Before going to Romania, I knew nothing about the food in Bucharest. But after spending three weeks in the capital city, I am in love with Romanian traditional food! Seriously, Bucharest food is on another level!
If you travel solo to Bucharest and want food suggestions, keep reading. I’ll show you all the best food in Bucharest and where to find them. From Romanian street food, traditional sides and starters to hearty Romanian entrees, you’ll find something you love. Make sure to save room for some Romanian desserts and some Romanian bevies.
If you love eating as much as I do and are excited to go on a culinary journey in Bucharest, then get ready! I’ll show you exactly what to eat in Bucharest and where to find the best food in the city.
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Tips for eating the best food in Bucharest
Before trying some of the best food in Bucharest, take a look at some of these helpful tips before starting your culinary adventure in Bucharest:
- Bring your credit card as many places accept credit cards.
- Bring cash for smaller purchases at local bakeries.
- Tip about 10% of your bill or more if the service is good. You must tip in cash if you are paying with a credit card.
- Romanian traditional food is very meat-heavy. Many main dishes have pork, beef, chicken or other types of meat protein.
- But there are a few options for vegetarians. Some starters, sides and soups are made without meat. Check the restaurant menu before you go.
25 best food in Bucharest: what to eat in Bucharest
See the summary of the best food to try in Bucharest below. This is a quick guide for you when searching for what to eat in Bucharest.
And when you scroll down, I include a more extended explanation for each food and the best restaurants in Bucharest to try these specialties. And I included photos, so you know what each food looks like.
Here is a quick summary of the 25 best food in Bucharest:
- Covrigi – traditional Romanian pretzels
- Scovergi – Romanian fried flatbread with savoury or sweet ingredients
- Plăcintă – flakey pastry with either savoury or sweet filling
- Gogoși – sweet pastries with or without filling
- Merdenea cu brânză – tradițional cheese pastry
Romanian starters and sides
- Zacuscă – a vegetable spread made with roasted eggplant and red peppers
- Salata de Vinete – roasted eggplant salad
- Ardei Copti – roasted pepper salad
- Ardei Umpluti – stuffed peppers
- Jumări – deep-fried pork cracklings
- Bulz – baked polenta and sheep cheese with sour cream
- Ciorba – traditional Romanian sour soup
Traditional Romanian dishes
- Mici – or Mititei is Romanian grilled sausages with no casing
- Chiftele – Romanian meatballs
- Mixed grill platter – it comes with mici, steak, pork chop, chicken and sausage
- Roasted pork knuckle – or pork hock served with sour cabbage and polenta
- Tochitura – traditional stew in Romania
- Sarmale – Romanian cabbage rolls
- Carp brine – made with tomatoes, bell peppers, onion and garlic and served with polenta
- Papanasi – Romanian fried doughnuts
- Clătite – Romanian pancake or crepe
- Salam de Biscuiti – Romanian no-bake chocolate roll with biscuit
Typical Romanian drinks
- Lemonade – flavoured homemade lemonade
- Romanian beer – beers made in Romania
- Țuică – traditional Romanian plum-based spirit
Where to eat in Bucharest: best places to eat
Below is a list of the best places to eat in Bucharest. And in all of these food outlets and restaurants, you can find the local specialties listed above.
To find the address for each location, click on the restaurant name, which will bring you to the location on Google Maps.
Bucharest bakeries, markets and bars
- Simigeria Luca – popular bakery chain that makes covrigi. They have many locations throughout Bucharest.
- Patiseria Tineretului – another bakery chain serving covrigi, plăcintă and other sweet treats.
- Scovergaria Micai – they make savoury and sweet scovergă and crepes.
- Patiseria Comteia – the local bakery is famous for its merdenea cu brânză.
- Obor Market – Romania’s biggest and oldest market.
- Romanian Craft Beer – get a flight of beers (on weekdays) at this bar on Calea Victoriei.
