7 Authentic Bulgarian Restaurants Not To Miss in Plovdiv (2024)

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The food in Plovdiv is rich in traditions. In the second largest city in Bulgaria, Plovdiv restaurants focus on traditional Bulgarian cuisine and wines.

An ancient city with a modern attitude, Plovdiv surprised us during our culinary explorations in Bulgaria.

Hailed as the European Capital of Culture in 2019, it’s also one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe.

Plovdiv restaurants showcase the cuisine with pride, each offering its own unique twist to Bulgarian cuisine.

To help guide your culinary exploration in this ancient city, here are 7 of the best restaurants in Plovdiv to explore Bulgarian gastronomy.

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Map of Plovdiv Restaurants

Planning your meals around your sightseeing activities can help your trip go smoothly and stress-free. The map below helps you identify restaurants that are conveniently located in the area you plan on exploring.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST CULINARY TIP: Eager to dive deeper into Bulgaria’s amazing gastronomy? If so, consider taking an unforgettable Bulgaria gourmet food and wine tour from June 23rd to July 3rd, 2024. For 8 nights and 9 days, you will explore Bulgaria’s traditional dishes and indigenous wines in Sofia, Plovdiv, and Melnik. Your guide for this culinary adventure is Dr. Joseph Benatov of the University of Pennsylvania. Originally from Sofia, you’ll have insider access to Bulgarian sommeliers, culinary experts, and the finest cooks. Find out more about the Bulgaria gourmet food and wine tour and save $100 per traveler when you use code AFQSAVE.

PS: If the dates don’t match your schedule, inquire about a private tour

Top 7 Best Restaurants in Plovdiv

1. Visit Smokini for Contemporary Bulgarian Cuisine With A Creative Touch

Entrance Smokini restaurant one of the best Restaurants in Plovdiv Bulgaria by Authentic Food Quest
Smokini, one of our favorite Plovdiv restaurants

Smokini is located only a block away from the ancient stadium of Philippopolis, in the center of town. 

This quaint restaurant has a mix of vintage and contemporary decor with exposed brick walls and concrete beams.

The friendly young chef, Kiro, describes his cooking as “Bulgarian cuisine infused with French and Italian influences.” 

What to Eat at Smokini

Smokini Appetizers Plovdiv Bulgaria by Authentic Food Quest
Two platers of Bulgarian appetizers ideal for sampling

Plovdiv food comes in a range of unique styles, and the offerings at Smokini are no exception. 

The chef’s Bulgarian cuisine with a modern twist makes it a nice place to explore the city’s gastronomical ranges.

Start out with a plate of Bulgarian cheeses, salads, and dips. Cheeses include Bulgarian white cheese (sirene) and kashkaval, a yellow cheese. 

Blue cheese and baby mozzarella are also served with seasonal figs and walnuts.

Try their variation of Shopska salad served with quinoa dip and tomato fondue and fennel. Their slowly cooked beef tongue, chicken, and pork tenderloin are also flavorful. 

Order one of these meat options with a side of turnip and parsnip puree, broccoli, zucchini, and red onions to add on some well-seasoned veggies.


Address:  Otets Paisiy, 12, Tsentar, Plovdiv

Hours: Tues-Fri, 5:00 pm–11:30 pm, Sat, 12:00 pm – 11:30 pm, Sun 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, closed Monday.

Price: Main dishes range from 13.90 BGN – 28.90 BGN (approx. $7.80 to $16.21 USD)

2. Choose Odeon for Bulgarian Cuisine with a Mediterranean Flair 

Odeon Restaurant Entrance one of the best Plovdiv restaurants Bulgaria by Authentic Food Quest
Entrance to Odeon restaurant

Just steps away from the Roman Theatre you’ll find Restaurant Odeon. The entrance to the restaurant is off the pedestrian street and tucked into a little alley, away from the city sounds.

Book ahead and guarantee outdoor seating for your party. Ask for one of the tables underneath the covered terrace overlooking the Roman ruins.

Seasonal ingredients are incorporated into the dishes, so you can be sure you’re getting a taste of local flavor. Their impressive selection of Bulgarian wines is not to be missed.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Explore one of the oldest cities in Europe on a Plovdiv walking tour. This 2-hour Plovdiv sightseeing and walking tour takes you to discover the historic and ancient monuments found in the old town. With your English-speaking local guide, you learn about the city’s rich cultural heritage and a deeper appreciation for Bulgaria’s second-largest city.

