Bulgaria is full of quaint little charasmatic towns and Velinko Turnovo might just be the cutest. As we drove in, we stopped to talk to a shepherd with a small goat flock. He was right on the edge of town, and as we chatted with him, we could also view the huge and picturesque fortress that dominates the town.
According to the guide books there was supposed to be a bazaar left over from Ottoman times that still have a few stalls. A bazaar it wasn’t. It was a chic little street that had some woodworkers, one crochety coppersmith, and a lot of boutique shops to attract the tourists. It was cute and comfortable to walk through, but since we were expecting a bazaar, it sort of dissappointed.
What didn’t dissapoint was the restaurant recommended by the woodworker. Amongst his hand-carved spoon whistles he wrote down the address and a small map to this restaurant that I cannot pronounce. From the looks of it on the outside, we absolutely would not have chosen it either, but as we were led down the stairs, we began to notice the charm of the place.
We were seated in a sort of closed in balcony that looked down on a park with an imposing Soviet monument dominating the landscape. It was a great view, and the tables around us were packed full of locals…always a good sign. The menu was extensive. I think it boasted over 170 Bulgarian dishes, so choosing was difficult. We all tried something different, and other than our obligatory Shoppska salad, we tried new dishes. Everything was notably delicious, well-plated, and huge portions. The locals tried to help us speak some Bulgarian, and it was all in all just a really great experience. If you happen to find yourself in Velinko Turnovo, head here.