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Traditional Romanian Food – What to Eat in Bucharest

Traditional Romanian Food – What to Eat in Bucharest

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If you are traveling to Bucharest and looking for traditional Romanian food, you will quickly find that Bucharest is home to tons of restaurants serving some of the country’s finest Romanian cuisine.

Bucharest is filled with so many pleasant surprises. It is a beautiful city, once nicknamed the “little Paris of the east” due to its stunning architecture.

The country of Romania has a rich history, and many fascinating stories to tell.

The region was part of the Hungarian empire, and before that part of the Ottoman empire. European and Turkish influences can be seen in the architecture, the Romanian language, and of course, in traditional Romanian food.

All of those cultures and experiences mingled together to create a rustic cuisine that we found absolutely delicious.

While the flavors were familiar from previous travels to countries such as Hungary and the Czech Republic, some of the flavors from Romania are uniquely their own. 

The other pleasant surprise, beyond the beauty of the place, the fantastic food, and friendly locals, was that the city has largely been ignored by tourists.

Don’t get us wrong, there are tourists here, but just not huge crowds of tourists. Which makes it yet another reason to consider a visit. 

In preparation for your visit, we’ve compiled our list of 70+ Romanian dishes not-to-be missed on a visit to Bucharest.  

No doubt you won’t be able to try them all in a visit – but, hey, that’s all the more reason to come back.

Want to jump to a specific section? Use the menu below:

Main Dishes Street Food and Snacks
Side and Vegetable Dishes Breakfast Foods
Cheeses Appetizers
Sausages & Smoked Meats Salads
Soups Desserts
Breads Drinks
Where to Eat in Budapest

Bucharest Food

Traditional Romanian Main Dishes

Romanian Meatballs – Chiftele

Romanian Meatballs - Chiftele

 Grilled chiftele meatballs

Pretty much every region has their version of meatballs, and Romania is no different.

What makes chiftele different, however, is the use of shredded potatoes and carrots in the meat mixture.

When making the meatballs, grated vegetables are then squeezed to remove as much moisture from them as possible, prior to mixing with the other ingredients. The addition of potatoes makes the meatballs very tender.

The potatoes are in fact more important than the type of ground meat used.

Many chiftele recipes don’t even specify the type of meat. Typical options are beef, pork, lamb, or veal, or any combination of them.

Sarmale – Cabbage Rolls

Sarmale - Cabbage Rolls

Sarmale – Cabbage Rolls

These Romanian cabbage rolls are filled with a mixture of rice and ground pork, then cooked in a savory tomato based sauce.

Unique to sarmale is the use of sour cabbage – cabbage picked in vinegar.

Budinca de Dovlecei La Cuptor – Zucchini Pie

Budinca de Dovlecei La Cuptor - Zucchini Pie

Budinca de Dovlecei La Cuptor – Zucchini Pie

Budinca de Dovlecei is a traditional Romanian dish that is similar to crustless zucchini quiche. The difference is less eggs, more vegetables, and more cheese.

This zucchini pie can be eaten either hot or cold. It’s perfect for breakfast, lunch or as a light dinner. 

Beef Stew with Potatoes (Tocanita de Vita cu Cartofi) 

Beef Stew with Potatoes (Tocanita de Vita cu Cartofi) 

Beef Stew with Potatoes – Tocanita de Vita cu Cartofi (Photo credit: fanfo)

This braised beef stew is a staple in any Romanian home. Made with beef, potatoes and carrots, it’s a pretty typically stew.

It is, however, traditionally served with Mamaliga (polenta), another very common side dish in Romania

Creamed Chicken (Ciulama de Pui) 

Creamed Chicken (Ciulama de Pui) 

Romanian Creamed Chicken (Photo credit: Sabastian Studio)

Ciulama di pui is a dish straight out of grandmother’s kitchen. Roasted chunks of chicken and mushrooms are cooked in a creamy sauce typically made with soured cream, giving the dish a bit more zing.

Top it off with fresh dill, serve with a side of the always present polenta, and dig in!