What to Eat at Odeon

Rosemary Claire Plovdiv Restaurants by Authentic Food Quest
Enjoying a fresh salad made with local vegetables

Kick off your meal with starters made with incredibly fresh produce. We savored a simple salad with brilliantly red tomatoes, white sirene cheese, cucumbers, and roasted red peppers.

Try their halibut fish in basil broth with lemon accompanied by fresh broccoli and tomatoes.

Their seared duck magret is also phenomenal and adds a modern twist to your meal.

Beautifully plated, these thin-cut slices of duck with colorful purees of pumpkins, peaches, and pears are a delicious choice.

Beautifully plated and tasty duck magret

Save room for their lavender creme brulee. Bulgaria is a major exporter of lavender, which makes this dish a great link to the terroir.

This is one of the best Mediterranean restaurants in Plovdiv.

Restaurant Odeon 

Address: 40 Otetz Paisii  Street, Plovdiv

Restaurant Hours: Mon-Sat; 8:00 am to 11:00 pm. Closed Sunday.

Price: Mains range from 20 BGN – 40 BGN (approx.  $11 to $22 USD)

3. Opt for Grebetsa for Traditional Bulgarian Food in an Outdoor Venue 

Grebeca Restaurant Outdoor Plovdiv restaurants Bulgaria by Authentic Food Quest
Outdoor seating at Grebeca restaurant

For an amazing view, look no further than Grebetsa Restaurant, a highly recommended Plovdiv restaurant.

The restaurant is located near the Rowing Canal, also called the Regatta Venue.

The canal is the largest rowing facility in the Balkans, with a channel of 2200 meters (about 1.4 miles) long. 

Grebetsa, also spelled Grebeca, is a nice restaurant situated in the largest park in Plovdiv, right along the Maritsa River. Its lovely location makes it the perfect place to enjoy a meal outdoors.

At Grebeca restaurant, part of the sitting area is outdoors in a large and open space. 

The restaurant is furnished with large tables covered in white tablecloths and offers comfy chairs under airy tents.

RELATED: From Breakfast to Dinner: 10 Sofia Food Not To Miss

What to Eat at Grebetsa

Grebetsa Meat Plovdiv Restaurants by Authentic Food Quest
The meat platter at Grebeca

This is the place to visit when you’re craving traditional Bulgarian food, Grebetsa style. 

You’ll find a large range of Bulgarian wines and beer options that pair well with their many fish and steak dishes.

Meat lovers should not miss their five types of meat cooked in a traditional Bulgarian style. 

Chicken, beef tongue, pork filet, pork ribs, and veal kebache.Tender and well seasoned, the meat dishes are accompanied by mushrooms and potato side dishes.

Grebeca also serves a variety of salads that make great use of sirene cheese and basil and pesto sauce, for a lighter meal.

Grebetsa Restaurant

Address: Grebna Baza, Rowing Canal, Plovdiv

Hours: Tues – Sun,11:00 am to 12:00 am; Closed Monday

Price: Mains range from 19.90 BGN – 119 BGN (approx. $11.16 to $66.74 USD)

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: From Plovdiv, wine lovers can explore the Thracian Valley and learn about the regional wines This private Thracian Valley wine tasting tour takes you on a 3-hour exploration to Bulgarian modern wineries in the Rhodope mountains. With transportation provided, dive into Bulgarian wines in Plovdiv.

4. Pick Aylyakria for Bulgarian Food in a Cozy Setting

Aylyakria Plovdiv Restaurants by Authentic Food Quest
Experience the vintage charm while indulging Bulgarian delicacies – Photo credit: Айлякрия on Facebook

Kapana’s creative district is a charming and trendy part of town, While exploring this neighborhood, Aylyakria restaurant is a wonderful choice. 

This Plovdiv restaurant is housed in a century-old building in the heart of Kapana and has a  vintage and old-world feel.

Not only will you find authentic Bulgarian dishes here, but you’ll also be introduced to the chef’s take on cuisine from around the world. 

RELATED: 7 Best Bulgarian Restaurants in Sofia You’ll Want To Visit

What to Eat at Aylyakria

Aylyakria Meat Plovdiv Food by Authentic Food Quest
Delicious pork ribs and potatoes – Photo credit: Айлякрия on Facebook

Aylyakria’s versatile menu offers great food, made with local produce in a laid-back environment.

