This review and the one for Simova Takashta will be identical. Both were difficult to find because this Yank's eyes couldn't translate the cyrillic alphabet. Both restaurants offer traditional Bulgarian fare and the prices were very reasonable...actually pretty good for the section of town they are in. I only wish I had room for dessert at both places. The restaurants are located one block from each other on Tzar Asen street.
Highly recommended for a nice cozy evening after a day of sightseeing.
Favorite Dish: **Update**
I ended up back in Sofia last month and went back to Pri Yafata -- they were having a special on mussels and I ordered the mussel salad. It was awesome...hopefully they are still running the special when you get there!
Having enjoyed an excellent lunch at the Pri Yafata in Bansko a couple of weeks previously I reckoned that this one in Sofia would be worth a visit. It certainly looks the part from the outside, housed in a beautifully restored 3-storey Revival Period building. Inside too the exposed brickwork, whitewashed ornament-laden walls, solid wooden furniture and woven tablecloths all contribute to the attempt at giving the place a proper Mehana look and feel.
The traditional Bulgarian menu, centred around the grill section, covers all the expected suspects supported by a good selection of salads, appetizers, garnishes and reads well. Local wines and rakiyas feature on the drinks menu along with Bulgarian beers and so everything for an enjoyable taste of Bulgaria is there.
Service is polite and attentive. The live band were certainly lively and on discovering that I am Scottish dug up "Auld Land Syne" from their repertoire just for me - totally inappropriate and I really was grateful when they found a Bulgarian couple to revert back to less familiar but more comfortable stuff.
However, it just didn't work atmosphere-wise. The waiter came across as only being polite in order to make his tips, the band likewise. Too many English accents from other tables didn't help either. All-in-all it was a sort of travesty of a Mehana and totally alien to some of the great experiences I've enjoyed elsewhere.
Favorite Dish: That said though. The food was excellent. A nicely fresh Russian Salad (although missing its peas!) made a good accompaniement to my Slivenska Perla rakiya as a starter and the Mixed Grill was hugely meaty, with a side of "Grandmother's Fried Potatoes" adding the carbs. A bottle of Zagorka (330 ml rather than the expected 500) helped to wash it all down and the 30 leva bill wasn't particularly excessive by Sofia standards.
'Krutchma pri Yafata', translated loosely as The Yafa's Inn
Very nice, clean Balkan atmosphere, good service (a new concept in the formerly communist world), and inexpensive for westerners even though it's a bit steep for the locals.
Favorite Dish: 'Traikisko gyuveche', literally 'Thracian clay pot.' It's a stew with onions, peas, tomatos, pork or chicken, and a hot pepper and an egg on top. Wonderful in cold weather with a few slices of bread.
Try the red wine 'Gorchivka'. And don't forget to start with the infamous Shopska salad.
Everyithing is nice. The tavern is in the center, away from the big noisy streets.
Favorite Dish: I like almost every dish; the grill is good, but sometimes it's too much for one person :-)