Il Viaggio is a relatively new restaurant in Sofia in the Boyana district. It takes about fifteen minutes from the centre, around ten from the Hilton hotel.
It’s not only lunch
My first visit was for a lunch. And I think this is could be considered and everyday treat as it’s incredibly good value.
The chef, Louka Tsavo, from Greece, has brought a huge amount of experience to make Il Viaggio. He has worked extensively in Italy.
My dining partner went for pasta, vegetarian mushroom Agnolotti.
I chose pasta with prawns. We were both happy with out choices.
The pasta was cooked al dente. My co-diner immediately declared that this is best restaurant he had tried in Sofia. Praise indeed.
I was also surprised at not just the quality but that so many of the small details were correct. From the place settings, to the choice of cutlery and glasses. The quality of olive oil, the salt, and so on.
Sometimes you get lucky, but I was interested in to see if Il Viaggio could be consistent.
So the hard job of going back two more times was mine; before I felt I could be qualified to write this review.
A week later I came back to check this was not just good luck. This time I was expecting with a degree of anticipation the delivery of real proper four types of homemade bread rolls with Maldon salt and a high quality Italian olive oil. I always think that if the bread is good, then the mind is set to feel positive about the rest of the meal.
The Beetroot salad with goats cheese cocqettes and parmesan was my starter. Not the type of beetroot sitting in oil and vinegar in a jar, but obviously freshly cooked. Possibly the best salad I have had and is now the salad that I crave for again and again.
Other starters tried were the carpaccio of beed, with a poached egg on top. A gastronomic experience and a starter that is easy to recommend.
The chicken was recommended. I have to admit being very wary of this choice.
I should not have worried.
The chicken was presented on a wooden slab; and this grilled baby chicken was succulent.
Have I tasted better? No, I don’t think so.
A moist French corn fed chicken and not unlike a poussin. Served with the lemon oil I was in foodie heaven. Never a better chicken in Bulgaria — or possibly anywhere.
The extensive wine list covered Italy, France, Chile as well as Bulgaria, The prices were much less than expected for a fine dining location. Wine by the half bottle was a sensible addition.
The semifreddo dessert is a classic and must be tried. A true signature pudding that is a crowd pleaser.
So the downsides? After the second visit I was struggling to find any, so a third visit saw me back.
Same great beetroot salad, great pasta and probably even better service than previous two occasions. For the standard of cooking, service and presentation, I was reminded once again that the the set lunch and dinner are excellent value.
Relaxed but upscale
A comfortable but upmarket feel is how I would describe the dining room. Music is unobtrusive. The place by the fish tank is a good spot to choose, It’s now my favoured table.
I may add that in the days of paid parking in the centre, that here it is easy to park — and for free. Summer dining in the smart garden area looks like it will make this the summer place to be seen; and to be seen in.
Overall il Viaggio shines the gastronomic beacon from Boyana over the whole city.
Three times over.
This review was echoed by a friend that I sent here. He was looking for fine dining for his family in Sofia. Because he works for a five star hotel and manages a restaurant, his opinion mattered to me. He came back with ecstatic praise.
So it’s not just me. It’s all the people I have been with there, so far. It’s a rare pleasure to be able to report that Il Viaggio delivers with consistency. I could taste that only high quality original ingredients were being used. From the oil and mozzarellas, to the meats means, homemade pastas and breads — it’s that rare pleasure of knowing that there are none of the usual tricks here.
Il Viaggio is exceptionally good value. Go there whilst it remains so.
So often in Sofia I find that paying a little bit more delivers so much more value than you would expect in other cities.
Il Viaggio reinforces my theory.
Now how many Sofia restaurants can claim that?
Reservation: +359 87 676 7647
Address: Sofia, 116 Aleksander Pushkin Blvd.
Working hours: 11:30 – 24:00