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After spending a lovely morning at Rila Monastery, we decided by chance to call in at Restaurant and Hotel Pchelina for lunch and I’m delighted to say this was a really good choice! Situated around 3kms from Rila Monastery it’s a great place to stop in after you’re tired from all that walking.

It wasn’t very busy at 12:30pm so we had a choice of tables in the garden. Each table has their own cosy hut so there’s plenty of shade from the midday sun, in fact, it’s so much cooler here that you may even need a cardigan! The place doesn’t look fancy but the service is very good and most importantly so is the food.

The prices are reasonable however there is something to be aware of here, they charge you extra for sides that you didn’t request. For example, the main dish came with french fries as standard but they served it with rice too and charged an extra 3.50 leva (1.75 Euro) per person. It’s not much but it means you’re paying more than you expected so it’s a little bit misleading. Anyway, I had the lamb and I can honestly say this was probably the nicest lamb I’ve ever eaten. The portion was huge and the lamb was so tender it was melting in my mouth. Accompanied by some tasty french fries and some traditional mushroom rice it was sadly impossible for me to finish this delicious meal! Of course, in my usual manner, even though I couldn’t finish the meal I did save a little room for dessert and opted for the homemade sheep yogurt with honey. Bulgaria is known for making good yogurt so I was curious to try out this home-made version. It was extremely thick, and the only way I can describe the taste is that it actually tasted like sheep. If you imagine the smell of sheep, this is how the yogurt tastes, very natural indeed and I’m sure very healthy!

I didn’t explore the hotel itself but the food and service were good in the restaurant so I would expect a decent standard here if you’re looking for a place to stay close to Rila Monastery.

Just remember, try the lamb! (Sorry to go on about this if you’re vegetarian, but I’m sure there are some great non-meat options too!)

What we love about it:

  • The lamb is amazing.
  • Very nice setting.

What they can improve:

  • The extra charge for french fries should be made clear on the menu.
  • The yogurt was a bit to ‘sheep’ like for me however I’m sure some people would love it!
+359 (0) 888 393 058
Pchelina Cloister, 3 km away from the Rila Monastery
Price for one: 20 leva (€10)
Suitable for: lunch, dinner
Visited on: September 2014

Reviewed by:

Rebecca RichardsonRebecca

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