Under most circumstances I avoid "Irish Pubs" when travelling, except of course when I'm in Ireland. This one in Ruse tho', on the banks of the Danube, attracted me because of its location rather than its "Irish" theme.
The theme fortunately is confined to having green furniture, selling Guinness and a few "Irish" dishes on the otherwise typically Bulgarian menu.
This was quite a comfortable place to stop for a bite to eat and have a few beers (Zagorka!) whilst watching the working boats plying their trade on the choppy winter Danube. Service was pleasant and swift and the place seems to be more of a family destination restaurant, rather than just a pub, as several families with children arrived soon after I did and we all sat and watched the boats go by.
Favorite Dish: I was intrigued by the "Irlandska Zakuska" on the menu. The work "zakuska" usually means "snack", although sometimes it is used for "breakfast", and so I wasn't sure what I was going to get when I ordered it.
Yep it turned out to be "breakfast" but with little relation to anything I've encountered in Ireland. The sausages were Frankfurters, the bacon was OK and the beans were definitely Heinz. The char-grilled tomato and onion was definitely Bulgarian though as was the sprinkle of paprika on the eggs.
All-in-all a perfectly satisfying nosh and with a bill of just over 10 leva, including two beers, perfectly reasonably priced.
"Happy" is Bulgaria's most successful chain of restaurants with ever-growing numbers of branches spreading all over the Country. One of the newest is here in Ruse, located in the magnificently titled "Profit Yielding Building" overlooking the Svoboda Square.
"Happy" is a sort of fast-food chain but only in as much as the food gets served fast. What they've done is taken the standard Bulgarian menu format of Salads, Appetizers, Fish, Grills, Pot Dishes etc and given it a major makeover. Everything is freshly cooked to order and the chain uses predominantly good quality local ingredients.
Service is always pleasant and friendly, and usually multi-lingual (the menus being in English and Bulgarian), and the mini-skirted waitresses are certainly easy on the eye.
Not only are the restaurants popular with us tourists but the combination of cheap prices and buzzy ambience attracts the local trade too.
Favorite Dish: The menu has something for everyone from a light lunch to a full-blown repast and everything I've tried I've enjoyed. Here in Ruse I just had a simple light lunch of Salata la Baleta which was a combination of mushrooms, roasted onions, roasted peppers and marinated white cheese on a fresh salad base and with a tangy dressing. Accompanied by the new garlic foccacia bread and a large Kamenitza the bill was sufficiently under the 10 leva mark to make my 10 leva note include a generous tip!
Definitely the best-located and I should imagine the terrace is very popular in the summer.
This is a scruffy little non-stop place which seems to do most of its business in the early hours with late drinkers as well as eaters. It was only about 20 metres from my hotel and I ended up eating here twice in four days as it saved me having to trudge around in the snow looking for anywhere else.
The menu is fairly simple, based around its home-made pizzas, salads and snacky stuff and the food is OK, food for fuel rather than gastronomy. Service was always pleasant and late at night has a pleasant laid-back atmosphere.
Favorite Dish: On my first visit I had a large mixed meat pizza with salad. This was a bit doughy but substantial and definitely the sort of pizza for soaking up the beers. On my second visit, after midnight on a Saturday when I'd gotten an attack of the munchies, I had a small Margerita. This must have been made by a diffferent cook as it was excellent, nicely crisped and well-topped. Along with a Zagorka the bill for this came to the princely sum of 4.80 leva which makes it one of the cheapest sit-down meals I had in Bulgaria.
As I said, food for fuel, and it is open 24 hours.
With its starched linen and gleaming glassware this is a smartly-presented restaurant. The designer-decor is elegant and at the same time subtle and welcoming. Service, by bow-tied waiters, is formal and professional but not stuffy. The menu, in Bulgarian and English, is upscale Italian combining classic dishes with Meditterranean-inspired innovations. The supporting wine list offers an eclectic international selection balanced by a carefully chosen Bulgarian cellar with wines to suit all palates and pockets.
Overall the setting and general ambience wouldn't be out of place in any major European city and I could imagine it being a successful, buzzy, establishment. However the place was almost empty on the snowy, early February, Friday evening that I came across it. Maybe it was the weather, maybe the time of year, but I did the impression that maybe the place is a bit too upscale for Ruse - but I could be wrong on that one.
Favorite Dish: So to the food: The menu certainly reads well and it being Friday I was in a fishy mood. To start I went for the Seafood Risotto. Fresh-flavoured with plump prawns, mussels, white fish and squid bound in glistening, al dente, vineous rice this was a simple classic, perfectly executed.
For wine I opted for a Bulgarian white, a Traminer from the Han Krum vineyard at Veliko Preslav. I'm not usually a big fan of white wines but this was as good as any Italian, crisp and clean and laden with fruit.
So far so good. Then it all went to pieces. My Sea Bass main course was just naff. It sounded good on the menu - "lightly fried with an aromatic tomato and basil sauce and buttered mash potato". However criss-crossing the flesh and deep-frying what was probably an excellent piece of fish rendered it badly overcooked. Not inedible but chewier than the squid in the risotto. The sauce was good, as was the mash but just an ill-concieved cooking method which did the fish no favours at all.
Ach well, I wasn't totally dissatisfied and my Bulgarian just isn't up to giving constructive criticism and I ate it anyway. Service throughout had been friendly with my waiter having had a full-time job keeping my wine topped-up and my ashtray changed and the final bill of just over 50 leva, including coffee and a freebie Limoncello, would have been reasonable had the fish been more sympathetically treated.
Not a place I'd go back to.
At one lev per slice, and two for one-fifty, this was the cheapest takeaway pizza I found in my Bulgarian travels to date. Not only was it cheap but also tasty, generouslyl-topped and the service swift and friendly. The area it is located is close to a couple of High Schools, a Technical College and the University Centre and so it's obviously aimed at the impecunious students and so is well worth searching out for the budget conscious!
If I remember correctly there's also a couple of formica-topped tables for those that wish to eat in.
the restaurant/bar is located on the top of the tallest building in bulgaria,the locals call it kulata but in guides its called just ruse tv tower.the drinks are excellent.the plates are great!you can ofcourse take great pictures overlooking the city of ruse,the danube river and romania.
Favorite Dish: besides the excellent decorated drinks we just ordered grilled steak and fries with traditional bulgarian salad and it was excellent!
the location is great ,in the center of ruse.the building is a marvel of architecture.you can sit in or outside,depending the season ofcourse.the menu has everything from starters,main dish,appetizers,desserts,variety of cofees and great beer from bulgaria.the service is one of the greatest i `ve ever had.the girls are polite,speak english and the food is delivered on time.you can meet local people or tourists from other countries.the interior design is great.busy,yet not disturbing.
Favorite Dish: i have tried almost everything in the menu!that shows you that i have visited many times this restaurant.for start just try the traditional bulgarian salad and the oriental chicken plate"shanghai chicken",along with a large glass of black "stolichno" beer!