NEW: 27 Best Christmas gift ideas for travel lovers | NEW: My best suitcase packing tips

Travel With Bender

Uncovering the best family holidays

Bulgaria

Don’t Eat Anywhere In Sunny Beach, Bulgaria… Until You’ve Read Point #3

Finding good food in Sunny Beach was harder than dancing the waltz blindfolded through a minefield. 

There’s no argument. The town is set up for tourists. Diners that visit only once don’t encourage restaurants to try and leave a lasting impression. The clientele is often young lads on a liquor-laced bachelor holiday looking for a good time, not a quality time. Cheap beer, cheap food, and below average dining experiences are abundant at every turn. 

After spending 5 weeks here, we got to know the scene pretty well. Half of the difficulty is finding a restaurant even when you know the name since not all the streets have names, and Google Maps is of limited use here. So once you know where you want to go, it’s best to ask for directions from a local, such as your hotel reception.

This is our comprehensive guide to help you find good quality food when visiting Sunny Beach. All restaurants are sorted on the list from the poorest to the best.

 

First - The Bad…

Steak House National – South Sunny Beach - The only restaurant in Sunny Beach where we actually refused to eat and pay for our meals. The chicken fillet was flat as cardboard and tasted like it - cooked so long it no longer resembled meat. The plate of vegetables we ordered for the kids came out half a plate of microwaved frozen vegetables that looked nothing like the photo in the menu. The “fresh” fish tasted more like the frozen microwave ones you buy at the supermarket, and it was a completely different fish from the menu on top of that. The staff were somewhat friendly, and the owner was slightly apologetic, albeit with a boatload of excuses, which just didn’t convince us. We could not recommend eating here.


Second - The OK… 

Djanny’s Inland of Flower Street – This came highly recommended and was a great disappointment. Food was average, and prices were steep, considering the poor quality. Don’t get tricked by the trendy décor.

Mamacita’s Flower Street – A popular Mexican restaurant that doesn’t have tacos! Um, hello! Disappointing, but the food I tried was average. Josh’s burger was poor.

The Castle North of Flower Street – This place was expensive and the food very average. Why does a medieval themed restaurant sell Mexican food? Not sure. Lots of food for the kids imagination, and nice view of beach though. But I wouldn’t go back.

sunny_beach_restaurants_the_castle_IMG_9466-2.jpg

100% Family Restaurant – South Sunny Beach – The food was okay, nothing to rave about. The staff were very friendly and you’ll get a nice sweet curry. The kids enjoyed the toy corner (toys trump good food in their mind).

Piccadilly – South Sunny Beach – Another restaurant with average food, but a buzzing atmosphere and a couple swinging chairs that Mia loved.

Condor – South of Flower Street – Known as one of the cheapest places to eat for locals and tourists alike. We found the prices were pretty cheap and the food was ok. But I’d recommend going across the road to The Old House - same prices, better food.

Coco Beach Bar North of Flower Street – The food was just simple hamburgers and kebabs, but it has the most amazing location right on the beach, 24-hour happy hour and an inflatable playground for the kids. If you just come for the cocktails and skip the food, you’ll be happy.

sunny_beach_restaurants_coco_beach_bar_IMG_9622-2.jpg

Luxury – South Sunny Beach – We had breakfast on the beach here. It’s a little expensive, but the location is to die for. And the kids found the plastic playground on the sand.

Far A South of Flower Street – Another recommended restaurant. It was darn hard to find. The food was pretty cheap and the Bulgarian Sach (sizzling vegetables and meat on a hotplate) was delicious.

BanksoSouth Sunny Beach – A Bulgarian restaurant that served traditional meals. The food was delicious.

Bakeries All Over – At bakeries you can find pizza from around 1.99 lev (€1), sweet treats and plenty of cheese pastries. Cheapest eats anywhere. And the food is always fresh as it’s baked throughout the day. The best bang for your buck in Sunny Beach. 

sunny_beach_restaurants_IMG_8487-2.jpg

Jack’s Bar & Restaurant Flower Street – This sports bar served a good burger and chicken curry. Worth a stop if you enjoy watching sport and a great atmosphere. Central location makes it super convenient too.

