Food! For some it is only a need, for other it is an adventure. For third it is a religion! One thing is for sure – the food is invariable element of every national culture. This is why today the culinary is the base of entire tourism industry – gastro tourism. There’s barely a person who doesn’t appreciate well cooked and tasty meal. The ones who love it even more fly over oceans just to taste the secrets of a restaurant with a Michelin star. There isn’t a Michelin star restaurant in Plovdiv, but the city is definitely a part of the European culinary map. If you’re in Plovdiv take an hour or two to enjoy the delicious proposals that are culinary oases according to citizens with a good taste.
Lostinplovdiv.com presents 12 restaurants you most definitely must visit. This is not a ranking,
but our subjective assessment of places with quality food, service and atmosphere. We're sure the gastronome in you will be pleased. Here are our choices:
1.”Hebros” – The restaurant is situated in a hotel with the same name in the Old Town, which is a Revival house – a monument of the culture. “Hebros” is a light emblem of Slow Food not only in Plovdiv, but in the entire country. In November, 2004 here was discovered the first Slow Food club “Old Town Plovdiv”, a branch of the international movement. The restaurant features a high-class, outstanding cuisine and some details that will satisfy even the most discerning people. You will use silver cutlery, the main dish is served under a silver hood. In "Hebros" you can taste appetizing meals from Bulgarian and international cuisine, prepared with seasonal products. Among our favorites dishes are amazing traditional medley, stew of green beans, stuffed peppers with cheese and Parmesan, frogs' legs and snails with wild rice, foie gras, beef fillet with mushrooms and pickled garlic and duck magret. There are often degustation of wines accompanied by specialties of the house. The menu is short, but various and seasonal. After all of the above we’ll mention that the restaurant won the distinction "Restaurant of the Year" in Bulgaria for 2003.
2.”Pavaj” – the pearl in district Kapana. The small two floored place located in the heart of the art area, become popular only for a couple of months. Because of the kitchen design and service the restaurant is already a favorite place not only of natives but of many guests. With simple but very tasty menu "Pavaj“ won the hearts of connoisseurs from near and far. Cakes for breakfast, tselapica babek or flat sausage from horse meat for lunch or juicy ribs with fresh salads for dinner – you have a choice. The products are extremely quality, the fruits and vegetables are collected from the owners Madlen and Raichos personal garden. Lost in Plovdiv recommends you to try veal cheeks or Mimi Ivanova’s meatballs, named after the popular Bulgarian singer. Even the actor Adrien Brody fell for them. Don’t skip the special rakiyas from the menu. Try the quince one. Brody did and he was much pleased.
Photo: Krasimir Dobrev
3.”Gusto”- The best pizza in Plovdiv! The restaurant focuses on Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, but the pizzas are the icing on the menu. Keen fans of "Gusto" say that there aren’t so delicious pizzas even in Rome. It is prepared on firebox with great dough and high quality Italian products. The lasagna and pasta are also very tempting. The restaurant is located in the heart of the city, in an emblematic corner house, which is among the urban architectural jewels. It will not take you long to find it. Ask for classic Pepperoni pizza, you'll understand why.
4.”Hemingway” - the combination of flavors and freshly baked bread make an impression from afar. Flavors from Bulgaria, Italy and France are mixed in one, with a modern interpretation from master chefs. The restaurant is located at the center of Plovdiv, a few meters from City Hall. The products in “Hemingway” are Bulgarian. Many of them - authentic deli meat and cheeses are produced specifically by the establishment of small artisan farms. The gastronomy prism of “Hemingway” is broken at different and substandard point of views. Try fish and seafood, veal steak or duck. And do not miss the foie gras.
5. “Salt and pepper” – the two floored restaurant located behind the Monument of the Unification became emblematic for quality cuisine. All thanks to one of the most famous chefs in Bulgaria Nikolay Borukov. If there is a man in Plovdiv, for who culinary is obsession, not just a profession, it is chef Borukov. If you visit “Salt and pepper” you will definitely meet him – he’s always there. He will ask you “Was the meal good?” Borukov relies on international cuisine. The menu at "Salt and Pepper" is changing constantly, depending on the season and chefs passions. And there are a lot of them – from truffle and porcini, dishes with lobster and octopus, to dishes with pheasant and venison. He doesn’t overlook traditional Bulgarian cuisine. The cabbage leaves are unforgettable. We can recommend many things, but will focus on a few. Beef steak with roasted vegetables, served with fresh salad of baby spinach, blue cheese and avocado, fragile cock, hen specialty as long as it’s on the menu. Do not miss the fresh pasta and chef Borukovs copyright terrines.
