If you haven’t been paying attention, Little Paris is the nickname given to the Eastern European city of Bucharest, Romania. It was given the name in the 19th century because of the huge influence Parisian architects had on the buildings in the growing town. Modern Bucharest does indeed evoke the same feelings as Paris (equipped with it’s own version of the Arc de Triumf) and there’s certainly no shortage of food.
During our time in the city we ate at many different locales, but a few really stood out to us. You almost can’t go wrong eating anywhere in the city, but do try to stay away from the usual McDonalds, Subway, and KFC fast food joints. There’s just so much more to take in. Here we give you four restaurants, we’ll consider trying at least three of them a passing grade. 🙂
1. Hanul Lui Manuc
The building used to be private residences hundreds of years ago. You walk in through an archway that used to go to a private courtyard.
For some traditional Romanian cuisine head to Old Town (or Old City) in Bucharest and sit out on the lovely patio or terrace at Hanul Lui Manuc. The Old Town is where the action happens. It’s located more or less in the center of the city and almost all roads (and the metro) lead to it.
The courtyard is spacious and there’s even seating on the upper level.
The restaurant features a neat leather-bound menu. There are even English descriptions of the dishes so you won’t get lost.
Turkish bread. The inside is completely hollow.
Our main dish was a Romanian grilled selection of sausages, chicken, and sheep with some dipping sauces.
Who doesn’t enjoy a little fun with their meal? There are themed restaurants all over the world and the Romanians are no exception to the idea. Excalibur is a medieval styled restaurant equipped with all of the decorations you would want to feel like you were brought back to the 1400s. There are lances hanging on the from the ceiling, shields and flags hanging from the walls, and plenty large wooden tables arranged around a single large room. Did I mention that you also eat your dinner with your hands? It’s like being twelve again.
Angie hiding behind her shield.
The soup comes served in these hanging pots with a basket of bread. The jug on the left is some local wine.
This was our King’s Platter (for two). This serving could have easily satisfied four people. The grilled meat is served on a bed of salad vegetables with some cut fruit around the edges of the board.
We couldn’t resist a medieval dessert. This actually is not ice cream. It’s a kind of cheese with the consistency of tapioca pudding. They serve it with chocolate and strawberry sauce and was the only dish we ate with a spoon.
3. Happy Burgers
I love the light hearted decorations.
This isn’t your run of the mill burger joint, but we didn’t know that when we first took a seat. We were getting tired from walking around and taking in the Old City, so we stopped off at the first convenient place. The burger patties here aren’t the traditional ground beef mash. They’re more like chopped up beef formed into a patty – it’s delicious. This is a great example of the diversity of the city and why it should be on your list of great places to visit.
I haven’t had a delicious full burger since leaving the U.S. This was a great treat.
4. La Bonita
If you couldn’t guess, La Bonita is a Spanish/Mexican themed restaurant with all of the decorations and colors that you would expect. Once again this restaurant is located in the heart of the city in the Old Town. The menu has a variety of options that you would expect like soups, tacos, nachos, burritos, etc. We opted for some margaritas and some basic tacos and quesadillas. The food was tasty, but unique to the region because there are some subtle differences in ingredients. For example, my tacos came with feta cheese. I can’t say that I’ve ever had Mexican tacos with feta, but the combination seemed to work out!
Margaritas are always a good idea, right?
Great presentation and the guacamole was actually quite good.
Bonus! …Dessert and Wine
Yes, those are cherries. Yes, this was delicious.
We all deserve a little treat every now and then. When you’re done with dinner on one night in Old Town make sure you stop in at Barza Viezure Minz. This is a small local shop that specializes in meats, cheeses, preserves, dessert, and local beer and wine. The staff are very friendly and you can even try a few things before you make up your mind.
Bucharest is a great Eastern European city filled with fun and diversity. There are so many options for great food that four meals hardly shows the variety. Have you ever been to “Little Paris”? Are there any places that deserve a mention here?