Grilled Mutton Pastrami with Polenta (Pastrama de Oaie cu Mamaliguta)

Grilled Mutton Pastrami with Polenta (Pastrama de Oaie cu Mamaliguta)

Grilled Mutton Pastrami with Polenta (Pastrama de Oaie cu Mamaliguta)

This pastrami is quite different from what you’d typically get in the deli. First of all, it’s made with lamb. The lamb is cold cured in a dry mixture of salt, paprika, garlic powder, chili flakes, and thyme.

Sometimes rosemary or juniper is also used. The pastrami can then be smoked and eaten as is, or fried in a pan.

Drob – Easter Meatloaf

Drob - Easter Meatloaf

Drob – Romanian Easter Meatloaf (Photo credit: Elena Crk))

Drob is very traditional Romanian dish which is served during Easter. It’s made by mixing minced lamb offal (liver, lungs, spleen, heart, kidney) with dill, garlic, and bread soaked in milk.

The addition of a hard-boiled egg gives the meatloaf an extra splash of color (and flavor).

The ingredients sound a little off-putting, but the herbs actually give this haggis-like dish a very nice flavor. Since this is a very seasonal dish, it’s hard to find in local restaurants.

You’re better off making a Romanian friend and getting an invite to Grandma’s house for Easter – it will definitely make an appearance there.

Tochitură Moldovenesca

Tochitură Moldovenesca

Tochitură Moldoveneasca (Photo credit: Sabastian Studio)

Roasted Pork Knuckles (Ciolan de Porc la Captor) 

Roasted Pork Knuckles (Ciolan de Porc la Captor) 

Roasted Pork Knuckles (Ciolan de Porc la Captor)

Roast pork knuckle is one of the Romanian dishes that you can’t leave Bucharest without trying.

The slow roasted pork is often served on top of polenta, which mingles together with the salty pork fat.

The mustard sauce on the side along with pickled cabbage cuts through the fatty meat and pairs together with it perfectly.

Bring your appetite when you order this! They are the knuckles can be huge – plenty to share between two people.

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Traditional Romanian Desserts

Traditional Romanian Breakfast Foods

Polenta

Polenta

Romanian Breakfast Polenta with Egg and Mushrooms (Photo credit: Timolina)

Just like in many cultures around the world, what is eaten for breakfast in Romania varies widely.

Often in big cities such as Bucharest, there are a numerous cafes and vendors selling pastries and other breakfast designed to eat on the go.

In the countryside, more substantial Romanian foods such as polenta with eggs and cheese may be cooked up.

Breakfast Cold Cut Plate

Breakfast Cold Cut Plate

Traditional Romanian Breakfast

When sitting down for breakfast, a plate of cold cuts and cheese, bread, eggs and yogurt with fruit, juice and coffee are common in Romanian households.

Plăcintă

Plăcintă

Plăcintă

Placinta Macedoneana is a pastry dish with roots in ancient Rome. The pastry is stuffed with fillings such as spinach, eggs, cheese, leeks and sour cream.

There are also sweet versions with fillings such as apple or chocolate. The pastry is baked in the oven after getting a brushing with lard to make sure the top crust is nicely crisped.

The pie is often served for breakfast with yogurt on the side.

Romanian Peasant Omelette – Omletă Tărănească

Romanian Peasant Omelette – Omletă Tărănească

Romanian Breakfast – Peasant Omelet (Photo credit: i_alina)

Cozonac – Sweet Bread with Walnuts

Cozonac - Sweet Bread with Walnuts

Cozonac – Romanian Walnut Bread

Traditional Romanian Appetizers

Mezeluri – Appetizer Spread of Salami, Sausages and Cheeses

Mezeluri - Appetizer Spread of Salami, Sausages and Cheeses

Romanian Mezeluri platter with Cold Cuts, Cheese and Spreads (Photo credit: PhotoNXT)

Salata de Vinete – Romanian Eggplant Salad

Salata de Vinete - Romanian Eggplant Salad

Salata de Vinete – Romanian Eggplant Salad

While this eggplant dish is called a salad, salata de vinete is actually more of a spread.

It is made simply with cooked eggplant mixed with onions, garlic and often mayonnaise or sunflower oil. 

