Advantages Good menu, quite cheap prices, cosy ambience, aged drinks, nice tasty meals.
|Value for Money|
|Standard of Menu|
|Standard of Service|
Joya Bar and Grill, SofiaWe considered this to be a conveniently placed restaurant in Central Sofia, located on a main street. We were pleased by the good standard seen at the Happy bar and grill, and we had a quick look at the outside of the restaurant and decided that this was a nice and appealing restaurant to enter. The one thing that slightly hinders the restaurant slightly, is that there is a mens club to the right of the restaurant. We did not let this affect us, and we decided to proceed with our restaurant visit to this place. Before we entered we had noted that the place was open 24 hours a day, which to me indicates that there is some popularity with this restaurant. When we visited the restaurant the level of trade was quite low. I did not mind the level of trade as we visited the restaurant during the late winter months of March and this slightly spoilt our visit to Sofia. The restaurant was within easy reach of our Hostel we stayed at, and was not far away from a wide range of buildings and places to see as well. The Joya Bar & Dinner had a nice pleasant entrance door and inside the restaurant, our first impressions of the place were to our liking. I plumped my choice as this was easily visible on the street of Dundukov Sofia, and it was a bold and confident type of type face displayed above the door of the restaurant. It was not as overly confident compared to the Happy Bar and Grill (also visited) although it was a restaurant that I did not regret for one little bit. Upon entry of the restaurant we were greeted nicely in a friendly welcoming manner. We were shown a nice clean wooden table and chair to sit down at.
Décor and AmbienceWe found this to be excellent restaurant that displayed signs of modernity, good cleanliness and good appearance throughout the restaurant. I initially thought that it appeared similar to Prezzo restaurant chain group in England. The tables had a brown and black wooden lined effect design which made the tables slightly unique. The floors were wooden which were very clean and tidy. The walls had a nice brick wall effect, although we did not like the appearance of the restaurant ceiling which had exposed beams which gave a slightly unfinished presentation. Overall I found the restaurant to be more quiet and relaxing than when we visited the Happy Bar and Grill restaurant. I enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere and the décor around the restaurant, it certainly pleased me to a certain extent. The restaurant also had some interesting picture frames to enjoy as well. The lighting was less bright in appearance compared to the Happy bar and grill as well. However, we found the music to be slightly higher in terms of volume, also we found slightly confusing to our overall experience as a wide range of music was played on a music video channel on a few large television screens. The whole entire restaurant was pleasing in appearance. I liked it also that we were a very few people in the restaurant and we I guess could appreciate the restaurant experience more as the service we had received also was quite good considering. Overall I found the ambience to be cosy, welcoming as well as being a restaurant that makes a strong effort in appearance.
ServiceWe found the service overall to be professional and we were served appropriately by Bulgarian men. These waiters were well dressed, in dark trousers and wore nice neutral coloured shirts. We felt that our presense was welcomed by the waiters, and we felt that we were not just viewed as travellers. The service also was not rushed or hurried in any way. Around 8 minutes after ordering our food we received clean cutlery which we liked the look of. The restaurant was also quiet which I feel allowed us to get good service. The time it took for our food to arrive was 11 minutes for the pizza my brother had ordered and 14 minutes for my pork ribs order. We also received a satisfactory and pleasant clearance of our finished plates. Also upon ordering a pork ribs dish, I had received a wet cloth so I could clean my hands which was also a good sign. The waiters understood our English, and we also found the menu interesting to look at as the details were all in English and the prices were all displayed appropriately. The one thing that I noted about the menu, was that there was an expensive beef steak costing 29 bulgarian lev. By comparison to other restaurants in Sofia for a steak, this is expensive.
Our Food OrderMy brother ordered a Calzone pizza 450grams, costing 8,20 bulgarian lev, and I ordered a pork ribs dish served with tomatoe sauce and herbs. Inside the folded Italian style pizza was tomatoe sauce, yellow cheese, ham, mushrooms, salami, processed smoke ham, flat sausage and oregano. The Pork ribs cost 10,50 Bulgarian lev. I also ordered a Tiramisu desert costing 4,50 bulgarian lev. The thing to note is that Pizza Express charge around £4 for Tiramisu deserts. Also my brother had a espresso which he liked.