6.”Odeon”- undoubtedly one of the most elite restaurants in Plovdiv will confuse you from the
beginning. You’ll ask yourself if you visit a restaurant, a hotel or a gallery. And the answer will be always Yes! The restaurant is situated in hotel "Odeon" who’s looking over the ancient Odeon of Philippopolis. There are paintings of famous Plovdiv artists on its walls, so even if you're not hungry, take a look. The restaurant offers perhaps the most advanced urban cuisine led by specializing in top restaurants in America Harry Sopadiyan. Foie gras on brioche with poached pear and quince jelly from. Fillet of sole with Brussels sprouts, mashed sweet potatoes, bacon and radicchio with balsamic. Overall French cockerel with a special sauce. Dairy beef with bacon, served with ravioli and ricotta, mashed carrot and coriander, peas, mix of wild mushrooms, parmesan, lemon juice and sauce with caramelized shallots. Homemade pasta with veal brains. Momichki lamb with buckwheat and brown rice. Those are only small part from Harry’s unconventional proposals.Yet, he doesn’t forget the traditional Bulgarian cuisine. For example: In the “Odeon” you can taste some of the most delicious hominy in town. Don’t miss the soups as well. Lost in Plovdiv favorites are the pumpkin soup and soup from baked red peppers. If you want something classical.
7.”Atlas” - Bulgarian and classical European cuisines are presented with style. On the first floor awaits walls of natural semiprecious stone onyx and ebony branches. The 6-meter walls on the second floor come alive through scenic, artistic animations creeping on the curves of architectural ornamentation of the hall, thanks to 3D mapping. The restaurant offers a large selection of wines aimed at got with a long history in winemaking.
8.”Porky’s BBQ” - if you want to eat delicious barbecue in a friendly atmosphere, this is the place. The lunch menu is nutritious. The rich list of dishes is with an emphasis in pork and veal. You can order a whole roast pig and lamb balls while the aroma is spreading around. The prides of the chefs are meatballs, porketa, Brezovsko tray and veal cheeks. Don’t miss "Porky’s BBQ" or you will be angry with yourself!
9.”Mikonos”- the Greek restaurant will win you over with its rich selection of fish meals and traditional Greek cuisine. The welcoming in "Mikonos" is warm. The staff will offer you a wide variety of seafood, accompanied by appropriate wines. The location and appearance of the restaurant is combination between Greek culture and sea elements, and this is not surprising. The place is situated right next to the water, only hundred meters away of the Regatta venue and Maritsa River. Actually, if there is a true seafood restaurant in Plovdiv it’s “Mikonos”. We strongly recommend wild sea bream and sea bass, tarama fish roe, Greek appetizers and meat specialties. But most impressive is the octopus. The best in town!
10.”Osteria Rosmarino”- it’s like you’re in Italy. The family restaurant will surprise you with wonderfully prepared Italian cuisine, delicious pizzas and desserts. The bread is baked on the spot. The pasta is fresh and classic. The tagliatelle with veal ragout are very outstanding. We recommend to always order a fresh pasta. It’s little more expensive, but the difference is worth every penny. The steaks here are close to perfection. The same goes for the antipasto. Do not miss the sea food- you will feel the taste of the Mediterranean.
11.”Gluharcheto”- very colorful and fresh, just like its cuisine. You will discover a different cuisine, which offers tempting fresh salads, combining arugula, spinach, iceberg lettuce and sweet fruits. The cooks interpret the meals in their own way to present familiar recipes in unexpected variations.
12.”Poco Loco”- ask anyone for Ricardos thin mustache and golden hands. Ricardo and his better half Maria run their home restaurant in neighborhood “Karshiaka” for years. It’s not in the center of Plovdiv but his pasta is so good that Lostinplovdiv team will go as far as it gets. We’ll travel even to Italy. Fortunately, the maestro has no intention of leaving Plovdiv. The strange thing in “Poco Loco” is that this is a Mexican – Italian restaurant. Ricardo specialization is Mexican food. He mastered tortillas, tacos and burritos to perfection. But, as we know, the truth is in the Italian cuisine. Ricardo delivers all specific products for the meals from his homeland. In fact, one of his fantastic antipasto can feed you. But you must continue and beyond. Try his meat specialties, pizzas or traditional Italian mess. In our humble opinion it the unpretentious restaurant you can have the best pasta in town. We strongly recommend tagliatelle with cuttlefish ink. It will make you scream with pleasure. If you don’t like the idea, try classic carbonara or pasta with seafood. And don’t stop there. If you want the whole pack, you should find strength for some of Ricardo and Maria’s home deserts. If you’re lucky, you’ll have the chance to taste their home made panna cotta. Maria also makes her own ice cream, and Ricardo serves it with his own Limoncello. They are both generous so they might surprise you with a compliment. Another interesting aspect for “Poco Loco”is that Ricardo welcomes and send away the costumers in Italian. Mamma mia!
13. Smokini - Not far from the Kapana district and the Old Plovdiv, Smokini is the perfect location when you want to relax, enjoy delicious and well-prepared food and experiment with different tastes. The menu is enviably varied and the specialties prepared incredibly well combine tradition and innovation. They do not stop putting a great amount of creativity in every dish. They like to provoke the client. From a smile on the door, through a pleasant interior to fast service, they always try to provide their guests with positive emotions.