A bodega conjures up images in my mind of my times in Madrid. Bodegas, often hidden down narrow passage ways and then entering a world of irresistible tapas and highly decorative ceilings.
With cravings for real Spanish food in mind, we looked up Bodega. Especially so as Svetlana, my fellow diner, had been eager to try real Spanish food. She had fallen prey to tourist trap “patatas brava” and “out of the packet paella” whilst in Barcelona.
Two eager diners keen to see if Bodega restaurant in Sofia could satisfy our quest for a genuine taste of Spain.
Viva Studentski grad
Bodega is situated in a new building on a main road in Students town. Studentski grad is already a culinary destination in its own right. Well worth the trip here.
A bright Bodega sign marks the spot. There are places for outside dining on the wooden decking.
Typical Spanish interior – solid wooden tables and chairs, red table cloths and candles, jambon hanging over the bar and paintings of Spanish dancers on the walls. The atmosphere is cosy, like a wine bar should be. Some fine attention to finishings; quality interior wood panelling, solid tables and stylish, yet comfortable, seating. Discrete music and candlelight sets the scene. Bodega seems to be one of those places that fits any occasion.
A special friends and family celebration, a business lunch — or just a quick snack or drink after work.
A welcoming SMILE greets us.
With no prior booking arranged, I was thinking that maybe we would end up in an inferior position. My feelings were unfoundered as we were lead to the large no smoking area. seating at a solid table we were able to order to set about and study the menu.
Tapas and el vino
The menu is concise yes descriptive, and all helpfully illustrated. The wine list is extensive, including lots of famous Spanish wines (think Faustino) and of course, sangria. Choosing Midalidare Bulgarian wine.
After a lot of thinking, for a starter we chose some tapas. The quesadillas with chorizo and pico de galo (5.99 leva), and falafel paties with cucumber parpadelles (5.99 leva).
EXCELLENT choices, all presented with care.
However, I must warn that it very hard to decide what it eat in Bodega. We wanted to try it all… from all the tempting salads, tapas, Spanish cold cuts and cheeses. Considerable seafood presence in the starters and salads (shrimps, scallops, tuna, and salmon in different variations).
A return trip to Bodega is a now a “must do” to try more of these authentic tapas. Beef carpaccio, gazpacho soup and bon bon shrimp fritters all sound good.
No surprise, seafood dominates the main courses. And no surprise, I chose the paella, although I was really tempted by the New Zealand lamb hind shanks in a cumin chive marinade and couscous.
Paella a la Bodega is a fairly typical Spanish paella with the proper rice and infused with seafood, served either in a small 300 gram portion, or, as we chose – 1 kilo, which was more than enough for two people (21.99 leva).
I would have liked rabbit, rather than chicken, in my paella. Ok, I agree, probably a step too far for Sofia right now.
And to finish
A short list of desserts (chocolate fondant, fine apple tart, parfait). We went for the Bodega cheese cake – an individual but pleasant taste. It was ni This was served with a forest fruit coolie (4.99 leva). We would have to leave pumpkin cheesecake for another time. Good to see seasonality on this menu.
Our waitress was very nice and spoke excellent English. She stayed cheerful, courteous and patient whilst we deliberated over the choice of wines and tapas.
I would put the service here as almost exemplary. Our server combined that rare rare ability to be knowledgeable and helpful, but without being intrusion or pressure.
I enjoyed most
The overall value for money (65 leva for two people), wine list and atmosphere.
I enjoyed least
This restaurant is good enough to be right next to the finest restaurants in central Sofia. So a slight annoyance its not closer. But would it then be such good value?
Conclusion and booking details
Well worth the special trip. A bodega that lives up to its name and reminded of those Madrid bodegas. Highly recommended.
address: Studentski grad, Acad. Boris Stefanov 17
tel: 0898638003 opening times: 9:00 am – 1:00 am