Christmas and New Year in Bansko: a foodie special

Dec 20, 2011 8 Comments by

Teppanyaki and sushi at the Kempinski. Picture taken: 17th December 2011

Christmas and New Year in Bansko is followed by thoughts of three questions:

  1. will there be snow?
  2. is everything open?
  3. where is good to eat?
1. Will there be Christmas snow?
Ohhh YES indeed there will be. Although after last week’s false hope, even I was  beginning to wonder. It’s snowing right now. See live web cam. The weather charts are looking very promising for a lot more snow over the next few days.
2. Is Bansko open at Christmas?
Yes. Absolutely everything that can be open to serve a Bansko visitor is open. Some exceptions, such as banks and utility services aside, Christmas sees Bansko in full swing. And this year is no exception.
3. Which restaurants are good in Bansko?
The good news is that eating out both here in Bansko and in Sofia have moved up a gear. Greater diversity of food, improved service.A better Bansko.
With my partners at, I’m committed to providing detailed restaurant and bar listings and reviews. Zavedenia is the largest listing web site in Bulgaria.
As always, I never recommend any restaurant or bar I don’t use, and enjoy, myself. There are many new places, I can’t try them all so not only your comments are welcome but your articles too. Just send them in and get a link to your property or business for free!
Tweet and retweet Bansko news, snow, lifts. Twitter: @bansko.
For a classic, relaxed and special Christmas lunch or dinner, or even a New Year celebrations then there’s one place that should be in your list to book.
The Kempinski Grand Arena
After a few years of not really going that much into the Kempinski, this year I am returning regularly. Apart from one occasion when a set menu meal was not so good, I have had both excellent food and service here.
I think I have turned Japanese. The Sushi and Teppanyaki bar and grill is now my favourite restaurant in Bansko. I combined a visit here with the Sing Sing piano bar. My top tip is to reserve both to guarantee a very tasty and entertaining evening. Booking usually essential for both.

This year, the Kempinski have laid on some mouth wateringly tasty sounding menus for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year in both their Galleria buffet restaurant and Come Prima restaurant. The prospect of tucking into the scallops starter is good. I’m reckon that the lamb main course, washed down with a decent Bulgarian wine will make for a fine Christmas dinner. The Garlleria Christmas lunch is €44 or 88 lev per person.

A special treat for family and loved ones.

Here are the menus and prices for download:

New Bansko restaurants

The five new large restaurants opening their doors for the first time this season:

  • Gastros restaurant. Dimitros and Petros serving up fresh fish and Mediterranean dishes. Recommended. Located at the entrance of town opposite the Valon supermarket.
  • Queen’s pub, up from ice rink on Pirin street (large, live bands). Reports please.
  • Stone Flower Barbeque located on Pirin Street by ice rink (traditional music, too noisy for me to try)
  • Euphoria bar and grill right at lights before gondola, (looks nice: more upscale, Chinese restaurant upstairs — opening any day now).
  • Mezze restaurant. Now in the location of  ByTheWay. Lavina complex. Reports please.

I recently took a look at sushi in Bansko, including the St Ivan Rilski, but also there’s now sushi at Vila Roka and, like last year, at the Florimont hotel.

Will Bansko soon become a gourmet and party destination? I think it already is getting very close to this. These new restaurants make a welcome change from the generally reliable Victoria restaurant (opposite the Kempinski).

Tips Of The Day

    • When eating out, a gratuity on top of the bill (cheque) is much appreciated by your waiter or waitress. Wages are still low here, and the Bansko cost of living is not so low!
    • Be quick to claim bonus discount for the flexible ski packages including six and thirteen day lift passes.
    • Money saving coupons for all ski packages clients.

For an additional savings resource, look for a current Orbitz promotional code


Bars and Restaurants

About the author

I enjoy tech, apps, entrepreneurship, podcasting and collaboration with others. I love travelling as well as skiing, hiking, MTB, paragliding, cooking and good food.

8 Responses to “Christmas and New Year in Bansko: a foodie special”

  1. mark waterhouse says:

    Hi, If you are ever in or passing Blagoevgrad, there is an English restaurant (owner NOT food) in town called Casa Adria, it serve Bulgarian and Mediterranean food to a high standard, with customer service being 100%, food served together and on hot plates in a fine dining surroundings……How do i know this…. Because i am the proprietor… Mark Waterhouse, We don't get many British clients so i would be very happy to meet anybody who fanccies coming for a drink or meal, we are in Balabashi at the top of the town….. If you can't find us, just ask a cab to take you there, either follow it or leave your car in town, we are 2 minutes drive from the centre…… Look forward to meeting you some time……;-) Oh and another thing…. we are Bulgarian prices, not Bansko prices…;-)))

    • LanceNelson says:

      thanks Mark, I\’ll check it out soon

      • Larisa Cristian says:

        Hi Mark1
        I’m not a very good english speaker.So…
        I’ll be in Bansko in 28.12.2012-5.01.2013 and I want to spaend New Year 2013 in your restaurant. It’s possible?

        • Lance says:

          Dear Larisa,

          Thank you for your comment. Please contact the Kempinski hotel direct to book your New Year’s dinner there. They do get full so do please book soon. This year the Kemoinski tell me that will have set Teppanyaki times (I think 19:30 and 21:30) throughout the ski season.

          Have a great time in Bansko

  2. Gary says:

    Hi love the site. on a same but different note we have a place in Orbilux and are due to arrive boxing day, i am trying to get my wife to arrive on the 23rd instead and have christmas there with the kids 6 and 4. we have never had christmas in Bansko as of yet only new year. is Christmas good in Bansko and is anything going on? please help as i need to sell this idea to her!! cheers

    • Lance says:

      Hi Gary,

      Thank you for your question. It is a good one. But first imagine a lungful of clean mountain air. children having the time of their lives. Now think of the family stuck inside, getting fractious and arguing what to watch on TV…

      … no comparison. Your wife should be sold. Father Christmas stops by in Bansko and ensures we wake up wide eyed and happy. So whilst skiing is the main attraction, there are some special Christmas dinners.

      A spa treatment is a nice idea for your good lady, massages, facials, sauna, steam — they will all be available on Christmas Day.

      The ever popular Victoria restaurant is already nearly full — but there is the Kempinski, Premier, and all the mehanas as well as Euphoria, Queen’s pub, Lion Pub… Usually some fireworks. Watch out for events on BanskoBLog facbook page as welle as here and

      See you in Bansko.

  3. Hanna Benseman says:


    myself and 4 friends are spending our first christmas in bansko for a white christmas and some snowboarding!! so excited!

    we are arriving on christmas eve evening and wanting to get some ideas for a place to enjoy christmas lunch/dinner.

    we like the idea of buffet or some where with great atmosphere as we are obviously looking for a place where everyone is keen to have a good time and enjoy a special christmas!

    if you could give any suggestions that would be great thanks!


    • Lance says:

      Hi Hanna,

      Watch out for a full article soon. But as this is already a frequently asked question here goes some ideas from places that have told me they are doing a special Christmas lunch menu: The Irish Harp, The London Pub, The Lions Pub.

      Other places thay may be having a special menu, but always have a good atmosphere for a good time, include: Euphoria Bar & Grill, Penguins Bar & Diner. Other places could be The Log House, Queens Pub.

      All these places are marked in he Bansko App (free download from App/Google Play store).

      I hope this helps.

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