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Pesto Small Italian bistro with wonderful fresh salads, panini sandwiches, croissants, nice coffee and wine


18A Angel Kanchev Str., Sofia
+359 87 717 4845
10:00 - 22:00 (Mon - Sun)
  • Kind: Restaurant
  • Multi Kulti Recommended
  • Vegetarian friendly

Tags: italian restaurant, pesto

Nestled at the corner of Angel Kanchev Str. and Dr. Georgi Valkovich Str. is an enchanting place with beautiful curtains, pots of basil, casually strewn cookbooks, many of Ekaterina Lashova’s beautiful porcelain cups, high chairs and an irresistible feeling of freshness. The bistro offers an impressive variety of fresh salads, served with a spoon as well as the famous panini sandwiches. The owner Mario is always there – sometimes cutting avocado and sorrel behind the bar, sometimes laughing with his Italian friends and customers in front of the restaurant.

(scroll down for the interview)


Mario Montesoro came to Bulgaria 10 years ago. Back then he used to import chocolate. He met his Bulgarian girlfriend in Genoa and then they come together to Bulgaria. They have a two-year-old child, which has both Italian and Bulgarian citizenship. “This is the future,” says Mario.

The bistro is opened in March 2014. It’s called Pesto because pesto comes from Genoa. Bistro means a small family restaurant, not a lower class restaurant. In the bistro there is a direct relationship with the person who prepares the food, the chef is not hidden in the kitchen. Mario is like that too.

It’s worth visiting the place because of the Italian panini sandwiches, which are an alternative to pizza and are served with cutlery. Bread is made with live yeast emplyoing a special method. Most salads are Italian recipes, but some are enriched with Bulgarian products are not used in Italy such as sorrel and dock.” There are lots of quality fruits and vegetables on Bulgarian market”, Mario notes. Salads are served with a spoon which is a trademark of the place. Some of them contain 50% fruit and 50% vegetables. When serving a glass of wine at Pesto they offer crostini with tomatoes that they prepare themselves. At the moment they offer Italian cream soups, with croutons that they prepare themselves by roasting them with olive oil, garlic, spices, paprika, savory.

70% of customers are Bulgarians who speak English and travel outside of Bulgaria, and the rest are Italians and other foreigners who know and like this type of restaurants.

Mario doesn’t know Bulgarian cuisine too well because restaurants mostly offer chicken with potatoes, i.e. not authentic Bulgarian cuisine. He likes meatballs. According to him, the best things are the most simple ones. Even the most ordinary panini, if you put good bread, good salami, good olive oil, a good tomato, it’s ordinary, but very tasty. What’s important is that food is quality and brings pleasure, says Mario.

Interview: Bistra Ivanova
Photos: Stefan Suchev
Translation from Bulgarian: Boyan Boychev
Illustration: Vessela Dancheva for
Compote Collective
14 November 2014