Saloon Clio - Nessebar Old Town – Who doesn’t love ice cream? Go and have a giant sundae here overlooking the ocean.

sunny_beach_restaurants_saloon_clio_IMG_8712-2.jpg

The House South Sunny Beach - This was the first restaurant we tried in Sunny Beach because nothing was open. Not everything is done exceptionally, but they do a massive juicy chicken skewer with vegetables at a reasonable price.

sunny_beach_restaurants_the_house_IMG_8445-2.jpg

The Old House South of Flower Street – Chicken soup will cost you less than $1 and we enjoyed the food. The wooden building stands out, so you can’t miss it. Don’t be put off by the cheap prices. We were a little sceptical at first, but it turned out to be good value for money.

sunny_beach_restaurants_the_old_house_IMG_0059-2.jpg

Trakia Garden - South Sunny Beach – Playground, animals, pool tables, air hockey and the food was nice. Great place to take kids. 

The HarpSouth Sunny Beach – We enjoyed the food here twice. They have a playground for the kids and very friendly staff. Recommended.

  

Third - The Best…

Morris - Flower Street, Beachside Promenade – We visited this place twice, the food was quite good and it had a great location on the beach with a small play area for kids.

sunny_beach_restaurants_morris_IMG_8623-2.jpg

Lotus RestaurantSouth Sunny Beach, opposite The House – For days we promised the eager greeter out the front of this restaurant that we would try his food and you should have seen the joy on his face when one evening we finally said yes. We should have come sooner. Every meal was delicious – the pasta, the potatoes, the salad, the homemade bread was just to die for, even my chicken was soft and juicy. Great service and good prices.

sunny_beach_restaurants_lotus_IMG_0032-2.jpg

Khan's TentOut of town – Dinner and a show - what could be better than that? We actually wrote a whole post about it.

AndromedaNessebar Old Town – Another delicious restaurant in Nessabar with amazing views of the ocean. Pretty pricey and watch out for the free dessert scam. It wasn’t a free dessert, it was 4 tiny pieces of baklava, which came after we ordered what we thought were our ‘free desserts’. We refused to pay for them, which tainted the experience. But the food was excellent. Try the broccoli blue cheese, you’ll thank me for it.

sunny_beach_restaurants_andromeda_IMG_9550-2.jpg

Gloria MarNessebar Old Town – Most of the food in Old Town was delicious. Expensive, but delicious. This place is fine dining and all dishes were executed with a high degree of class and finesse.

sunny_beach_restaurants_gloria_mar_IMG_8690-2.jpg

Sofi HutNessebar – We found this little place by accident when the bus dropped us off at the wrong stop. All hungry, we decided instead of finding another bus to Old Town we would eat here. What a gem! Every dish we ordered was delicious and the price was cheaper than any other place we had found in Sunny Beach. We enjoyed it so much we went twice! The cost of a bus ticket from Sunny Beach to Nessebar was only 1 lev (€0.50) per adult each way, but that is a small price to pay for happiness. 

sunny_beach_restaurants_sofi_hut_IMG_9467-2.jpg

HawaiiNorth of Flower Street, Beachside Promenade – We only found this place on our last day, which is such a shame. A lovely Irish guy runs it and the food is great. Right on the beach, good food and great prices. The lunch specials are very good value. Don’t forget to leave room for the apple pie- YUM.

sunny_beach_restaurants_hawaii_IMG_0092-2.jpg

sunny_beach_restaurants_hawaii_IMG_0073-2.jpg

sunny_beach_restaurants_hawaii_IMG_0082-2.jpg

So the winner is Hawaii as far as quality, value for money and location. The final 10 restaurants all had various aspects that were really good and well worth visiting more than once.

I wish we had this list when we visited Sunny Beach so we knew where to go. But at least we’ve learned something from our experience, and hopefully we can help you dodge the bullets and score the touchdowns when you kick up your feet on the beach along the Black Sea… along with 1 million other tourists.

Want more like this?

Get our latest blog posts delivered to your inbox each week jam-packed with expert travel advice:

Here's what you have to say...

