A phenomenon in Plovdiv’s culinary scene - that’s how we can define Pavaj, the restaurant in the heart of Kapana district. For a little over a year the establishment became a favorite gastro nook of the citizens of Plovdiv and the guests of the city. For its brief existence it grabbed all the possible culinary awards. Pavaj is a favorite place of the readers of lostinplovdiv.com as well as the audience of Bacchus, the most prestigious thematic publication about gastronomy in Bulgaria. Pavaj won in two of the categories in the annual Restaurant of the year awards – Delicious place and Restaurant of the audience. It was declared a favorite place of the citizens of Plovdiv in the first annual awards for tourism of  Plovdiv Municipality.

The idea for Pavaj was born during a romantic dinner and grew into a business plan which became more than successful. The owners Raycho and Madlen dived into this adventure two and a half years ago and started with hunting the right place for their dream of a small family restaurant. They saw the potential of the Kapana district and that is why they rented an old small house in Zlatarska Street. They transformed the place into a small and cozy restaurant with a lot of taste and attention to detail and with the main purpose of making the customers feel at home. The guide of Plovdiv loves delicious food but is also fond of telling interesting stories from the city. This is exactly what lostinplovdiv.com will do today.

Pavaj opened and started welcoming visitors in the winter of 2015. Initially Raycho and Madlen worked with a little staff – two cooks and three waiters, but in time they grew into a united team helping each other and trying hard to provide an excellent experience for the customers. The design itself is not pretentious. There is only a striving for friendliness making you feel satisfied with your time there.

The restaurant’s secret is in using only fresh produce. There is no freezer in the kitchen. 6-7 hours are spent shopping every day. Kneading and baking the bread, by grandma’s recipe, takes two hours every morning. The meat and fish are also selected in specialized stores and the vegetables are from the owners’ personal garden, located 20 km outside of Plovdiv.

The menu itself is made by a student studying in the only Bulgarian culinary academy. It is small in order to keep the idea of entirely fresh produce. Pavaj quickly became famous with its incredible ribs, beef cheeks and Mimi Ivanova meatballs. The soup broth is made in the restaurant from the cooked meat and without mixing it with additives.

The Plovdiv guide recommends: The desserts are also a must-try in Pavaj. They serve homemade ice-cream made of raspberries and strawberries, mekitsas (traditional Bulgarian breakfast made of deep fried kneaded dough, served with jam or honey  and white cheese) and other delicious things. They’ll have a weekly menu very soon. It will be different every day. The truth is that there is no order with the food. Sometimes the starter and the main course are ready at the same time but this is because the kitchen is very small. This is why they have a one-hour break every afternoon – in order to get ready for the evening.

Apart from the food the wines are also worth trying. They are all from Bulgarian producers and most are from regional wine-cellars. As far as the rakia list – it has over 40 kinds of rakia from Bulgaria and the Balkans. The best Serbian rakias for the previous year and some from Serbian monasteries are delivered.

So if you want to try delicious Bulgarian cuisine with its own signature or to enjoy a strawberry sorbet in the heart of Kapana district you know where to go.