Help in Romania
I have lots of enthusiastic recommendations. Bucharest is a wonderful place to eat (if you like Romanian food, which is very likeable). There is also absolutely wonderful produce in the spring and summer. Tomatoes like we only have in some parts of Northern California, etc.
First, La Mama, which has several locations and is always a safe bet. Maybe not the most exciting, but always solid. I really like the Iahnie cu Fasola (Shank stewed with beans), which often seems to sell out. Also, papanasi, a kind of fried doughnut with cream.
Second, Burebista and Burebista Vanatoresc. Both nice places with good food and a countryside feel.
Locanta Jaristea is another experience worth having. And Casa Oamenilor de Stiintă is worth a visit for the venue and pretty good food. There are lots of hidden restaurants in the garden's of foundations and institutes. There used to be a place in the garden of the French Cultural Institute (last went there in 2004) that I really liked, and it's probably still there.
None of these places is going to have cutting edge cuisine, yellowtail tartare, candied lamb chops, so don't go with that in mind. Romanian food is hearty but can be very good. Over all, it's a wonderful country, and Bucharest is a fascinating city if you explore all the nooks and crannies. Also, definately travel to Transylvania..there is much wonderful food to be had.
Make sure that you pick up a copy of the In Your Pocket guide. They have lots of good info about restaurants. http://www.inyourpocket.com/romania/en/
Hi Pilches,we have just been to Romania (Brasov area, not Bucharest). Foods to try out
1. sarmale (which are stuffed cabbage rolls)
2. mamaliga cu branza (I love this one: hot polenta with fresh cheese)
3. ciorba de burta (a Romanian speciality, not one of my favorties though - tripe soup)
4. cascaval (a yellow type of cheese, exists smoked as well)
5. branza de burduf (a Romanian speciality cheese)
6. game - we had fanastic game dishes
7. any 'borsch' which is a heavy, thick soup
8. as a side dish we took 'cartofi taranesti' which means peasant potatoes - delcious, but quite heavy
9. other than that, 'mici' are also something to be given a try. They are small minced meat rolls, usually grilled.
A list of Romanian specific restaurants in Bucharest can be found here http://restaurante.bucharest-guide.ro/bucuresti-restaurante/restaurante-bucuresti/restaurante-romanesti.htm
Drinks: definitly go for Romanian wines. They are very good value for very good quality. I wrote on Romanian wines on my blog www.onfoodandwine.com - 'Glorious Wines' section. I would recommend Feteasca Alba (white wines), or Feteasca Neagra (red wines).
A speciality is also 'tuica' a very, very strong vodka type of drink. Good for cold winter days :)
There are plenty restaurants in Bucharest, so I am sure you'll be fine. Be prepared for quite big portions, which we are not used to here in Belgium!