Izbata Restaurant Sofia

Nov 20, 2011 No Comments by
Sofia Izbata desert

Tasty -- the ice cream, fig, pineapple and chocolate dessert @ Izbata

Izbata Mehana is a traditional tavern style restaurant in Sofia. Mehana’s in Bansko are everywhere. But sighting a “Mexana” in Sofia is much less common. So this trip was eagerly anticipated, especially as I was wondering why this Izvbata was often fully booked. I was keen to find out why.

Mehana Izbata


Izbata is easy to find on 18, Slavyanska Street. Just a five minutes stroll from Alexander Nevski church. After calling +359(0)2 989 55 33 and reserving a table, first impressions were good. Whilst they said they were fully booked, they were happy for us to arrive early and try and depart by 9.30pm.

This timing suited me just fine.

The Cellar


Izbata starter of Monastery topinitsa

Izbata means cellar in Bulgarian. A large, and well lit, sign marks the spot. A cold evening meander around town, then down into the warm basement restaurant down below.

Early winter chill somehow brings out the pleasure of being warm inside again. As autumn leaves complete their last falls, Sofia is now taking on new smells and a different charm.

I hope more regular Bansko visitors will come and experience this top value city destination.

So, it was down to this basement restaurant. A fine building on Slavyanska – a pleasant central Sofia street.

Mehana noise

Some of the many Bansko traditional Bulgarian mehanas are not to my liking. Loud folk music usually being the culprit. But read on for why Izbata is one I recommend you try when in Sofia.

Milen is keen to welcome all visitors to Sofia and he has put together a competitive package for the New Year with accommodation. Click here to download his New Year offer.

Izbata Satch: a mehana classic

Atmosphere and starters

A more subtle traditional decor — a hint of the contemporary. Normal prices; and no loud music.

Some old-style Bulgarian furniture, decoration and cutlery. A lively atmosphere completes the picture.

Starters for sharing
Starters: a Monastery topenitsa (Monastery dip – 4 leva), A selection of traditional dips, including luytenitsa, kyopoolu and shopski dip.

The flat bread with cheese — called purlenka (4 leva) was probably the best I can remember. The Bulgarian salads looked tempting. A “Shopska” salad – 4.90 leva looked tempting. Next time.

On cool evenings, opting for a warm appetiser, or a selection of cold sausages would also be a good plan.

Wine choice

Midilidare Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

A nice list, about the right length. 25 lev for a Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon red wine from Midalidare.  The mineral depth with a long lasting blackberry peppery taste matched the flavours of both courses. Served in decent glasses too.  Pairing wine with food is one of the joys of eating out so look out for Izbata’s wines such as

Bessa Valley’s Enira (35 lev),
Damiantiza’s “No Man’s Land” (22 lev);
Katarzhina’s Carpe Diem (20 lev),
…Todoroff, Minkov Brothers and so the list goes on.

Indecision descended from above — so I left the choice of main course until our topenitsa starter was finished with.

Chicken Satch

Satch is the traditional Bulgarian dish of pork and chicken pieces, sausage, bacon, peppers, mushrooms. This arrived sizzling on a hot plate; served with aplomb.

One portion served two people (16.90 leva). Top value.

There were a number of other meat dishes that attracted my attention. “Babino pile” and “Roasted chicken fillets with parsnip”, sounded appealing. Saute potatoes to accompany — an enormous portion, and just right.

But I still envied the next table; thick, tasty looking and home-made chips.

Room for pudding

Home-made ice-cream served with orange slices, green figs and dark chocolate (5.90 leva). A winner of a desert. Not to be missed.


Food: 17/20

Service: 18/20

Overall: 18/20

I enjoyed most

Helpful English speaking staff; nice and professional service. Excellent value in central location.

I enjoyed least

No closed off non-smoking section. Smoke levels, however, were low.

Highly recommended

I will be back again.

Izbata’s combination of fair prices, quality ingredients and service have won me over. Why not visit this handy Sofia mehana with a special reader offer. Click here for the details.

Open every day: 11am to 12pm; Garden.  20% discount off food bill at lunch times.

Address: 18, Slavyanska Street, central Sofia

Tel: +359(0)2 989 55 33 or +359(0) 88 989 55 33


About the author

I enjoy tech, apps, entrepreneurship, podcasting and collaboration with others. I love travelling as well as skiing, hiking, MTB, paragliding, cooking and good food.
No Responses to “Izbata Restaurant Sofia”

Leave a Reply