Zacusca – Vegetable Spread

Zacusca – Vegetable Spread

Zacusca – Romanian Eggplant Spread

Zacusca is another eggplant based spread whose beautiful red color comes with the addition of bell peppers and tomatoes.

The vegetables are all simmered together for several hours to form a thick spread that is most frequently served cold.

Zacusca smeared over bread is a common appetizer, but Romanians often also enjoy the tasty spread on bread for breakfast.

Ovă Umplute – Eggs with Duck Liver Pate

Ovă Umplute - Eggs with Duck Liver Pate

Romanina Stuffed Eggs (Photo credit: Sebastian Studio)

Fasole Bătută – White Bean Dip

Fasole Bătută - White Bean Dip

White Bean Dip with caramelized onions

Fasole bătută translates from Romanian to “Beaten or Mashed Beans”.  The simple dip is made by boiling dried beans and sometimes vegetables, such as onions, carrots.

The ingredients are mashed together and then additional garlic and oil and sometimes lemon juice are added to the mix. 

Traditional Romanian Salads

White Cabbage Salad – Salatǎ de Varzǎ

White Cabbage Salad - Salatǎ de Varzǎ

White Cabbage Salad – Salatǎ de Varzǎ

Salatǎ de Varzǎ is a simple salad with grated white cabbage mixed with a little chopped parsley dressed simply with vegetable oil and white vinegar.

The cabbage is kneaded to give the salad a softer pleasant texture.  

Winter Salad

Romanian Traditional Winter Salad (Photo credit: i_alina)

The essential ingredients in this dish are potatoes, hard boiled eggs, gherkin pickles and mayonnaise. 

Salată de Sfeclă – Beetroot Salad

Salată de Boeuf – Minced Meat Salad

Salată de Boeuf - Minced Meat Salad

Salată de Boeuf – Minced Meat Salad

Salata de boeuf is another traditional Romanian food that is often prepared during Christmas, Easter and New Years.

Root vegetables and chopped beef (or chicken) are combined with pickles and dressed with mayonnaise and a dash of mustard.

Salata de Icre – Fish egg salad 

Salata de Icre - Fish egg salad 

Salata de Icre – Romanian Fish Roe Salad (Photo credit: Cristina:A)

Romanian Street Food and Snacks

Covrigi – Romanian Pretzels

Covrigi - Romanian Pretzels

Covrigi – Romanian Pretzels

Frigărui – Romanian Shish Kebabs 

Frigărui - Romanian Shish Kebabs 

Frigărui – Romanian Shish Kebabs

Romanian’s version of the shish kebab usually contain cubes of meat (pork, lamb, beef or chicken) skewered along with vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, peppers or mushrooms.

The skewered meat is seasoned with pepper and garlic other herbs such as rosemary and thyme.

What makes Romanian Kebabs extra tasty is the frequent addition of a salty fatty meat, such as bacon or sausage.

Poale-n brâu

Poale-n brâu

Romanian Cheese Bread (Photo credit: Gabriala)

Gogosi

Gogosi

Chocolate Cream Filled Gogosi – Romanian Donuts

The Romanian donuts are fried and then dusted with powdered sugar. Some varieties also have sweet fillings such as chocolate or fruit. They are perfect with a nice cup of strong Romanian coffee.

Shoarma 

Shoarma 

(Photo credit: Aquariagirl1970)

Shoarma is Romania’s version of shwarma, or Middle Eastern döner kebab. Traditionally, this is made with a combination of lamb and beef, or as Chicken Shawarma. In Romania’s version, slices of marinated meat, most often pork, are layered together on a steel rod.

The rod is then installed in front of a grill vertically, and the meat is grilled rotisserie style. Meat is shaved off and served with a garlic and yogurt sauce and tucked into a pita or bun. 

Kürtőskalács – Chimney Cakes

Kürtőskalács - Chimney Cakes

Romanian Chimney Cakes (Photo credit: Sal73it)

Sărățele – salty cheese sticks

Sărățele – salty cheese sticks

Sărățele – salty cheese sticks

Light and buttery bread sticks that are both salty and cheesy. What could be better?

