Eat Bulgarian at Magura’s

Restaurants | | March 10, 2007 at 21:49

The Balkans is an intriguing hodgepodge of cultures. Since the days of the Crusades, when multitudes of West Europeans stomped through their lands on the way to Constantinople and the Holy Land, this area has been involved in a tug of war between East and West. Part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries, they retained their odd Slavic kind of Europeanism but not without definite Turkish influence.

To experience the flavors of that Eastern impact, visit Magura’s Restaurant, the only Bulgarian restaurant in Las Vegas. You’Ll find those tasty East Mediterranean combinations of tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, eggplant, garlic, dill, kebabs (grilled meat on skewer), all served and combined with the ever-present yoghurt. Even the names of many dishes are so Turkish as to be instantly recognizable. Bulgarian cuisine departs from Turkish by including lots of pork, both grilled and as sausage or bacon. Tripe seems to be a favorite. Any form of pork, of course, is strictly forbidden under Muslim Hillal; you won’t be finding any pork meatballs in Turkey. Also look for interesting additions of ouzo (more commonly associated as a Greek alcohol). Strangely enough Magura’s has delicious pizza and you can get a large helping of great spaghetti and meatballs.

Step through the door and into another land. If you’re lucky, they’ll be playing music videos from Sofia on the big screen TV. By the sounds of the language from adjoining tables, this restaurant is clearly frequented by Bulgarians, of which there seem to be many in Las Vegas. The signage in the Ladies room is entirely in Cyrillic, so one hopes there isn’t anything important we’re missing. Order a Zagorka (large Bulgarian beer) with a shot of grappa (also vaguely Italian). Bulgarian red wine is full-bodied and goes perfectly with the tangy meat dishes. Finish off the meal with Baklava and a Turkish coffee and you’ve just had cheap trip to the Balkans. 702-693-6990. 1305 Vegas Valley Dr. Ste C