Restaurant Review: Motto

Motto was the scene of one of our most memorable meals when we arrived in Bulgaria five years ago. And I’m pleased to say – unlike certain other establishments where the service nosedived or the ego of the restaurateur outstripped the quality of the food – it has remained a consistently good venue in terms of service, cuisine and affordability.

We met a couple of friends for a weekend lunch and headed through to the garden. It’s one of the most attractive locations in central Sofia, grassy and sheltered by trees although – in no way the restaurant’s fault – at the time of our meal a building opposite was in the final stages of demolition.

I started with honey baked goat cheese, served with pine nuts, drizzled with pepper vinaigrette. I had enjoyed this dish before at Motto and second time around, it was better than ever, light but not too light, at a stretch even a main course and very reasonably priced at 7.90 leva for 300g. My wife managed to make a meal of her Caesar salad in a crunchy parmesan basket with chicken fillet, bacon, anchovies and dressing. Our daughter liked the Viennese sausages (definitely not of the Bulgarian variety) with French fries and three types of sauces (8.20 leva) – perhaps (note) an over-generous portion for a child.

One of Motto’s many advantages is that many of the dishes, whether starters, main courses, or desserts, are of similar price, saving the less affluent diner the embarrassment of having to make it clear they are opting for the cheaper option. My main was tagliatelli with prosciutto and mozzarella, a very tasty dish and well-presented, and only 6.90 for 300g.

Among the desserts (all 5.90 leva for 120g) were brownies with chocolate mousse in orange-raspberry sauce, cheesecake with berries and chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. All were delicious, although my preference is for the brownies to be served warm.

A bottle of white wine was placed in an ice bucket – how annoying it is on a warm day when restaurants overlook this point – and service was smiling and attentive.

Motto seems to be a big hit with families – many children scampering around and babies in prams are welcome. An enjoyable venue at any time but such is its popularity that it’s advisable to make reservations beforehand.

18 Aksakov Str
T: 987 27 23



Gabriel Hershman

Gabriel Hershman is a British journalist and writer with special interest in politics and cinema.