Well, I guess if they are served with a cold locally produced beer or a nice glass of wine – which why you’ll often see locals enjoying these with alcoholic beverages.

Pufuleţi – Cheesy Corn Puffs

Pufuleţi - Cheesy Corn Puffs

Pufuleţi – Cheesy Corn Puffs (Photo credit: Teodor Costachioiu)

Traditional Romanian Soups

Romanian Goulash Soup 

Romanian Goulash Soup 

Goulash Soup (Photo credit: AS Food Studio)

Ciorba de Perisoare – Meatball Soup

Ciorba de Perisoare - Meatball Soup

Romanian Meatball Soup Ciorba de Perisoare (Photo credit: Ghiuz

“Ciorba” in Romanian refers to sour soups. They are made sour with the addition of lemon juice, fermented wheat bran (bors), sauerkraut juice, or sometimes even vinegar.

The broth of this soup is made with onions, carrots, celery and tomato juice. The meatballs are added to soup to finish cooking in the broth and absorb the aromatic flavor of the liquid.

This fish and vegetable stew is from the Danube delta, and the fish is a firm white variety such as sturgeon. The addition of egg and sour cream add a richness and creaminess which offsets the sourness.

Tripe Soup (Ciorba de Burta)

Tripe Soup (Ciorba de Burta)

Ciorba de Burta, Romanian Tripe Soup (Photo credit: Sabastian Studio)

Ciorbă de Fasole cu Afumătură (Bean and Smoked Meat Soup)

Ciorbă de Fasole cu Afumătură (Bean and Smoked Meat Soup) 

Romanian Bean Soup (Photo credit: Fanfo)

This hearty bean soup with chunks of smoky sausage is a meal in itself. You’ll most likely find this on restaurant menus with the option of serving it in a bread bowl.

In some restaurants the bread can be the size of a whole load of bread, hollowed out and filled with soup. If the soup doesn’t fill you up, you can then munch away on your bowl!

Romanian Breads

Kalach

Kalach

Kalach (Photo credit: elenovsky)

Kalach is a type of sweet bread popular throughout the region – there are different traditions revolving around Kalach in Romania, Hungary, Russia, and the Ukrain.

In Romania traditional colac is a braided bread, and is a typical gift given during Christmas Eve celebrations.

The name originates from the Old Slavonic word kolo (коло) meaning “circle” or “wheel”.

Pită de Pecica

This pita is a round bread which is roasted directly on the hearth. It originates from the town of Pecica (which is obvious from its name).

The bread became famous during the communist regime. Politician Nicolae Ceaușescu loved the flavor of the bread so much that he had it delivered to Bucharest on a weekly basis via helicopter.

Pască

Pască

Pasca – Romanian Easter Bread (Photo credit: Sebastian Studios)

It seems every holiday has its own typical bread in this part of the world. There are many types of Easter bread, but Romanian Pasca is particularly decadent.

The ingredients include sweet cream and sour cream along with eggs, sugar, raisins. To make it even better, rum is often added to the mix!

Romanian Country Bread – Romanian Tara Paine

This country bread is made with a combination of cornmeal and all-purpose flour, giving it a great texture. You’ll often find this served prior to your meal in traditional Romanian restaurants.

Romanian Side and Vegetable Dishes

Mămăliga (Polenta)

Mămăliga (Polenta)

Romanian Polenta (Photo credit: Valerio Pardi)

There are also numerous dishes in which the polenta is incorporated in the recipe. One popular Romanian dish based on mămăliga is bulz. 

It consists of mămăliga with butter and cheese which is roasted and melted together in the oven.

Balmoș

Balmoș

Balmos – Romanian Cheese Polenta (Photo credit: Edith Frincu)

The cheeses include telemea (similar to feta), cas (a fresh cheese that is sometimes called “green cheese”), and urda (a curdled cheese may from whey), all added at specific times in the cooking process.

Stuffed Squash/Bell Pepper (Dovlecei/Ardei Umpluti)

Stuffed Squash:Bell Pepper (Dovlecei:Ardei Umpluti)

tuffed Bell Peppers (Photo credit: Bratwustle)

They are cooked in a tomato based sauce that gets infused with all the flavors of the meat and herbs, so make sure you have some crusty bread on hand to sop it up.

