7 Authentic Bulgarian Restaurants in Sofia Not To Miss

Restaurants in Sofia offer creative and surprising interpretations of traditional Bulgarian cuisine. 

Many of the dishes are made from recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.

At traditional restaurants like Hadjidraganov’s House, you can experience not only the food, but the local culture from different regions of the country.

 At the same time, there is a new wave of chefs reinterpreting Bulgaria’s classic dishes in modern and contemporary restaurants in Sofia.

No matter how long you are staying in the capital of Bulgaria, use this guide to experience the best restaurants in Sofia.  

Sample the traditional dishes in their original form and then taste how new chefs are creatively interpreting the recipes. 

Choose from any of these restaurants in Sofia and enjoy an exciting culinary journey.

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1 – Hadjidraganov’s House – One of The Most Traditional Restaurants in Sofia

This traditional Bulgarian restaurant is located near the Lion’s Bridge and the bus terminal, just north of the city.

This singular restaurant is comprised of four old rehabilitated houses from 1886. Each house is now a restaurant dining room. 

And the decor in each room represents the style of four traditional towns in Bulgaria.

Bansko from the Pirin mountain, Koprivshtitsa in the Thracian Valley, Zheravna in the Rose Valley, and Melnik in the Struma Valley. 

It is worth walking around the different rooms to appreciate the decor and architecture of each town.

Additionally, a traditional Bulgarian band plays music from the different regions in each of the rooms.

In the center of the restaurants is a courtyard where we had dinner. It was an early dinner on a Saturday night and we were impressed by how busy it was, with locals and tourists alike.

Although popular with visitors, this traditional restaurant in Sofia serves an array of tasty Bulgarian dishes in a unique atmosphere. 

Unless you plan on visiting the different Bulgarian towns, take advantage of the restaurant set up and visit them in one setting.

Our recommendation is to make reservations in advance especially if you are traveling with a group.

RELATED: read more about The Best Things to Do in Sofia for Food Lovers

Hadjidraganov's House Traditional Restaurant in Sofia AuthenticFoodQuestHard to miss entrance of Hadjidraganov's House

Traditional Bulgarian Food and Menu

The menu is centered around traditional Bulgarian food with dishes are cooked in the traditional manner. 

One of their specialties is the lamb roasted the St. George way. It is a rack of lamb roasted in a wood-fired brick oven.

St George, a popular Saint in Bulgaria is known as the patron of the shepherds. It is tradition to eat lamb on  the 6th of May which is St Georges’ day, and the Bulgarian army day.

We enjoyed Katino Meze, a traditional dish from Bansko. This is a pork dish mixed and cooked with mushrooms, onions, hot peppers, served in a traditional copper pan topped with parsley.

The dish was hearty and filling, very lightly spiced, the perfect dish for a chilly evening.

For desserts, the traditional banitsa pastry, served with syrup made from fresh oranges beckoned us.

It is a sweet dessert similar to a baklava with the pastry dough contrasting with the delicate taste of the orange syrup. A surprising authentic Bulgarian dessert.

Katino Meze at Hadjidraganovs House Sofia Authentic Food QuestKatino meze traditionally served in a copper pan

Where to Eat in Sofia for a Traditional Bulgarian Experience

Hadjidraganov’s House

Address: ul. “Kozloduy” 75, 1202 Sofia Center, Sofia

Hours: Open everyday from 11:30 am to 11:30 pm

Price: Main dishes range from 10 BGN – 25 BGN (approx. $6 to $15 USD)

They also have a second restaurant called Hadjidraganov’s Tavern located in downtown Sofia.

The tavern has the style of an old cellar and offers traditional Bulgarian food and live folkloric music as well.

Hadjidraganov’s Tavern

Address: ul. “Hristo Belchev” 18, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia

Hours: Open everyday from 11:30 am to 1:00 am

Price: Main dishes range from 10 BGN – 25 BGN (approx. $6 to $15 USD)

Rosemary and Claire at Hadjidraganov's House restaurant in SofiaRosemary and Claire enjoying their meal at Hadjidraganov's House in Sofia

Authentic Food Quest Tip: Consider taking a food, heritage and culture tour to learn about Sofia’s iconic sights, history and architecture. You will enjoy stops at traditional and popular restaurants like the Hadjidraganov’s House to sample famous Bulgarian food and wine.