Best restaurants in Bucharest serving traditional food
- Caru’ cu bere – means “the beer cart” and is the oldest restaurant in Bucharest.
- Restaurant Hanu’ lui Manuc – part of Manuc’s Inn, which has been around since 1808.
- Vatra Restaurant – they have performances during dinner service.
- Taverna Covaci – traditional Romanian restaurant in the middle of Old Town.
- La Mama – several locations throughout Bucharest.
- Bodega La Mahala – a quaint restaurant at the end of the narrow alley in Old Town.
- La Copac – dine outdoors at this casual cafe in Piata Romana.
- Nicoreşti Restaurant – a little out of the centre but worth the trek.
- Lacrimi și Sfinți – cute restaurant with funny names for each dish.
- Hanu’ Berarilor Casa Oprea Soare – just south of Bucharest Old Town.
What and where to eat Romanian snacks in Bucharest
What is Covrigi: Romanian pretzels. The traditional pretzel comes with poppy seeds, sesame seeds or salt grains. But there are special covrigi that are made with cheese or Nutella and in the form of a hot dog. It is popular street food in Romania because you can eat it on the go.
Where to eat Covrigi: Simigeria Luca, Patiseria Tineretului, supermarket
What is Scovergă: traditional Romanian fried flatbread served with either savoury or sweet ingredients. The savoury flatbread includes sour cream, cheese and garlic. But if you like sweet, try it with jam. This Romanian snack is similar to Hungarian lángos.
Where to eat Scovergă: Scovergaria Micai, local pastry shops
What is Plăcintă: Romanian flakey pastry with either savoury or sweet filling. Try the unique plăcintă with sweet cheese and raisin (plăcintă cu brânză dulce și stafide).
Where to eat Plăcintă: Patiseria Tineretului, Scovergaria Micai, supermarket, local pastry shops
What is Gogoși: Romanian sweet pastries. This popular street food is either a flatted fried dough with icing sugar or filled with cheese, chocolate, or apricot jam. Think of it as a doughnut.
Where to eat Gogoși: Obor Market, local pastry shops
5. Merdenea cu brânză
What is Merdenea cu brânză: Traditional Romanian cheese pastry. It is savoury, a bit salty and super flakey. It tastes the best when it is hot out of the oven. And it is one of the best cheap eats in Bucharest.
Where to eat Merdenea cu brânză: Patiseria Comteia, Patiseria Tineretului, supermarket, local pastry shops
What and where to eat Romanian starters and sides
What is Zacuscă: Romanian vegetable spread made with roasted eggplant and roasted Gogosari (red) peppers, onions, and tomato paste. Put it on bread or eat it with grilled meatballs. This is a popular spread in the Balkan region.
Where to eat Zacuscă: Caru’ cu bere, Restaurant Hanu’ lui Manuc, Taverna Covaci, Vatra Restaurant, Bodega La Mahala, La Copac, Nicoreşti Restaurant
2. Salata de Vinete
What is Salata de Vinete: Romanian roasted eggplant salad made with onions, lemon juice and salt. They call it a salad but it is more like a dip. It is eaten as a spread on bread or eaten by itself. (See photo above)
Where to eat Salata de Vinete: Caru’ cu bere, Restaurant Hanu’ lui Manuc, Taverna Covaci, La Mama, Bodega La Mahala, Nicoreşti Restaurant
3. Ardei Copti
What is Ardei Copti: Romanian roasted pepper salad. Simple red peppers are grilled and sliced and drenched in oil and vinegar. Good on bread or as a side for your entree.
Where to eat Ardei Copti: Caru’ cu bere, Restaurant Hanu’ lui Manuc, Vatra Restaurant, Taverna Covaci, Nicoreşti Restaurant, Hanu’ Berarilor Casa Oprea Soare
4. Ardei Umpluti
What is Ardei Umpluti: Romanian stuffed peppers made with whole peppers, ground pork, rice and herbs. The entire pepper is covered in tomato sauce and baked until it is ready. Then sour cream is added before serving. A portion is quite big so if you are a light eater or not very hungry, this can be a main dish.
