Bulgaria is a wonderful European country with a rich cuisine. Before we visited the country, we did a great deal of research as to the most delicious and wholesome food in the Balkan region. It turned out that the country is famous for its variety of dairy products, as well as fresh produce especially when they’re in season.
The east coast of Bulgaria is bordered by the Black Sea, and this is where its famous and picturesque resorts are concentrated. The country also has vast access to the Danube River, Europe’s second largest river, as well as numerous high-altitude streams and lakes. Little wonder, Bulgaria’s rich aquaculture provides them with saltwater and freshwater food such as sprats, mussels, Black Sea fish as well as crabs and lobsters.
You can find a huge number of restaurants, tavernas, cafes and fast food joints — and we visited only the seaside towns and cities in Bulgaria, not yet the entire country!
Prices of food though, can differ very greatly. You can see that the pricing of the food establishments depends largely on a resort’s popularity. For example, prices in restaurants in Sunny Beach or Golden Sands are two to three times higher than those in Pomorie. The location also plays a big factor to the pricing of the food — if the restaurant is located on the most touristy area or boasts a nice view of the sea, either of them will factor in to what will the restaurant charges you. You can also count in the restaurant’s ambiance, the variety or the rarity of the ingredients and the services offered.
Apart from the traditional Bulgarian cuisine, the restaurants in the country also offer international cuisine such as Japanese and Russian.
To attract more customers, restaurants employ “barkers” at the outside of the entrance to attract and beckon hungry folks.
Another thing about eating out in Bulgaria is tipping. It is not necessarily to leave gratuities, but the sum is usually rounded to a whole (despite the check). If you are patient to wait for your change in one lev, they may bring it to you, though it is possible that you receive them in smallest coins. Otherwise, the waiter can be greatly offended by your tipping and would simply ignore you.
The cheapest option for buying food in Bulgaria is, of course, is to buy products in shops, supermarkets or markets. But even here you may encounter some snags. For instance, the market may not have the product you need and you can not sample their foodstuffs. Differences in the prices of supermarket goods are not much.
During our holiday in Bulgaria we didn’t eat out much (as we had decided), since we had free breakfast in the hotel every morning. We decided to taste Bulgarian food products. Their prices were a little higher than in our country, but the quality could not be compared.
We bought products in the local supermarket “Mladost,” which is a great convenient store located in the new part of Nessebar. It seemed to us that this is the most optimal way to eat food in Bulgaria, as prices there were slightly lower than in others. In addition, the main advantage is its unbeatable location, as it was situated along the way from the beach to our hotel. You can find everything there — from food to toiletries to children’s food and nutrition products. This is where the local buy their essentials daily. There we also saw a wide variety of Bulgarian products: such as all kinds of local cheeses, sausages, fish, pates, sweet treats, as well as fruits and vegetables. We even saw products imported from Greece.
A few days after our arrival, we stumbled upon a product promo in the supermarket. We had to buy a certain brand of sausage for the sum from 5 levs, with the possibility of winning of such products up to the amount of 100 levs. A nice gift for us was a prize in 10 levs.
We were very quite pleased with the quality of foods. Sausages, dairy products and fresh fish were flavorful and delicious — they were made of no less than all-natural ingredients. Even cookies in Bulgaria contrasted sharply to our usual sweets — they were packed with nutritive goodness as they were delicious. Probably, it is connected with the preparation of the country’s accession to the EU.
