What The FAQ #8: My Top 11 Venues In Bansko

Nov 22, 2017 No Comments by

The Irish Harp: Top shelf action with Brian

Fellow Bansko gastronauts and drinkers, we’re approaching the ski season; it’s time to take a look at what’s happening in Bansko’s restaurants this year. Armed with a healthy post ski healthy thirst, a ravenous appetite and some good friends, I’m now ready to predict the top 11 places I’m looking forward to trying this season.
DISCLOSURE:  Some of the restaurants mentioned in this article sponsor this blog. So bear that in mind. But also please remember that I never recommend anywhere I have not enjoyed. Comment on Facebook.
I’ve listed my favourite restaurants in no particular order:
1.  Morris Bar

Morris Bar: 2.5 leva a beer. What's not to like?

Morris Bar has gained my attention for its consistent best value drinking. Live sports with English commentary. I save money by drinking here so I have cash left to go to one of the fine dining places listed below. This is why I recommend you go to the Morris bar. 2.5 leva a Bulgarian beer,  5.5 leva for a Guinness. Their non-stop Happy Hour cocktails and magners cider is the best in the area.

Morris Bar: Close to most hotels

This is what low-cost skiing is all about. Fun with friends, a round of pool, darts and a lively atmosphere. Morris bar is easy to find and you can be assured of a friendly welcome from Rosi, Slavi and Krasi and the crew there.
2.  Sushi and Teppanyaki at the Kempinski 

Teppanyaki table at the Kempinski. A cooking show for all the family.

With great dexterity the teppanyaki chefs here make for a special treat for the family and your loved one. Pure entertainment. But the food is tasty. A choice of seafood, meat or mixed teppanyaki means most tastes are well catered for. If you’re like me and you like fish and meat only just cooked, then you can instruct accordingly. The sushi is top notch. Prices reflect the quality and surroundings.
Natalia is the General Manager of the Kempinski and the impact of his tenure is being felt. Eli and Donny are the long time Thursday, Friday and Saturday musical act that makes up Taboo in the piano bar, Sing Sing. This wonderful bar is located right next door to the Teppanyaki restaurant. Listen to my interview with Eli and Donny and you’ll see why I am a Taboo fanboy.

Tempura prawns at the Kempinski's Sushi and Teppanyaki restaurant. We had eaten several. Delicious.

3. The VIP Room

VIP Room: lamb chops

For the best lunch on the mountain head to the VIP Room at Banderishka Poliana. The long time Italian chef, here combines with excellent service in the best dining room in Bansko. Pretend you’re in Courcheval 1850.
Choose the Korten Grand Reserve red wine as your wine here. It needs decanting to open up this deep fruits and a decent amount of tannin to accompany robust Italian dishes such as Lasagne and the lamb chops.
The restaurant opens in the mornings, so I grab a hot chocolate for morning email catch up by the roaring log fire. The world seems a better place here like this.

VIP Room Hot Chocolate

4. The Irish Harp

The Irish Harp's Steak and Guinness pie.

I’ve been here three times this season. Read my review here. The new chef is doing Thai curry and amazing fish and chips already this season. Everything is good here. Brian is the host.
The servers are friendly welcoming and efficient. The steak and ale pie with pea and potato mash, slow cooked beef, chilli con carne, the ribeye steak, spicy prawns and avocado (this is my regular favourite) and the best spicy chicken wings in town. Oh and did I mention the Thai green curry?

