What I have found at SkaraBar is something completely different from any other establishments I have visited in Sofia or Bulgaria for that matter. To begin the place has a hip vibe that you would expect to find in a more cosmopolitan city, but the real gem for me is that the food and the concept is simple and well executed, grilled meat and seasonal salads made with the good ingredients and technique. The idea is something that more Bulgarian establishments should strive to achieve; take the ubiquitous grilled meats and make them something worthy of a proper restaurant, not just some after thought or quick grub in a shack between a tourist destination and a city.
Bulgaria has a wonderful traditional cuisine, which, while very similar to the rest of Eastern Europe, but has facets that are uniquely their own and instead of embracing the rich culinary culture they possess, most restaurants helplessly fumble with international cuisine, cheap marketing ploys and “luxurious” décor to sell the customer an inferior product. Very rarely do you find a Bulgarian restaurant that focuses on the foundations of good Bulgarian cuisine and that I find is what makes SkaraBar special.
I am not one to believe everything I read, but the fact that they took the effort to state where ingredients are sourced and who they are prepared by is rather uncommon and on their menu it means a lot, but it was rather funny that it was only found on the English version of the menu. My husband wasn’t able to find it on the the Bulgarian one. Do they think that Bulgarian’s don’t care about such information or are they catering to the foreign clientele?
Angel and I were joining our friends for lunch and SkaraBar, which was one of my friend’s husband’s favorite spots. He was a little apprehensive about introducing me to one of his lunch time haunt because he knows just how critical I can be when we are dinning out. He didn’t want me to point out things that would flaw the restaurant in his eyes, which is understandable.
They did the ordering because we were running late from my Dr.’s appointment, so I started with a green salad, while we waited for our mains to arrive. I normally avoid green salads, but for some reason, I was in the mood, maybe it was the sundried tomoateos and parmesan or pregnancy? It was a nice salad with a decent salad dressing, not just oil and vinegar. I was a bit disappointed at the flavor of the ruccola, which lacked characteristic peppery bite, but having worked at a restaurant in Sofia and just being a consumer, I understand how hard it is to get good ruccola, unless you grow your own… which I do!
Next our mains came out, a lovely platter of homemade kebabcheta and kyufteta with cabbage and carrot salad, fries and lutenitza… I was so famished that I dug in along with everyone else before I had a chance to snap a shot… The plate presentation was basic, but the food was excellent. I was very satisfied.
My experience at SkaraBar was surprisingly excellent. I very rarely have such warm and positive things to say about an establishment in Sofia and I am really looking forward to returning and visiting their flagship location, which I hear has a nice outdoor eating area in the spring/summer.
As we were leaving, I needed to point out the absurdity of the door placement. My husband trying to be the gentleman ended up in an awkward position… Sometimes you just can’t win them all!
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