It would be a terrible shame to come to Bansko, or Bulgaria as a whole, and not visit at least one traditional restaurant. A traditional restaurant is called a mehana (“механа” spelled in Bulgarian), but not all are the same. One of my favorites, that I visit more often, is Mehana Metoha. It is run by a family originating in Bansko with many, many years of experience in this niche. It’s located in the older part of town next to the church. To find it start at the entrance of the church and walk down towards the city center (opposite direction of the mountain). 100m down you will see a fenced children’s playground. The entrance is facing it and will be on your right.
The atmosphere is very nice and unique with great attention to detail. The restaurant is pretty spacious and offers a nice little garden that you can sit in. In the summer there is also a second story terrace with an excellent view. Sadly, during the winter, even if it’s sunny the upper terrace isn’t open, but the garden works. Another detail that I really like are the walls and how they are made. A picture speaks a thousand words, so just look at the picture above to know what I mean. The garden is aslo a great place to have a bite to eat when it’s sunny, they even let me sit down with my dog, which is a big plus for me. I have a Rhodesian Ridgeback, so finding a lunch place with a garden is sometimes difficult.
On the food side of things, you can’t go wrong with whatever you pick. I normally start with a salad and a rakia (Bulgarian brandy) and move onto something more stomach filling, such as the grill. They also have a good selection of Bansko specialties. One such is kapama – a mixture of sauerkraut, meat and other spices. Another such specialty is chumlek. It’s a bunch of meats and vegetables cooked in a pot and is very delicious. For salads though I normally stick to the shopska salda, but the baked peppers (it’s typo’d as backed peppers in the menu) with tomatoes and feta cheese is also very good.
The service is great and the mehana is family run. There is also live music from time to time, so if you’re into that you can ask when there will be a band playing traditional Bulgarian music. Pricing is cheap compared to many other restaurants in Bansko. But that doesn’t mean quality is lower, you just get better bang for your buck. For the price of one portion of pasta and a beer up on the slopes, two of you can have a full meal in Mehana Metoha.