On my first evening in Bansko this was the place that caught my eye as I had a wander around the town. It seemed to be just that little bit off the main drag and looked cosy and inviting and perhaps not too touristy.
My wanderings took me around the main part of the town with a few digressions into the more residential areas (where I noted that the hitherto immaculate paving soon revereted to the Bulgarian norm of having to watch your every step) but Dedo Pene still looked my best bet.
As I unlatched the solid wooden front door I found myself confusingly in the middle of the three-piece band (guitarist, accordion player and flautist) who managed to continue playing without missing a beat. The place had filled up since I'd last passed about 45 minutes previously and the only free table I could see was one set for seven with what looked like "reserved" signs.
This was where I got my first taste of Bansko hospitality when the stunningly-attractive, raven-haired, waitress came to my rescue. With a smile she asked me (I assumed anyway) if I was by myself. I replied with my usual random lolling of the head (still can't get the hang of this shaking instead of nodding) and she whisked me upstairs to an ideal little table overlooking the whole place.
Favorite Dish: When the menu arrived I found it totally ununderstandable but fortunately the English translations at the back revealed the code - everything had been given twee names such as "Grannie's Goulash" and "Auntie's Assorti". I'm always a bit dubious about this sort of menu but the descriptions were a bit more down-to-earth so I opted for a couple of the local specialities along with bread and rakiya.
To start I decided to try the "Banski Starets" which gave me an excuse (not that I really needed one) to accompany it with a glass of rakiya. This was a tasty plate of slightly-aniseedy, subtly-spiced, flat sausages although I couldn't discern any real difference from the usual Lukanka except for the 7.80 leva price-tag but the rakiya was good (and sort of normally-priced) and the bread roll warm and crusty.
I was impressed with my main course though - the "Banska Kapama". This was delish being a chunkily-meaty stew with beef, pork and sausage cooked with pickled cabbage, rice and a hint of chilli (a bit like the Polish Bigos except a lot meatier) - proper mountain food and just the job for a winter evening.
The band were still playing, a sort of gypsy-folk repertoire, and the place was by now filled to the rafters with every table taken and had developed a really great atmosphere. My waitress had been smilingly attentive throughout and even though the 27 leva bill was about twice what I would have paid in, say, Plovdiv still made for a very satisfying experience.
Despite the fact that this restaurant is smack bang in the centre of town I was pleasantly surprised to find a table of obviously local guys eating there on the Saturday lunchtime - I suppose most tourists were out skiing.
The waiter, recognising that I wasn't Bulgarian, gave me the option of the English menu and seemed genuinely pleased when I opted for the Bulgarian - I must admit I had cheated a little as the menu's specials were written in English on a blackboard on the wall outside and I'd already sort of decided what I was going to have.
The menu is led by the grill section, the grill itself situated behind the main window where passersby can see the chef in action, and a simple grill what I was after for a lightish lunch.
The restaurant is quite large, on two floors, and does look as if it is geared up for us tourists (and features live music in the evenings) but during my lunchtime it was pleasantly quiet and the service friendly and attentive.
Favorite Dish: As I said I'd already decided on what I was going to have and soon found it on the Bulgarian menu - the "Banska Kourvavitsa" (local black pudding). The waiter double-checked that I knew what I was ordering and then double-checked that I wanted a "Golyama Bira" (silly him!). This was exactly what was I was after, meaty and tasty and that little bit different from anything I'd eaten in Bulgaria so far. I asked for fried potatoes (with cheese) and grilled vegetables to accompany it and the lot came well-presented on a huge platter.
Along with a beer and a coffee the 18.50 leva bill was the cheapest meal that I had in Bansko and excellent value it was too.
It was the succulent-looking whole lamb being slowly turned on its spit, hissing its excess fat over the glowing logs, that prevented my feet from taking me any further towards the main square. That was my introduction to Chevermeto and as good an introduction as any it was - and now that we are on first name terms I've since found out that "Cheverme" actually means "whole barbequed lamb".
This is another welcoming, friendly and busy restaurant just off the main square and when I arrived the downstairs banqueting hall was packed with groups of enthusiastic diners hacking into slabs of cooked meats.
