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Nov 19, 2008 06:49 AM

Bulgarian restaurants in the Tristate region?

Now that Bulgara restaurant in Long Island City has been converted into a German restaurant and Mehanata in Chinatown, NY is no longer a restaurant, are there any other Bulgarian restaurants in New York State or in New Jersey or Connecticut? And if not, does anyone know if the proprietors of Bulgara plan to move their business to another state outside the Tristate region? I really miss Bulgara's kyopolou, tarator, and kebapche already! Thanks! Martin Peck

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  1. Bulgara is gone? That is such a damn shame. It was part of my plans for when I visited friends and family in NY. The food was fantastic.

    4 Replies
    1. re: JMF

      I think that what ultimately killed Bulgara's business was their truncated hours (from the get-go, they were a little strange with their choice of hours: first they semmed to have started with full Monday-Sunday hours, then were only open starting from 5 PM Monday-Sunday, then they lopped off the Monday-Wednesday openings and were only open Thurs-Sunday) and their not-too-friendly staff. I agree with you though, the food was excellent! Martin Peck

      1. re: Martin Peck

        I assumed that it was their location that did them in. While I'm sure their rent was relatively cheap, it was a brisk 10 minute walk from the 21st-Queensbridge stop on the F, which was the closes train station. (15-20 minutes at a more leisurely pace if you enjoyed some rakia with dinner.) And the neighborhood probably would have scared off some people for its desolation - the first time I walked there, I was convinced that I had entered the wrong zip code when looking for on-line directions.

        I agree, though, that it was worth the effort if you hit them on one of their open nights. Besides being good food, it's one of those "how the hell did you find this place?!" restaurants that you can impress guests with who think they know the city's restaurant scene.

        Does anyone know, with certainty, why they closed? We're just assuming business was bad and/or they couldn't pay their bills.


        1. re: Martin Peck

          This is exactly what happens to a dying restaurant (info courtesy of Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential) - they start with cutting hours, reducing staff, reducing menu items....
          The reason Bulgara died is because of their ridiculous location. No matter how cheap it is and how great your food is, only few would go in the middle of LIC's dumpest area for a meal. I've taken people there and they were a bit scared and taken aback by the location. And also, that we were usually the one of the 2-3 full tables there.

          I wish it were still open though. Just moved to North Jersey from Queens and am unpleasantly surprised there is not a single Eastern European place around here.

          1. re: bugarka

            Try Barbara's Hungarian Kitchen in Ewing

            and take a look at this site


      2. If you're willing to drive to Princeton, NJ, you should check out The Underground Cafe. While not pure Bulgarian, there are many Bulgarian dishes on the menu. I have only had lunch there but I was very pleased with both the food and the service.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ambrose

          Was in Princeton last night and tried out the Underground Cafe on the basis of this single post above. It was great. Had the Bulgarian Roasted Eggplant appetizer which was very tasty and easily was enough appetizer for the three of us (would have been too much for one person). We had the 4 Cheese and Spinach Crepes which were pretty good, the Famous Bulgarian Mix BBQ which was excellent (three kinds of sausage and a skewer of chicken), and the Chicken Hot Rocks which was fantastic. We were too full for desert but they brought out their "presentation desert display" and we melted. We shared a mascarpone and strawberries creation which we loved.

          Thanks ambrose for the mention above. Would never have known of this place otherwise.

          Don't know if Thursday night is usually slow but there was only one other table occupied during the 6:30 - 8:00 PM time we were there. Maybe because it is BYOB and other places aren't? We didn't know so ended up with soft drinks which, although a disappointment at first, turned out to be just fine.

            1. re: bropaul

              It's at 4 Hulfish Street in Princeton. Since my original post some 20 months ago the name of the restaurant has changed. The following link works:


        2. "there is not a single Eastern European place around here."

          Bzzzzzz! Wrong! There's a plethora of them in Garfield and Wallington, in Bergen County!! Also Tania's in Jersey City...

          3 Replies
          1. re: menton1

            Meton1-do you remember the brief writeup the Record did about Cheesefilled Boreks in around botany village? The article named names, though i can't find it online to save my lfe.

            1. re: sixelagogo

              Probably this place, but that's Turkish/Middle Eastern, not Eastern European like the OP wanted.

              In Turkish, look for "boregi" on the menu.


              1. re: menton1

                Actually, the OP was looking for a Bulgarian restaurant and was looking almost two years ago.