Whisky time... all the ... in The Irish Harp

Guinness, Kilkenny on draught, hundreds of brands of whisky and a fairly priced, but short, wine list. The Lizard is the live singer guitarist on Wednesday to Saturday nights. Not to be missed.
You can book your table in the Bansko App.  http://bit.ly/BanskoApp (iOS)  or http://bit.ly/BanskoAppAndroid.  You get a free pick up and drop off too. Just put your request in the comments.
For this season The Irish Harp will be stocking my favourite premium boutique Bulgaria wines.
5.  Tomahawk SteakHouse 
21 day aged T bone steak to share for two @ Tomahawk SteakHouse
Dobrin and his chef wife offer 21 kinds of steak to choose from. Amazing 21 day aged T bone steak for two persons. My review earlier in the season focussed on the wonderful venison steak. Burgers and pasta are reliable choices too. Good wine list
No hint of venison gaminess either. This is quality food that impressed in 2016/17 season and for 2017/18 season makes for a reliable good value place for Christmas lunch, New Year’s Eve.
6. Amvrosia at the Premier Luxury Mountain Resort
The Premier gastronomy fest is an unmissable event in November. The now ex General Manager, Takis, was one hell of cool dude too. I interviewed him and learnt why Bulgaria’s “Queen of Sex” is so close to his heart.

Amvrosia Restaurant at the Premier.

The Greek influence is found in the devine cheese in pastry with honey. A greek classic done very nicely here. The menu ranges from excellent salads, burgers, pasta and meats.
A comfortable dining room completes the Amvrosia experience.

Amvrosia at The Premier Luxury Mountain Resort

7. Smokey Mountain Bar And Grill. 
The burgers are always good but it’s the ribs that stand out. Book these and book the sharing platter, see below. The sharing platter Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights only is enough for three people. You’ll regret not booking the ribs or the platter.

Smokey Mountain's new sharing platter. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Must book.

Real craft beer from Brew Dog (Punk IPA, 5AM Saint etc) make this my go-to bar. Apres ski live music from 4pm till 6pm and from 9pm means that Smokey Mountain Bar and Grill continues to have its fans, which include me. Wine selection is limited but with Cycle’s Le Photographe series you’ll have a wine with the robust rich fruit flavours you need for the food here.
8.  Smokey Mountain Bar & Grill
Smokey Mountain Bar & Grill needs no introduction. Popular Wednesday quiz nights. Fabulous ribs and tasty burgers. Real craft beer from Brewdog , “Ah Breworks” and others mean that this makes a good allrounder for a hungry family after a hard day on the slopes.
9. Leonardo’s
Italian cravings hit us all at some sage and the go-to Italian is Leonardo’s. It’s located Lucky Bansko. They will pick you up if you call them. Best pizza in Bansko too. But I have not been this year, but read my review here.
I’m look forward to trying the new fondue restaurant at the Lucky Bansko Hotel.
Friends who have been this season love it and go back there whenever they go. I’ll there very soon to do my full review.
10.  Kempinski Lobby bar

Kempinski Lobby Bar: Specialist Monkey 47 Gin and Fever Tree tonic with lots of ice.

What’s a lobby bar doing here in this listing? Good service and a decent gin and tonic are other compelling reasons. Prices are on the high side.
I recommend The Kempinski afternoon tea. Because I love afternoon tea in the London hotels, then this scratches that itch. I am British and it’s the ritual of afternoon tea that we gave to the world. The Kempinski lobby bar offers comfort, tea, drinks and even Eli Donny play early evening at weekends here before kicking off at 10:30 in Sing Sing.
Download the Bansko App:  http://bit.ly/BanskoApp (iOS)  or http://bit.ly/BanskoAppAndroid. (Android) for all these restaurants for booking details and for contact details. Egur Egur, The Irish Harp and Amvrosia you can book quickly and easily in the Bansko App. Please read full disclosure at the top of this article. I wish you lots of happy eating out moments in Bansko.
11  The Avalon Hotel
The Sunday night dining in night at the Avalon Hotel, the Thursday and Friday curry nights are highly recommended. This year there is sausage and mash night and cocktail night too. So I hope to bring you news and views of these when I can.
I a final note, you’ll see that there are no traditional mehanas in this list. Mehanas needs its own Top 11. I’m working on that. But in the meantime, try the original Bansko Han as being consistently people’s favourite.
Others favourite places:  Euphoria Bar and Grill, good band and good atmosphere, Queen’ Pub — nice entertainment. Soprano’s located above the Happy End. Well worth the extra: great Italian cooking.
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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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