Welcome to our guide on the best things to eat in Bulgaria with a specific focus on what to eat in Bansko. This guide to Bulgarian food will go through the types of dishes available in Bulgaria and what you absolutely should put on your must-eat list, as well as where you can find some of the best options to eat during your time in Bulgaria and Bansko.
Traditional Bulgarian food is similar to that of the cuisines of other Balkan countries. You’ll find some similarities to Greek and Turkish food, due to the proximity of Greece and that fact that Bulgaria was ruled by the Ottoman Empire for several centuries. You’ll also find great use of fresh ingredients and seasonal vegetables used throughout the dishes.
We cover, in this guide, the primary dishes of Bulgaria, the specialities of Bansko and where to eat in Bansko for these specific dishes that we reference. We will also cover local secrets for eating, beers, wines and cocktails. You’ll also find the best restaurants in Bansko.
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Bulgarian Food Style
You will usually find that many starters in Bulgaria are salads. There is also a great deal of dairy product included in dishes. Soups are also popular and you’ll find bread galore in Bulgarian food. Main dishes are typically stews, or grilled meats and vegetables. You won’t find much fried food in traditional Bulgarian dishes.
Traditional Bulgarian restaurants are called Mehanas (механа) which also translates as a tavern or Han’s (хан). You’ll also find, especially in Bansko, a café style restaurant, when in the summer, outdoor living is very popular.
We’re always asked which is the best mehana in Bansko. And our answer is it depends. Some of the mehanas change management seasonally, others have been run by the same family for a long time. When you’re looking for the best restaurants in Bansko, you first need to decide what type of food you want to eat – whether that’s Bulgarian traditional food or more internationalized options. It’s also easy to see the latest reviews on Tripadvisor or to check out the Bansko Notice Board on Facebook.
Bulgarian menus will in most cases, and especially in Bansko have the menu items in Bulgaria, English and usually Russian. Translations are often confusing, especially when a dish is a colloquial name, the translation in the menu in most cases doesn’t make much sense. In fact, some translations are a leap of faith, others will make you smile, if not laugh and decide to order the dish for the comedy value.