Where to eat Ardei Umpluti: Nicoreşti Restaurant
What is Jumări: Romanian-style pork cracklings aka deep-fried pork belly or pork rinds. This is typically served after the pigs’ sacrifice on St. Ignatius Day (December 20), but you can find it in an appetizer platter at most Romanian Restaurants in Bucharest. Eat it by itself or with mustard, onion and bread.
Where to eat Jumări: Restaurant Hanu’ lui Manuc, Taverna Covaci, Bodega La Mahala
What is Bulz: Romanian side dish made with polenta and sheep cheese. The dish is oven baked or rolled into a ball. Sometimes bacon or ham is added to the mix.
Where to eat Bulz: Restaurant Hanu’ lui Manuc, La Copac, Nicoreşti Restaurant
What is Ciorba: Traditional Romanian sour soup. The most typical one is made with beans and smoked ham. But there are other varieties including meatballs, beef, chicken, and bean sour soup. And if you dare, try the tripe soup (ciorba de burta).
Where to eat Ciorba: Caru’ cu bere, Restaurant Hanu’ lui Manuc, Vatra Restaurant, Taverna Covaci, La Mama, Bodega La Mahala, La Copac, Nicoreşti Restaurant, Hanu’ Berarilor Casa Oprea Soare
What and where to eat traditional Romanian dishes in Bucharest
What is Mici: or Mititei is Romanian grilled sausages with no casing. It is made with ground beef, pork, garlic, paprika, and thyme. “Meech” means “the little one” and is a popular street food. It is typically served with fries or bread and a lot of mustard. So garlicky and oh so good!
Where to eat Mici: Obor Market, Caru’ cu bere, Restaurant Hanu’ lui Manuc, Vatra Restaurant, Taverna Covaci, La Mama, Bodega La Mahala, Nicoreşti Restaurant, Hanu’ Berarilor Casa Oprea Soare
What is Chiftele: Romanian meatballs are jam-packed with ingredients. These meat patties start with ground pork and beef, then bread crumbs, garlic, egg, dill and grated potato are added to the mix. Eat the meatballs by themselves or add a side to them. Remember Zacuscă? It is a great dipping sauce for these meatballs!
Where to eat Chifetele: Caru’ cu bere, Bodega La Mahala, Nicoreşti Restaurant
3. Mixed grill platter
What is mixed grill platter: If you can’t decide which barbecue meat you want then definitely order a mixed grill platter. Generally, it comes with mici, steak, pork chop, chicken, and sausage and is served with fries and mustard. Many restaurants serve platters for two people or more, but a handful serves platters for one.
Where to eat mixed grill platter: Vatra Restaurant, Taverna Covaci, Nicoreşti Restaurant
4. Roasted pork knuckle
What is Roasted pork knuckle: or pork hock is served with braised sour cabbage and polenta or potato. The pork meat is juicy and a bit oily but super tasty. Many restaurants serve a portion for two people, and a few serve a single portion. But even the single portion is quite big – just look at the photo!
Where to eat Roaster pork knuckle: Caru’ cu bere, Taverna Covaci, La Mama, Bodega La Mahala,
What is Tochitura: Traditional Romanian stew made with pork, sausage, onions, garlic, and spices in a tomato sauce. It is served with polenta, grated cheese and a fried egg. Depending on the restaurant, sometimes it is called Moldovan stew since the dish originated in the region of Moldavia.
Where to eat Tochitura: Caru’ cu bere, Restaurant Hanu’ lui Manuc, Vatra Restaurant, Nicoreşti Restaurant
What is Sarmale: Romanian cabbage rolls are made with sour cabbage (sauerkraut) stuffed with minced meat (pork, beef or veal) and rice and cooked in tomato sauce. And it is served with bacon and polenta. Many Eastern European countries have a similar version but the cabbage roll in Romania is made with sour cabbage. It’s a big part of Christmas in Romanian households but is also a staple in many restaurants in Bucharest.