2 – SkaraBar – A BBQ Restaurant

When it comes to grilled food, SkaraBar is the place of choice. This casual BBQ restaurant is located on a side street behind the National Art Gallery.

The large open windows and relaxing atmosphere is inviting. That’s actually how we stumbled onto this restaurant in Sofia.

The local awards on the door and locals filling up the place did the rest.

The decor is simple and modern with a large blackboard describing the daily menu specials. 

The wine bottles and the bar counter in the back give it a wine-bar feel.

With their motto “high quality, local origin and respect for nature”, we were ready to enjoy our dinner.

SkaraBar_BBQRestaurantinSofia_AuthenticFoodQuestThe bar and kitchen area at the back of SkaraBar

Bulgarian Grilled Meat Focus

On the menu, the star dishes are the grilled meats. The restaurant specializes in minced meat with homemade kepache and kyufte and their sausages come from local suppliers.

On the hungry side, we started out  with an appetizer. This was a Bulgarian stuffed red pepper with sirene cheese spiced with paprika. 

The seasoning with oil and spices was perfect while the cheese was quite filling.

Rosemary ordered the lamb and cashews skewer while I was intrigued by the local Bulgarian sausage. 

The plates came with a serving of fried potatoes, cabbage salad and lutenitsa, homemade Bulgarian ketchup.

The sauce was delicious and went very well with the lamb skewer, which was slightly dry. 

The sausage was very fresh and tasty. We were quite impressed. SkaraBar also offers the possibility of ordering grilled meat by the kilo and also to go.

If you are not a meat eater, meat, the menu also has a short selection of fresh grilled fish and salads.

Besides the meats, SkaraBar pays particular attention to its wine. Great quality house wine is available to pair with the grilled meat. 

RELATED: To learn more about traditional Bulgarian food check our Bulgarian Food Guide 

LambSkewers_SkaraBarSofia_AuthenticFoodQuestLamb skewers served with the traditional lutenitsa sauce

Where to Eat in Sofia for Bulgarian Grilled Meat

SkaraBar

Address: ul. “Georgi Benkovski” 12, 1000 Sofia Center, Bulgaria

Hours: Open everyday from 12:00 pm to 12:00 am but the kitchen closes at 10:30pm

Price: Main dishes range from 10 BGN – 22 BGN (approx. $6 to $13 USD)

SkaraBar has two other locations in Sofia offering nice outdoor seating. Find the address on their website.

StuffedPeppers_SkaraBarSofia_AuthenticFoodQuestSkaraBar also offers delicious meat-free dishes like these stuffed peppers with cheese

3- The Women’s Market – The Oldest Market in Sofia

Sometimes the best eateries can be found in the most unsought places. One of them is the local farmers market. 

The Zhenski Pazar Market in Sofia, better known as the Women’s Market, didn’t disappoint us. 

Located on the northwest side of city center, this farmer’s market is the oldest market in Sofia. 

The Zhenski Pazar market was created shortly after the Ottoman’s  left Bulgaria at the end of the 19th century.

After a rough start, the Women’s Market became one of the largest trading places of the 20th century.

At the market you’ll find many stalls of fresh fruits and vegetables extending out onto a large pedestrian street. 

On each side and in the middle of this large street, are dairy stores, local producers, restaurants, fast food counters, bars, souvenir stores and more.

As we leisurely walked down the pedestrian street, our eyes caught the attention of one local restaurant on the side.

This local eatery was busier than the others with people eating outside and locals on the inside lining up to order their lunch. 

TheWomansMarket_ZhenskiPazarOldestmarketinSofia_AuthenticFoodQuestZhenski Pazar also called the Women's Market

Traditional Bulgarian Comfort Food

Intrigued, we joined the crowd in this local restaurant in Sofia. All the dishes hot from the kitchen were presented on a buffet counter, with three ladies serving.

Unsure about what to order, we looked around the plates of locals for inspiration.

Besides traditional grilled meat, we were tempted by stuffed meats, and other enticing vegetables dishes.

Everything is homemade and at that busy lunch period, some of the dishes were running out. We had walked in just in time not to miss the best of the entrees.

We ordered two grilled meats, karnache, a traditional grilled coiled sausage, and kyufte, a traditional Bulgarian meatball, this one stuffed with a boiled egg. 