Appetizers include quinoa salad with cucumbers, mint, and spring onions as well as crispy coconut-breaded tiger shrimp. 

For something more substantive try the grilled meats or juicy pork sandwiches. 

Unlike other restaurants, you can expect good service at Aylyakria. The food is amazing, and the options are diverse.

You’ll also find craft beers, Rakia brandy, Bulgarian wines, and much more. Be sure to leave for dessert as the options change daily based on the season.


Address: ul. “Kozhuharska” №3, 4000 Kapana, Plovdiv

Hours: Open daily, 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Price: Main dishes range from 11.50 BGN – 39.80 BGN (approx. $6.45 to $22.31)

5. Pavaj for Restaurants in Plovdiv, Bulgaria with a Terrace

Pavaj Where To Eat In Plovdiv by Authentic Food Quest
Reserve your spot for outdoor terrace – Photo credit: Паваж on Facebook

No list of the best Plovdiv restaurants would be complete without Pavaj, also located in the Kapana district. 

Pavaj restaurant is found close to the Philippopolis ancient stadium and the Plovdiv City Center. 

This popular restaurant tends to fill up quickly, so call ahead if you want to eat outside on the outdoor terrace.

Pavaj is known for offering reasonable prices, and it is highly recommended for its tasty food.

This restaurant takes pride in its visual displays, so don’t be surprised when your dish comes out garnished with beautiful flowers or fresh berries.

What to Eat At Pavaj

Pavaj Meatballs Best Restaurants In Plovdiv by Authentic Food Quest
Chickpeas meatballs with fresh spinach salad – Photo credit: Паваж on Facebook

Local flavors dominate the menu at Pavaj. You can taste the freshness in their stuffed red peppers as well as their Lutenitsa starter.

 Pork ribs are another well-liked menu item, combining sweet and spicy notes.

Homemade pita bread as well as regular bread are another must, served with monastery cheese and strawberry jam. 

Try their quail egg salad for a light meal or grape leaves for another earthy meal choice. If you want something a little heavier, try their Bulgarian meatballs.

Save room for dessert so you can savor a slice of their carrot cake that comes topped with raspberries.


Address: ul. “Zlatarska” 7, 4000 Kapana, Plovdiv

Hours: Open daily, 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Price: Main dishes range from 5.35 BGN – 14.27 BGN (approx. $3 to $8)

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: Easy Lutenitsa Recipe: How To Make The Best Bulgarian Spread

6.  Try Salt and Pepper for a Fine-Dining Experience in Plovdiv

Salt Pepper restaurants Plovdiv by Authentic Food Quest
Ideal restaurant for special occasions – Photo credit: ресторант “Salt & Pepper” on Facebook

With its white tablecloths and beautifully plated dishes, Salt and Pepper is a more upscale lunch and dinner restaurant.

 Its elegant seating area makes it a nice place for casual and more formal dining.

Salt and Pepper restaurant offers outdoor seating if you want to get some fresh air while you dine with a glass of wine in hand.

If you prefer to eat indoors, a small fireplace is a charming touch that creates a romantic backdrop while you eat. 

Floor-to-ceiling windows ensure diners get plenty of natural light in the cozy quarters.

What to Eat At Salt and Pepper

Salt Pepper Food Plovdiv Restaurant by Authentic Food Quest
Taste the diverse menu – Photo credit: ресторант “Salt & Pepper” on Facebook

You can start off with some black rice risotto or avocado salad with pine nuts and pumpkin seeds. 

For a hearty dinner meal, try the grilled duck, chicken, or steak fillet with various sauces using mango and parmesan or sweet potatoes and truffles.

If you’re looking to dine in style, splurge on the Wagyu steak, but for a more traditional Bulgarian meat, opt for the horse meatballs. You can also order schnitzel or duck, too.

Salt and Pepper’s desserts are just as lovely as their main dishes. Tiramisu, creme brulee, and homemade chocolate are all perfect ways to end your meal.

