Hadji Nikoli Inn, Veliko Tarnovo
The first time I visited the Hadji Nikoli Inn in Veliko Tarnovo, the waiter took the time to point out that the wine we had chosen wasn’t the perfect choice to compliment our food. We listened to his advice, told him our budget and subsequently enjoyed meal with a great bottle of red. Since then, I’ve enjoyed numerous dinners here and always accompanied with an excellent choice of Bulgarian and international wines.
A diverse Bulgarian and European menu is brought to the table for an authentic dining experience. While prices might be slightly higher than the average restaurants in town, the quality of cuisine and the restaurant’s settings more than compensate for the difference.
The inn takes its namesake from a famous Tarnovo merchant and the unique architecture was designed by famous architect, Kolyo Ficheto, in the style from the Bulgarian Renaissance. The interior is a reminder of this era and the building is still considered to be a valuable contribution to Bulgarian cultural and historical heritage.
Restaurants at the Hadji Nikoli Inn
The Hadji Nikoli Inn boasts two restaurant floors where you can dine amongst the elegant decor. Or, if the weather is favourable, sit in their summer garden courtyard with its ornate stonework and iron furniture to enjoy a feast of culinary creations. If you chose to sit inside, enjoy the live piano music as you tuck into rich tastes from fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Their menus cater for meat, fish and veggie lovers with some excellent starters and exquisite deserts attractively presented. Whist you’ll find traditional Bulgarian food on the menu, you’ll also discover some unusual twists and a whole range of sauces: shrimps with Cognac, calamari with Pernod or homemade ravioli with a truffle cream sauce. Wild mushrooms and truffles feature in several dishes and for desert try one of the chef’s specialties, Kadif, (sweet noodles). I’ve been there several times now and each time have had an excellent service; waiting staff generally speak English and have always tried to be helpful to answer any questions about the menu.
Wine is a specialty here and they take their oenology seriously which is great if like me, you’re a lover of good wines! You’ll find the house wines inexpensive and an extensive range of quality Bulgarian and foreign wines to suit all tastes, flavours and budget. If you want to experiment with local wines and improve your knowledge of wine, try out their wine tasting sessions. Not a wine lover? Not a problem: they also have a range of craft beers and rakias instead.
Art Gallery & Museum at the Hadji Nikoli Inn
The building of the Hadji Nikoli Inn also houses an Art Gallery and Museum on the upper floors for a 6lv entrance fee. In addition to authentic clothes, weapons and historic artefacts,you can also currently admire a large collection of silver and gold coins which go back to the time of the Principality of Bulgaria and the Third Bulgarian Kingdom.
Their Art Gallery showcases both contemporary art from Bulgaria and abroad. Exhibitions change to accommodate different artists and there are many sculptures and paintings on display; and if you like them that much, there are opportunities to buy some of the artwork too. All descriptions are written in Bulgarian and English so there’s little chance of confusion!