Romania - Bucharest and Brasov - recommendations please
There don't seem to be many posts about Romania and am heading there next week for a long weekend. We will have 2 dinners and 1 lunch in Bucharest. In Brasov we will have 2 dinners, lunches may be in the surrounding area as we will be exploring, and we'll have one day hiking outside of Brasov so if there's a good shop or market to check out to pick up bread and local cheeses, that would be great.
I've already heard of Caru' bu Bere in Bucharest but not sure if it's too touristy or actually serves decent traditional food. I would prefer traditional Romanian food - not the ubiquitous pizza places and kebab shops listed in most tourist guides. Street food is also fine
In Bucharest, I can't help you much.
I was in the Brasov area two weeks ago: we ate at a restaurant in the central square (Piata Sfatului), but I was unimpressed.
I will recommend however, the restaurant at the hotel Le Provence in Bran. It's about 2 miles away from the center of town and it's not very easy to find (the street numbers are wonky and it's pretty much in a residential neighborhood), but the food is out of this world. They have a wonderful selection of local cheeses (Brasov is known for several kinds of sheep cheese, including cheese wrapped in fir tree bark), meats, soups, and traditional stews.
If you want to get the 'wood' cheese, make sure you get it from a place that has a refrigerator. You'll be surprised how many sellers don't have one.
I've been in Brasov twice this month. Near Piata Unirii there is a restaurant called Casa Romaneasca that is good. It's pretty consistently packed with locals and serves authentic Romanian food. I ordered some off-menu vegetarian stuff that was great, and when I went with others they liked their meaty dishes! There was also a very good restaurant in the center called something Bistro de l'Arte in Piata Enescu- the food is definitely more international but it's VERY good.
I'm in Bucharest at the moment. I've had bad luck with dining (for example, I wanted to eat at Omnivore's Dilemma but they were "out of food" by 7:30 on Saturday!) but I have ended up eating two good meals at La Taifas (close to Piata Romana I think). They have Romanian food as well as some more Mediterranean stuff (I've been eating their Greek Eggplant as a main course). Today (every day maybe, I have no idea) there was a "market" in the back of the Museum of the Romanian Peasant (near Piata Victoriei) with lots of local foods on sale. For example, you can buy wine and tuica from producers who will siphon (sifon? I've been abroad too long!) it into a used plastic water bottle for you to bring home! There was a similar market in the main square in Brasov when I was there a few weeks ago, but I'm not sure of the schedule.
Have fun! Good luck! Go to Maramures if you have time!
In the Brasov area. on the outskirts of the city, at the skiing resort of Poiana Brasov (less than 5 kms. from the center), there is an old, greatly recently improved inn, specializing in traditional Romanian specialties as well as game, including bear and wild boar. Had dinner there a couple of weeks ago, excellent.
In Bran, not far from Dracula's castle, the restaurant at the Vila Transylvanian Inn has a very respectable, and not totally traditional, menu. If the weather is cooperating, one can sit at an outside terrace with a remarkable view of the castle and the surrounding Carpathian mountains.
Long back from Romania and checking out this post. Caru' cu Bere was not impressive. Definitely waaaay too touristy with the added insult of all their cheesy tourist entertainment being totally disorganized and disappointing. Heck, La Mama was significantly better (and cheaper), despite being a chain.
Best discovery: papanasi. Just trust me. If you see these on a dessert menu, DO NOT HESITATE!