Salt and Pepper

Address: ul. “Han Kubrat” 1, 4000 Tsentar, Plovdiv

Hours: Mon-Sat 12:00 pm – 12:00 am; Closed Sunday

Price: Mains range from 15.99 BGN – 199 BGN (approx. $8.96 to $111.57)

RELATED: Bulgarian Food Guide: 15+ Traditional Foods You’ll Fall in Love With

7. Choose Raia Restaurant in Plovdiv for Any Occasion

Raia Restaurants in Plovdiv Bulgaria by Authentic Food Quest
Enjoy Plovdiv food in this hidden culinary gem – Photo credit: Ресторант Райя on Facebook

Raia is a large but intimate restaurant in Plovdiv with a charming ambiance with soft lighting, bright flowers, and beautiful candles.

 Its reputation for great service is just one reason it has rave reviews.

Popular with locals, this stop is a hidden gem for tourists. Raia restaurant is tucked away near the Monument of Tsar Boris III, worth seeing before or after your meal.

With many vegetarian options, Raia’s menu is friendly to most diners and is widely recognized as one of the best restaurants in Plovdiv.

What to Eat at Raia

Raia Food Plovdiv Restaurants by Authentic Food Quest
Veal tenderloin with pumpkin cream risotto – Photo credit: Ресторант Райя on Facebook

The food at Raia is held in high regard. With an extensive and versatile menu, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.

Their baked goat cheese is prepared to perfection. And, their pork ribs, salmon, and duck are some of the favorite dishes on the menu.

For something divine, choose Raia’s king prawn tagliatelle paired with a glass of red local wine. 

Curious seafood lovers can also try their shark dishes, although the shrimp risotto may be a little more familiar.

Share a slice of Bulgarian cake or enjoy freshly made parfait with seasonal fruit after your meal.


Address: ul. “Kapitan Raycho Nikolov” 34, 4000 Kamenitsa 1, Plovdiv

Hours: Mon-Sat, 10:00  am – 12:00 am: Sun, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Price: Mains range from 14.80 BGN – 22.80 BGN (approx. $8.30 to $12.78)

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: One of the tastiest ways to explore the culinary scene in Plovdiv is on a food tour with a local guide. This Bulgarian food and culture walking tour in Plovdiv takes you beyond popular tourist restaurants to hidden gems for an authentic taste of Bulgarian food culture. Spend 3-hours with a local guide exploring the city while getting immersed in the local culinary culture.

Where to Stay in Plovdiv

Roman Theatre Plovdiv Restaurants by Authentic Food Quest
Roman theatre of Philippopolis in Plovdiv

Plovdiv offers many activities, archeological museums, and cultural events. Depending on your travel itinerary, plan to spend several days in the city. 

Explore the history and ancient sites, the local gastronomy, and visit the nearby wineries.

You’ll find many accommodation options in Plovdiv. During our visit to Plovdiv, we stayed at the Stay Hotel below and recommend it.

The Stay Hotel

Stay Hotel Plovdiv Restaurants by Authentic Food Quest
Perfectly situated in center of Plovdiv

Conveniently located in the heart of Plovdiv, the Stay Hotel is within walking distance from the Old Town, Kapana district, and the restaurants mentioned above.

With stylish modern decor, you’ll find all the essential amenities for an enjoyable stay, including USB outlets to charge electronics. 

While The Stay doesn’t have a gym, a city park is conveniently located a few blocks away. This park is great for running or taking a brisk walk.

Prices at the hotel start around 80 BGN (approx. $45) a night for a standard queen room

See more prices, read reviews, or to find similar hotels check: Booking.com

RELATED: Zornitza Family Estate Review: Your Luxury Relais & Chateaux in Bulgaria

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In Summary

The ancient city of Plovdiv offers amazing sites to visit, and amazing regional cuisine to explore.

Discover the tastes of the city through these featured restaurants in Plovdiv Bulgaria.

We were impressed by the diversity of restaurants and interpretations of traditional Bulgarian food in Plovdiv.

This city’s rich history calls out at you as you imagine what life was like centuries ago. Traditional Bulgarian cuisine and wines offer you a way to get close to the heritage of Plovdiv.

Have you been to Plovdiv? What restaurants in Plovdiv would you recommend for authentic Bulgarian food?

Please share your comments below.

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Where To Eat In Plovdiv by Authentic Food Quest

Disclosure: Special thanks to Tourism Plovdiv and Plovdiv2019 Foundation for facilitating this trip. All views and opinions expressed are our own. Full bellies and happy taste buds too!

