Sushi Bar and Teppanyaki Grill – the special Bansko Japanese treat

Jan 20, 2013 No Comments by

Sushi "ice cream cones"

Sushi, I love it. When thinking about  this year’s top 10 restaurants I had a dilemma. I could not recommend anything I had not tried this season.

But when talking about my favourite places, The Kempinski Grand Arena’s Sushi Bar and Teppanyaki Grill is one of the best. Those who try it, enjoy the whole experience. Read on for more.


The dining room

On entering the dining room  we were greeted with a big smile from Svetlana, the maître d’. Svetlana is well known to many Bansko regular diners, and you can be sure of a warm welcome.

The new table; one of three Teppanyaki tables

She enthusiastically showed us the new teppanyaki table, located just off the main restaurant there is a sense of luxury. Throughout the restaurant there is plenty of wood panelling. The open log fire completes the picture to make this a smart, but also relaxing, place to dine.

I confess that the new teppanyaki table would suit a special celebration rather well. We were especially happy, as one of the best days of the season had seen us in the fabulous powder snow conditions earlier that day.


Sushi skill

There is sushi; and there is good sushi.

Sushi selection to start things off

But the backbone of good sushi is the rice. Often too much over processing and over cooking the rice results in a “mushy sushi” that is disappointing. That sticky consistency comes from of an indispensable starch content along with the adding of a mixture of rice wine vinegar, sugar, and salt.

The sushi chef here had really thought about the rice.

Sushi mix. All the favourites.

Presentation was close to perfect. Freshness was impressive and the generous servings of wasabi and ginger the right amount of zing to each mouthful could be carefully controlled. The actual sushi (rice) held together nicely. It was served perfectly; just warmer than room temperature and not ruined by the over use of vinegar.


Teppanyaki bar and grill

Teppanyaki is well known for the chef cooking tricks. Sitting at a teppanyaki table should be the anticipation of entertainment.

Last Friday night lived up to the memories I had from last year’s visit. The chef’s game of throwing a morsel of food up high in your direction — and then trying to catch it in the mouth like a dolphin would — caused much laughter round our table with both the near misses and the successes.

If you have children in your group, then this sort of thing would be enough to convert them to the joys of teppanyaki eating for life.

We chose a mix of seafood and meat.

We could not find fault.

The ice cream cone shaped sushi was a special treat. The combination of mango with prawn worked. A good choice.

Scallops, prawns, fish and meats start their brief cooking on the grill

The scallops and prawns were all perfectly cooked. The vegetables still had bite. The fried rice made for a perfect mix.

Succulent and a fresh as last Friday’s powder snow.  The beef was incredibly tender. It was also cooked to our request for rare.

Without wine, these main dishes with rice cost between 40 lv and 60 lv. We had the Black C. white Sauvignon Blanc (40 leva) one of the most reliable whites from the  Santa Sarah winery. Check out my top wine review for more on Bulgarian wine.



It is normal to try and find fault. But I am struggling to say anything. There are four teppanyaki chefs working here. Possibly our chef was bringing his cooking tricks to the level of his colleague we had last time. But this really is nitpicking.

A meal at the Sunshi Bar & Teppanyaki Grill may not be cheap, but it’s an experience not to be missed. I can often find fault with the service in Bulgaria, but not this time, nor could we complain about the wine selection, except just a few more white wines from Bulgaria could have been featured.

The commitment to quality ingredients comes at a price. But those who have ventured into Japanese restaurants in the major cities of the world would think this is good value in comparison. Highly recommended.

Ice cream to finish. Nice


Booking info for Sushi Bar & Teppanyaki Grill at the Kempinski


Tips of the day

  • Ski the plato (plateau) area for the morning sunshine.
  • Take out proper winter sports insurance before travel.
  • Last few places left for February ski and snowboard lessons. Ski packages for info and booking and avoid lift pass queues (6 / 13 day passes only)
  • Download the Bansko app. If you like it then please rate and review it — thank you!




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.
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