Pod Lipite restaurant, SofiaWe loved this traditional country tavern, just on the edge of the Borisova Gradina Park, while we were visiting Bulgaria’s capital.

Pod Lipite, which means ‘under the linden trees’ opened as a pub in the 1920s. The cozy, casual environment, with its wood and stone interiors and long tables, is a great place to enjoy traditional Bulgarian food.

Although it was too cool during our springtime visit, there’s also outdoor dining in the warmer weather.

Pod Lipite restaurant, Sofia
Tarator soup and Bulgarian beer

Bulgarian food is very good, with the typical meat-based specialties of the Balkans, but mixed with a surprising amount of vegetable dishes to accompany them. I wanted to try the national dish, Tarator soup, which is  a cold soup made of yogurt and cucumber and topped with dill, garlic and walnuts.

Shopska salad is another Bulgarian specialty, with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers and white brine cheese, with a  light oil.

Pod Lipite restaurant, SofiaPod lipite has many excellent grilled meat dishes and freshly-baked breads. The Banitsa, a filo pastry pie with the white brine cheese, egg, and meat filling, was also excellent.

Bulgaria produces very good wine and excellent beer. Both accompany the local specialties well. Bulgaria – like its Balkan neighbors – is also well known for its rakia, made from grapes.

Pod Lipite restaurant, SofiaPod lipite also has musicians playing folk music, and my young sons especially enjoyed this, in particular when the women at a neighboring table got up to dance traditional folk dancing to the music. My youngest must have learned something, because a couple of days later, he joined in the line of a folk dancing group on a Sofia square. We were proud to see his newly-acquired Bulgarian dancing skills…

So enjoy traditional Bulgarian food in the rustic Pod lipite restaurant on your next visit to Sofia. And on that visit, be sure to stop by to visit the beautiful frescoes of the Boyana church.