For a Wednesday afternoon at a quarter to one, Atelier was packed, even a notable name like culinary personality Uti stopped by. It was and good thing my friend made a reservation because there was not a free spot. During one of my visits to previous visits to Sofia, I stumbled upon Atelier, which happens to be in one of my favorite neighborhoods, Dr’s Garden. It had been on my list to visit for some time.
In French “atelier” means workshop or studio and Atelier’s walls are adorn with photographs highlighting Bulgaria’s most famous artists… including Kyustendil’s Vladimir Dimitrov – the Master.
Unfortunately, with most new places that I visit in Bulgaria, I am always filled with skepticism. When the interior is well designed and clean, trying to give off a certain vibe, I wonder did they put the same attention and emphasis on the food? Does the carpet match the drapes? Atelier did not disappoint. I was quite satisfied with our starters. Of the four on the menu we shared three of them
The Spicy Shrimp with fresh Zucchini with Rosemary and Parmesan Crisps, was tasty. The crisps were actually crispy and not greasy, which can be tricky. The shrimp were well cooked and not rubbery, but it lacked the heat that name indicated and an apparent absence of rosemary.
We also shared freshly baked soda breads, one was served with an eggplant mousse and tomato confit. The other came with marinated feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes and olives. I was really happy with the the flavor and execution of the food.
My main was ultimately the most satisfying. I ordered the Pork Shanks served with gently steamed oysters in cognac with dried plums and olives. The meat was perfectly cooked, tender yet succulent. The sauce paired well with the oysters, plums and olives. My friends ordered the pork ribs and beef tenderloin. They were both content.
The intellectual French bistro vibe was well established. The menu includes more of an international fare and a big upset for me was the absence of Bulgaria wine. If you are going to highlight Bulgarian artists, why not include the talented winemakers in one’s own country, rather than importing old world and new world wine? I hope this place continues to mature and considers creating a more seasonal menu, zucchini’s don’t grow fresh in January, neither do eggplants or tomatoes… I will be eager to return in the warmer months. Another reason to spend more time in the area.
16 Prof. Assen Zlatarov St./ул. Проф. Асен Златаров 16
Phone: +359 (0)88 620 27 17