Like many Balkan countries, Bulgarian cuisine has all sorts of influences, from Middle Eastern to Italian to East Asian (the latter thanks to its history as a trading post). When you combine this with Sofia’s cosmopolitan nature and international pull, you get a wealth of excellent places to grab breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the city. Whether you’re loading up on carbs for a big day of sightseeing or celebrating something in the evening with a nice dinner, then read ahead for our guide to the best restaurants in Bulgaria, any time of the day.
A tiny yet wonderful spot a few minutes south of the City Garden, Daro is focused on food more than anything else. This means (bio-degradable) disposable plates and cutlery and very laid-back atmosphere, but the food is anything but lazy. The small staff are incredibly welcoming, and although you might not get all the perks of being in an haute-cuisine restaurant, you get the best flavours and dishes, all for reasonably cheap. The coffee is excellent too, which is a bonus as coffee culture in Sofia is somewhat underdeveloped compared to other nations.
There are plenty of favourites to bite into, but the omelettes are recognised as being some of the best in the city, all made in front of you by the friendly chef and owner.
Moreover, they bake fresh cakes and pastries in the morning which are airy and delicious, also all made by the proprietor who is a former pastry chef. Is it the best breakfast spot in Sofia? Perhaps. All we know is we wouldn’t want to be a competitor.
Another cosy spot that packs a much bigger punch than you’d think looking at it, Rainbow Factory is one of the best restaurants in Sofia for a good morning meal. They have options for all sorts of dietary requirements, from vegan to gluten free, and the buzzing atmosphere of the tiny space makes it all feel very homely. They also have some very well–trained baristas, so the coffee is absolutely spot on.
The staff are all English speakers who can explain the menu and what special cakes are on offer that day. They’re also incredibly welcoming and friendly, despite the busy nature of the venue and its super central location, just a stone’s throw from Serdika Station.
Floret Restaurant and Bar
Located about as central as it’s possible to be in Sofia, Floret Restaurant and Bar is a true gem in the heart of the city. They serve a variety European dishes with Bulgarian twists, as well as a few other types of cuisine, preferring locally sourced food. The restaurant itself is located in the Intercontinental Hotel, and the international nature of the venue has had some impact on the style and techniques used.
The staff are all incredibly professional and quick, making sure you’re never awkwardly trying to make eye contact with them to grab a spare saltshaker or something equally mortifying. While there are tonnes of excellent options on the menu, we think the Bulgarian Mish-Mash is an absolute must as a starter. Containing roasted red peppers, tomatoes, Bulgarian white cheese, eggs, and caramelised onions, it’s an explosion of flavour that will leave you wanting more.
Thankfully, the mains are all massive (but remain high quality). Any of the local beef dishes are worth a bite, as is the Pan Fried Duck Breast, which is perfectly juicy and full of pan-Asian flavour. The cocktails are also expertly mixed, and the wine list is expansive, so if you want a tipple with lunch you’re all set.
This burger joint is a bit of a Sofia legend; after all, there’s a reason it’s on the famous Balkan Bites tours that take hungry punters around the city. An ideal spot for pigging out on some truly tasty burgers, Skapto Burger use 100% ground beef and other fresh ingredients, giving this fast-food classic a gourmet makeover.
There are a few different burgers on offer here, and all the meat ones are exceptional. With that said, the vegetarian lentil and basil burger (with gazpacho on the side) is as tasty as it is filling, and a really unique combination that just works. The fries here are also notoriously good, especially the loaded ones, which are practically oozing with deliciousness. There’s also a variety of soft drinks and beers available, if you want to add to your meal.
Unsurprisingly, this restaurant in the heart of Sofia is made up of four restored houses from the 19th century. The food is mostly Bulgarian, although there are some other pan-European favourites, but we’d heavily recommend trying some of the local dishes if you visit.
There are several dishes you can order ahead for. The best of these is the Kapama, a traditional meat dish which contains multiple animals (in this case pork, chicken, rabbit, and sausage) slow-cooked in a pot with rice and sauerkraut. There are also traditional vegetarian dishes available, as well as some intriguing specials that change every week.
The wine list is expansive and the building (now one large one) itself is absolutely gorgeous. There’s also a summer garden for the longer months, and a few exhibits showing old technology that was once in use in the houses, including a Loom shuttle. If you’re visiting during a national celebration they also run events and specials, so if you’re looking for an authentic Sofia restaurant experience, then there aren’t many better places to go. There’s also traditional folk music most evenings, so you can really take in Bulgarian culture in all its glory with a visit to Hadjidraganov’s Houses.
Cosmos playfully describe their food as ‘out of this world’, and to be frank they’re not wrong. With a focus on innovation and new flavours, this central Sofian restaurant is one of the most unique in the city. The cuisine is mostly Bulgarian with some other Balkan influences, but all with original space-themed twists. This means the incredibly friendly waitstaff are even more important to the experience, and they always deliver great service with a smile. When you add the perfectly themed décor, then it’s hard to imagine a much better eatery in the city.
While the hearty classics that make up the cuisine in this part of the world might seem like they don’t need much tweaking, what Cosmos manage to do is produce something both familiar and new; comforting yet exciting.
While you can definitely eat a la carte, the tasting menus are perfectly designed to create a taste sensation, especially when paired with drinks. Even if you want to cherry pick for yourself from a menu, we’d heavily recommend getting one of the unique house cocktails alongside your meal as they are truly exceptional.
If you’re looking for a special experience, then this is without a doubt one of the best restaurants in Sofia for it. Even without the fun factor, the food is outstanding, as is the ambience and service. A must visit for any food lover in Sofia.
Situated in the shadow of Vitosha, this ancient restaurant was once a mill, but now serves quite possibly the best traditional Bulgarian food in the country. You have to drive or take public transport to get out here, but the journey is more than worth it just for the wild surroundings; when you add the superb quality of the food, then it’s a surprise more people don’t make the trek out the city to come to this wonderful home-style restaurant.
The recipes are all handed down from family, and the décor harks back to a simpler time, although there’s also some outdoor seating with stunning views of the nearby mountains. The staff are all excellent, and even those who don’t have perfect command of English can take your order as the menus are in English as well as Bulgarian. While everything on the menu is excellent, the Chef’s Surprise is mouth-wateringly good, and will fill anyone up for days.