Bulgarian cuisine is heartier moreso than adventurous, usually based on meat, seafood, vegetables, cheese, and yogurt, with noticeable Greek and Turkish influences. The Bulgarian fruit brandy, rakia, has been produced since the 14th century and the country is also well known for its wine. The folksy culture encourages relaxed, affordable, social meals and partying.
Bars and Pubbing in Bulgaria
Sofia may be the national capital, but the resort towns are better known for their nightlife, particularly in the summer high season. The Varna seafront promenade of Sunny Beach is the best area for clubs, such as the DJ driven Mania Disco Club (Main Street 8240, Sunny Beach). The ultra hip Bedroom is a popular dance spot with venues at both Sunny Beach (Cacao Beach, Sunny Beach) and Sofia (3 Narodno Sabranie Square Sofia).
Sofia, of course, is not without watering holes, with trendy spots such as the ever popular Buddha Bar (Rila Hotel, 15A Lege St, Sofia). Alternatively, those who fancy a British style pub or want to catch an international sports game can head to The Fox & Hound (34 Angel Kanchev tr Sofia) or the Irish Harp (7 Sveta Sofia Str). Most bars are open from 10:00 a.m. until midnight, after which point revelers move onto the clubs. Those who like live music can head to venues like Backstage (100, Vasil Levski Blvd, Sofia) which has a bar, stage and pool hall.
The mountain resort town of Bansko is also great for going out, particularly in winter. There are a lot of traditional Bulgarian taverns such as the famous Voyvodata Tavern (16 Pirin Str, Bansko), serving local wines and beer, particularly around the terraces of Nikola Vaptsarov place or Pirin Street, The clubs and discos offer dancing and DJs until about 2:00 a.m. at venues like Oxygen (Bulgaria Street, Bansko).
Dining and Cuisine in Bulgaria
A typical Bulgarian meal will usually be served with a shopska salad made from feta, chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and onion. Meat on skewers and moussaka are other popular dishes which can be found at traditional restaurants like Trops Kashta (Knyaz Boris I, Varna). The Happy Bar and Grill (25 Osvoboditel Blvd, Varna) is well known and serves cheap, tasty food on a balcony with views of the beach.
Sofia is the place to go for high-end dining with restaurants such as Lebed (Pancharevo lake, Serdica, Sofia) serving up exciting modern cuisine in chic environments. Sidoniya (Hristo Belchev 29B, residence Anastasia, Sofia) is another upscale joint which serves highly rated innovative fusion food. There are other cuisines on offer as well, with La Capannina (9 Narodno Sabranie Sq., Sofia) that focuses on Italian or L’etranger (ul. Tsar Simeon 78, Sofia) which specializes in French cuisine.