Good Year by Chef Dani Spartak, Sofia
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After winning the big prize of EUR 50 000 in the TV show Hell’s Kitchen, Bulgaria, Chef Dany Spartak was not content only to manifests on TV, but also decided to invest in his own gourmet restaurant. You won’t see his name as a co-owner in the commercial register, rather that of his wife, but in the kitchen, he’s the main actor. The restaurant is called Dobra Godina, which in Bulgarian means Good Year. It is named after the famous movie A Good Year with Russel Crowe.
Previously, Dany was Chef of a restaurant with French cuisine in Sofia, which had to close due to repair activities for the Sofia Metro just in front of it. Since then, we have not tasted his dishes and I was wondering if we ever would be. However, it is a fact already that Dany came back on Sofia fine dining landscape.
So, if you are eager to try his creations, you will find his restaurant Dobra Godina on Rakovski Blvd., just across the street from Manzo.
…. The place was cozy and pleasant– I liked very much the natural color of the bricks on the walls, the photos with culinary masterpieces;
…. The menu was not extensive, but intrigued with interesting dishes such as pork ears, cauliflower panna cotta, Surf & Turf. The last immediately attracted my eye. I love this unconventional combination of land and sea flavours, so everywhere I see, I try it;
…. A worthy wine list was prepared by the former sommelier of Este, Yordan Kirilchev, stating immediately that wine is offered by glass from bottles, not from boxes.
…. Smiling and polite waiters, responsive to the needs of the customers;
…. There was one problem- we ordered a few appetizers plus salads. Everything came at once, there was not much space on the table and the warm appetizers cooled down until we finished the salads.That took a lot off their qualities.
…. The staff needs a little bit more training regarding the introduction of the dishes- I asked about some details about the technique of preparing of a dish but was replied that they had not been informed about such details.
Not all clients pay due attention to the creations on the plate and in the rare moments when this happens, they should be provided with the desire info.
Not to mention, when speaking with the waiter about Chef Dany, that we know his cuisine from before, he offered me “to do me a favour” to ask the chef to come and meet me. What I think is that it is still an honor for the chef to be given the opportunity to tell about his creations, to presented himself personally, and not some kind of “favour” to the clients that he has paid attention to them. If it’s Alain Ducasse, it might be the other way around, but in this case…
…. Jelly balls in a compliment welcome appetizer of breaded broccoli and kimchi- lovely enjoyable sensation of popping these small balls in your mouth;
…. The gentle and al-dente consistency of the cauliflower panna cotta;
… Crispy pork ears- should be eaten immediately after serving, while they are warm and crispy. If they stay for long, they become greasy and slightly tough.
Watching movie time: 1.56
…. Strangely, for some time there was no music. A little later they played some but we were already leaving, so I couldn’t identify what background music they had in the house.
…. Aroma of smoked bacon in rösti, going with the mussels– I liked it a lot;
…. The fresh and slightly acetone aroma of Ice Riesling from Tsarev Brod- I was really surprised that such wine is produced in Bulgaria. We were delighted;
…. The scent of the curry in the cauliflower panna cotta- the latter was a bit tasteless, so the curry added character.
…. Surf & Turf- when I see such option in the menu, I always try it. Still, however, number one of this dish is in ANDRe. Here Dany Spartak tried to make a very different interpretation. The Turf was represented by beef sazdarma, which seemed like a very good idea. Surf’s got crab claws. Here comes the problem- it was very laborious to drill for crumbs of meat into the narrow shells of crab. And the dish somehow lacked flavour and character, only the sazdarma determined it.
…. Rib-eye steak- a very nice idea for the thin sheet of lard on the steak and the supplement of Adana kebap. However, I did not like the meat- I was unlucky to have in it three tendons;
…. I don’t recommend the salmon trout with crab-meat tortelloni— it was tasteless for me. My daughter didn’t eat it, and I didn’t want to have it either. Again lack of flavor.
You have to bear in mind that in Dobra Godina you can’t just go with a salad and an appetizer. It is also necessary to eat main course.
The proposals in the carte were very interesting and tempting. Dany Spartak has great knowledge and skills in gastronomy, being a graduate of Cordon Bleu. There is a lot of potential for the development of his cuisine and I am sure that he will master great distinctive style with which to delight his fans.
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Don’t worry about getting to Dobra Godina in Sofia. Just use the Google map here by clicking on the red pin of its location and then select directions:
А: Bulgaria, Sofia, str. By George. Rakovski 174
T: +359 89 3379767
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Do you ever wonder how some places are so very different from others in service, environment, as a general experience? This means you are also interested like me in the topic of The Experience Economy by Pine and Gilmore. I’ve tried to recognize those places which apply it in practice its principles, whether deliberately or accidentally, and I think it is worth to consider them. Right click on category The Experience Economy.