The meeter and greeter led me upstairs to the balcony seating which was, at the time, occupied only by one other table and so, as with Dedo Pene the night before, I got a prime overview of the place. A cheery waiter duly brought the menu which for us carnivores read pretty much as I could imagine the dinner menu at Valhalla would read for an especially heroic Viking. Yep meat, meat and more meat - stewed, barbequed, grilled or roasted it was all there, entrails and all. There was a couple of fish dishes and of course the usual salads and vegetable garnitura which a devout veggie could have made a meal of too but flesh was definitely the order of the day.
Downstairs a pair of singers were belting out a few popular tunes, definitely needing the electronic amplification to make themselves heard over the hub-bub of the multi-lingual restaurant chatter.
I really did fancy the lamb but when I found it on the menu it was priced at something like 80 leva. Fortunately the waiter spoke reasonably good English and explained that it was for "parties - 4, 6, 8 people - plenty meat!" Such is life and so instead I opted for the Chicken Kavarma which was incredibly cheap by Bansko standards - so cheap that it inspired me to splash out on a bottle of decent wine (just so as I didn't appear to be a tightwad of course).
To start I couldn't decide between the pickled vegetables or the Lukanka sausage so I ordered both (there was also Starets at over twice the price of the Lukanka but I did want to see if I could tell the difference). On enquiring about bread the waiter suggested the house special bread and so that was the ordering done.
By now the upstairs was starting to fill and as my food arrived the meeter and greeter asked whether I minded sharing my table - well I was sitting at a table for six and so it would have been churlish not to agree. This turned out to be a good move.
Favorite Dish: Back to the food tho' - I still can't tell the difference between Lukanka and Starets except for the 5 leva on the bill! Both are meaty, subtly-spiced and make an excellent accompaniement to your rakiya aperatif. Here the pickled vegetable (Turshiya) portion had a good home-made flavour and crunch. The Chicken Kavarma was tasty and filling and came flamboyantly presented (literally) - it took me three attempts to blow the flames out! But the star of the show was definitely the special bread - "Purlenka Kombinirana". This was a flat bread folded over, baked with a Sirene cheese filling and glazed with salt and sesame seeds. This was almost a meal in its own right and would be ideal with a salad as a substantial lunch.
This was all washed down by an excellent bottle of Minkov Brothers 2008 Cuvee which at 25 leva was a tad more than I would normally pay but delish it was too - good fruity nose and plenty of body.
Meal was thoroughly enjoyed but the night was far from over. My new table companions turned out not to be diners but rather just a group of three guys and a woman out for a few beers. They thanked me for sharing my table, Nastrovei all around, then as we got chatting it turned out that they were from Macedonia (Bansko, I believe, was briefly part of Macedonia after the Balkan Wars) and just visiting for the weekend. Then it transpired that the singers too were Macedonian and so a few leva notes were passed via the waiter and next thing we had our own private concert.
Yep a fun night out and if I'd skipped the wine and opted for a couple of beers would probably have escaped with a bill of about 25 leva - so not that expensive either!
We went here last year,and were very impressed,so we thought we`d try it again,and I have to say that we were NOT disappointed.
The food was wonderful,good portions,various dishes,ranging from Bansko bean,( Mixed beans in a sauce),to BanskiInn,(Potatoes and mushrooms cooked in a cream sauce) MMMM
I feel abit daft taking photos of food in restaurants,but what the hell.
Would I recommend this place....ABSOLUTELY
Favorite Dish: I`d have to say...Chicken Kavarma with banski Inn,all delicious.
Bakanova Mehana, situated at near the Nikola Vapsarov squair is very good for Bulgarian food, but also for Pizza’s; I had to have one of their delicious looking pizza’s. These are, depending on size, between 3 and 5 lv. The place seems to be crowded by locals who are eager to try the tasty pizza’s. Sit at the terrace and overlook the squair, and enjoy your meal! The staff is very friendly and speaks English.