To go with the meat, Rosemary had Bulgarian stuffed peppers with rice and spices while I had a cabbage stew.

The dishes are weighed to calculate the price and then, all we had to do is just find an empty table. 

This turned out to be more challenging than expected, but an old man graciously shared his table.

The meat was fresh and tasty, the dishes were simple and flavorful. This is the ideal place to sample a variety of Bulgarian foods with a true local experience.

Kyufte at the Women's Market in Sofia_AuthenticFoodQuestIntriguing kyufte, Bulgarian meat ball stuffed with a boiled egg

Where to Eat in Sofia for Comfort Bulgarian Food

The Women’s Market – Zhenski Pazar Market 

While not having a specific name, this Sofia restaurant can be spotted with its large white umbrella outside. It is located midway, on the right end side as you walk toward the Lion’s bridge from the market’s entrance.

Address: bul. “Stefan Stambolov” 36-38, Sofia Center, Bulgaria

Hours: Open everyday from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm 

Price: Main dishes range from 5 BGN – 8 BGN (approx. $3 to $5 USD)

Local Restaurant in Sofia at The Women's Market by AuthenticFoodQuestThe entrance of the restaurant with the white awnings

4- Bistro Lubimoto – A Bistro Restaurant

This hidden restaurant is tucked in between residential buildings, just a couple of blocks from Knyazheska Gardens, not far from Sofia University.

To find the hidden entrance, look for the beer sign above the restaurant’s name. A corridor leading to the restaurant features “love” paintings as well as old pictures of Sofia. 

It opens up into a small courtyard with trees, and the airy Bistro Lubimoto restaurant with large unobstructed windows. 

The decor is inviting with rustic furniture and red brick walls. There is a small courtyard in the back where smokers can enjoy their meals.

Bistro Lubimoto Traditional Restaurant in Sofia by AuthenticFoodQuestThe graphic corridor leading to Bistro Lubimoto

Traditional Bulgarian Food Bistro Style

The menu focuses mostly on Bulgarian traditional foods with a few international options. 

To start, we shared a Rodopska salad, influenced by the cuisine from the Rhodopes region. 

Nicely presented, it had sirene cheese on top, with tomatoes, roasted peppers, eggplant, garlic dill, onion with pesto.

This refreshing salad made with tasty ingredients was well seasoned with garlic and dill.

To go with the salad, we ordered pork shank, made with sausages, mushrooms, onions and parsley. The serving was generous and the meat tender. 

The service was friendly and attentive and the prices reasonable.

This is a great restaurant in Sofia for Bulgarian food in a cozy atmosphere.

Related: Read more about 10 Surprising Facts You Should Know About Eating at Bulgarian Restaurants

Pork Shank Bistro Lubimoto in Sofia by AuthenticFoodQuestNice portion of Pork shank perfect for sharing

Where to Eat in Sofia for Bulgarian Food Bistro Style

Bistro Lubimoto

Address: ul. “General Parensov” 25, Sofia Center, Bulgaria

Hours: Open everyday from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm 

Price: Main dishes range from 6 BGN – 15 BGN (approx. $3 to $9 USD)

Rodopska Salad Bistro Lubimoto in Sofia AuthenticFoodQuestRodopska salad prepared with love

5- Bagri Restaurant – A Slow Food Restaurant in Sofia

Bagri was introduced to us on the free Sofia food tour. The restaurant is located on a small street, a few blocks south from Cathedral Saint Aleksandar Nevski.

Bagri restaurant in Sofia, combines a modern and rustic atmosphere. The artistic decor combines natural elements with handcrafted accessories.

As soon as we walked in, we instantly took in the peaceful atmosphere and could sense the attention to details.

Inside Bagri Restaurant One of the best Restaurants in Sofia by AuthenticFoodQuestIntriguing lighting inside Bagri restaurant

Seasonal and Local Bulgarian Food

Bagri restaurant has fully embraced the Slow Food Movement. They feature their local produce which they grow in their own farms and vineyards. 

Bagri also partners with farmers and local producers who share the same vision of putting the local product centerstage.  

Using local and seasonal produce, the menu changes every month and a half. 

The restaurant offers modern creative Bulgarian dishes made  with fresh produce carefully selected for their quality and respect of nature.