"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by Nara on
Hello Aussie family. Thanks a lot for your advices. They will help many people We have also been in Bulgaria and agree with your opinions. We ( me , husband and a daughter 9 years old) would like to have a rest in Greece, but don't know where to go: to Crete or Rodos, where is less wind and sand beach. I'll be very grateful to you if you help me with the advice where to go and which hotel to choose.
Thanks in advance. Nara
Posted by Traveling Bytes on
So glad that I found your review. We've been based in Sofia for over a month by now, so decided to visit Bulgarian sea coast as a change of scenery. We would follow your recommendations while staying in Nessebar. Thanks! Elena (aka Traveling Bytes)
Posted by Derbie on
Thanks for the post!
Posted by Argentarii on
Maybe you've got a point, but I wonder whether your "best" restaurant was so good because the food looks like the kind of cheap rubbish you get in the UK restaurants (and I guess in Australia), rather than local food, which tends to be richer and healthier. When I go to Bulgaria, I certainly wouldn't like to eat the same boring and unhealthy stuff you posted in your last restaurant; in fact, if I see that food, I won't even sit at that restaurant. Instead, I'd go to a place without silly tourists who expect to eat their standard calorie intake no matter where they go in the world, and try new things -the trick is simple: go to places where the menu is not in your language!
Have a nice day!
Posted by admin on
Nara - emailed you.
Traveling Bytes - Nessebar would be the place I would stay next time.
Derbie - pleasure.
Argentarii - We did eat local food, you must of missed it in the post. But during the middle of summer the hot and heavy Bulgarian food was not my favourite. When staying in a country for a month there is something about having a "home" meal that makes you feel better we find, specially with children. We have been to 62 countries and tried the local food in all of them. Some of them we are a fan of, some of them not. I would not presume you would come to Bulgaria and eat at Hawaii all the time, but I certainly would recommend it to someone who is looking for a slice of "home." Thanks for reading and we hope you do try the local food in the UK and Australia one day - I think you might be very mistaken about it.
Posted by Franz on
Hello!
I've travelled overland round the world for many, many years so when I first saw this article of yours on Sunny Beach, boasting (well OK, not really 'boasting') about being to a mere 65 countries I thought …. another pretentious bugger who thinks he knows everything. I didn't read it. A week has passed since then and I just now gave it a good read and I realize it's a bit like the “Lotus Restaurant” - I should have read it sooner! Nice! Really nice! Turns out I'm the pretentious one!
We're going to Sunny Beach this summer but it wouldn't matter. This is a good read just for the pleasure of it! Of course, I am looking forward to following your advice.
Good on ya' mate!
Posted by admin on
Franz - Thanks for the brutally honest comment haha.
My 5 & 6 year old have been to 65 countries, I have been to many more. As far as age and countries goes I think they have done pretty amazing :D Of course we don’t know everything since there is still so many more to go, but 4 years of nomadic travel is sure teaching us a lot.
So glad you took the time to read the blog and to write to us, we really appreciate it. And now I hope you enjoy the food in Sunny Beach better! Have a great vacation.
Posted by Franz on
Just back from SUNNY BEACH yesterday. There's ”GOOD” News – ”BAD” News – and ”DECIDE for YOURSELF” News.

HAWAII Restaurant:

For those of you who feel weak at the knees by Mrs. Bender's charm and her oh so beautiful smile(!) – just as much as I do – then you'll want to test her number one restaurant, of course! The HAWAII. For all of her charm and beauty she really is terrible at giving directions. So I'll do it for her. Go to the end of Flower Street, at the beach. You'll see a pair of tall bungy jumping cranes just there. You'll be looking for an identical pair of bungy jumping cranes on your way north, but you'll need some patience as it's a bit of a walk. After a time you'll see short bungy jump cranes in the distance and just beyond those you'll also see the tall ones … the ones you're looking for. You'll walk passed The Castle Mexican Restaurant that the Bender's mention, and you might be tempted to eat at the “Subway”, or the “McDonald's” (both on the left-hand side), and maybe, (just maybe) you might want to try following the barrage of misleading signs to the KFC. If you want to go to KFC some day you'll find these signs won't help much in finding the place. Anyway, you'll continue on your way north. Right? Right. When you've just about given up, and you're getting a stiff neck from admiring the Hotel GLARUS (NOT the Globus - which you already passed long, long ago) it's because you are looking to the left. Stop and look to the right instead. The bungy jumping cranes and the HAWAII are right there.