Varza Acra Calita – Sour Cabbage

Varza Acra Calita - Sour Cabbage

Pork Knuckle sitting on Vaza Acra – Traditional Romanian Sour Cabbage

The cabbage is finely shredded, layered with salt, and left to ferment.

The result is a sour vegetable mix that goes great with all sorts of things, particularly fatty sausages with mustard.

Don’t forget to bookmark the post or add it to your collection on Pinterest!

Roasted pumpkin – Dolveac Copt

Roasted pumpkin is an Autumn specialty that can be a side dish or dessert, depending on how it’s prepared.

Simply roasting the pumpkin like squash in the oven, and it makes a great addition to a meal. Add brown sugar and cinnamon during the roasting process, and the pumpkin turns into a delicious dessert.

Traditional Romanian Cheeses

Traditional Romanian Cheeses

Traditional Romanian Cheeses

Caș is a type of semi-soft white fresh cheese produced in Romania. The cheese can be unsalted or lightly salted. It is typically stored in brine, similar to Greek feta. This cheese serves as a base to prepare other Romanian cheeses as well.

Năsal

Năsal

Traditional Romanian Cheese Platter

Năsal is a traditional Romanian cheese, named after the village where it is produced. This cow milk cheese is still produced in a natural cave, as it has been since the middle ages.

The unique bacteria in the cave give the cheese its distinctive flavor during the ripening process. The consistent temperature and humidity of the underground cave make a perfect environment for making this cheese.

Telemea

Made from either cow’s, sheep or buffalo milk, Telemea is the most popular cheese type in Romania.

A salty cheese, it can be sold fresh or aged, usually cut in big cubes and immersed in a salty brine.

Cheese in fir tree bark – Branza de Burduf in Coaja de Brad

Cheese in fir tree bark

Romanian Cheese Aged in Bark from a Fir Tree

Traditional Romanian Sausages & Smoked Meats

Of all of the variety in Romanian cuisine, the simple sausage holds a place of honor on menus throughout Bucharest.

And of course, often the sausages are not simple – combinations of meats, herbs, fillings, cooking techniques and preparations result in numerous varieties of cured and smoked sausage options.

All of them are delicious, especially accompanied with spicy mustard. Here are a few of our favorites.

Pleșcoi

Pleșcoi

Pleșcoi

Pleșcoi sausages are handmade sausages made by artisan chefs in the Pleşcoi village and the Berca commune. The recipe contains mutton, chili peppers and garlic.

Some versions can contain beef, but since this product is a certified EU traditional product and the ingredients are regulated, the mutton must be over 50% o the meat.

Since the sausages are produced in small batches in the village, these sausages aren’t available in large quantities and this limits their availability. If you find some available on the menu, don’t miss the opportunity to try them.

Nădlac sausage 

This smoked and dried pork sausage has been around since the sixteenth century, when it was popularized in Germany. The Romanian version is larger and contains a variety of spices to augment the smoky flavor.

It’s quite a dry sausage, being cured between four and six months. This is also registered with the EU as an official Romanian traditional food.

Mici or Mititei – Mini Sausage Rolls Without Casings

Mici sausages are on every traditional Romanian restaurants’ menus. They are essentially small, case-less sausages made from a combination of pork, beef, and lamb.

Mici or Mititei - Mini Sausage Rolls Without Casings

Romanian Mici Sausage

Sibiu Salami

Sibiu Salami, also known as Salam de Sibiu, is another protected national product in Romania. This uniquely Romanian salami is made with pork meat and fat, salt, and spices, following a hundred year old recipe.

The salami should be sliced extra thin when serving.

Banat Sausage

Banat Sausage

Banat Sausage (Photo credit: banedeki)

Banat are pork sausages that are dried and smoked. They can be eaten as is, but more often are fried in oil or lard, making for a heavier meal – especially when served with french fries!

