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Ah, traveling as a vegan… By now you have probably realized that I love food and travel equally. And there’s not much I like more than finding vegan food in new and unfamiliar destinations. That has not changed on my recent trip to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. So, of course, I’m reviewing all the vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Sofia that I went to. Sadly, some places have already closed down so I had to remove them less than three years after my visit. And then there are new vegan restaurants in Sofia that I haven’t had the pleasure of trying yet.
Sofia is a pretty vegan-friendly city where I was even able to find vegan snacks (cookies and crackers) in the supermarket, something that’s not at all the case here in neighboring Greece. On top of that, German drug store chain DM has a presence in Bulgaria, and they also offer organic and vegan foods and drinks. This is such an advantage if you’re a vegan traveler in Sofia. But it didn’t stop there.
If You’re Looking for Vegan Restaurants in Sofia
I’ll start with my favorite vegan restaurant in Sofia called Soul Kitchen. The name attracted me because of the 2013 Fatih Akin movie (do check it out if you haven’t already).
Getting to Soul Kitchen took a bit of walking, and it was a tad difficult to find because the directions on Google Maps turned out to be wrong. As soon as I reached the restaurant I fell in love with it. The music beautifully matched the name with Erykah Badu playing the whole time I was there (vegan food and great music!).
I was seated in the gorgeous backyard. Soul Kitchen feels like a slightly more upscale place, and the prices reflect that even though they’re still average by European standards. I decided I’d have the flattop veggies which were grilled vegetables (potatoes, asparagus, peppers, zucchini, lettuce, carrots, radish, and celery) with chimichurri sauce. The presentation was very pretty and added to the whole atmosphere. It was a very flavorful dish and to be honest the first time I had ever heard of chimichurri. It’s always great to find out about new dishes (or sauces, dips, etc.), and I’ll definitely need to recreate the sauce.
Soul Kitchen is really worth venturing slightly out of the city center for as the atmosphere was by far the best I experienced in Sofia (even the bill was presented in a box with dried flowers, how cute is that?!). If you’re looking for vegan restaurants in Sofia but also want something a little more special make sure you come here for dinner at least once.
Kokiche Street 13. Open Monday to Sunday 11:30 am to 10 pm.
There are a few other vegan restaurants in Sofia that I didn’t get the chance to try because it was August and a lot of places were closed. Edgy Veggy and KIND have particularly good reviews and are very centrally located. Let me know in the comments if you have any favorite vegan restaurants in Sofia.
Vegetarian Restaurants in Sofia
The next day, sadly, it rained pretty much all day and the temperature dropped significantly. From 37°C on Saturday, it went down to 18°C on Sunday. Having only sandals and a sleeveless dress with me, I needed to spend the day inside. What better place to go for lunch in such conditions than a tea house called Veda House?!
Veda House is very centrally located and while the name suggests strong ties to India (and indeed, they offer Ayurvedic teas and Asian-inspired dishes) is part of a tea culture that Bulgaria shares with Romania (check out my vegan guide to Bucharest, to read about a quaint little place called Bohemia Tea House).
Veda House is not the only tea house in Sofia, but I didn’t have the chance to visit any of the others. Aside from their Ayurvedic (and other) teas, they also have a decent vegetarian menu including several vegan dishes. I chose one of the Ayurvedic teas and the veggie tofu which included okra, broccoli, and peppers, as well as a bit of chili, sesame, cashews, and ginger. The food was really good and filling, and Veda House was the perfect place to stay warm. There’s a lovely seating area upstairs with pillows, but as I was wearing a dress I stayed downstairs at a regular table with chairs.
Since I really liked Veda House and some other places I wanted to go to were closed when I visited, I decided to pay them a second visit the next day with much better weather. The warmer temperature and sunshine allowed me to sit outside and have a chia, banana, and strawberry smoothie. For lunch, I had the seitan with quinoa and vegetables which was as delicious as the tofu with vegetables. I don’t usually like seitan, but this dish was really yummy. Veda House is definitely a nice vegetarian option if you’re not focused on only visiting vegan restaurants in Sofia.
Gladstone Street 2. Open Monday to Sunday 10:30 am to 10:30 pm.
On Sunday and Monday, I had dinner at a place around the corner from Veda House. Sun Moon (“Слънце Луна” in Bulgarian) has several outlets, but as this one was really close to my Airbnb, I decided to go there twice. While it’s also a bakery, I didn’t manage to buy any of their breads, but the ones I saw on display looked really good and healthy.
Sun Moon is a vegetarian place, but they can veganize many of their dishes. What is different about Sun Moon is that they have a Bulgarian section on the menu which is great for people who want a taste of authentic Bulgarian cuisine without animal cruelty. So unless you only want to go to vegan restaurants in Sofia I suggest you give them a try.
I ordered the vegan St. George’s Tempeh which was super delicious and authentic (my father was a chef from Bulgaria, so I know Bulgarian food). It came with mushroom rice and a nice salad and was very filling.
To people not used to Bulgarian food, the dish may be a bit too oily, and some French tourists even found their food too salty. But if you’re used to Balkan food you’ll love being able to taste familiar food made vegan.
I also ordered one of the sweets that were available in the bakery and took it home with me to eat the next day. It was absolutely scrumptious. I forgot to write down the ingredients, but I believe it was called “Love Triangle” so look out for that if you ever find yourself at Sun Moon.
As they were out of the burger that I was going to order, I decided to simply go for the vegan St. George’s Tempeh again. After all, it was really tasty and I knew I wouldn’t be able to have it again as I was about to travel back home the next day. I should really use more tempeh when cooking.
The location I went to seems to have closed down, but you can try the restaurant on September 6th 39, the bakery on Tsar Asen 80, and the shop on Solunska 33. Even if you want to try some of the strictly vegan restaurants in Sofia I suggest you head to Sun Moon at least once for their take on traditional Bulgarian cuisine.
Sadly, I didn’t find any breakfast places which is something that I really miss after the amazing vegan breakfast I got to enjoy in Hamburg. I suppose Sun Moon would have had some breakfast options, but I didn’t really get around to going that early.
Overall, Sofia is not exactly a vegan paradise, but for Balkan standards, I’d say it has quite a decent number of options. As it’s a pretty cheap city as well you could even splurge and get some really high-quality meals here for the same amount of money that a vegan burger might cost you in Western Europe.
Have you been to the Balkan region as a vegan? Have you tried any vegan or veganized Balkan dishes? What are your favorite vegan restaurants in Sofia?