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Manthos A family Greek restaurant worth visiting


62 Tsar Simeon Veliki Blvd., Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
+42 626 076
11:00 - 23:45
(Mon - Sun)
  • Kind: Restaurant

Tags: greek restaurant, Manthos, Stara Zagora

At Manthos you get strong sense of the sea. Not its scent or taste, but the presence of the sea. You can see it in the eyes of Matheus Broulis and in the small wrinkles from squinting around them. In Bulgarian the sound necessary to pronounce his name correctly does not exist so even his documents have the name written as Mantos.

(scroll down for the interview)


He is here since 1994. He came for a trip from Athens to find his friends; he found, instead, his wife, Margarita. He has relatives all around the world. And everywhere they are they have opened restaurants. He and Margarita also decided to open a Greek restaurant and it became a meeting place for Greek students, who numbered approximately 800 at the time. Their restaurant also attracts Bulgarians, however. The cuisine, although different from Bulgaria’s, is not completely unknown. “After all, for centuries we had no borders separating us. We have many things in common with the Turks, Albanians and Serbians,” he shares. “There is no racism here. Everyone is welcome.” Actually, for a certain period, he had a Syrian chef working in his kitchen. “Kalamata olives, however, you can only get from Greece” and that is the end of the discussion.

As he speaks, I can see the sea in his eyes, too. He tells about Athens. The specialties there are sarmi (stuffed grape leaves) and musaka. He is quick to point out the differences with Bulgarian musaka. At home, he and Margarita take turns cooking. He likes Stara Zagora and, especially, that it is close to his homeland. When he gets a bit nostalgic he goes to Alexandroupolis, drinks a coffee, eats some squid and….looks out at the sea. He misses the communication. “Greeks are more yearning,” he explains.

In the beginning lamb and beef weren’t very popular with his Bulgarian customers. Gradually, they became familiar with them. When he starts talking about food, he immediately starts sharing recipes. His sentences often end with “oregano,” “eggplant” or “olive oil”.

When he told his family he was going to open a restaurant his mother gave him a cookbook. Even today he uses recipes from that same book. Some of his kitchen secrets he learned from his mother – and still uses them today. For example, he puts lettuce in tomato sauce to deal with the acidity, so he doesn’t have to add sugar. He explains in detail how to make kokoretsi at home. All the recipes mandatorily include a glass of wine and a little music. Subsequently, the discussion covers cheverme, as well as beef and lamb meals. In the end, it becomes clear that Greece also offers vegetarian food.

The conversation with Manthos quickly and unwittingly transforms into a taste test. And the food is heavenly. His secret is “yearning”! “When you eat well-prepared and healthy food, then later you will have the desire for love and work! If you eat poorly, then you feel stuffed and you only want to sleep”.

Eating at Manthos is sharing. It is a communication center. Via tasting the recipes, he shares with us his family’s history. He can’t imagine his daughters living far away. If they did, how would he invite them for a Sunday lunch from 2000 km away?

Interview: Rayna Miteva for Nagore Association
Photos: Vladislav Chepandov for Nagore Association
Translation from Bulgarian: David Leistrum for Nagore Association
Illustration: Kremena Cholakova for Compote Collective
30 November 2015