With the thousands upon thousands of restaurants in Sunny Beach it is astounding that the Bender's were able to settle on so few to critique. Surely they haven't tested all of them!? Never mind. I am going to be honest. We ate at the HAWAII. My lamb dish was dry and my wife's trout was tasteless. But let's be fair: Of all the lamb dishes that Bulgaria boasts, the HAWAII had only this one single lamb dish on the menu, which proves to me that lamb isn't their speciality. And of all the fish that Bulgars serve up I am sure that fresh-water trout isn't their number one favourite either. So perhaps we should have ordered something more common to the HAWAII?

The optimistic news is that I have no doubt that every restaurant does serve something really scrumptious. You just have to know what to order ……… and where ... sometimes even when. The open spit doesn't get lit until sometime in the afternoon (as far as I could tell) so if it's a whole pig or lamb on the stick you want, I am guessing you'd better wait till the evening if you prefer something freshly done rather than yesterday's left overs.

I am going to add only one restaurant to the Bender's list. BISTRO BILLY. It is near the tourist train “rail-head” just off of Flower Street. I was very disappointed by HAWAII's lamb but I had to give Sunny Beach one more chance. I'm glad that I did. The lamb chops at BISTRO BILLY was very good!
Posted by Eva on
Why in the name of all that's holy would you want to spend any time whatsoever, let alone five weeks, in Sunny Beach?!
Posted by Franz-Erik on
I think that I can answer that question, Eva.

Do you want high adventure? Go to Africa, Burma, or the fjords of western Norway. I’ve done that. Do you want beautiful cities? Go to Germany. I’ve done that. Wild life? Australia, Madagascar, east Africa. Done that. Or maybe you just want to relax and soak up some sun and splash about in the sea or a swimming pool? Lots of places all over Europe to do that. But maybe you want to do it CHEAPLY. Bulgaria! Sunny Beach!
Posted by Franz-Erik on
Hi again! We are returning to Sunny Beach again this summer and we’d like to give ‘The Hawaii’ another chance. What I want to know is what you ate there. I had some awful lamb dish so you couldn’t have had that. So tell me please. Did you have fish? I am bent on proving you right.
Posted by admin on
Franz - thanks for your comments and question. I have to say I didn't try any fish at the Hawaii restaurant. But I did see a number of restaurants in the area with fish dishes. It's also been a few years since we were there, so it's quite possible some of the food has changed during that time. I hope you have a wonderful time (and I'd love you to prove me right!) ;-).
Posted by Franz on
Hello Josh! I like your work and I like the way you present it. For that reason I felt bad about giving the Hawaii bad appraisal but I figured we’d never meet, so ….... But we simply adored Sunny Beach (so much so that we are returning again this June) and I think it is only right to give the Hawaii another chance. I know you gave it top marks for a good reason and it wasn’t just by rolling the dice.
Posted by Franz on
Best regards to you and your family.
Write a comment...

Please do note include links in your comments - they will be deleted.

(Your email will not be publicly displayed.)
Find more posts by tag:

Reader FAQs:

Question: How do you get reliable 4G Internet access when travelling overseas?

Answer: We use Tep Wireless. Read our review for more details...

More FAQs...

38-airplane2x.png

Get The Latest Blog Posts

There are a number of convenient ways to get the latest blog posts and news from Travel With Bender.

Get €25 cashback with your next Booking.com reservation. Simply click this link and after your stay the funds will be applied to your credit card.

Find out how to make money by listing your place on Airbnb. How much is your place is worth?

Tip: try Dropbox (for free) for securely accessing your documents & images from any device while travelling.


Need fast 4G Internet access while you travel?

We use Tep Wireless. Save 15% with our code: tepbender
Find out more... Our full review...

tep_wireless_sidebar_3-comp.jpg


D99863E5DE8011AFB46603ADADF38D9BB08B57AA122349C10FFE237BB4610A33