24 Comments on “7 Authentic Bulgarian Restaurants Not To Miss in Plovdiv (2024)”

  1. Your tempting food pictures have tempted us to try the Bulgarian dishes and the Plovdiv looks like a perfect place for it. All these restaurants serving the dishes with a twist will be really fun to try. The chocolate desserts among everything is going to be our favourite

  2. I’m intrigued by the creme brulee with lavender. I would never have thought of that combination. And honestly, I wouldn’t have thought of Bulgaria as such a foodie destination but all of the meals you had sound delicious!

  3. Wow, you explored Plovdiv in style! I did it vagabond style, buying groceries and cooking it my hostel. I wish I’ve splurge a little (or maybe more) after looking at your food pics! Of course, the cuisine is going to be interesting with various influences from Romans, Turks, and all other invading forces that went through there with their culture. Plovdiv, after all, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world!

    • Thanks, Adonis. What made our Plovdiv experience is that we were guests of the Plovdiv 2019 team. The food is amazing and we look forward to going back and spending more time living like locals. Appreciate you stopping by.

  4. I always thought they have some greasy cabbage soup in Bulgaria – certainly not all these delicacies that now make me want to visit. Although it’s not the healthiest of cuisines, I’m really impressed by the grilled platter. Interesting – albeit not really surprising – that the Turkish cuisine left some traces – they actually enriched many menus in the Balkans.

    • From our experience Renata, one can eat healthy in Bulgaria if they focus on meats and vegetables. The food is quite diverse and the soup we had was very tasty. Perhaps a visit back and trying one of these restaurants will help change your mind. Give it a shot. Cheers 🙂

  5. What a great guide to Bulgarian food! (Especially for someone who knows nothing about Bulgaria). Your photos do a good job of displaying the variety of Bulgarian food available (and enticing me to want to try it, too!). I’d love to try the grilled meat platter, followed by that scrumptious-looking dessert platter! The different dips also look tasty.

  6. Sign me up for either of the meat plates at Central or at Grebeca in Plovidiv. They both look so great plus the outdoor seating at Grebeca would be fun on a beautiful day. I bet any of the dips are amazing too though I would probably prefer the spicy ones like that roasted pepper paprika. Ugh, I may just have to get fat in Plovdiv, Bulgaria cause I love all that type of foods like Bulgarian moussaka or the desserts…Too many great options!

  7. Would love to try those dips in the Central Restaurant. Seems like full of different flavours. Also, I would love to check out the banitsa pie, I’m sure I’d love it. 😛
    When it comes to the interior, The Theater Restaurant looks like the one I’d prefer. Central location, next to the pedestrian street with the actual Theater all around – lovely! Their moussaka sounds delicious.
    Thanks for the suggestion. 🙂

  8. Plovdiv – how I been wanting to go here since I missed out on my trip to Bulgaria back in 2008 and haven’t been back since. So hope to make it to the city one day to see the famous ruins but its good to know there are some great places to eat out there. I could defo give that meat platter at Grebeca a good bashing right now. 🙂

    • Plovdiv is a great city and worth visiting. Maybe a trip back to Bulgaria is in order 🙂 The meat platter and the spacious seating at Grebeca is a great idea. Do you think you will be heading back soon? Cheers, Danik.

  9. This area of Europe has a great culinary tradition, so I’m not surprised to see so many delicious dishes on the menus of these restaurants. I grew up in next-door Romania, but never had a chance to visit Plovdiv. The town’s location – between seven hills– is indeed ideal for the cultivation of grapevines. You made me really curious about visiting Plovdiv and trying these restaurants.

  10. Based on your descriptions and photos of the food, I think it’s time for us to visit Plovdiv! I’d love to try traditional Bulgarian cuisine and, of course, the wine. I’ll admit I hate cucumbers, but I’m willing to overlook that to try the Shopska salad and the dips. And the cheesecake with blueberries sounds so good I want it now! So, Central is definitely on my list. Of course, the Odeon and Smoking sound pretty incredible, too. Oh, who am I kidding, I want to try them all!

    • Lol…that’s great Patricia. They are only 5 restaurants, so you can indeed try them all 🙂 You will not go wrong with either of them. We would certainly recommend trying the shopksa salad with the cucumbers and we bet you’ll like it. So glad you enjoyed the article and hoping you get to experience these restaurants soon. Cheers, Patricia.


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