Bulgarian food is rich in flavor and hearty. Bulgaria is known for it's meat dishes, fresh vegetables, and flaky pastries. The most common forms of meat used are pork and chicken, however, seafood and lamb are also used as a special tradition in some meals. Bulgarian cuisine has influence from Greece and Turkey, but have their own unique take on cuisine compared to other Balkan countries.
Sofia's city center is the place to go for the best restaurants, cafes, and bistros that have all kinds of different cuisine to fit your every need and craving. If you are on a budget, the best time to go out to eat is at lunchtime because there are always lunch deals going on at very competitive low rates.
Some restaurants serve the food when it is ready. This means that your friend may have their main course before you even received your appetizer. Make it clear when ordering when you would like to receive your food. After the hours of 10:00PM, customers may smoke in the restaurant even if it is non-smoking.
The best Bulgarian restaurants in Sofia include Mamin Kolio Tavern, La Skara, Hajidraganov's Cellars, Hadjidraganovite Kashti, Ascua, and so many more. These restaurants attract both the locals and tourists and ensure an amazing Bulgarian food experience.
There are also many other restaurants throughout the city with various international cuisines. You can get burgers, pasta, pizza, and many foods from around the world. Some favorites include Skaptoburger for burgers, 2 Giraffes Espresso Bar for coffee and desserts, Bagari and Avtentichno for European cusine, Vino and Tapas for Spanish inspired dishes, and Taj Mahal for Indian.
Many restaurants offer vegan and vegetarian dishes. It is always best to look at the menu beforehand and talk with the waiter about their options for your dietary needs.
Cosmos and Soul Kitchen are popular restaurants for healthy, vegetarian, and vegan options.
Be sure to check your bill carefully to make sure you are appropriately charged. Tips are roughly 10%, but could be added to the bill, so it is best to check before paying.
Tap water is safe to drink in Bulgaria, but many people choose to drink bottles still or sparkling water for the taste.
Bulgaria has many herbal teas and coffee is readily available. There are several cafes throughout the city since Bulgaria has a great coffee and café culture amongst the locals. Juices, compote, and sodas are also popular to drink in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria has a strong love affair with cafes and many of them throughout the city have delicious coffees and drink specialties that keep locals and tourists coming back for me. Cafes are always a great spot for breakfast or for a sweet pastry or dessert.
Popular cafés in Sofia:
Bulgaria is a beer and wine drinking country with good quality drinks and breweries. Craft beers have also become popular throughout the years. Drinking is a social event and is usually accompanied with food. It is rare to see people intoxicated on the streets because public drunkenness is frowned upon.
The production of homemade alcohol is a very popular pastime in Bulgarian culture. Many people make homemade wine and rakia. Rakia is a brandy made of fruit, being mainly plums.
In bars the standard drink size is 50 ml for a small beer and 100 ml for a large. Hard liquor is usually served neat or on the rocks. It is quite common to find cocktails on every menu at a bar and restaurant.
There is no legal drinking age in Bulgaria; however, the age to purchase alcohol is 18 years old.