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Eating vegan in Sofia: Where to get amazing food in Bulgaria's capital

A bird's eye view of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria
If I asked you to name some of Europe's greatest cities for vegan eating, what would you say? London would be up there, Berlin for sure, and where else? After a recent trip, I've got a suggestion -- Bulgaria's capital, Sofia.

In the summer, I took a trip to Bulgaria -- my first visit to the country, and a holiday I'd booked in the middle of exam stress. After I got off the plane, my first impressions were I'd made a mistake -- why had I decided to fly three hours to get to what looked like a non-descript post-industrial city. My friends, Sofia grew on me massively over the few days we were there. By the end of the trip, I'd fallen in love with the parks, the buildings, the museums, the bars, the history -- and did I mention the vegan food? Oh yes, that was cracking.

We didn't eat a bad meal in Sofia, and we ate a lot of really good ones. Not expecting to be so deluged with so many great restaurants, we'd booked an AirBnB expecting we'd need to cook for ourselves. We didn't eat in once - we managed to find somewhere delicious to eat every night.

Here's the dish I ended up eating on the last night, from a chain called Sunmoon.

Sunmoon is a veggie bakery and restaurant with a few branches in Sofia, and it has the advantage of being open late throughout the week, so if you've been out sightseeing and you wanting to eat at 9pm, SunMoon will sort you out. Sure, 9pm might not be late for a dinner in a lot of Europe, but there aren't many places open til 10pm when we looked.

Anyway, back to the food. It's all veggie, and there are a good number of vegan and veganisable options. I got myself a bowl of tarator, a Bulgarian dill and yoghurt (vegan for me, obvs) soup, a really nice simple cooling dish. There were also pizzas on the menu, one of which was veganised on Mr Flicking the Vs' request.

We popped into another branch the next morning to pick up some vegan baked goods, including banitsa, a Bulgarian pastry. Sunmoon had a few types of banitsa on sale, including a vegan one that was stuffed with veggies and fearsomely salty olives. I managed to pick up some chocolatey cakey goodness too.

Another stop on our Bulgarian eat-a-thon was Kring, a great buffet place.

Buffets: The choose-your-own-adventure of vegan food
As I've mentioned before, I love a buffet. I mean, I LOVE a buffet. I love piling my plate high with a completely weird mix of dishes that would never otherwise share a plate. They might feel uncomfortable about it, but I wasn't. I made myself a mix of salads, spuds, noodles and spinachy-tofu. Prices won't hurt your wallet, and there's enough vegan fare there that there's bound to be something you like.

There are also vegan desserts to be had, like this big old slice of cake:

Two forks, because I was sharing. (Or should that be 'sharing'?)
Other places that we stuffed our faces at but don't have photos for (other summer events: the sad death of my old phone, and all the photos I forgot to save...)

Edgy Veggy - if you're craving your vegan meats and cheeses, or burgers as big as your first, and you want them with big-hearted service as well, Colibri Kitchen's the place to go. There's wraps, salads, burgers, soups, and all sorts of comfort food, and it's just off Vitosha Boulevard, the big thoroughfare through the heart of the city. Recommended.

Dream House - this one's located in the back of a mini shopping mall, past the entrance for a backpacker's hostel. It sounds a bit tricky to find, but plough on and you'll get there. The food is a globe-trotting mix of cuisines, from local to Greek, Chinese and Indian. The mains need rice or similar to bulk them up, which the menu handily doesn't mention. Solid but nothing to write home about.

My favourite of our Bulgarian eats was Soul Kitchen, which we stumbled into near closing time on an unforgiving and rainy evening. It's one of the more expensive vegan options in the city, but by London standards it's still a bargain. We went back twice it was that good.

This autumnal delight was my favourite:
One of my favourite vegan meals in Sofia
Sweet potatoes, pearl barley, asparagus with the most gorgeous gravy... If I asked you to make me up a plate of some of my favourite things to eat in the world, it would probably look a lot like this. Every single bite was a little bit of heaven, and proof that you don't need exotic ingredients or meat replacements to make a gorgeous meal (and I speak as a big fan of both!) This was simplicity itself, and I still remember how good it was a few months later.

We ate at Soul Kitchen twice -- Mr Flicking the Vs was a big fan of their pizza, I felt the same way about their desserts and beers. Food this good is normally way out of my price range in London, so if you need a bit of vegan indulgence in Sofia, head over to Soul Kitchen.

So, there you have it, a quick vegan tour of Sofia. I didn't expect to enjoy the city, and all its vegan restaurants, as much as I did, and I definitely didn't think I'd be advising you to add it to your travel list. Turns out I've never been so happy to be completely wrong. Do yourself a favour and go.

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  1. Bulgaria!!!?? Is this coming into vogue? I had to tear myself away from Great Uncle Bulgaria thoughts and look it up on a map! The food sounds lovely - I am really in awe of that plate from the buffet - I love a good buffet too! And I sympathise about the phone dying - I have had so much technological change over the last couple of months and it has driven me batty trying to save data and get back into all my accounts.

  2. Ooooh, this is wonderful to hear! I've been eyeing a ski trip to Bansko, Bulgaria, because there's a vegan-friendly ski chalet that's relatively inexpensive. (I don't ski but I feel like Bulgaria could be a fun place to learn!) I'll have to add a few days in Sofia if I go!


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