Annette – Rocking the Casbah

I have been to Annette on numerous occasions, but most of those visits were a few years ago.  To be honest Annette wasn’t my first choice for lunch, but due to some unlucky circumstances, it was a very pleasing alternative. 

Usually when I make plans to visit Sofia, I like to try some new restaurants or cafés.  I had 3 places in mind that I was eager to try; Cosa Nostra Gangster BarBlue Moon Thai and Soul Kitchen.  My apartment is located near Blvd. Tzar Boris III/ Gen. Totleben, so I was hoping to have lunch at Cosa Nostra. Last Monday was a beautiful and sunny day, so we decided to walk 1km (.6 ml) to the restaurant, when we arrived there was nothing but a store front with chairs stacked up inside.  I was rather pissed because I was hungry and because Restaurant & Life Magazine had written a very positive review about the place this past November.  Who knows if the magazine is still even in business, let alone the restaurant.

On to my second choice, Soul Kitchen… I couldn’t really get a handle on what sort of establishment it was, but they had pictures of food and a physical address, so into the cab we went for some healthy cuisine.  When we arrived at the address, it was a familiar spot.  The Red House cultural center, which could have housed a restaurant, but when I went and spoke with the women at the receptionist desk, they had no idea what I was talking about.  They had never heard of Soul Kitchen, which shared the same address.  My husband and I walked up and down the street to see if I had made a mistake… I am a bit dyslexic and mix up numbers all the time, but no.  Now I am really starving and my 6 month pregnant self is crumbling… Food alternative.  I am rarely in Sofia, so I like to make each meal count.
Racking my brain, I think of Angel Kunchev St, which is home to a sleu of nice eateries and shops… then Annette popped into my brain.  I hadn’t been there in years and my memories of the food were good. When we arrived, I started to pull on the wrong door and for a moment thought they too were closed and I was not getting food anytime soon… I had a mini breakdown till my husband showed me the actual door.  Yes!  We were in.  The spicy aroma wafted through the vacant restaurant… 

There are few sources, I find for decent restaurant reviews of places in Sofia and Bulgaria, in general.  Most publications and websites, review a place once and then don’t bother to re-visit to check and see if the place managed to maintain its previous review.  For example, the last and only time The Sofia Echo reviewed Annette was in 2006, plus a smattering of comments usually appear on tourist websites like Trip Advisor.  I couldn’t find any actual Bulgarian publications that had any sort of review either, just contact information. Why do I think it is important to have a good source for information on restaurants, particularly in Sofia? Because Sofia will charge exorbitant prices for a meal out and more often then not they give you nothing but dissatisfaction and aggravation.  My experiences at Annette, if my memory serves me correct were good, but I hadn’t been there since 2008. One of my favorite experiences there was when my family visited from the US and we had a lovely dinner with my new friends and my siblings.
My brother Joe & I, April 2007
My husband and I enjoyed our lunch at Annette.  I have not food pictures, because my partner hates food photography or interrupting our dinning experiences for blogging.  I managed to take some interior photos when he stepped way from the table… he he!  We started with Hummus a classic favorite, which was perfect a nice balance between the chickpea puree, tahini, lemon and garlic.  It was served with warm pita and a side of chili paste, which was more my speed.  It doesn’t compare to the fabulous hummus we enjoyed during our visit to Israel, but a tasty nonetheless.  For a main, I ordered the Chicken Tagine with Green Olives and Preserved Lemons. I have made a similar dish during my obsession with African cuisine (check out the link).  I was very happy with the flavors, but the meat was dry. Angel ordered the Falafel and pita sandwich, which was also tasty.  
Why I felt it necessary to share my experiences at Annette is because this restaurant has been around before I arrived in Bulgaria in 2006, but it shouldn’t be passed over.  It has endured, which might be due to the exoticness of the cuisine (by Bulgarian standards) and elevated prices (the hummus was a bit over 6lv with 2 pieces of pita and my tagine was close to 12lv), but also it seems to have remained fairly consistent, which is important.
When is my next trip to Annette? I can’t say for sure.  They have a nice outdoor seating area, which will be lovely during the summer, when I will be mulling around Sofia in May waiting for baby.

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Author: caseyangelova

Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgaria

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