Baryakova Mehana, situated in the hearth of the old town-district, near the place Vuzhrazhdane (the second street east of the place, coming from the Nikola Vapsarov squair), is a very atmospheric place, situated in an old building that is turned into a restaurant. The ambience is great and the food is also. Main dishes are about 5 lv, and contain quality food. The place has a traditional outlook and has fire places, so I can imagine the place must be very cosy at winters. Try the Plonka wine, its an ideal surrounding to taste it!
Mmmmmm, I’ve never had a favorite restaurant until I visited this one. Nothing special from the first view but later when you sit and feel the warm, it made me feel great. Lovely soup, delicious potatoes and meat. They have a wide choice of wine. And not at the last place – the staff is very friendly.
This one just like all others offers typical Bansko Food and other bulgarian famous dishes. It has very good atmosphere and a nice yard. The food is tasteful and the wine cellar excellent. Th food is served in traditional bulgarian pottery.
Favorite Dish: Favourite Dishes:
- Banska Kapama
- Kavarma Kebab
- Villager Salad
- Red Wine...
This restaurant we found in the center of the town, I can’t tell where exactly just know it is close to Velianov house. We had chicken soap and it was really delicious. In summer people can enjoy their mean on the balcony.
This was my second time in Bansko but i did not know about the Amvrosia restaurant. What i can say is that this is a must restaurant if you visit Bansko. Very good service, the food is just excellent and the restaurant has a nice chic and romantic atmosphere. Dont miss the angus beef and the chocolate sufle. Very impressed!!!
Favorite Dish: Black angus beef.
Large traditional Bulgarian restaurant with talented musicians - for a change! If you've had your ears hammered by too loud and tone deaf musicans, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Staff were very welcoming and attentive considering the size of this busy mehana. We were pleased with the menu which had options to suit everyone (BBQ, salads, soups, meat dishes).
Favorite Dish: Try some lamb from the wood-fired oven or the skewers - yum!
In Bansko almost every other house in the old town has had part of its ground floor converted into a local eating place which are called a Mehana. Many of these have real character and retain a great atmosphere.
We tried 2 whilst in Bansko and found that the food was freshly prepared and also very reasonable.
As usual it is a mixture of meat dishes with plenty of different salads to choose from. In one they were doing some of the cooking, over an open wood fire in the restauarant.
The local wine (if you choose red) and beer are both good with Beer costing from 1.5 lev for 500ml and a bottle of wine costiong from 8 lev to 20lev. In Bansko I found that a bottle of Mavrud cost 10 lev in a Mehana in Bansko , whilst in Sunny Beach it cost 18 lev.
An attractive restaurant with an open fire inside serving local dishes including local meat dishes (roast lamb on the spit, kapama etc), soups and salad. Unusually for a local place, this one offers vegetarian options.
Because of the relatively small size of the restaurant, it feels quite homely.
Favorite Dish: Try the bean soup, but ask for condiments (garlic vinegar and chilli). It tastes even better. One of our group had the steak and said it was excellent.
Bulgarian food with the usual tourist favourites thrown in.
I visited the week of 7 March 2011. A typical mexana with a BBQ outside and seating. One of the men that stand outside to invite people in said if I dined there that evening, we would get 20% off. I wasn't sure if this meant it was 30% more expensive than other mexana but we ended up going there. Big mistake. 1) I love salt but there was way too much on everything even for me; 2) ordered the £80 sharing kebab platter but the chicken was raw inside so it had to be returned; 3) we were overcharged by about 25-30LEV but once the 20% discount was applied the price was reduced to a couple of lev under the correct full price (so I didn't bother complaining as just wanted to get out of there). The man on the synth and the lady singing were quite enjoyable and the friendly staff were attentive but the inedible food and dodgy pricing means I suggest you steer clear.
Nice atmosphere and decor with a welcoming fire. Under the Hotel Lazur.
Decent enough English breakfast (we expected the worst as most places outside the UK don't get it right); we were pleasantly surprised.
Really good steaks. A couple of the guys said theirs were the best steaks they'd ever had.
Service was not particularly friendly but not exactly rude either - just typical Bulgarian customer service so to be expected.
Can't remember name of road but if you are on the main street that the gondola is on, walk down towards the river. It is on the left, just short of the river.
Favorite Dish: English breakfast. For other meals I had local food but this sets you up nicely for a long day on the slopes.