Tobă

Tobă, or pig head cheese (caş de cap de porc) is deli meat originating in the Transylvania region. It contains pork jelly, liver, and skin, all stuffed into a pork stomach and suspended in aspic.

This is shaped into a wide (4 inch diameter) tubular sausage.

Traditional Romanian Desserts

Papanasi – Dessert Donut with Jam

Papanasi - Dessert Donut with Jam

Papanasi – Dessert Donut with Jam

What happens when you take a light, fluffy donut, and fill it with sour cream and fruit? You get a delicious and (rightly so) incredibly popular Romanian dessert.

The sourness of the cream cuts through the sweetness of the donut, so this isn’t a sickly sweet treat. You can choose a number of different fruit toppings, but our favorite is the sour cherry.

Plăcintă cu mere

Plăcintă cu mere

Plăcintă cu mere

Plăcintă cu mere in Romanian is literally “apple pie” but this isn’t what you’d expect. It’s not a pie, but more of a cross between a strudel and a pastry. It does share some of the characteristics of a traditional apple pie, though.

It has delicious spiced apple filling, and is equally good hot or cold. And, especially when hot, it goes great with ice cream!

Salam de Biscuiti – Chocolate Salami

Salam de Biscuiti - Chocolate Salami

Chocolate Biscuit (Photo credit: Felix Furo)

 

These entertaining chocolate salamis are a popular dessert not just in Romania, but throughout Europe. Of course, there’s no salami in the ingredients.

The confection is made in a long tube, and sliced thin to serve, resembling a salami. The chocolate cake looks like the red meat and the bright bits of cookie resemble the white flecks of fat in salami.

Joffre Cake

Joffre Cake

Joffre Cake

Joffre Cake is my now all time favorite chocolate cake. This beloved Romanian dessert is so thick and moist that eating a piece is almost like having a slice of chocolate truffle.

The rich chocolate dessert is also laced with rum, making it all the more delicious!

Albinuta – Layered honey cake

The word Albinuta in Romania is “bee” so it’s no surprise that honey is a major ingredient in this dessert.

Layers of cake are alternated with layers of honey and sour cream filling creating a decadent sweet snack.

Amandine

Amandine

Traditional Romanian Dessert – Amandine (Photo credit: Elena Crk)

Amandine is another chocolate lovers dessert. Layers of chocolate cake are alternated with chocolate buttercream, and then glazed with shiny chocolate fondant.

These are very popular, and can bee found in any specialty bakery. You can buy a whole cake, or get a single serving version.

Vargabéles – Noodle Cake

Vargabéles is a dessert often though of as Hungarian, but it actually originated in Transylvania.

The cake consists of a filling mixture of cottage cheese and vermicelli pasta between layers of phylo-like dough.

Turta Dulce

Turta Dulce

Gingerbread in the market (photo: Cristina Ionescu)

We’re used to seeing gingerbread primarily around Christmas time, in the form of edible houses made from sheets of gingerbread. In Romania, “turta dulce” is a year-round phenomenon.

Visiting any fair or market, and you’ll find at least one vendor selling gingerbread. The spicy cookies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, many elaborately decorated with icing.

Găluște cu Prune – Plum Dumplings

Găluște cu Prune – Plum Dumplings

(Photo credit: Dan Tautan)

Clătite

Clătite

Romanian Clatite Vendor

Mere Coapte – Baked Stuffed Apples

Mere Coapte – Baked Stuffed Apples

Romanian Baked Stuffed Apples with Raisins (Photo credit: Olga Miltsolva)

The simple baked apple also has a home within Romanian cuisine. There’s nothing complicated with this dessert.

Ground nuts mixed with sugar, vanilla, a pinch of cinnamon, along with a Turkish white raisin called he sultana are the stuffing. 

This mixture is packed into cored apples, and baked. They can be eaten alone, but are SO much better with ice cream or whipped cream.

Romanian Savarin Cake – Savarina

Romanian Savarin Cake - Savarina

Savarina (Photo credit: Ana Photo)

Ask anyone who grew up in Romania about their favorite childhood dessert, and you’ll hear about savarin cakes. I find this hilarious, since one of the most important steps in making a savarina is soaking the cooked cake in rum, usually overnight.

