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TM Small romantic Turkish restaurant with great cuisine with a team that works with the soul of the enthusiast


38 Yuriy Venelin Str., Sofia
+359 89 568 5524
09:00 - 23:30 (Mon - Sun)
  • Kind: Restaurant
  • Multi Kulti Recommended

Tags: TM, turkish restaurant

Serhat Eric is a serious man, the sporting type, that you can talk to like a man. Years ago he used to be a regular customer of TM and secretly dreamed of owning it one day. When the opportunity came up he didn’t hesitate and he’s been developing the restaurant for the past 4 years with with the heart of an enthusiast and satisfied customers are what makes him most happy.

(scroll down for the interview)


Serhat Eric came to Bulgaria in 2000. More than 20 years ago he used to work in a casino –  that was his profession. In 1999 the government passed a law that all casinos in Turkey must close and he was left unemployed. Then he got an offer from the casino in Sheraton in Sofia and managed it between 2000 and 2003. He met his wife in Bulgaria, they married in 2003. They used to live in Romania, Israel, Cyprus and 5 years ago they came back to Bulgaria. He then wanted to do something different. He was a regular customer of TM, knew the owners well and had a dream – he wanted to own the place one day. He got this opportunity when they decided to come back to Turkey. They agreed to sell him the restaurant.

The restaurant opened in 2000 and Serhat has been developing it since 2010. The name TM comes from “Turkish cuisine” (türk mutfağı). He decided not to change the name and the personnel – the chef has been working here since the opening of the restaurant 14 years ago. “She’s absolutely incredible! Cooks just like my mother! Really, her meals remind me of the ones I had when I was a kid”, Serhat says with excitement. There’s also another chef from Lebanon who is also great and makes kebab. In order to offer authentic cuisine, the restaurant only uses authentic products. Serhat and his wife go to Edirne every month and buy the special products from there. He gets the meat from a Turk in Sofia, whom he knows since 14 years ago. “He knows his meat – if it’s not good, he doesn’t buy it. I trust him completely”.

It’s worth visiting the restaurant because of Serhat’s concept: “The kitchen is small, the restaurant is small as well. We’re still working with the soul of an enthusiast – profit is secondary, to me it’s most important that customers are satisfied! We don’t try to buy the cheapest products and sell them for a high price. I do the opposite – I buy expensive products and sell them cheaply. By doing this I invest in the future and I hope that the restaurant is full everyday”. It used to be like that. Now they have serious competition. 14 years ago when the previous owners opened the restaurant TM used to be the only Turkish restaurant in Sofia. Now there are about 15 of them. “We compete for every customer but I’m sure that people with taste and people who appreciate quality will come back. We work hard for this everyday. I myself taste the food everyday and I guarantee that it’s wonderful. We put a lot of energy into doing everything the best way possible, because attracting a customer is hard, but losing them is very easy. I can say that even for regular customers, who’ve visited the place more than 40 times, only one small mistake can make them not come back anymore. We know this and we try to be perfect – when we buy the products, when we cook them, when we serve them. We also pay attention to the atmosphere – the lighting, the music… Even before I bought the restaurant I was a fan of it and visited it 1-2 times a week. I’m still a fan – now as an owner”.

The restauant’s customers are about 70% Bulgarians, the rest of them are foreigners, mostly from Muslim countries – Turkey, Algeria, Morocco, Malaysia… “They are looking for halal and we have this certificate – we’ve never cooked pork here. This is very important to Muslims. Actually this is one of the reasons for me not to visit other places often”, says Serhat.

His favourite childhood dish is meatballs with fries. He also likes manti – similar to Italian raviolli, with chopped meat inside and yogurt and garlic sauce on top. “It’s very delicious, I can eat 4-5 plates of it, my mother used to make it often. But now I go to the gym and keep a diet –  I try to eat more protein and less carbs”, Serhat smiles. He misses Turkish seaside the most, because he’s from Izmir. He often goes to the Iskar dam, because it reminds him of home. His hobby is collecting vintage American cars and every week he and his wife go on a cruise with one of them.

Nature is what he likes the most about Bulgaria. “Bulgaria is a very beautiful country. I’ve travelled all over the world, but nature here is untouched and I like that. Water is good, meat is great. It’s a calm country and life is not to hasty… I’ve lived in Istanbul for 20 years. 20 million people live there and this can drive you crazy. Getting from one place to another takes an awful lot of time. Sofia also has traffic jams but compared to Turkey it’s nothing. Life is calm, as are people – nobody is interfering and causing you problems”.

Interviewer: Bistra Ivanova
Photos: Stefan Suchev
Translation from Bulgarian: Boyan Boychev
Illustration: Mila Lozanova for
Compote Collective
14 November 2014