Bulgarian food is great. The produce is local and fresh, they use delicious spices (big Turkish influence) and when you go to a restaurant you can be 99% sure that you will receive a flavorful home cooked meal. With that being said and with the exception of the larger cities, every single restaurant is practically identical. They don’t even try and hide it, I speculate that someone was commissioned to take photos of various dishes, made a menu and sold it to all the restaurants in the country. Coming from a hipster, food forward town in Canada, sometimes I miss a little variety when I go out.
Yesterday Matt and I were roaming around the streets in Old Town Nesebar and stumbled upon the new Ivanoff restaurant. We were a little skeptical at first but the waiter at the door lured us in with promises we’d receive unique experience. First and foremost, the service was exceptional. Bulgarians have a different approach to customer service (as in, they just don’t do it) but the staff at Ivanoff were super friendly, attentive, passionate about their food and made an effort to convince us their restaurant was unique in the area.
The food spoke for itself. Fresh bright flavors, well balanced, homemade and well presented. I’m not claiming food was revolutionary yet it would delight any serious foodie from around the world. I can’t wait to go back really hungry and try more items from the menu.
We started with olives and tomato concasse on homemade garlic bread, compliments of the chef!
Next we ordered chicken strips marinated and breaded in coconut with a mango sauce with wild mint and a Bearnaise type dipping sauce. The mango sauce was to die for, Matt and I were fighting over it!
Then, juicy roasted chicken wings with more of that crazy mango sauce and a side of Tabasco.
And finally, homemade berry jam with a pumpkin bonbon and a light sesame cone, also a gift from the kitchen.
Next time we will order a couple of entrees, perhaps an octopus or a duck.