Like many Romanian desserts, this is prepared either as a large cake, cooked in a bundt pan, or as individual sizes, in a cupcake pan. Once the cake has been completely soaked in the booze, it is filled sweet whipped cream and topped with fruit.

Romanian Drinks

Romanian Wine

Romanian Wine

One of the many Romanian vineyards

Romania is one of the top wine producers in the world. This region also has one of the longest histories of wine-making, dating back 6,000 years.

While the quality of the wine produced suffered greatly during Communist times, today Romania produces some delicious (and award-winning) wines.

Better known Romanian white wine wine grape varieties are Fetească albă, Crâmposie and Fetească regală. For red wine, try a hearty wine made from Feteasca neagră in the Uricani region.

Romanian Beer

Romanian Beer

Ursus Beer is the most popular Romanian beer by far. You’ll find Ursus on tap at most restaurants and pubs, as well as in bottles and cans in every supermarket, and it’s pretty good.

In the last few years, more and more small craft breweries have popped up offering everything from stouts, to IPA’s, to Pilsners, and everything in between. It’s always worth wandering by the taps at the bar and trying something new.

Tuică

Tuică is a home-brewed liquor, and officially Romania’s national drink. Yep, that’s right – Romania’s national drink is essentially moonshine.

Tuică is made by fermenting plums for two months, and then distilling the resulting liquid. This alcoholic drink has a long history in the region, originally being invented in medieval times.

In Maramures there is very strong variety of tuică called Horinca. In traditional villages you can visit a Horincie, meaning a small construction used by the whole village to prepare their beverage.

Palinca

Palinca

Palinka – pretty potent stuff

Another popular drink is called Palinca which is simply double distilled Tuică. The second distillation results in a higher alcohol content.

Fruit liqueur/Brandy

Plums aren’t the only popular distilled fruit drinks. Viinată is made with sour cherries, and is probably the most popular fruit liqueur.

Afinată is made with blueberries, and originated in the mountain regions, although you can find it throughout the country. Other varieties include caisată made from peaches, and zmeurata from cherries.

Lemonade (Limonata)

Lemonade (Limonata)

Lemonade (Limonata)

Need a refreshing non-alcoholic drink on a hot summer day? Go for a limonata. Romanian restaurants will typically serve this freshly squeezed juice one of two ways.

The first is in a glass with lemon juice and honey, with a side bottle of water so you can choose your desired strength.

The second (and more popular) is the with the honey squeezed at the bottom of a carafe of lemonade, unmixed. You use your straw to mix the honey into the mix, and sip directly from the carafe.

Where to Eat in Bucharest

Traditional Romanian restaurants are really easy to find in Bucharest. They exist throughout the old town, and of course, there are plenty that are more local-focused. And often the latter are the better, and more affordable, options.

Regardless of where you go, in Bucharest the restaurants are friendly to tourists, and even if you don’t know the language, you can likely find a helpful English speaking waiter. Here are our favorite traditional Bucharest restaurants:

Caru cu Bere

Hanu’ lui Manuc

Hanu’ Berarilor Casa Oprea Soare

Need More Bucharest Food?

Really?!? We’ve outlined over 70 food and drinks to try in Bucharest. And, one way or another, we recommend them all. That said, Bucharest has an incredible culinary scene, and it is likely we’ve missed something!

If you travel to Romania and find we have left out your favorite Romanian dish, send a message and let us know. We would love to hear from you.

Jan Schott Schott

Wednesday 28th of July 2021

I would love to receive your newsletter. I checked out your blog for Bucharest/Budapest. I will be travelling that area on an Avalon river cruise in mid-September.

Jen

Thursday 29th of July 2021

Hi Jan! We haven't been doing a newsletter recently because of COVID but will let you know when that changes. Have a fantastic trip - you've picked a fantastic area to travel in and the perfect time of year.

Jen

Alison Adler

Saturday 19th of October 2019

Shoarma looks very nice, also the Limonata looks very fresh!! Thanks for sharing this post of Romanian dishes! They look so nice, I would love to go to know to have to cook it!