We are back and so I will answer my own question. We never had a bad meal in Bulgaria. And once we got out of Sofia the average cost for wonderful salad, meat dish and wine for two was $25-35. Here are my choices in order of preferenceand I will add special review for the best places.
Sofia: 1. Manastirska Magernitsa. Old house with beautiful garden tables for the summer. Best meal of the trip but also the most expensive - $ 60 for two but that included complementary humus and brandy brought out with hot water to warm it before drinking!
2. Ege Ege - Armenian. I had Duck with Apricot and Dates and my wife had Pork stuffed with Olives and Cheese. 3. Pri Yafata.
Plovdiv; 1. Dayana. There are several versions around town all with Gardens 2. Chuchura (Bachkova - can't remember the name but it was the restaurant with the waterfalls by the bus stop.)
Velinko Tarnovo: 1. Ethno 2. Shtastivetsa 3 Gurko Tavern.