Until not that long ago, burger for ordinary Bulgarians meant bland tastes, dubious nutritious quality and mass production in international food chains. Not anymore. The trend for the true and even gourmet American burgers, steaks, and fries, has finally taken hold in Bulgaria and Sofia is experiencing a widening range of establishments preparing these in the best traditions.
It is easy to spot the hotest gourmet burger spots in Sofia. Mostly, but not always, they are in the centre and have a hip vibe, nicely put interiors and designs, and crowds of enthusiastic customers. The food in the beautifully written menus is exemplary of the idea of what true, good burger should look like. The meat is juicy, fresh and from proven producers. The bread smells divine, and the sauces are specifically selected to induce additional tastes. The same principles go for the other items of the menu. In the good burger venues, the fries are made of true potato (if you know what I mean), the salads are fresh and are not the only option if a vegetarian visits. Good beer goes best with gourmet burgers and barbecued meat, and is usually present with a careful selection of Bulgarian crafts and imported labels.
The quality American food places turn the whole concept of fast food on its head, making themselves into venues where you can meet with friends, watch sports on the TV, have fun, and eat something delicious and nutritious.
Beer Box Grill & Beer: Take on a tasty adventure
What is better than a variety of interesting beers to try? An even bigger variety of interesting beers to try. You will find it at Beer Box Grill & Beer (Sofia, 38 Aleksandar Malinov Blvd, phone: 0879 824 000, www.beerbox.bar), a place offering more than 80 varieties of beer from countries including the US, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Czech Republic and more. The uniqueness of the place continues in its design and its attitude. The place is made entirely of old intermodal containers and the clients can grill their meat appetizers for beer by themselves, on a bioelectric grill installed in the table – an idea that the owners get from East Asia. Not sure you are cut out to be a grill master? That's where Beer Box Grill & Beer's expert chefs come in, to prepare your steak, ribs or meatballs on charcoal oven. The menu includes as well classic Bulgarian kebapcheta, or meatballs, and homemade lyutenitsa, or tomato and pepper paste, on warm bread.
Crystal Steak House: The taste of true food
If you are always after the best, your search ends at the doorstep of Crystal Steak House (Sofia, 14 Aksakov St, phone: 0885 111 180, www.steak.bg). The stylish yet friendly venue serves only the best beef, aged on the spot and prepared to perfection. It is hard to choose between the burgers with minced Piedmontese beef or tenderloin beef, and the variety of barbecued beef and pork meat from Bulgaria, the US and Argentina. Whatever the choice, each bit of your food will be amazingly delicious. The menu of Crystal Steak House has also excellent fish and vegan options. The restaurant will open soon a branch in Ring Mall.
Skapto Family: Simply great burgers
Are you craving for an authentic, juicy American burger? Look no further – the customers of BGMenu, Bulgaria's leading food delivery service, have had their say, voting the Skapto Family’s burgers El Pollo Loco and Cheesus as the King of Burgers for 2015 and 2016 respectively. El Pollo Loco and Cheesus are not the only impressive ones on the menu – from the juicy All American Burger to the spicy, vegetarian The Martian, a wide selection of classic and creative options is there for all who cherish true American flavour. Head over to Skaptoburger (Sofia, 20 Shishman St, phone: 0877 888 688, www.facebook.com/skaptoburger) for a mouth-watering burger with a good, local craft beer to go with it. If you want a cozy atmosphere on a night out in downtown Sofia, Skaptobara is the place. Along with the delicious burgers, the garden of Skaptobara bar (Sofia, 11A Iskar St, phone: 087 733 3233, www.skaptobara.com) brings you the chill vibes of groups of friends gathered for authentic fun over quality food and drinks, and is a great place to watch the matches of UEFA Euro 2016.
Smuggler's Diner: Authentically American atmosphere
The first true American diner in the heart of Sofia, Smuggler's Diner (Sofia, 29 Hristo Belchev St, phone: 0877 844 531, www.facebook.com/smugglersdiner) recreates the atmosphere of the classical diners and roadside restaurants in the US. In it, you will find great comfort food, classic and original burgers' recipes, BBQ, milk shakes, all day American breakfast menu and cocktails. At Smuggler's Diner each detail matters – from the interior and decoration, to food and service, to the selection of swing, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll sounding in the diner. For the warm days, Smuggler's Diner has a cosy summer garden.
Street Chefs: Burger paradise
The first authentic food truck in Sofia came all the way from Florida and soon established itself as one of the best spots for craft, tasty burgers in the city. Street Chefs (the corner of Parchevich and Angel Kanchev Streets) offers simple, yet irresistible selection of classic cheeseburger, vegetarian and salmon burgers, and steaks, matched with tasty rosemary fries and craft beer. The well-deserved popularity of Street Chefs led to a logical step: the venue branched out (Lozenets, Kozyak St, opposite BILLA store). Located outside of Sofia's centre, the new Street Chefs has indisputable advantage: a lot of parking spaces.