader who settled down in Sofia after traveling around the region. As such, this restaurant offers wines from different regions of Bulgaria. Although you will find considerably fewer locals in this restaurant, come for the atmosphere, lively music, hearty portions, and soul-warming food!
2. The Little Things
This romantic restaurant is seemingly converted from an old house. With each room as a separate dining room, this quaint spot is the perfect spot for delicious food and enticing conversation. You can expect Bulgarian-fusion dishes rooted in tradition with a new flare. This restaurant made me swoon in every way!
This elegant, dazzling restaurant has food that is to die for. Every bite was fabulously seasoned and beautifully plated. Although I am not vegetarian, vegetarians and meat eaters alike will be very pleased here. We kept our glasses full and our bellies happy at Shtastlivetsa. Make sure you make a reservation! Unlike other smaller restaurants, this one is open with a high ceiling.
4. Made in Blue
Another restaurant that occupies what was previously, seemingly a house is Made in Blue. This restaurant offers Bulgarian-fusion dishes, like beef sausage bowls, Arabic bread with figs and blue cheese, vegan burgers, and more. Made in Blue is very friendly to vegetarians and vegans alike! Whatever is on their menu, you can bet that it’ll knock your socks off. I had some of the best pork ribs of my life at Made in Blue!
Traditional decor was the first thing that I most fell in love with at Moma. Aside from the traditional decor, the dishes and appetizers were amazing. I had a traditional stuffed pepper dish, and we had a cheese spread that sealed our love for this city. My strongest memory from my meal at Moma, though, was the interactions with the delightful staff – particularly when we used our best Bulgarian to say “thank you” for the delicious meal! This restaurant is just around the corner from the pedestrian mall, this is one not to miss!
6. Villa Rosiche
Ok, this one made the cut for the restaurant category although Villa Rosiche serves alcoholic beverages and dessert – but what more could you possibly want?! My boyfriend and I shared the most-delicious caramel cake (a very heavy handed slice :D) and a beer, and the best part was that this was our appetizer before hitting the next restaurant! Good luck selecting a dessert, because everything looks far too delicious. Another highlight of Villa Rosiche – regardless of the season, you are able to sit and enjoy outside as the patio is decorated with heat lamps in the colder months!
At this modern and elegant establishment, you will order a cocktail and watch them hand-carve an impeccable ice cube for your perfectly mixed drink. The ambiance is 💯. Sit back and relaxed in what I think might just be the poshest restaurant/bar in Sofia.
Sputnik is the place for you if you want a lively and loud going-out experience. At night, you can expect disco lights and wildly fun drinks oozing of liquid nitrogen. It is a scene – bring your party face.
This bar was unlike any I had ever been to. Apartment is a bar converted from an apartment space which offers many rooms for you to choose from – there is a room for every mood! Expect funky art and couples quietly cuddling and mingling on sofas and bean bags. Their raspberry wine was top notch, and make sure you save room for cake!
Who doesn’t want to find Sofia’s coolest speakeasy? To preserve the mystery, I’ll leave it at this. Just know that you’ll want to go, and that you’ll need to find out how to get in!
11. Ale House
Pour your own beer from the comfort of your table. Why is this not more common?! This basement ale house offers a pub-like environment, delicious (and somewhat more greasy foods), and draught beer that is only an arm’s length away!
Tours and Events
Balkan Bites Food Tour
Be sure to do this free food tour the first change you get!! Call to sign up, and meet your guide at the park diagonal from the Sveti Nikolay Mirlikiiski Cathedral. This tour was an amazing way to meet both locals (the guides) and other travelers and to get a lay of the land. Not to mention, that you’ll get to learn the history of Bulgarian cuisine and taste delicious and authentic bites!! Make sure you have cash to tip your guide – after all – this is FREE and and was my favorite single experience in Sofia.
Plovdiv Wine Festival
The Young Wine Festival is something to experience! Who doesn’t want to mosey along the worn and weathered cobblestone streets of Plovdiv, drinking and mingling in the courtyards of traditional homes, and speaking to the winemakers themselves? This event occurs in mid-November, and you simply attend by purchasing tokens that same day. You can expect to learn about young red and white wines, and to drink Gluhwein to your heart’s content.
Sofia Christmas Market
Soak up the holiday spirit at Sofia’s Christmas Market, open from late- November to late-December each year! The market is held at the City Garden near to the main strip and pedestrian mall. Shop for Christmas ornaments and Bulgarian souvenirs with your Gluhwein in tow – it’s a jolly time!
If you plan to be in the Balkans during the holiday season, be sure to check out this Balkan Holiday Planning Guide!
Should this be your first time to Bulgaria, be sure to check out these travel tips for your first visit to Bulgaria! This post highlights characters of the Cyrillic alphabet, ~20 helpful Bulgarian phrases, social norms, things to be cautious of, and more.
Whether it be at Christmas, or anytime of the year, I can’t wait to return to Bulgaria! I hope you enjoy eating some of the best meals of your life! Nazdrave/наздраве.
2 thoughts on “11 Must-Visit Restaurants and Bars in Sofia, Bulgaria”
I’ve been to a new wine festival in Germany, ages ago. Bulgaria looks like a super interesting place to visit, I had never really considered before. The Apartment sounds like a fun place to eat, I do love cozy nooks and unusual layouts at restaurants.
That sounds deliciously fabulous, Donna!! I hope this post encourages you to consider it! For most Americans, Bulgaria not the first place we tend to think of! It sounds like you would really love Sofia!! 🎉