The staff is friendly and happy to provide insights about their cuisine and products.

During our visit, we tasted an appetizer highlighting Bulgarian yogurt. This was Bulgarian yogurt on a walnut biscuit with pickled cucumbers.

The combination of the sweet cookie and savory yogurt was subtle and nicely balanced.

Our only regret is that we did not have time to experience a full meal at Bagri.

Nonetheless, this is a great reason to come back and a restaurant in Sofia you should not miss.

Appetizer at Bagri Restaurant in Sofia by AuthenticFoodQuestCreative walnut cookie with Bulgarian yogurt

Where to Eat in Sofia for Seasonal Bulgarian Cuisine

Bagri Restaurant

Address: ul. “Dobrudzha” 10, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia, Bulgaria

Hours: Open everyday for lunch (12:00 pm – 4pm) and dinner (4:30pm to 10:00 pm)

Price: Main dishes range from 10 BGN – 25 BGN (approx. $6 to $15 USD)

 

Bagri Restaurant One of the best Restaurants in Sofia by AuthenticFoodQuestDon't miss Bagri restaurant sign

6- The Little Things – A Homey Restaurant

This hidden gem is tucked at the back of a courtyard surrounded by other restaurants. Look for the sign carefully as it is easy to miss the courtyard entrance.

Stepping into The Little Things feels like walking into someone’s home. There are different rooms on every level.

Each room has its unique decor and personality. The decor is simple, colorful and rustic at the same time. 

This is a great restaurant for lunch or a casual dinner. 

The Little Things Homey Restaurant in Sofia by AuthenticFoodQuestA homey feel at The Little Things

Contemporary Bulgarian Food With A Mediterranean Focus

The menu is limited and draws on Bulgarian classics with a contemporary Mediterranean twist.

We ordered their creative version of the Shopska salad which was fresh and well seasoned. 

In addition, we had a reinvented version of the mish mash, which combines Bulgarian classics lutenitsa and yogurt.

Traditional Bulgarian mish mash is a mix of eggs, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic and sirene cheese topped with parsley.

The Little Things version had three eggs served sunny side up with pita bread and a mix of tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, Bulgarian yogurt and baby spinach on top. 

It was a mouthful of flavors. A very interesting combination of flavors with the fresh yogurt, egg yolk and tomato based sauces.

The plates are beautifully presented and the atmosphere is intimate. Outdoor seating is also available.

This is a great restaurant for lunch or a casual dinner. 

Shopska Salad The Little Things Sofia by AuthenticFoodQuestBeautiful Shopska salad

Where to Eat in Sofia for Contemporary Mediterranean-Bulgarian Food

The Little Things

Address: ul. “Tsar Ivan Shishman” 37, 1000 Sofia Center, Bulgaria

Hours: Open everyday from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Price: Main dishes range from 5 BGN – 15 BGN (approx. $3 to $9 USD)

Sunny Side Up Eggs at The Little Things Sofia AuthenticFoodQuestDelightful colors and flavors at The Little Things

7- Cosmos – Gastronomy Bulgarian Cuisine with a Modern Twist

Cosmos, considered by many as one of the best restaurants in Sofia, offers traditional Bulgarian cuisine with a creative twist.

The restaurant, is located in the heart of the city, behind the Sofia Court House. Chic, with exposed brick walls and minimalist designs, the airy atmosphere is welcoming.

A cosmic or space theme permeates throughout the restaurant. From the angular lighting  orbiting from the ceiling, to the dishes on the menu, Cosmos offers a unique experience.

Inside decor Cosmos Restaurant Sofia by Authentic Food QuestThe modern and space themed interior at Cosmos restaurant

Modern Bulgarian Cuisine

Ordering the tasting menu is a wonderful way to everything Cosmos has to offer. Chef Pevov, will take you on a culinary journey to different regions of the country.

During our visit, we sampled a variety of fish, meat and seafood in addition to reinterpretations of traditional Bulgarian dishes.

One of the most creative dishes was a Tetevan Salad. The ingredients on the plate were creatively organized to reflect the universe and the cosmos. 

Interestingly, this was achieved using the ingredients found in a traditional Shopska salad.

Other traditional dishes such as lamb cooked in traditional St. George style and green cheese from Cherni Vit, surprised and delighted us.