The folded pizza looked freshly made and we could taste the fresh dough, which had very good consistency. It also included a good amount of ingredients and filling that usually does not appear so much in pizzas. We found the ham and tomatoe to be very tasty indeed. There could have been more herb seasoning which slightly let the pizza down. Overall the pizza was very filling as it was perhaps the equivalent of eating around ten toasted sandwiches. The pizza was well grilled and very tasty.The pork ribs I ate here, were better presented and in my opinion was slightly better quality meat, than that I received when I visited the Happy Bar and Grill. I noticed the meat was juicy and tender. I appreciated the authentic meat which made me slightly want more. I got the best value of the pork ribs as I used my hands to eat this. At the time of writing this review, I felt that it was the best pork ribs I have tried in a long time, and at the same time we were pleased that the waiter was also attentive in service terms, as during our meal he poured some lager in to a glass. The beer complimented our food well to a certain extent as we also enjoyed the Bulgarian Shumensko beer. The taste of the pork ribs were excellent and had me wanting to order more items from the menu. It was a really good visit to this Sofian restaurant and one that I would recommend anyone who visits Central Sofia.
Good PointsAfter 8 minutes from ordering we received clean and elegant looking cutlery.
Very relaxed atmosphere, and we did not rush to leave as the music was interesting to listen to and varied. On the menu I found a good selection of dishes that were varied and generally low priced except for the steak. The steak still would be considered as a tourist or English type of price £14-15, but I went for the cheaper and pleasant Pork Ribs. On the menu are a lot of varied food and drinks. The red wine products were advertised at the front of the menu as being 'aged', which gave me an indication that the wine was good. I did try a Bulgarian beer which I found pleasant. The menu contained a range of salads, Cesar salad 7,90 Bulgarian lev, £3.50 and slightly cheaper Mediterranean and Green salads costing just 6,90 and 6,50 Bulgarian levs. The restaurant also had chicken soup priced at 3,20 Bulgarian lev. There were starters that included fine cheeses, and other main meals including lung from a cod fish costing just 10,80 Bulgarian lev £5. There is more to the menu than what I have written so far, as there are many more options such as pancakes that are 3,90 Bulgarian lev in priced.The cleanliness was excellent, we received clean plates and cutlery. A thorough look at the tidiness of the restaurant was evidently clear. I found that the decor of the place really brought out the best of this restaurant. The cleanliness is what you would expect anywhere to be. I found the cleanliness and standards here to be really high. I could not mark them down as I felt good before and after the meal. I would also perhaps rate this as a family friendly place because they were playing music television programs on a big television, and the seating arrangements inside the restaurant are nicely laid out. The value for money part is good beyond belief.
In terms of price, this was fairly reasonable as every meal on the menu was good priced. I say good priced because a set of pork ribs will cost more than £5 in most or all of England's restaurants. I also feel that this along with Pri Yafata restaurant which is also in Central Sofia represent good value. I felt more comfortable sitting here compared to the Happy Bar and Grill restaurants. The only thing that frustrated me slightly was that there was no mixed grill option at the Joya Bar & Dinner.Bad Points
I did not feel there were any negative points overall. I was slightly confused by the music variation that was being played at times. If you had to nail me down to one disadvantage of dining here, although it is not much of a disadvantage is that the restaurant is located next to a mens club, which might appeal to some people, although the location is not good in this sense.Fast ratings
Joya Bar & Dinner
19 Dundukov Boulevard
ConclusionFrom the pace of our visit we enjoyed the no rush service, the service we received was fine and acceptable at all times. Also from our good viewing of the menu, we found that the choices were of a varied and interesting range to choose from. We decided on the lower end of the menu. The prices of the food was quite good. The only thing in comparison to Pri Yafata restaurant was that the portion sizes were not as generous as that restaurant, although it compared well to the Happy Bar and Grill. In terms of our stay this made an interesting comparison to the traditional taverna restaurant, to the modern Bulgarian restaurant that the Joya Bar & Dinner is. On a price comparison there is little to seperate the two. I found the Pri Yafata was a winner simply because they had a mixed grill for around £5 or 6 in Bulgarian Lev money. A mixed grill that contained loads of meat. By comparison the similar priced Pork ribs were not as generous. This was a pleasant and excellent place to dine at, the prices were very good indeed.
Recommended if you visit Sofia, Bulgaria.
I visited this around 70 days ago and this is somewhat recent.
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