Where to eat Sarmale: Caru’ cu bere, Restaurant Hanu’ lui Manuc, Vatra Restaurant, Taverna Covaci, La Mama, Bodega La Mahala, Nicoreşti Restaurant, Hanu’ Berarilor Casa Oprea Soare
7. Carp brine
What is Carp brine: Carp is a common fish in Eastern European countries. And in Romania, carp brine is made with tomatoes, bell peppers, onion and garlic. And is served with polenta. It’s a popular dish for Christmas but also in some Romanian restaurants in Bucharest throughout the year.
Where to eat Carp brine: Caru’ cu bere, Taverna Covaci, Bodega La Mahala, Lacrimi și Sfinți, Nicoreşti Restaurant
What and where to eat Romanian desserts
What is Papanasi: Romanian fried doughnuts. Typically, this traditional dessert has a doughnut with a hole and round doughnuts. Then they are covered with sour cream and jam. The sauce really compliments the fried dough. You have to try papanasi in Romania – you won’t find it anywhere else!
Where to eat Papanasi: Caru’ cu bere, Restaurant Hanu’ lui Manuc, Vatra Restaurant, Taverna Covaci, La Mama, Bodega La Mahala, Nicoreşti Restaurant, Hanu’ Berarilor Casa Oprea Soare
What is Clătite: Romanian pancake. The pancake is relatively thin; I would even call it a crepe. Try the unique pancake with sweet cheese and raisin (clătite cu brânză dulce și stafide). This is a combo that I found all over Bucharest.
Where to eat Clătite: Restaurant Hanu’ lui Manuc, Vatra Restaurant, Taverna Covaci, La Mama, Nicoreşti Restaurant
3. Salam de Biscuiti
What is Salam de Biscuiti: In English, it means biscuit salami. It is a no-bake chocolate roll with biscuits and rum essence. And when you cut the roll, the section of the roll looks like salami, hence the name. This authentic dessert is a favourite among Romanians and there’s even a cake version at some of the restaurants in Bucharest.
Where to eat Salam de Biscuiti: La Mama, Hanu’ Berarilor Casa Oprea Soare, supermarket, local bakery
What and where to drink typical Romanian beverages
What is Lemonade: homemade flavoured lemonade is everywhere! Cafes and restaurants in Bucharest make their own version of lemonade with still or sparkling water and different fruit flavours. I’ve tried mint lemonade and lemonade with elderflower; both excellent and thirst-quenching.
Where to drink Lemonade: most cafes and restaurants in Bucharest
2. Romanian beer
What is Romanian beer: Beers in Romania are pretty good. I am not a beer connoisseur or anything, but I like to try locally-made beers. Look for Timisoreana, Ursus, Ciucas, Silva and Zaganu. And also try the beers brewed at some of the local restaurants in Bucharest.
Where to drink Romanian beer: cafes and restaurants in Bucharest serve a variety of Romanian beers
What is Țuică: Tradițional Romanian plum-based spirit that contains between 20 to 60% alcohol. This flavoured spirit is unique to Romania. Usually, a shot glass of țuica is consumed before the meal. And you sip it, not shoot it.
Where to drink Țuică: cafes and restaurants in Bucharest serve different brands of țuica
Looking for tours around Bucharest? Check out these experiences:
Best Bucharest food: which one do you want to try?
If you are staying in Bucharest for a few days, you can easily try many of these local specialties especially when you combine a few in one meal.
And when you use this food guide, you can quickly look at which Bucharest food you want to try and select the restaurant you want to go to. I’ve done all the research so you can enjoy your trip.
So the big question is – which of these Bucharest food are you interested in trying? Let me know in the comments if you have other suggestions for places to eat in Bucharest.
Thank you for reading my Bucharest food post
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