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Magura -- Las Vegas's Only Bulgarian Restaurant

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Magura -- Las Vegas's Only Bulgarian Restaurant

Dave Feldman | Jun 26, 2004 01:11 AM

I stumbled onto this restaurant, located on East Valley View Drive not too far from the Strip (1305 E. Vegas Valley) at lunchtime. Never having eaten Bulgarian food before, I hightailed in, but not before seeing a Max Jacobson/Las Vegas Weekly review in the window (and I cribbed an idea of what to order from this review).

It's a large and plain space, and the only other customers at 12:35 P.M. were a Bulgarian father and daughter.

I ordered the tarator, a cold, sour yogurt and cucumber soup with fresh dill, walnuts, and garlic. I couldn't finish this bracing but gigantic bowl of soup, but I couldn't detect any garlic at all. The waitress told me that a lot of folks don't like garlic in the soup -- gack! But it was good, anyway.

Even better were the thick slices of red peppers stuffed with Bulgarian feta and herbs, and with an egg batter. Jacobson called them a Bulgarian equivalent of chile rellenos -- exactly.

I was fortunate enough to meet the owners, Rumen Stefanov and his wife Jodi. The latter does most of the Bulgarian cooking. Among other things, Rumen runs the other side of the business -- the adjoining pizzeria (pizza can also be ordered inside Magura; the pizza place is all takeout and delivery).

Rumen and Jodi are friendly and charming, and are proud of what they've accomplished. The place has become sort of a cultural center for Bulgarians in Las Vegas. As Jodi put it, they are able to survive, but only with the pizza operation helping the Bulgarian operation along.

This is homey, honest food, and I look forward to trying more. Most of the entrees are under $10.

What is Bulgarian cuisine like? Pretty much what you would expect, combining elements of Greek, Turkish, and Eastern European food.

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