Bulgaria is one of the largest producers of Rose Oil in the world, and Cosmos celebrates this status with an amazing dessert.

The Bulgarian Rose Dessert at Cosmos is an experience and a grand finale to the tasting menu.

The dessert on fire reveals a magnificent center. Rosemary found the vanilla sponge cake, with yogurt, rose sorbet, ice cream and strawberries to be simply magnificent.

For an exception experience with a menu that pushes boundaries and reinterprets traditional Bulgarian flavors, don’t miss Cosmos in Sofia.

Read More: Read our full review of Cosmos, One of the Best Restaurants in Sofia

Bulgarian Rose Desert at Cosmos Restaurant Sofia by Authentic Food QuestAmazing Bulgarian Rose Dessert

Where to Eat in Sofia for Gastronomic Bulgarian Cuisine 

Cosmos

Address: 19 Lavele Street, Sofia

Hours: Open everyday 11:00 am – 1:00 am. Advanced reservations recommended, book on their website

Prices: Tasting menu price per person –  84.44 BGN (approx. $47.80)

Rosemary and Claire at Cosmos Restaurant Sofia by Authentic Food QuestRosemary and Claire savoring the rich lamb flavors
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In Summary

The restaurant scene in Sofia is evolving and ever growing.

As such, this list of 7 restaurants in Sofia to experience authentic Bulgarian food is not conclusive.

But rather it is an introduction as you discover the city.

Each of the restaurants featured celebrates Bulgarian culinary culture in its own way.

From highlighting local and seasonal ingredients to getting creative with the techniques.

There are many more restaurants in Sofia to discover.

We look forward to experiencing their take on traditional Bulgarian food the next time we are in Sofia.

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

Please share your comments below.

Savor the Adventure!

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22 thoughts on “7 Authentic Bulgarian Restaurants in Sofia Not To Miss”

  1. After reading your several posts on Bulgarian cuisines, I am eagerly waiting to try these and this list of restaurants is perfect for the visitors. The Katino meze at Hadjidraganov’s House and Bulgarian meatball stuffed with a boiled egg looks extremely tempting and must try.

    Reply
  2. Wow some seriously good looking food in Bulgaria! The karnache looks especially tasty but I’m very intrigued by the kyufte, looks so delicious. I doubt there are Bulgarian restaurants in Malaysia, so I wonder if I could try making kyufte myself? I’m sure there’s more to it than just stuffing a boiled egg in a burger though. 😀

    Reply
  3. I’ll admit, when I think of Bulgarian food, I imagine it being really meaty… and that seems to be the case! I love the sound of St George style lamb! Funny that one of the specialties is Bulgarian yoghurt and pickled cucumber – I make pickled cucumbers at home!

    Reply
  4. Just the set-up of Hadjidraganov’s House makes me intrigued — I love when you can combine an interesting history with authentic cuisine. The possibilities at The Women’s Market sound like something I wouldn’t want to miss. LOL! I’d probably spend all day there! But let’s face it, I’d probably want to try all of your recommendations — they all look so good!

    Reply
  5. Interesting that there are stylish places like Bagri in Sofia – we always have this old, sad behind-the-iron-curtain image of the south east European countries.
    Anyway, it’s totally my kind of food – this mix of Balkan and oriental; many of the dishes’ names even sound very similar to their Turkish heritage.
    Mmmmh – I can practically taste the grilled minced meat….

    Reply
  6. You always have such great suggestions for eating out. If we ever get to Bulgaria, we will definitely not go hungry! It might be great to start at Hadjidraganov’s House for a traditional meal. It would be great with music in the background. SkaraBar sounds like a great bbq spot for a more casual meal. The lamb and cashew skewer sounds perfect. So great that you learned about Bagri Restaurant on your food tour.

    Reply
  7. Taking a food tour through Sofia seems like a great idea with all of these options. The Kuyfte sounds a bit like a Scottish egg. Going to Hadjidraganov’s House seems like you can visit all of Bulgaria in a single evening.

    Reply
  8. I don’t think I ever eat authentic traditional Bulgarian food before, but from all I see it’s very similar to the Romanian food that I know all so well. That comes to no surprise, since these are neighboring countries. I’d love to try a bistro-style restaurant like Bistro Lubimoto. Their food looks so delicious!

    Reply

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