Approximate prices for popular foods in supermarket “Mladost” in Nessebar:
- water (1.5 liter) -0.39 levs;
- Juices Bravo (2 l) – 3.61 levs;
- Coca-cola (2 l) – 2.31 levs
- Yogurt drink Danon (290 ml) – 1.12 levs;
- Nescafe coffee in sticks (18 g) – 0.32 levs;
- bread (700 g) – 0.96 levs;
- pasta (400 g) – 1.19 levs;
- spice (35 g in glass) – 0.84 levs;
- ham (1 kg) – 15.61 levs ;
- sausages (260 g) – 3.28 levs ;
- cheese (1 kg) -7.73 levs;
- cheese Hochland (140 g) – 2.80 levs;
- pates (300 g) – 1.66 levs ;
- sheep cheese (800 g) – 10.60 levs;
- butter (200 g) -2.32 levs;
- sandwich (175 g) – 2.35 levs;
- meat (1 kg of pork) – 8.65 levs;
- fish (Rollmops 250 g in a jar) -2.69 levs;
- olives (1 kg) – 4.80 levs;
- olive oil (500 ml) – 9.69 levs;
- canned corn (540 g) – 2.36 levs;
- canned mushrooms (500 ml) – 2.95 levs
- canned peaches (0,5 ml) – около 5 levs;
- baby nutrition (400 g) – 12.63 levs;
- ice cream (1,2 l) – 2.45 levs;
- jam (700 g in bucket) -2.94 levs;
- chocolate (100 g) – from 1.81 levs;
- peaches (1 kg) – 1.50 levs;
- grapes (1 kg) – 1.50 levs;
- figs (1 kg) – 2.55 levs;
- beer (1 l) – 1.90 levs.
However, we brought our fruits at the market in Pomorie near the bus station. There was a wide range of different fruits and the prices were affordable. However, only the freshest ones caught our attention. We didn’t find such a fruits market in Nessebar. We bought grapes for 1.20 levs and 1.50 levs, while bought peaches for 0.80 lev (80 stotinkas) and 1 lev.
You may be interested in our article: Fruits of Bulgaria.
Fast foods such as McDonalds are popular among tourists. Prices are quite high but that does not scare them. Hamburger costs 2.20 levs, cheeseburger 2.50 levs, ice cream – 3.50 levs and 0.5 liters of beer for 5.5.0 levs.
On the sidewalks you can see vendors selling corn, or as it is called in Bulgaria, “tsarevitsa” It costs 1 lev to 2 levs, depending on the resort. Ice cream is also popular and its price also depends on the resort – 1 lev (in Pomorie and Burgas) and 2 levs (in Nessebar and Sunny Beach).
Coffee machines are popular in Bulgaria, as they are a convenient way for a “pick-me-up.” We saw them a lot in Pomorie. The cost of a cup of coffee starts from 0.4 levs (40 stotinkas).
Tips on choosing food products:
You definitely need to taste Bulgarian products. We especially recommend: cheese, ayran (yoghurt milk) – 300 ml – 0.42 levs, tarator (practically our okroshka) – 2 levs per 1 liter, clotted cream (very thick cream) – 2.70 levs, sausages, pate and fish with spices in a jar.
Try to buy more high-quality products, even just for once — they are worth the cost! Bulgarian sausages are a prime example of this.
We used tap water not for drinking, but for cooking. As for drinking water, we bought mostly Iceberg but the locals mostly bought Devin. Drinking water in Bulgaria is not so expensive as in other European countries, so no need to bring your own water when coming to country.
We do not recommend going to fast food joints in Bulgaria. On the last day of our stay in Nessebar, we decided to try dyuner – it looks very similar to the usual shawarma, but only superficially. For 4 levs we got a little bit of meat, fried potatoes, vegetables with sauce, wrapped in pita bread. We absolutely did not like the taste of dyuner. We did not understand the long lines at the “shawarma” kiosk. But the pizza we tried was pretty good. One slice of it varies from 1.20 to 2.50 levs.
We recommend to try very delicious and unusual fruits, typical for Bulgaria: depending on the season it can be figs, kiwi or persimmons.
It is not necessary to order a tour with meals. In Bulgaria you can live even by a small amount of money. All that produced here is of good quality and the food is very tasty and nourishing.
Useful links and interesting information:
- The cost of holidays in Sunny Beach in Bulgaria?
- Is Pomorie approach for tourist rest?
- Hotel Vanini in New Nessebar: the pros and cons of living in this hotel.
- Our favorite small beach behind stones in Nessebar.
- Old Nessebar and its attractions.
- Unusual fruits and the most delicious goodies of Bulgaria.
- Shopping in Burgas: what to see and to buy in the city?