Cafe d'Bulgara (Clearwater): Any info?
We had dinner at this little spot, which opened just two weeks ago. In a nutshell: the food is good, but unless they follow Florida law and stop allowing SMOKING, I am afraid that they will not succeed.
The first thing that struck us as we entered the door was the stench of smoke. Anna, the charming owner, host, waiter, and cook, apologized for the smell and sat us at a table by the door, propping the door open. She said that the used booth furniture was to blame, and that they only allow smoking after-hours, when the restaurant morphs into a late-night lounge. Then we see a guy sitting at the bar (mind you, this is a small place), lighting up. He then moved to a booth and lit up another. We decided not to say anything, just to try the food and make it our first and last visit to the place. Too bad that the smoking will keep us away, because we really enjoyed the food.
Anna suggested we try the soup of the day, which was chicken noodle, the Bulgarian salad, and the Mixed Grill plate of several kinds of Bulgarian sausages. The soup was homemade and yummy, something that could have come from my grandmother's kitchen. I adored the salad--fresh chunks of cucumber and tomatoes mixed with slivers of ham and salami, served with a homemade vinagrette. I would go back for the salad alone were it not for the SMOKE stench. We equally enjoyed the mixed plate, which included a savory meat patty called "kufte", a Bulgarian sausage called "kebapche", a small Polish sausage, and a swarma-like ground meat patty, served with fresh potato salad and garnished with fresh sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. The bread basket contained lovely whole wheat and garlic rolls. Anna told us she sampled rolls at several bakeries before she settled on these. She then served us some lovely little wafer cookies for dessert, which she imports from Bulgaria.
We were charmed by Anna and her wonderful cooking. It's too bad that the atmosphere was ruined by the cigarette smoke that permeated the place. I would love to see this little restaurant succeed, but we won't be back for the reasons stated.